January 31, 2011

New start new chances

While many students are cheering now because they passed the evil horror exams of the Hes , some students ran away before entering the haunted school. Hard times ask for hard students even though it wasn’t close to a picnic some students did great and some well let’s say, less great. But looking at the whole picture I can’t complain. I am happy my class still has most of the same soldiers I entered the battlefield on. Some exams were just like the most evil thing alive while some were a relaxed walk in the park. But overall I am so relieved I got my share of the cake to survive this epic tale. And with cake I mean those hard earned study points. The subject Qm0 where many students complain is made less of a burden, even though its hard work with a good teacher or in my case I can say teachers its passable so never give up and always fight for your beliefs, because a day not aiming for top is a day falling down.

January 30, 2011

Changes - do we like them?

Some people love changes, while others really dislike them. Which type of person are you? It's interesting to note that as we get older, we often find ourselves stuck in patterns, and it would seem, not totally enamored with change. After all, why should I try something different for breakfast if I like my yogurt and muesli? There is a saying however, "What got us here, won't get us there."  Here are some questions for you:
What do you usually do on Friday night?
What is your favorite place to eat?
How often do you check your email?
I guess that if you know the answer to these questions off the top of your head, then you might be stuck in a rut, no matter how old you are. And what is wrong with that? you might ask.
Well, I'll tell you - if you are stuck in a routine, then you are not going forward. You are not learning new things, you are not challenging life and it's not challenging you. Do you know that by making minuscule changes in your life, you are wakening up your brain, using new neural passages and thus taking advantage of your potential for greatness? Yes, you are great as you are, but you can be even greater!
Tomorrow is a new day. Expect the unexpected!
Read about how our brains react to change...

January 27, 2011

What Makes Your Day?

I am quite a happy person and little things such as a new episode of Pretty Little Liars, Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family or 90210 make my day. What makes my day even more is breakfast with my sons and hubby or seeing them after a long day at work. I can even think of smaller things such as a good coffee that I regularly buy at the café/bar of the Frajlemaborg building. And there is this other thing, that students might not think is so important to me, but it is. When students do well on their assignments or exams.

January is a time of the resit exams and deadlines and all the teachers are head over heels busy grading the exams, reports, assignments, theses. Busy time. Busy even though we do not teach. I try to grade everything as soon as I can as I know how nerve-wrecking waiting for the exam results can be. When a student does well, I cannot describe how proud I feel and I cannot wait to tell them how well they did and how they made my day. This is something students do not realize: we do not want our students to fail, we want them to learn and do well! We care. We care about those who try hard, who put effort and who want to succeed. It is a shame that many realise that studying does pay off after taking the same exam 4 times. It is too bad that students do not pay attention to our suggestions of starting to study throughout the semester and not leaving everything till the last minute, to take notes while reading a textbook etc etc.

The moral of the story is that a student doing well is not only a reward for the student, but us teachers. It makes us feel that we do something right, that it is worth spending hours on preparing the lectures, consultations, making exams, grading. It gives us a feeling of helping people become what they want to be, achieve, prepare for the cruel big world which is full of challenges, obstacles and disappointments, but also full of joy, rewards and valuable experiences.

It is worth smiling about all day, is not it?

January 23, 2011

Pecan Pie - How to win friends and influence people

In the 1937 book of this title by Dale Carnegie, many tips on how to get along with people were suggested, among them: "Remember that a person's name is, to him or her, the sweetest and most important sound in any language." Not bad advice, even today! For more tips for the socially challenged, or simply those who think that the Dutch directness might not be working for them - check out the summary on Wikipedia:  Tips from: How_to_Win_Friends_and_Influence_People 

Yesterday, however, I discovered an even better way -    Pecan pie!

January 18, 2011

100% concentrated

The main problem I have with studying is my massive lack in concentration. This isn’t that much of a problem when dealing with mathematics or any other courses that involve logic, but when it comes down to studying books full of text I just panic. I always start out very optimistic, but my mind soon wanders off to what we are having for dinner or if I should polish my nails a different color since the one I have on now is fading. This is often followed by stress. Here are some tips if you have trouble concentrating like me:

1. Don’t take a break in between. Once you stop studying and relax, it’s hard to return to your books.

2. I don’t take fish oil tablets at the moment, but they do help with concentrating after you take one a day for a week

3. Make sure your messengers are closed when you are studying on the computer. When someone is talking to you on skype or msn it’s distracting.

4. Study groups only work for serious people, but when you are not serious or have trouble concentrating like I do, you will most likely end up talking instead of studying.

If anybody else has some other tips on how to concentrate better let me know, I would love to hear them.

January 17, 2011

Happily happily

My S.France pic also adds happiness in the grey of winter...
Somehow I have the feeling that some people are reading this blog and somehow that cheers me up. Besides the stats report, more important to me is the fact that students did come to the review day I had last week, and those who missed it, asked to meet me today! Not only that, but more students than usual showed up - which could indicate that they read that the feedback might be helpful for them. Or it might just be a coincidence?

January 16, 2011

London Trip and Email is Not Dead!

