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  1. #646
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    Mm, it's become a bit of a given in upper-middle-class circles in recent years that women become doctors. Which would be great, except that, as you say, it rarefies the profession - and I know girls who only want to study medicine because their friends are! The other day someone asked me how much GPs get paid, because apparently everyone else in the year who wants to do medicine had been constantly telling her she wouldn't stand a chance at a fulfilling life and career unless she went into the private sector. Notwithstanding that you can specialise in the NHS. And that the private sector often isn't more lucrative. And...*sigh*

    Exactly, I want to KNOW THINGS. About my interests. And it's not even as if there are that many positions if you don't have a degree - you really do need a degree for almost anything, and the occasional newpaper feature about one business which wants to hire 18-year-olds does not make the rule.

    IGCSE does give a lot of room for political judgement, which I enjoy - in fact, it's pretty much impossible to get even a B if you don't make *some* kind of controversial statement at some point! My class has had a turbulent year, but there are only 9 of us, which is quite cosy and allows for good discussion.

  2. #647
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    Yes, it worries me that sciencey girls are consistently pushed towards medicine rather than, say, research or engineering - there's the assumption that girls must like caring for people. Still, I know a fair few people who are looking at those areas, so it's not all bad?

    And it's so sad if people want to do such a demanding degree and job for reasons like that, or because their parents want them to - makes you wonder how far they'll get, when they might be great at something else. It's a bit like the way people who have no idea what they want to do at uni say PPE, because they know it's considered impressive.

    Wow, that sounds like an amazing history course - thinking for yourself at GCSE?! And my history class now has about ten people; last year it must have been more than twenty and most of them weren't very interested. Having a class small enough for real discussion is wonderful.

  3. #648
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    Yep, and engineering is having real problems in finding enough qualified workers. The pay is usually good and there are a lot of vacancies - there aren't a lot of fields you can say that about at the moment! Medical school is so difficult and stressful that a lot of people are already starting to fear being disheartened by the experience, which does suggest they don't necessarily have enough motivation. On the whole, though, of course more doctors are a good thing.

    Mmm, and PPE at Oxford does in fact attract a certain kind of person who's not sure what they'll do in life but just assumes they'll muddle along with their family's money and connections and a 3rd class degree in PPE. And unfortunately they tend to muddle along quite well. That's...kind of annoying, not just in and of itself, but also, more pettily, because it gives PPE that kind of image. I think the course is fascinating, especially the additional modules you can begin doing in the 2nd year, but I hate the eyeroll I get when I say I want to do PPE - because of course that eyeroll is often warranted!

    Urghh, having people who are uninterested in your class is just the worst thing. I have no idea how our class got so small - the other History classes have 20+ people each!

  4. #649
    Daughter of the Pilani Sirkana's Avatar
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    Yes - I know at least one person who's actually decided not to go for PPE partly because it attracts that kind of people and has developed that kind of image. But I suppose, although there might be some students who don't care, there'll still be a good proportion of people who are genuinely excited by it; after all, it's a fascinating course.

    Haha, that's weird, but lucky as well! I agree that it's very tedious to have people who don't care in your classes; even now there are a few. But I think I'm probably, on the whole, really spoiled in this respect - at a lot of schools there'd be hardly anyone who was interested, whereas the majority at mine are. It's just hard to keep it in perspective.

  5. #650
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    Exactly, when your overall school experience is very positive even the little things get to you.

    There's an odd kind of lull at the moment, finishing up odds and ends and beginning to revise, that makes me feel horribly panicked - like I should be doing a lot more than I am. And French oral on Thursday. For some reason, I'm doing the exam most of the French speakers do - which is terrifying, because French is my weakest language. Urgh.

  6. #651
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    True - I know that I'm actually very lucky in that I really enjoy school.

    I know what you mean; we're in that stage as well at the moment. I want it to be Easter, so that I can relax, but equally it feels like we have far too few lessons left before exams start, and I'll have to revise in the holidays anyway! I would tell you not to panic, but I know that's just annoying because it's far easier said than done. My response to situations like this tends to be to try and live in denial for as long as I possibly can, then revise frantically - maybe less stressful (well, at least at this point) but also not a strategy I can recommend.

    Good luck for your French oral! Oral exams are horrible, and it must be especially bad if you're entered for an exam intended for native speakers. At least afterwards you'll have it out of the way and it'll be one fewer thing to worry about come May.

    The weather's so beautiful at the moment that it seems wrong to be sitting inside revising all day...

  7. #652
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    Yep, my mum's bought tickets to Norway - and instead of rejoicing, I kind of freaked out about loss of revision time...I know that I'll cram all holidays anyway, wherever we are, otherwise I'll end up feeling mildly ill with panic. It doesn't help that several of my friends are annoyingly perfect revision obsessives who carry around A5 folders of carefully-highlighted notes everywhere. I don't really revise that way, admittedly - I absorb information fairly well from textbooks - but it still puts me on edge, as if I should be doing the same. Good luck with the ASs, by the way!

