For those who aren’t bracingly familiar, QUB recently shifted the academic structure so that all assignments are due in the twelfth week of teaching rather than after the Christmas period. This resulted in an accumulating of things; most strikingly visualised in student stress and anxiety, trying to dual wield preparing for a week’s worth of classes and also researching and executing our own essays. As such, students began to drop off in classes because they physically couldn’t manage the combined workload. It came to a point where I had to email a tutor and ask if I could miss a seminar because it wasn’t within the critical field of my own research interests, in favour of library time. While I think students do right to focus on their own work and incrementally reduce their own stresses, I feel it is criminal to enforce a structure that essentially necessitates students miss classes (that they are paying massive money for!).
Let us cast our mind to our kindly lecturers and tutors. Yes, we had a nightmarish period pre-Christmas grappling with 2-3 essays, our tutors now have perhaps 40+ essays to mark over their own Christmas holiday. In my own discussions with tutors, no staff member seems content with this change; hence the title of this post, our eyes and voices should aim themselves at the Queen’s Administration that are hoping to blend in to the brickwork. Student and staff together have been utterly shafted by Queen’s this academic year (how good it feels to be a guinea pig in my final year). My largest issue with the calm exterior of QUB’s explaining their reasons for changing, is the complete lack of regard for the VOLUMES of students tweeting, dissenting this.
(Oh henny, she wants receipts. All tweets used with permission.)
This said, I am not surprised student voices aren’t taken on board. The faceless higher ups need no understanding of students’ needing to be in employment.
An example, so many friends work in retail. Retail’s single busiest period is Christmas. Having our deadlines concreted then meant more managers refusing to budge and allow students time to study, alas, those students who aren’t as financially better off will suffer academically. This has always been the case, but more so this year than I’ve ever witnessed.
With less time to engage with heavy, conceptual concepts than students have ever experienced, the reveal of assessment results in February (why a shift to a December deadline but the February mark publication staying the same) a lot of students are unsure where they sit or how much they’ll have to make up for in the new year, as though they’ve done something wrong.