I have been to London many times and although it would be nice to be going to new places every time, there are cities that you want to go back to. This year, next year, every year. London is one of them. This week I attended a training on alumni and social media which is why I had a few days to embrace yet again the city of double-dekker buses, old looking black cabs, amazing shopping and, not to forget, the English politeness.

It rains there as much if not more than it does in Holland, but there is no cold wind that can blow you off the bike path here in Amsterdam. It is busy, so busy that if you manage to get into the tube in the rush hour, you will be squeezed and pulled in all directions. Yet it is one of my favourite places to go to. Every time.

The training was very insightful and quite intense. Referring to my previous post, I do not adopt the latest technology quickly, which is my deliberate choice. However, lately I have become a lot more interested and active with social media. It is amazing how much is it out there to do: to include into your post, link it, add the tag, newsfeed, like it button, create a fan page, link your twitter to your facebook etc etc I have to say I was overwhelmed by it all and the 52 notes I made during the training seems to be too much to use all at once.

What was interesting to hear was that email is by far not dead and still should be widely used to communicate to the target audience. When I find 3874634 emails of promotions, special deals and notification that I won a lottery, I get nothing but annoyed. The only exception would be amazon, who was a pioneer in sending the “You might also like this” emails. I do sometimes quickly browse through their emails.

So what realistically are the chances of one email, that is in the same category, to be noticed out of the bunch? Flashy images, catchy phrases-they all do it, they all use it. Besides, our private email addresses are full of numerous promo emails, most of which go straight to the trash folder unopened.

This brings me back to the issue of information overload and how much more effort do we have to put in to filter the constant stream of messages every day. It is exhausting and yet we do it.

January 10, 2011

Spreading the YEN news

Hey guys! By now we all have our Young Enterprise (YEN) companies set up and hopefully everyone’s got their products ready to sell…

Now comes the hard part – How do we get the message across? But rather than reinvent the wheel, we thought we’d check with previous year’s students – and we know a few things:
1. The market fair in March is too little too late.

2. Often our own students and teachers want to buy from us, but they don’t know what we’re selling!

3. The more we spread the good word, the better sales will be!

So, we came up with a way to advertise all the YEN companies:

All we need is motivation

First of all I’ll start with a short introduction. My name is Manisha, also a 1st year Trade Management Asia student at HES. I was born and raised in the Netherlands, but I will not bore you with the long story or my heritage, since there is a lot to tell. Maybe you’ll figure out eventually.

2010 has not been the easiest year for me since I actually did another study program before this one which did not really fit me that well. And I knew it didn’t fit me well, but everybody kept telling me it did and eventually I stopped because I knew it wouldn’t work out since I wasn’t motivated. After that I was really lost on what do with my life and ended up doing the Trade Management Asia and I do not regret it one bit.

My main force behind this choice was learning Japanese and going on exchange to another country in the third year. Beside that I have some ambition for starting a business in the future, although I’m still a little lost on what kind of business I would like to start. But I hope to figure it out on the way and until that time learn as much as I can.

This time around I feel more motivated and I think motivation is really what you need to have if you want to accomplish anything in life.

January 9, 2011

You can bring a horse to water...

The saying goes, "You can bring a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." And I'm thinking of this sentence as I answer emails of students complaining about their grades, wondering why they failed, and wondering myself - who failed - me or them?    
Did I or did I not show them where the water was? Did I tell them how they could drink, how much, and when the fresh water would be poured in? Did they realize if they didn't drink on time, a drought might come, another animal might finish up the water before their thirst was quenched? I guess that's enough with the metaphors, right?

But the point is this - many of my students have failed their exams. I have tried my best to motivate them, to make school fun, to impress upon them that we don't give out grades for free at the HvA, but sadly, despite their undoubtable capability to succeed, for whatever reasons, far too many did not. Yes, they will get a second chance - but will they grab that chance with 2 hands?
I'm reminded of the story of the homeless guy with the dream radio voice video I saw today on YouTube: Homeless guy gets second chance He did get a second chance - and I really hope he succeeds. And I hope my students will too. YES THEY CAN. But will they?

January 1, 2011

A few words in mind..

Let me be honest from the very beginning, writing is definitely not my strongest quality… But the fact that you’re reading this must mean I’m at least not illiterate!

So, who am I and what made me participate in writing Study leaks’ blogs?

My name is Noël, one of many –but very few Eritrean- 1st year Trade Management Asia students at the Hva, HES.

Many (if not all) students at the HES establish their own company through the Young Enterprise project and experience difficulties during their business period. My reason for being here is to write articles that highlight these problems, and of course to provide answers or solutions to some of the obstacles we’ve all faced or may encounter in the future.

Now that you know who I am and why I’m here, i’m thinking, since Audrey shared a secret with you when introducing herself, perhaps it’s fair to give you one of mine… A small, but outrageous and maybe even impossible but not unrealistic *wink* *wink* secret.....Become the worlds first trillionaire! Yes my fellow entrepreneurs, 12 zero’s and a title unrecognizable by Microsoft’s spelling correction. Maybe you’re thinking, Donald Trump? Bill Gates? Warren Buffet? No, none of these ridiculously rich old men comes even close to that figure.

So…..hopefully I’ll see more of you readers in 2011 and eventually you’ll see more of me, therefore, don’t hesitate and comment on anything that comes to mind!!