Ethical education?

I have done my grad through distance education from University of Madras, and right now am enrolled in the masters prog at IGNOU. I hated the experience of the former and just am pushing myself through the masters at IGNOU.

The Indian system of distance education doesn’t satisfy the purpose nor is it as dynamic as it should be. There is no wonder that distance degrees do not hold much value, anyone and everyone can get an admission! I am specifically talking about the field of psychology. People who enter the field end up working to help other people and if their education is going to be sub-mediocre quality, we are going to have sub-mediocre quality people working in the field. Many students I know are pursuing a masters in Psychology with the plans to work with children. Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to become a counselor, and sadly we have no quality control whatsoever by the government in this regard.

In the IGNOU masters we have to hand write assignments that will be a min of 50 sheets per subject. The assignments are nothing but a set of questions. I can not understand how that is practical for anyone who is opting for a distance course. Many applicants are not in the flow of writing so much, let’s face it we hardly write with our hands 1000s of words on a daily basis for anything!. They do not accept assignments that are typed. There’s something sad here. India isn’t the only country in the world providing a distance course, universities all over the world are. And they have assignments that are typed, well researched and intellectually igniting. Needless to say, many and I mean many students end up copying their assignments, or paying others to do them. I in-fact even received an sms from someone saying that they have the solved assignments and guides for IGNOU students. Now if that’s going to be the masters holder in the field of Psychology, I would be scared at the level of knowledge of the person.

Screenshot_20160902-183514

We have so many things that need development in our country, but if the education doesn’t improve the future never will. Therapists with such qualifications open their own counseling centers, and once you have a center no one really cares how qualified you truly are!. And this is the truth.

University of Madras has still not issued my degree, provisional certificate etc. I have the TC/Course completion certificate and original marksheets, but that’s about it. I have to constantly write LETTERS to the university, to do what should be in their protocol. Not being in the same city as the university causes great communication disadvantages. Which is why I opted for IGNOU this time around. A full time education, even though was mouth watering for me, didn’t seem like it would be practical, I am at a point in my life where I do not trust Indian education nor the teachers to do a decent job. Going back to college surrounded by youngsters high on life, wouldn’t serve the purpose for me. Intellectually stimulating environment is difficult to find here, even in an intellectual field like psychology.

My assignments are due this month, and so far I only got around to making one answer. And am not interested in submitting assignments that are stupid to begin with.I want to indulge in education, not do it so that I can add it to my name later. I see myself as someone who is so well versed with the subject that I can converse about every aspect of the field; particularly history. May not write exams this year either.Want to be sure of everything.

The sad truth is, there are students out there, eager to learn, but the country isn’t giving them the attention and practical approach needed for them to flourish. And then we complain about brain drain!

What have been your experiences with education in your respective countries/fields?

 

 

Essentials of success

There are quotes that inspire me, every-time I read or even think of them, one such quote is from former president of India Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam;

The beauty about this quote is, that it is a criteria for you to know what you’re passionate about. You won’t lose sleep over a gig or idea that you’re not interested in. It’s the things that you fantasize about, what you truly want to achieve that you can pass away your time dwelling in it.

To achieve dreams, and be successful there are several things that come into play. For me personally, it has been 1. time management and 2. facing the challenging situations/ restrictions you are in. We are living in a world where a lot of our work can be managed online and work never sleeps. People who have inspired me have been those who know when to do what. There are no timings to emails, do them early in the morning, or later at night. Make the most of the hour that is going on. That’s the major time management lesson. That’s how I understood the ‘Time is money’ idiom. Truly there’s so much that can be achieved, while people look at you and think “how you did it!”, it’s not super-power just practical thinking.

Restrictions and challenges, this is one that required me to change a bit of my personality and thought process, hence it was rather difficult. It’s a phenomenon I still struggle with, because while you will always have 24 hours in a day, you will have different issues to face each day. Unpredictable ones! As a woman, restrictions can be health, pregnancies, children etc. some of these are exclusive to us. I never had a healthy smooth sailing pregnancy so maybe that’s the reason why it was such a challenge for me, also the daughter was 28 weeks preemie! If you work from home, to get the support and understanding from the people around you s very difficult at-least initially. You will notice a lot of now accomplished YouTubers and bloggers talk about what they faced in their initial days, but as they pick momentum people around them started to understand.

I came across this video some time back, and well that’s what inspired this post really. I thought to myself, there are plenty things I want to achieve, in terms of goals. But there are some I have already achieved and am successful in, the thoughts made me ponder over what got me the success with my Sunday school, and in other things in life. And came this post, with my two findings of true success.

