Saturday, October 06, 2007

ISM or Modules

There comes to a point in the mid-semester when every fourth year student has to decide on Honours Thesis, ISM, or simply just do enough modules to earn credit. I am sadly, no exception, other than the fact that my CAP and my SJAP doesn't qualify me to do Honours Thesis. So, here I am, pondering over the costs and benefits of ISM, independent study module.

Because of various reasons at the beginning of this semester, I found out to my horror that I haven't enough EU modules to do. The only way to get around this problem is to do an ISM, that would mean that I exceed the minimum number of level 4000 modules I need to take. This is already on top of me exceeding the minimum number of level 3000 modules I need to take. But I need the modular credits to graduate.

During the beginning of the semester I started formulating topics that interest me, topics which are viable ISM topics. I even surfed the Linc to look at the numberof material I have in the library which I can use for my bibliography. It's really no point doing on a topic that there's no material in the library that I can use. In the end, I decided on Kaiserreich Deutschland as my topic. I was planning to use the British Prime Ministers seminar style module to conduct my ISM, ie examine the leaders and conclude their successes and failures. And so, I decided to approach Prof Murfett if he's interested in being my supervisor.

Sadly, he was full already. He did try and intro another 19th century historian to me, but I didn't know him. I don't think it's that easy to work with someone I've never worked with before, and I don't know anything about him. The other alternative then for me is to find another prof, maybe Dr Kelly, or something, or that I do my second choice topic and look for another prof.

Unable to decide between the choices, I went to the FASS page to check out next semester's time table. And lo and behold, there were two EU/PS modules which were previously not listed. Politics of Contemporary Europe, a level 2000 module, and EU and ASEAN and the World, a level 3000 module. I don't have to do the philo module of Hume and Kant anymore, and now, there are lower level modules for me to choose from. Lower level, I'd think as easier and less work type of modules. I don't have to pull my hair out over the level 4000 ISM.

The catch here is that Politics of Contemporary Europe is on Fridays, and if I take it, it would mean that I'll have classes from 9am-5pm straight without any breaks at all. A bit the shiong sia. But the good news is that I can have a two and a half day week including tutorials. Then again, even if I do ISM, I can fit in an effectively one day week, and another alternate week tutorial on another day. Quite an effective one and a half day week. Sounds crazy? I think so too...

Also, Politics of Contemporary Europe and EU and ASEAN and the World are both Dr Reuben Wong's classes. I'm quite surprised that he is able to take on so many classes. And both modules are very intrisically tied in with what I'm doing now in his European Foreign Policy level 4000 class. In a way, it's damn weird for me to do the higher level class before doing the lower level ones, when most people do the lower level ones before doing the higher level one. Anyway, if I can cope with this module now, I can cope with the other modules next semester, isn't that? But then, seeing Reuben Wong for so many times a week, erm... a bit sian leh... hehe~

Yup, so what should my decision be? If I decided to do ISM I need to confirm it quick and chope a prof. Prof Murfett is already full, I can't imagine what's the statuses of the other profs.


kristy. said...

Hey Joan, Kristy here. I actually overloaded (i.e. 6 modules) by taking an ISM this semster. I even begun two weeks late, in that I submitted the proposal almost a month after school started, when most people submitted theirs two weeks in. Anyway, just to share, I find it a very enriching experience so far; not to mention how fun it is to decide what you want to talk about. Of course, discipline is an issue, as well as getting the right professor. My advise for you would be to do it if you can find a professor you're friendly and comfortable with. I can't stress that enough. I've only managed to meet my prof two or three times (plus emails inbetween) so far but he is a GREAT help, being patient and illuminating. Well, hope this helps. Take care.

xxoos said...

i too think that an ism would be really fun, after all it would be me doing something i want to do, but ya, the problem is more to do with me unable to get the prof i wanted. i dont want to end up doing something with someone who i can't communicate with and end up with me being more frustrated about the whole thing.

thanks though~ i still have a bit more time to ponder over it...