Inspiration took a break

Time for a throwback on last week’s class. This time we had a long session, which means a three hour long marathon. Apart from the fact that I almost starved (I’m always hungry), it was quite an amusing marathon. Mrs. Derudder called of ill 15 minutes before the start of the class and Mr. Dupont stood in, being totally unprepared. He started telling an anecdote about a British pub where improvisation nights were being held. Sometimes they just started up a random powerpoint presentation and picked someone of the audience to present it, pretending he or she made the powerpoint.

This set the tone for the rest of the class: many anecdotes and fun trivia. The serious part of the class went really well, so Mr. Dupont succeeded! He really gave us the impression he knew everything about that powerpoint! The subject was ‘writing a personal statement’. The class not that difficult and I think I really understood the essence of a good personal statement. By the end of the week we will have to hand in a personal statement of our own, an application letter for a major. I’m really curious about that feedback!

PS: not a really long blogpost, but it’s one of those nights inspiration took a break…

The torment of academic reading

Last week we discussed research papers. Off course, this wasn’t new to me. After almost years of studying I have read dozens of research papers, which I consider to be the most annoying part of the whole academic research process. A lot has to do with the complexity of most research papers. Some papers are written in such a boring way that the urge to sleep hits me every time I start reading, which is a shame. I think that a good research paper is written in a clear, comprehensible way without altering the content of it. However, those research papers are rather rare, certainly when they already are a bit outdated.

They really should introduce a second peer review committee to investigate the readability of all academic papers. Scientific reading would be so much fun if the authors would add more color to their writing, throwing all that difficult jargon overboard and choosing the path of intelligible articles.

So, about last week. It was actually an interesting class. Not that I learned that much, but it offered a different perspective on the structure of a research paper. As a reader you don’t really watch the different parts of an article, like the introduction, body etc… but unconsciously you expect a certain structure. So, before actually writing a paper ourselves, it’s actually not that bad to draw out a bit on this.

I look forward to next week! :)

Week 4: presenting an infographic

So last week we learned how to present an infographic, which was quite fun. I have to admit that I’m not really a gifted speaker. The moment I’m in front of an audience I completely start stressing out, which results in stammering, stumbling over words etc…

I think a lot has to do with the fact that I’m always overprepared. I know that presenting isn’t my highest strength so I try to stick to my original plan as much as possible. However, learning a presentation by hard and stressing out is probably the worst combination ever. In fact this whole thing is one big contradiction. I’m actually pretty good at improvising. I’m not a world class actor either but I do appreciate behaving in some theatrical way, without having to worry about content or a script, though for some reason I lose this ability when presenting something ‘serious’ to an audience.

Back to last week. At the end of the class we had to present an infographic to our group. It went rather well and I got positive feedback about the content of my presentation, but again, my group members told me I was not relaxed enough.

This certainly remains an important point to work on!

The wonderful world of infographics!

Well, I seem to have survived the second week of school. The second class of academic english went less fluent than the first one. I guess that I start making mistakes in English when I’m tired or –as in this case- not completely awake. Some really obvious and easy answers simply didn’t come up, even when I knew I had the answer. Fortunately, the subject of the class, infographics, wasn’t that difficult. I think I really understood the essence of what infographics are and how to use them.

I did some research to find out how infographics are used in the broad field of communication studies and I found some really interesting stuff. Well, in a way of speaking you could say that there exists an infographic for almost everything, you could literally communicate just by using infographics! For example, I found this infographic about the relation between the social media use of college students and jealousy.

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Disregard from the subject, it’s a pretty good visual presentation and summary of the research that was done and presented in a very clear way. This is the big ‘catch’ while writing and designing an infographic: it has to be both visually appealing and clearly explained. No one wants to read an infographic that looks awful and the infographic won’t have much effect if the reader doesn’t really understand the content of it. So my advice: don’t underestimate the wonderful world of infographics !

My first week

Welcome to my safe heaven for the next couple of months ! I’ll be writing some personal thoughts about my course of academic english and life in general. To begin with, let’s talk about the class of the first week.

To be honest, I didn’t look forward to the first class of academic english. The main reason for it lies in the fact that I’m not a morning person at all. I have this general feeling that everything that I do before noon is utter contraproductive. Getting up before 10 ‘o clock in the morning is a considerable challenge for me. This student’s life has made me incredibly lazy. My routine of secondary school is only two years ago, but I can’t imagine myself ever having to get up at 6:45, every morning.

Long story short, I managed to get up for my class at 9:50, which was alamingly late knowing that the class started at 10. To top it all, I didn’t find the right classroom. I forgot that the regular entrance of Hoveniersberg was blocked by fences due to some maintenance works. So I had to cross the entire neighboring building which took some time, as I totally didn’t know the structure of the building. At last, I entered the classroom at 10:20, but the the professor didn’t mind.

The class itself went really well. I noticed that I had to refresh some of my vocabulary. My active vocabulary clearly shrunk due to two years of non-active use of English, but I did manage to follow the course and to express myself in a decent way. The content of the class wasn’t really that difficult, it could easily be compared with an upper-intermediate class in secondary school. Well, no, it’s not really the same, it’s by far more practical and fun. What I like the most: grammar (oh, I hated those annoying grammar lessons) is quickly dealt with.

I may find the class not that hard, I certainly don’t underestimate it. It will still take some time and effort to make all that knowledge of secondary school active again ! I look forward to improving my academic skills!