Criteria for me will always be to be able to sacrifice everything except your morals and family for your dream. If you’re at that level, where you can give up sleep, a meal or two, a splurge purchase, just so that you get a teeny tiny step closer to your dream, then you’re going good, and you’re going strong. What are your secrets to success?

 

 

 

A little inspiration

Gobble down some coffee after opening your fast and YouTube one of your favourite subscribers to chill. I have a tonne of work to do, I have two teacher training workshops coming up, the madrasa starts on 3rd July, my uni classes start on 2nd July and have a pending post of Himalaya, the product stares me everyday. Story telling sessions lined up for my internship, and while I contemplate the to-do list in my head, I went on to Fleurs YouTube channel after a very long time to just chill.

And after watching a couple of videos I stumbled upon this one. And even though she’s basically just talking about herself, and working as a full time YouTuber, I found some inspiration to focus on the tasks I have at hand (Which as I enlisted are MANY).

I admire people who are freelancers, or their own bosses. There’s something more demanding about a job like that, you have to be super organised and constantly prove to yourself that you are just as inspired as you were in the beginning.

In life we may find inspiration from and in people, places, a simple quote, an image just about anything, but the real challenge is always to maintain that level of passion. Especially if you do multiple things, and have multiple responsibilities, it gets rather difficult. Not because the to-do list is longer, but because you have to constantly prioritise everything on that to-do list.

Here’s where my struggle usually lies. Should I first finish work, or blog? should I cook now and then do laundry? Shall I take a nap or stay up and finish the reading work. Add to that parenting and well you’re set for a busy busy schedule.

I liked from this video that she decided to show the side of life of a YouTuber that isn’t all glam. That isn’t as materialistic, and makes you appreciate the efforts that go into any job. The  most successful and richest, people in the world struggle, it’s just that their struggles are not what are photographed and talked about. We only see the greener grass, or rather are shown the greener part of the grass.

What I have learned from expereince is that it is important for us to take time out and ask ourselves every few months if we really truly want the things that we are working toward?, are we really getting there or getting side-tracked? Because as we evolve we may not want the same things from life, and it’s better to know sooner rather than later. It is important for all of us to maintain a balance in personal and professional life, just what our goals in general are, and stick to our decisions. Being aimless is the most disastrous thing a human can do for himself.

It’s always good to hear, watch success stories. And it makes me genuinely happy that people are open to share about their experiences, and inspire others.

 

ENTJ and career planning

Back in Nov or December when my counseling course at HAP was coming to an end we did a personality assessment. The MBTI is well-known and reliable personality test. I already knew I was an ENTJ as I had already done the test online ages ago, and wasn’t surprised when the result was the same. The only thing was, this one gave clear scores, and I actually am equally an ENTP and I am and ENTJ. However I identify myself more as an ENTJ. I think over the course of the past few years I have become organised and like structure in my life, maybe I didn’t recognize how much I wanted it then, but now it’s definitely clear.

MBTI Results

Haphazard living is great during vacation or when you’re taking a break. I tend to work on an inhuman level till I exhaust myself and then crave a long break, to not just unwind, but get energized for another hectic few months or year. I like it this way; I don’t like slow pace anything. Maybe that has to do with the little bit of hyperactivity that I possess.

This is one of reasons why I do not like having a job. The In-time, Out-time life. I prefer freelancing at my own convenience, working hard on one project then taking a breather. Seldom is it only one project though. I have a couple of things that go on simultaneously, and to that I add the freelance ventures. Storytelling is added to my repertoire and it’s amazing to mingle with students and through a story connect with them, build a relationship, because the stories I tell are interactive in nature, both the listeners and I get to know each other through the process.

Coming back to being Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging, I wasn’t surprised to see Psychologist in the list of careers. Definitely on the right track! I am currently half way through my 1st year of masters, and while I am thinking Counseling Psychology would be the ideal specialization for me, I can’t help revisiting the option of clinical psychology. The issue is just the commitment and work that needs to go into each. The second year is going to be one hectic year. And I am already finding it difficult to discipline myself for the TMAs of year 1. Well, there’s no excuse, everything has to get done. What I have realised though, is that I want to explore teaching. But not haphazard, pre-primary teacher type, but only in my field. Hence, I am going to attempt the UGC NET in July 2017, which is when I will be qualified to do so. The end goal is research in educational psychology. I have a weird relationship with counseling right now, while I have been told that I do possess certain skills to be a great therapist, I don’t believe I am quite there yet, or if I would ever be at that stage of satisfaction. One thing I know for sure is that counseling adults will never be my thing.