    I can blab indefinitely in German, but French sometimes freezes my entire brain for several seconds. I hope I'm scared enough on the day to think more quickly and frantically than usual.

    Revise outside! I actually revise better in unfamiliar environments. I should ask for a Starbucks grant from my school in the name of improved study.

  8. #653
    Daughter of the Pilani Sirkana's Avatar
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    It must be so stressful to know that you have to revise but be on holiday. Maybe have fun during the day and make the most of being abroad, then revise in the evening? Or construct some other vague structure that works around your priorities and ensures that you can relax for a good proportion of the time, and try not to stress out when you're not revising.

    It should be a good unfamiliar environment for you when you're revising, too. Unfortunately I tend to get distracted in busy places like coffee shops, but I would nevertheless very much be up for subsidised drinks!

    Seeing other people's revision notes put me on edge, too; if it's any consolation whatsoever, I found that there was very little correlation between who made the most perfect and elaborate notes and who performed better at GCSE; it's more about understanding the material. Unhelpful, I know (also I'm no good at taking any of this advice...)

    Thanks! Good luck with your GCSEs, too - I'm sure your French will be OK; I froze for what seemed like ten seconds in one of my real German orals and I still got a good mark. If it goes wrong a bit, remember that it's going to seem worse to you than it actually is.

  9. #654
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    Mmm, I'll probably try to catch up on revision after we get back to London and only do the bare minimum while away. Are you going anywhere in the holidays?

    For some reason, the high level of ambient noise in a coffee shop really helps me. It's not specifically targeted at me like music would be, but also feels like less of a pressure than empty silence. Unfortunately all my friends seem to learn best by talking to me about the subject, while I prefer to sit in a corner reading for several hours until I feel comfortable with the material.

    Exactly - rationally I know that, as long as I'm confident I know enough, the fact that I don't make crazily good notes is irrelevant. But I still get that uncomfortable doubtful feeling when I see other people's colourful flashcards!

    I didn't pause too badly, luckily, but I did completely misunderstand one of the questions! It was one of about twenty, though, and my answer was tangentially related to the question, but I now know I have to get very good marks in the reading/writing and listening to bump up my oral mark. Because this was not very good. Urgh. But it's true - in debating, for example, you quickly notice that others don't pick up on your pauses nearly as much as you do!

  10. #655
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    That's certainly a sensible way of managing your time on holiday, especially if you're not away for most of the time. I'm not going away myself, so it's a little easier.

    I used to be really good at working and reading with a lot of ambient noise around, and, while I can still do it, the surroundings tend to distract me now. It's good to have some kind of change of scene, though.

    I'm kind of between the reading and the talking revision strategies; I like to read and make notes on my own first, then test myself, and then explain the material to other people to make sure I understand it. But revising with friends, especially in the earlier stages, isn't usually very conducive towards actually learning, partly because of different preferences and partly because it's so easy to get distracted.

    Sounds like your oral went well, well done! If they asked you twenty questions, it will matter very little that you messed one of them up. And I tend to feel that orals are the hardest part of language exams anyway, so it should be possible to consolidate your mark in the other sections.

    You're right about debating, and it doesn't just do that, but also makes you more aware in general of how to speak effectively, which is an advantage in orals.

  11. #656
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    Whew, I somehow didn't post on here all holidays. That's sort of unusual for me! How were your holidays? I spent the whole time getting ill in various ways. Right now I'm having an allergic reaction to my antibiotics. It's not severe - just a rash - so it's a lot better than it could be, but I'm sick of getting sick.

    I'm a really weird learner - I hate most interactive, interesting methods of learning and just like reading through my notes and my textbooks. The denser and duller, the better. Colour and condensed bulletpoints do nothing for me. It's sort of ridiculous, but I feel panicky if I think that I'm missing some of the detail. I know that more lively methods work for most other people, which is great, but I just absorb things through repeated reading and through vaguely related conversations and lectures (for things like English and History, where additional context is interesting and sort of important but not completely necessary).

    The nature of my mistake was sort of ridiculous, actually - I think I misheard/misunderstood "metier" as "matiere". Given that they actually do sound quite different...So she was asking me about my career, and I answered that I quite liked Maths.

    Debating season's pretty much over now. I wish it weren't! A slightly insane friend of mine has decided to organise a charity debate involving teachers, which I thought would end up being the flop of the century - after all, "Who wants to watch others debate at lunchtime?" - but which a surprising number of people have already agreed to come to. I think it's the draw of seeing the teachers make fools of themselves.

