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Master Course or Crash Course?

But we know that the Bachelor is just the beginning of our education,” said the valedictorian during the Liberal Arts graduation ceremony. Wrong! This hopeful prediction would only work if I decided to follow a Research Master and pursue my career in academia. After two months of my regular Master program I feel like the end of my academic education is near.

One of my courses at the University of Amsterdam started just two months ago. The following seven lectures featured PowerPoint slides flashing as fast as Kim Basinger’s orgasmic slide show in Nine ½ Weeks. If Walter Benjamin knew that we devoted only one hour of our precious time to discuss his essay, he’d turn over in his grave. The “academic debates” could just as well be squeezed during coffee breaks. The course’s content comes down to a list of tools that is published online anyways. Remind me why I would drag myself out of bed every Monday morning again?

No wonder the course lasted for barely two months, if the whole Master program takes only one year. Actually, our education has to fit between September and December, because the second semester is almost entirely devoted to writing a thesis. Following a Master program feels like taking a crash course. No, worse: like being in a Benny Hill episode about taking a crash course.

It seems as if the universities have pushed the speed up button on their production line, trying to rush us out of the cozy confines of the university buildings. But if the speed gets too high, the tape will slip from under our feet and we’ll fall on our faces completely not specialized in, what should be, our area of expertise. Students might not be the perfect contributors to society, borrowing money and using all the possible student discounts, but a two year Master program would allow us to actually study what we study. Without the long study fine I just might take my time… <evil laugh>

Published: Univers no 5, 22 November 2012