I have told myself one thing, that has totally changed my view on careers and motivates me everything I remind myself, that I am young and will be young till 70. After 70 is when thoughts of ‘I should chill and slow down’ should come into my mind. Till then, I need not create hurdles of “age” for myself. So what if I am not the ideal state in my life as I would want? As long as I still want it, things will happen.

The sheep in the herd

One amongst many, all doing their degrees and masters and just the same. While this first sentence may resonate with you on many levels, I am talking about the field of Psychology, mainly counseling.

India doesn’t have quality control in this regard, in Hyderabad alone there’s a school pooping up every month, all wanting a school counselor to complete the over all services of the school. It is mandatory for schools to have a counselor, it is important that the students get that kind of support, not just for remedial help, but for emotional health.

But where do we get ourselves registered? Who should a counselor go to for quality check? We do not have a counseling Association, that can license therapists in the field. Anyone who is interested in psychology is able to and allowed to pursue a full masters degree in the field, but no quality control. Passion, and inner wants drive people into the field, some come into it for money (just like in any other field). You will also find courses in counseling taught by people who may have been in the field but do not hold the qualification to be organising such courses. Who is to stop them? Who asks what their PhD is in? we are merely impressed by the ‘Dr.’ in front of their name and presume they may have attained it in counseling, or child psychology…

I have a belief. Just because you have been in a particular field for xyz years doesn’t make you a professional in it. Yes, it’s partly the fault of the country that we do not have a council to keep track and license our counselors, but it doesn’t stop the frustration.I wish to be recognized for my efforts, I wish to me known because I am valuable everywhere in the world not in one country or city. I believe it is important for us to try to reach that level of [proficiency if we want ourselves to be called a part of a field. Right now counselors have it easy in India, I can speak more about Hyderabad, it’s all about generating good clientele. What the client expects from the therapist, what he gets from the therapist is upto the client to decide, but the client has no clue how to pick a reliable one in the first place, they do not even know what to expect from a counseling session! This is even more dangerous when people deal with children and don’t even know the basic skills of counseling children. The intention may have been good, but many children get scarred for life by poor counseling, they lose hope, and trust in adults all together.

Point being? I rather not be in the field till the field decides to give importance to those who are not just passionate about helping people, but hold the qualification and skills needed for the job. I rather do something else in the field, or try to get recognition in another country. Universal recognition. Quality control, not money making.

 

 

What do you want?

This may seem the most regular question on the planet. But really take a second and ask yourself; “What do you want?”

It’s a rather difficult question to answer, I constantly find myself among a tonne of things, juggling more than I can, constantly taking up more responsibilities and pushing myself, and there are days that just force me to take a pause, and just dig deep into my mind and heart and figure what it is that I am chasing.

We all believe we know exactly what we want, and good on you if you’ve got it all figured out. I did too, and here’s a thing about plans and knowing what you want, THAT CAN CHANGE!

Yes, you read right, we are constantly evolving as human beings and sometimes we just don’t realise that our goals have changed in the process of getting there, it’s a rather annoying place to be I must say. But I believe it’s better to constantly keep reanalysing and being in the pursuit of that which will make you happy as opposed to continuing just because you started.

No matter what we do, if it’s intentional we will put in effort, so if you change your mind it’s fine. Could be anything, from what you’re going to cook today, to what you want to order when you get to the ice-cream parlour, to your career, anything!

Satisfaction will come when you reach the goal and are happy, and not regretting that you should’ve taken the other route/changed paths when you still had the chance, enthusiasm and opportunity.

There’s no doubt, it’s an irritating feeling to be confused, leads to frustration and self-doubt. It’s also natural. We only live one life, and we only get so many chances/opportunities. It’s about knowing what you want, having the courage to follow-through and persevere, because in the end of the day, the decision will effect you the most, and if you’re happy everyone else around you will have to accept it too!

Take a minute, you're fabulous

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve received the same advice from the same friend you gave the same advice to, few days earlier? I guess we all have!

No matter where in the world you are, as women we are struggling, there are some common gender bias struggles, some uncommon issues unique to only us, add the mind mess that we create for ourselves and you have the recipe of unsatisfied women!

Well, it’s natural for us to be caught up on agendas, and goals, it’s great to set goals in life, have a bucket list or something to keep you focussed, at the same time we have to also appreciate the efforts we have put in and most importantly celebrate in whatever little way the achievements we have accomplished. The simple pat on the back can go a long way, just your favourite ice-cream, cooking the dish that YOU like for a change, wearing the lipstick that has been crying for use for months, just anything to reward yourself, because you know you’ve worked hard!

