Third Year

You know, it really makes me wonder how some people even manage to make it to third year. I know this may sound harsh, but it’s true. I really don’t understand how some people manage to get there when they are still asking questions along the lines of:

“How do I cite this source?”

“What is the minimum word count”

“When is the essay deadline?”

It baffles me that people still don’t know this kind of basic knowledge that, you’d assume, you would have had drummed into your brain since first semester of first year (second semester, at the very latest). The fact that people are still asking questions like this is just astonishing.

The matter which baffles me the most is that students have had to do essays since they started university two years ago and would have had to cite sources for those essays before. Why is it they can’t remember basic stuff like this!? Are their memories that limited or alcohol damaged that they are incapable of remembering how to cite basic concepts!? It’s all written down in a guide to help us, for goodness sake!

At our University, we used the Harvard Reference Guide system as our main system for citing work within our assignments. Now, here’s the thing which gets me, we have been aware of this system and this guide since we started in first year and have been provided with this guide both in hard copy and electronic format since then. Additionally, the Library has since published its own official copy of the guide which we can purchase for free from the Library. We are given this guide every year, yet people still feel that it’s importance is obsolete and neglect to look at it when they are stumped as to how to cite something. It’s all in the God damn guide! If you’re stuck, rather than asking us all on Facebook, look at the guide and find it for yourself. Use your noggin and be inquisitive, don’t go the long way around.

As well as this, every year since we started University we have been told that we are allowed to be within 10% of the word count in our assignments, meaning that we are allowed to write within 10% under or over. For example: if we are given a 2,500 word count we can go 250 words under or over (2,250 or 2,750). This rule has been applicable on all assignments in all of the years we’ve been studying at the university… yet people are still asking what the minimum/maximum word allowance is or, worse, what the specific total is. I mean, is it that difficult to work out 10% of something!? If you’re not sure what the word count is to start off with, check the handbook. We are given this handbook for every module in the first lesson of the semester and they are even available online if you misplace it. You have no excuse for not being able to get hold of the assessment criteria. Check the handbook, go from there. But what really bugs me is when people ask what the minimum word allowance is. The fact that they’re asking this shows that they’re not going to put their all into the assignment and probably having got enough material to write the assignment in the first place. In my opinion, people should always use the 10% over allowance just to ensure that they have every point they need included, rather than handing in a half-arsed assignment with little effort put into it.

Finally, when people ask me about deadlines I could scream. Fair enough, deadlines are never the same each year but it’s the fact that people do not listen to their lecturers when they tell them when they are at the beginning of the module or find it so difficult to check the handbook! Some people seem to think that the handbook is given to us for the sake of it. The handbook is literally like your bible when writing essays as it has everything you could possibly need about the criteria required and the hand-in dates. Find out all of your deadlines at the beginning of the semester, write them down, and put them on your wall. That way you will see them every day and have a constant reminder.

People that ask these questions are beyond words of explanation but I hope to God that they step up their games if they actually plan on graduating next September and – even more important – if they hope to be able to submit a dissertation of a decent standard. Gosh, I dread to think…

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