My Degree, And Things I Always Wanted To Do

October 17, 2014

What next?It has been a nice, long autumn here in Pittsburgh with ever so much to share with you.  Jelly Bean and I are so happy to be blogging about our experiences. Just a few days ago my credentials arrived in the mail from the University of London International Programmes. For me, it signaled time to think carefully about what happens after completing a degree, and what my next steps will be. I suppose it depends on your goals, which might include professional objectives or personal fulfillment. For me it is both. Getting the paperwork acknowledging your success is quite satisfying, but it also underlines the question about how to proceed after finishing the degree. Should I concentrate on postgraduate credentials or concentrate on professional or personal opportunities? For me, it is a combination of all those things. To paraphrase Rodgers and Hammerstein, the beginning is a very good place to start.

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A New Academic Year: Some New Ways, Some New Hopes!

October 15, 2014

Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest.A new academic year has begun. It has been a month for me now since I began classes at my institution and it has been great getting back to my studies after a somewhat boring summer.

The results of the past year and the first experience have taught me a lot. I have registered for four modules and this time around I have two modules which need to be studied on my own: Sociological theory and analysis, and Population and society. I cannot take regular classes for these at my teaching institution, however I will be provided with guidance by my teacher. I am taking classes for Elements of social and applied psychology and Social research methods. I have plans to study in a very organised manner – hopefully preventing the procrastination monster from dragging me down with it. And I believe I have learnt this art already by finishing up with four chapters per module. Especially considering these chapters are quite lengthy!

Since the results 2013/2014, I have realized what it takes to produce excellent grades. Putting in a little extra effort can take one to another level. Dedicating a lot of time to research and preparing answers allowed me to perform well. And therefore I aim to brush up on those techniques and use them wisely. Studying two modules without a proper supervision or regular tests and reinforcement will be a whole new experience. (Though I hope I don’t take of advantage of that). I believe this will allow me to set up my study patterns more effectively. Having no regular classes at college will actually leave me with more time to devote to reading and research.

This time I will experience the true essence of studying through this programme – self studying. I hope to achieve better!

Best wishes to everyone around the globe for 2014/2015.

Sundus

Sundus is studying for the BSc Sociology in Pakistan with support from Roots College International. The BSc Sociology is not available to new students from 2014, however you can still study for a Diploma for Graduates in Sociology.


Tears and Sanitation

October 13, 2014

Children drink water at the Protection of Civilians site in South Sudan.

Children drink water at the Protection of Civilians site in South Sudan.

Hello all. I hope everyone else was as pleased with their exam results as I was. Logistical issues as alluded to in a previous post notwithstanding, I passed all three of my exams and even, dare I say it, did quite well. With that in hand and my interest in the subject continuing to grow, I’ve decided to switch to the full MSc in Public Health (general stream), rather than just doing the PG Cert. Quite a big decision, not least financially, but I’m happy that it’s something I enjoy and will benefit me in my career. A career which, (unsurprisingly) has taken me back to South Sudan.

After nine months away I cannot say I like what they’ve done with the place since I was last here – an ongoing war coupled with severe food insecurity and multiple ethnic massacres – however I am honestly happy to be back. I am now working at one of the Protection of Civilians sites, which I can truly say must be one of the worst places in the entire world for the estimated 40,000 people living in it. Severe flooding coupled with a dearth of latrines and a lack of knowledge about disease and proper hygiene practices means that water and sanitation is the big issue here at the moment, and I could write a lot about it. However, I wanted to write about the one very small aspect of sanitation that I am involved in, and that is burials.

A woman with her baby moves through a flooded area of the Protection of Civilians site.

A woman with her baby moves through a flooded area of the Protection of Civilians site.

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Reading Between the Lines

October 7, 2014

Roald Dahl booksI first discovered Roald Dahl in the library of my primary school. It was not a library with shelves and shelves of books, looking all impressive, and promising an adventure for a seven-year-old. I remembered it as a rather modest one: it did not amass a vast array of books though it had been around for very long. Yet, it was there where I acquired the love for reading.

Roald Dahl was one of those amongst the library’s collections. Quite like any child, I took to him almost instantly. I remembered that I wanted to be transformed into all of his characters all at once. Matilda’s intelligence was something I grew covetous of; and to live the rest of my life as a mouse like the boy in The Witches was one of my childhood daydreams. The most absurd idea that I had, was the wish that I were an orphan so that the BFG (the big friendly giant) could come and take me away to his land.

I managed to grow out of these strange fantasies, fortunately.

However, Roald Dahl did not leave me─he left an ineffaceable imprint on my life. His works retained their places as delectable reads which I revisit time and again. They are like comfort food─nostalgic and assuring with their familiarity.

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The Monster: The ideas I come up with and the things I do

October 6, 2014

She started crying. She wouldn’t even make eye-contact with me. I knew I was at fault. How could I break a girl’s heart? She only wanted to be accepted by all. Was I monster to do this? Am I so dreadful that I could make a young woman swell up with tears? I am really not a bad person…

Teaching and studying is like cooking and eating at the same time. Sometimes juggling priorities makes you so numb to whats happening around you that you lose the emotional intelligence, which is vital to functioning in the modern world. No matter how high you score on an EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) test sometimes losing your handle on things happens due to being human.

Getting into the University of London International Programmes’ LLB is a dream come true. Studying at SZABIST Karachi, a Registered Centre of UoLIP, is like icing on the cake. I love the academic environment and the intellectual blood bank places of higher education encapsulate. However, sometimes balancing study and working can take its toll.

Which brings me back to the monster story.
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Going the distance…

October 3, 2014

Buckingham Palace

“Buckingham Palace”; there are probably no two words that remind us of the nature of the British constitution nor that brought it home to me of exactly where I was and who I was talking to than those, but nonetheless they were the words that greeted my telephone enquiry one early September morning. For 18th September 2014 was to be an highly significant day in more ways than one. To us (as LLB students taking CLRI) & in my case a British citizen (albeit living many miles from home) it marked the day that the British constitution was possibly going to be irrevocably changed, and we are talking “changed” as Scotland faced its independence referendum. But for me it meant something far more important; my parents had been married for 60 years… “pause for effect”… and hence the call to the palace; as after such an “innings” you are entitled to a letter of acknowledgement from Her Majesty; and so on the morning of 18th September 2014 it duly arrived:

Congratulations letter from Queen Elizabeth

Mr and Mrs Pummell opening letter from  Queen

“I am so pleased to know that you are celebrating your Diamond Wedding anniversary on 18th September 2014. I send my congratulations and best wishes to you on such a special occasion.”

Elizabeth R

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How I get stuff done…

September 19, 2014

Cogs and TechI love technology and I’ll be honest, my life completely revolves around it. I’m constantly logged-on and  surrounded by tech at work and at home I sit hard wired to my computer or iPhone. I check updates at the dinner table and sometimes I say more to Siri in a day than to an actual person! I’m completely attached, connected, addicted, dependant…

I’m sure you’ve heard the news reports and read the headlines of society literally crumbling around us as we sit, oblivious, taking photos of our food. I know an older relative has interrupted you as you check your newsfeed to complain that the art of conversation is lost. And I know there’s a good argument to say that life is passing us all by, one selfie at a time. But as 4G kicks up a digital dust of distractions from which no amount of swiping seems to cleanse, I find myself marvelling at the benefits of our technological age. Especially the connection between myself and UoL and the intermediaries that foster learning and progression through my MSc. Read the rest of this entry »


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