This was the realisation my friend tried to grill into my head the other day, that I just jump onto making a new list of to-dos and goals without appreciating the ones I have ticked off, lord knows it took time and energy and effort ad dedication to achieve those in the first place. We tend to skip this very crucial step and then end up feeling like we’re in a constant rut of trying to fulfill aims without satisfaction.

We put pressure on ourselves, we raise the bar higher and higher each time, and while that’s fantastic, especially if you’re a goal driven woman, it is also important just tell the world to appreciate you. Shift the spot light on to yourself and bask in the glory of your hard-work, resilience and patience. In all this craziness, I appreciate that I have friends who can understand what I am going through, and can relate to my thought processes.

It is extremely difficult as women to find that empathic, unconditional support, we often put too much expectation on our family when our friends can support us just as much. The mum will grow old, and there will be generation gap, find your own circle of strength and keep flying.

And whenever you find yourself in an endless to-do list, remind yourself to take a minute, You are fabulous!

I just need quiet

Days of low motivation. Very subjective these things even for me. I may have 10 things to do, but they’re all more or less the same. Actually they are the same. I’ve been studying, running the Sunday school, working at a school, being a mommy, freelance writing/blogging for years now. The type of work hasn’t changed, but motivational levels fluctuate.

I have always tried to figure out what comes in the middle of my motivated zeal, because there are days when the plan is to wait till the daughter falls asleep so I can pursue all my studying and writing. And when she does, for some very embarrassing reason I don’t do anything. I end up wasting time on Youtube, or watching a movie, or just whiling away time on the internet.

But tonight I realized, that it’s because I function in quiet. Uninterrupted concentrated time. And hence I have decided to find myself more quiet time, and scenarios where I can work without being interrupted. Because studying requires concentration and while I have learned for the most part to be able to perform with auditory interference, I still need that solid 2 hours time to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

As mommies we are forced to multi-task, and I have become really good at writing and listening, and typing and listening. I can engage in both activities with ease now. And sometimes I am amazed at how I am able to do that. The coffee helps in that, but when you have a toddler and an exam together, you will learn to manage.

So at-least the mystery is solved, studying can take place only in a peaceful quiet environment, doesn’t matter how exhausted I get I still have the enthusiasm to continue and finish off whatever assignment I have started., it’s because even my mind values peace and quiet. Will hit the library for this, at least on my Thursdays.

Do you have any studying tips mommies?

Randomness in pics

I had been taking pics over the past two weeks of what I am up to, and boy was I busy! So here’s a quick rundown of what I was upto:

Indulged in some proper junk post class on the way home…

CAM03617

Magnums Chocolate truffle is the best

IMG-20150624-WA0003

Went to chennai to resolve university issues and write the practical exam

CAM03663

CAM03648

Check out this cabs sticker at the airport! Hilarious!

IMG-20150703-WA0031View from the plane

CAM03765

CAM03772

So glad to be part of the world when we’re technologically advanced enough to fly through clouds and view them like this! I wish I could live on clouds.

CAM03779

Waited at the Chennai airport for good 4 hours before we were allowed to get in. They don’t have sufficient seating arrangements in the airport, which is super inconvenient for tourists/non residential travelers.

IMG-20150703-WA0033Received my re-issued passport!

CAM03694

Worked like a maniac to complete the record, flew to Chennai again for it.

CAM03661

New academic year at madrasa began! Was doing prep for it while in Chennai after classes.

CAM03703

CAM03700

CAM03705

Liked the chandelier in the hotel, looks like falling stars…

CAM03640

CAM03641

Saturday 11th July was a super busy day, had 9AM class at HAP secundrabad, then went for the SEN orientation at school. Followed by Iftar at my cousins fiances house.

IMG-20150712-WA0031

Batools class door, so cute

CAM03801

CAM03802

CAM03788

Batool really enjoyed spending time with family, and I relaxed too, and even though it was a late Saturday, I was all prepped for another busy day at the madrasa.

Quite a bit of regular homework coming in PP2 she’s finally gotten settled into the class and is coping up okay.

IMG-20150706-WA0035

As for the coming days, I have an exam on Wed, a target submission of assignments on 30th, group counseling sessions at school, and may add spoken Arabic classes to the list after Eid 🙂

The birthday month started off very hectic, planning for a dinner out with my gal pals on Thurs! Looking forward to just relaxing and enjoying the company of young, spirited women who keep me sane.