Saturday, 24 September 2011

UWI, Cave Hill: It's no Mona- my first day of school

So I experienced more disorganization. I was slightly unamused. Others were far more irritated but I was preparing myself for this for a while because I had received warnings. I was told that if I thought UWI, Mona was efficient, Cave Hill would amaze me. The sarcasm in that was not lost on me. From the people in Administration approaching at their own leisurely pace and then addressing you as if you were begging a favour rather than requesting what you were owed and promised to the campus bookshop closing indefinitely at about noon due to some issues with the system. There was no sign placed on the door to inform us of this though which I thought was the least they could do. Alas, this was another thing that made me realize I’m not in Jamaica any more. With every issue me and my classmates would have, we’d be responded to with “Welcome to Cave Hill” by those who’ve been through it before. *blank stare*

What I came to learn really quickly though is that the experience you get from this opportunity or circumstance (depending on how you look at it) will be determined by the attitude you approach it with. Honestly, the “hostility” from staff here is no more than that of staff back home. I’d actually say they’re not as bad as those back home. The only real drawback is the system that they have. It seems a bit backward. For example, you have to “renew” your student identification card every year which is really having it validated by getting a sticker put on it with the new school year. I see that this could be beneficial in that students who have not paid their fees would not be able to access benefits that are intended for those who have but at the same time, you have to join a long line just to get a sticker and you have to be in line with students who are getting theirs for the first time who will, no doubt, take longer. And while I’m on the topic of getting new id’s, at Cave Hill, you have a total of six(6) hours per WEEK in which you can attempt to do this. Now, you would think that they’d allot more time for this at least at the beginning of the school year seeing that you cannot access some services on the campus without your id and there are a good amount of new students each year.

But I digress. An important thing to bear in mind is that while some of the admin here don’t care, some of them do. At the end of the day, it’s about getting the most out of your time here- most importantly to leave with the degree you will have no doubt sacrificed for and then to have as great of a cultural experience as possible. The key to survival here is to not stop asking for help until you get it. It (balancing school and exploring and frolicking) has been done before and it has been done with great success so it can be done again.

Pit: I had to stay on campus longer than I intended. Well after classes had ended AND I was broke already on my second day here.
Peak: A couple of our classes were actually cancelled J


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