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Archive for the ‘student life’ Category

At this point, I’m in a bit of panic as I finished my second MA and I just realized that the school year will start soon but I’m not going to be a part of it anymore. It is somehow hard to believe because I have been studying for a while with some breaks in between when I was working. I enjoy studying a lot and learning new things. Going to classes and keeping a study schedule, visiting the library, checking the courses, outlining a study plan has its charm. At least, at the university level since I enjoyed that part much more than lower education.

Anyways I did find that one can very well study online nowadays through various organizations. I did find out about Coursera (courser.org) from a friend of mine a while ago and I already managed to get and complete few of their courses. Most of them were in humanities, one in IT and one in agriculture. You can find lots of courses, from different areas and from universities all over the world. I am taking courses only in English and the universities i attended were mainly from UK and US.

Nowadays I’m taking a course in cultural heritage from a university in Italy, Rome and I can say I am very pleased with it and besides things which I already knew, I did find out new ones especially about ancient history and completing my reading list with several books.

Some of the courses follow a strict schedule and deadlines, some can be taken at own pace and assignments are not compulsory unless you want to earn a certificate of completion. Certificates divide themselves between standard ones and personalized ones which you have to pay for. Some course packages can be taken for a certain fee. I never paid for the courses I have taken and I got only standard certificates. I was thinking at some point to get a package of courses but there isn’t anything that I really want to take and be willing to pay for yet.

As about the fields, one can choose from a wide variety, although I think they do have more in IT and engineering but I would advise that one should stick to their fields as some of the courses are very challenging (it’s university level) and they do not start with introductory data. For example, I do have a humanities background and I can’t take a course in robotics. But I could take courses from social sciences, business, language learning and even life sciences. Some biology, agriculture, environment and health courses are indeed for everybody who is interested. Also there are some IT courses which are more general but if you want to really learn something, you need to make an extra effort and not just be contempt with the video lectures.

Actually, I could say that about all the courses from the site. Of course, one can pass the course just by watching the video lectures and complete the quizzes but if one really wants to go deeper into the subject, I suggest getting acquainted with the reading list, extra links and materials and do their own research if they want to know more about a certain topic.

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Regarding my last post and some of the claims that students get too much money and they spend it on going out and drinking, I decided to write about living on student financial aid. The student financial aid includes the aid and some help with the rent – which depends a lot on the rent. Also the aid is given taking into consideration the degree so you might have it for 36 or 25 months or for another period of time depending on the length of the studies.

It is a while since I got my student aid but as far as I remember it was for around 25 months and about 450-460 euros per month. The rent was about 235 euros per month in a student apartment. Now, let’s do some simple math: after paying the rent I was left with 225 (given that the aid is 460 euros, rent includes water, electricity, internet + other administrative expenses). Finland is one of the most expensive countries in EU area and the food is quite pricy.

What can you eat with 225 euros per month? If you take the lunch at the student cafeteria it costs 2,60 euros. Let’s say you eat one lunch almost everyday at the student cafeteria – that is about 80 euros. So, you are left with about 145 euros. You also need to buy food for breakfast and dinner and one may assume that vegetables, fruits, meat (a generally balanced diet but nothing extravagant) would cost about 20-30 euros per week – 4 weeks = 80-120 euros.

You are left with 25-65 euros. There is also the phone to pay, I have a cheap operator so I pay around 10 euros per month. What’s left? 15-55 euros per month.
And here I didn’t include: products of personal hygiene, clothing items, kitchenware, books, office supplies, bus card, medicine, electronics and other items that one uses in their everyday life.

So I wonder, where do these people get the idea that 460 euros is enough to go clubbing and get drunk? This sum is barely enough to survive if parents don’t help you and if you don’t have any job. Many students do work during the summer if they are fortunate enough to find a job and save money for the school year. That was also what I did.

Of course, I’ve heard the ones who blame young people that they don’t take blue collar jobs because they are lazy and entitled. My observations show exactly the opposite but unfortunately not even these jobs are enough for everybody. It’s not that we are lazy and entitled – it’s just that even these jobs are hard to find and get. But that’s another story for another time.

