We are back to school! 😀 😀 😀
The winter term began today. This is the second half of the year, which will end on April 30 (oh no, the end is going to come…).
In France, this term would be called ‘semestre de printemps’ (spring term). So the question is: why do you call it WINTER term in Canada? I will not answer, but you can glance at the below picture:
The current weather is fine: although it is pretty cold (ca. -10°C), there is no wind and the sun shines. I can even walk outside without a hat. The only drawback is that I cannot run due to the snow on the ground.
Nevertheless, I have heard that the end of December was extreme in Southern Quebec: a snowstorm happened after Christmas Day and 45 cm of snow fell in a few hours (the snow record was broken in Montreal!). When I came back from Washington, the snow clearance was not completed yet in my street.
So you know that the two upcoming weeks are the add-and-drop period (again)!
This is not a proper analytic article, just an opinion piece. Here are some comments on this « first » day.
The first lecture is always shorter than planed, because the instructor only describes the course structure, talks about the evaluation and the required textbooks (and it is the opportunity for students to know whether they really want to study in this course). Therefore I was able to attend to four courses today morning (8:35-9:55; 9:35–10:25; 10:05-11:25; 11:35-12:55).
Students often ask whether more seats will be opened in the course (especially when the auditorium is completely full, with dozens of standing students). Usually, the instructor replies « no ».
Tonight, I will probably spend the whole evening with my computer, pushing the F5 button and updating Minerva (the online platform for course registration), until a seat is available. Indeed, I really need to register to other courses, because my current course selection is not workable at all (it’s all about time conflict). If I cannot add any other course, there will be some trouble.
And even when there is no time conflict, I find out in the syllabus that we have to bring the relevant textbook in class… and that these relevant textbooks cost more than $200 in total. Or/And the professor is very badly graded on ratemyprofessors.com …
Eventually I will talk about current facts.
Three of the professors talked about ‘cuts’ today. Subsequently to the student strike and the provincial election, the Quebec government cancelled the tuition hikes, but it has not really offset yet this loss of income for universities. So there are budget cuts in Quebec universities, including McGill. According to the professors, they are no longer able to have term papers, because they cannot hire enough TAs in order to grade them. (In november, I have also been told that employees who leave their position would not be replaced)
Nota: I know that my summary is inaccurate but I had to explain it very briefly, please comment the article if you want to supplement it or to express disagreements. In particular, I know that student unions (e.g. FÉUQ) pointed out that universities had abusive expenses, while the provincial government says that universities should also make financial efforts, just as other public services.
I hope I will have good news to bring for the next article. See you soon!
the Migratory Martlet – PW