  12. #657
    Daughter of the Pilani Sirkana's Avatar
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    Oh no! It's so annoying to get ill in the holidays - means you it doesn't really feel like a break at all... Mine have been OK, though uneventful. I have, of course, done far too little work and now have three essays to write before Monday, to say nothing of the rest of my revision. (Why yes, I am procrastinating on the internet.)

    Yes, I like lots of dense detail in my revision too, for learning the material. But once I roughly know it, I don't mind working with people - the other day I met up with some friends and we looked at essay titles where you needed a balanced argument, picked sides and set up an informal debate on them (what debating withdrawal symptoms? Though I wouldn't have time to do competitions between now and the end of exams). That was actually really good, but it's one of the few times that I've found revising with people actively more helpful than not doing so.

    An understandable mistake - I've never been quite able to understand how any French vowels can be distinguished from one another, probably because I've never formally learned it. But I'm sure the rest of it went fine, it can't be worse than me saying I got up at four in the morning in one language oral.

    I think the teachers' charity debate is actually a really good idea! Events that humiliate teachers are always popular, after all, you're right; it should be hilarious. Will it be a serious motion or a joke one?

  13. #658
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    Of course! I have been procrastinating by revising easy subjects when I should be revising hard ones. It feels like work but is pointless. Especially as my History exam is in just over two weeks!

    Mmm, it's true that talking over essay-type points does really help - I discussed the themes of Death of a Salesman just before my English mock and wrote one of my best essays. (Although the teacher marking it disagreed with my points, even though I justified them, and marked me down because of that...)

    I really wish there were more competitions; I wouldn't actually mind the break in my revision too much if it was only an evening on a weekday! But of course it's all winding down now.

    Haha, at least that answered the question and is very slightly plausible! I completely misunderstood it.

    It was a massive joke: "THB a woman's place is in the kitchen." I was opp, so it was stupidly easy...I just had to point at the proposition as my entire rebuttal. There was cake-baking and book-waving. And impromptu Bible-quoting. (I did initially feel the motion was a bit...over the top, especially because it seemed the organiser was making fun of a particular teacher involved who is a massive feminist.) Luckily, the crowd was very good - they laughed a lot and had good questions.

  14. #659
    Daughter of the Pilani Sirkana's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's so hard to actually make yourself work on the tricky stuff. Blah, self control.

    Discussion really can be helpful, though it's ridiculous if examiners disagree with your analysed points in literature exams - surely the whole point of literature is its subjectivity? I did 'Death of a Salesman' last year too; it's an excellent play and I particularly enjoyed the analysis of why the American Dream is so incorrect. What do you think of it?

    Very slightly plausible, yes ... For the GCSEs we did, they actually gave you all but one of the questions they would to ask you in your oral beforehand. This is a completely stupid system, but it does mean that I'm impressed you could give most unprepared questions good answers at all, even if you made one mistake!

    Ha, that sounds very amusing - I think something similar might have been done at my school a couple of years ago, before I got into debating. I do see the issue with it, since at my school at least it would be a way of making fun of the school's feminist outlook, which would be OK but for the fact that a shocking proportion of students really are apathetic or opposed to feminism. Still, I'm sure that it would have stimulated discussion as well as being really funny.

  15. #660
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    I know - it was only a mock, but that was the essay I'd been proudest of, yet it got the worst mark. So we had an interesting argument afterwards about Willy's motivations and whether it's a Communist play - because the teacher claimed it was, whereas I would say that it's definitely anti exploitative capitalism, but far from being actively Communist. Hm, I completely agree with the play's political points and find a lot of the characterisation really interesting. It's very clever; you can find meaning in even the shortest, blandest dialogue. That said, I didn't necessarily sympathise with Willy as a character. I empathised with the awfulness of his situation, and I see his character flaws as ones we all have. "There, but for the grace of God, go I," etc. That makes it a stronger play and brings out more of the universality of the situation, but it does make it difficult to connect with him as a character on a more superficial level. Overall, though, I enjoyed studying it - and I especially enjoy writing about it!

    Yep, my German oral was like that! I just had to recite a long speech I'd written and learnt beforehand. Controlled assessment is difficult in its own special way, though, because you have a lot more anxiety over getting your words exactly right - so it can be difficult to get out of a hole in you find yourself in in the exam because you're so fixated on remembering what you wrote.

    Mm, my school has an interesting feminist history too - it was one of the first girls' schools, and the school song is a sort of suffragette battle hymn. So it's...very traditional in most senses, and very conservative because of the people who attend it, but does have that feminist ethos behind it too. I'm constantly surprised by how many people are apathetic about women's rights...especially when I have conversations with people who are intelligent and mature and can make some good points, but then don't see why they need to bother about the sexism which is still blatantly around us. It's almost blinkered. Ha, one girl in the audience made some ridiculous point about immigrants - to myself and my partner. I am an immigrant (although I was very young at the time) and my partner's parents are, so we were almost cruel in the way we dismissed her point. It was a lot of fun.

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