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In Finland we have the so-called student financial aid. The student financial aid is not much, it can reach around 500 euros a month and it includes financial aid plus rent aid and the sum depends a lot on several factors such as the year when the studies began, the rent and so on. Some “brilliants” from the government thought that cutting student financial aid and forcing students to take loans would be a great idea to save budget money in the long run. The student financial aid is not big at all and many students do actually take loans, go to work or are helped by parents. But still student financial aid is indeed very helpful and many students from poor families can make a future thanks to it as otherwise they would have no chance to study. Even if there are no tuition fees, living costs are very high around here.

What kind of shocked me was the nasty reaction of some people who were actually supporting these cuts. The comments mentioned that: “back in my day we didn’t have such thing, nowadays the youth is so spoiled and useless”, “students are some lazy shits who know nothing but to get drunk and party”, “get a fucking job if you want to study – blue collar jobs are not good for you?”, “why don’t you study an area that gets you a safe job afterwards?”, “students extend their studies forever and get money for free”.

These claims are the most stupid i have ever read. And here is why:

“back in my day we didn’t have such thing, nowadays the youth is so spoiled and useless”

Dear jealous nostalgic, back in your days things were different. Unemployment and uncertainity wasn’t so bad as nowadays and you could afford to take a loan. Nowadays, there is no thing such as a “safe field” that guarantees you a 100% job after graduation. You might get a job, but most of the time is temporary – meaning non-stable job. We are not spoiled or useless. Times have changed and you should get your head out of your posterior and update yourself. We live in 2016 not in 1970.

“students are some lazy shits who know nothing but to get drunk and party”

This student here worked her ass off to get the degrees she has. Sometimes i had classes from 8 to 20 with 10 min. break between them and 24 exams per year plus mountains of books and courses to read. You could lose a course because you missed it 2 times. That was my bachelor degree. During my master’s i learned Finnish languange in parallel with my MA courses. Add to that culture courses and Swedish languange plus optional courses. Plus my master’s thesis. My second MA was done in Finnish (after only 3 years of studying Finnish language), plus my secondary subject was Finnish languange and culture, courses for the natives who were becoming teachers – those harsh courses in Finnish linguistics, that were not piece of cake at all. Plus optional courses and the second thesis to write. I had no time for social life and no money for partying or getting drunk. And for your information, i hate both of them. I prefer quiet evenings with friends and watching movies or playing games. So, much for your “lazy” students.

“get a fucking job if you want to study – blue collar jobs are not good for you?”

Studying full-time and having a job is extremely challenging and in my case almost impossible. During my BA studies, it was out of the question. I was rotting at class and in the library. Free time was sleeping and eating. While in Finland, i did get summer jobs to finance my studies but they were extremely hard to get and the ones i got were with some help from my husband. And they were blue collar jobs – and no, i’m not ashamed to do them. Besides is very hard to get a job that has a flexible schedule. After that, i was very lucky to get a job in my field and have understanding teachers who ignored the fact that i was missing some of the lectures.

“why don’t you study an area that gets you a safe job afterwards?”

What study field will give you a secure job nowadays? Perhaps healthcare or IT, to give some examples, but not everybody is fit, can or want to become an engineer or a doctor. And it’s good like that. We can’t have a society full of doctors and IT specialists. Also my area is not at all a useless one, since i’m trained to be a museum professional. I always loved this field and in my opinion a world which doesn’t care about it’s heritage is dead.

And unfortunately, i know people who were supposed to have a “safe” degree and the jobs they got afterwards were temporary or completely different from their studies. Because upon finishing their studies, their field was not in demand anymore.

“students extend their studies forever and get money for free”

This one is partially true, there are some people who linger on a degree for 10 years but they don’t get money for it. The financial aid is given a certain number of months and you need to have 5 credits per month to get it. No credits = no money. Also, the degrees are now limited to a certain number of years and if you don’t finish in time you need to explain that to your own department in a formal manner. The department might accept it or not. And if you want to study in another field – as far as i know – you won’t get financial aid anymore if you finished all your aid months.

To be honest, people spewing this nonsense are far beyond reality because if one knew a bit about student life and aid rules, one wouldn’t make such claims. And besides, the financial aid is not free money, you will pay it back after graduation in taxes, presuming that you will get a job and i doubt that many people will be unemployed all their lives.

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life is a journey, not a destination

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life is a journey, not a destination