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.

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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?

 

 

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.

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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.

 

 

Workshop weekend Part 1 of 2

This weekend has been about workshops. I enjoy attending workshops for several reasons, apart from the information and the main purpose of the workshop you get to network, meet people of the same field, which is inspiring.

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It is also a great way for professional development, and helps especially if a certificate is provided. This is a two part post because I attended two, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. For me it’s all about exposure. I am going to be 27 this year and have the hunger to expose myself to as many things that interest me as I can. It’s amazing what all you can learn, and how your careers goals can get evolved.

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Workshop 1 was on ‘mindulfness’, being a counselor this concept isn’t new to me, but I wanted to know more in detail. The main reason I went for it was; it was for counselors and teachers only. It wasn’t a life coaching type of class, it was about how you as a counselor/teacher can use mindfulness, practice it and positively affect the people you’re working with.

The workshop was organised by the Hyderabad Academy of Psychology and led by Liliana Goldschmidt. I got to understand the history of mindfulness, how it helps, and the various ways in which it can be implemented. Liliana had made us experience it with short breathing focused exercises, so that we understand what mindfulness is about, and the fact truly is that we can only take a client as far as we have gone with practicing it. So the more we do the better. For me it’s extremely important to take time out and think and focus on yourself. Mindfulness helps you unwind, and it’s free!. We also paired up and practiced not just making our partners do the exercise, but explain to them the concept. Even here I believe the more you understand it yourself the better you can explain it to another person.

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The workshop was interactive from the beginning, and ended with feedback, certificate distribution, lunch and interaction with the attendees. Was nice to meet familiar faces, get introduced to new. Meeting familiar faces is a sign that you’re moving about enough in your circle! InshaAllah I hope to broaden my network with many such workshops. Dr.Diana had announced that HAP is planning for ‘continued education’ programs at HAP. It was a Saturday of learning something new, and just those exercises in the workshop were relaxing.

Let’s celebrate Passing the HAP course!

I finished my course at HAP!! Yayii!. Received the certificate of the same on Saturday 12th, And boy was that day hectic. I know what you’re thinking! I constantly talk about my busy schedules, I am sure it’s getting monotonous at this point. Keeping this in mind I shall move on to what I wanted to actually write about. I treated myself with some online shopping.

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Note the excitement on the daughters face! That’s just ‘zoom into pricelessness moment’ She was roaring “Yayiiiii”

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Appreciating oneself is a habit I am still developing, but when I found out that I was actually truly passing I had this intense feeling of treating myself. All the hard work, running around, studying, maintaining sanity while balancing the many responsibilities that I did, I just had to acknowledge my efforts. The icing on the cake was that I topped the last exam which was a paper submission! Felt great, that sense of accomplishment I have never felt, never topped anything! hehe

Anyway so this is what I did, I bought some make-up, a wallet, and shoes (which are on the way).

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The experience of the course was great, in one word I would describe the course ‘insightful’ apart from the academic learning that took place you really do get to explore yourself, and become more aware of your behaviour and that of others. I have met some really special people, from various walks of life, women who inspire me and will continue to be part of my life. Even though I didn’t perform to my potential, there’s a lot I have learned to do better in the future in other ventures in my life.

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Dr.Diana is a great teacher, and an inspiring role model, for her high ethical standards of practice, passion for her field, and the unconditional positive regard she gives to us as her students. I highly recommend this course for all students who are in the field of psychology to broaden their view of the field, and get exposure to new thinking and learning.

The next target is to wind up my PGDiploma from IHMH. That should be a call for another mini shopping spree I guess!

An update in pictures

I have ideas, and think ‘oh I should blog about this!’ and then that mental note remains just that-a mental note.

Days have been flying by, and I have not changed, keep piling up more things to my schedule. It will take me a lot of time to truly make my mind stop rationalising a mad schedule for myself.

Anyway, I was taking pics, and while they may not be super interesting, it will make up a decent enough blog post for you guys. Some thing is better than nothing, isn’t it?

Took quite a few selfies;

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Captured some moments of the daughter enjoying at the play area at school;

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Got her a haircut on Guru Nanak Jayanti holiday on Wed! Oh how this one enjoys them….

Admired her sleeping…..It’s actually therapeutic, I always imagine what she must be dreaming about. When she was little she would smile in her sleep…

 

Admired the greenery at school…I spend so much time in my room with students counseling all day, I didn’t notice the lovely green plants all over the entrance. Had to take pics!

Did some colouring, trying to find things to relax me, getting out of the house is not a ready option. Plus my busy schedule doesn’t allow me to be able to do that. My HAP course ends in a week, I shall be having more time after that!

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I had ordered The Story of Psychology, after being reommendation by Dr.Diana Monteiro (My teacher at HAP), waiting to finish off with the David Sedaris book before I indulge into this.

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On Thursday Mir Imran the scientist visited the school to interact with our students. It was not my working day, and I just wanted to sleep in, had a few things on the agenda (I must admit), I somehow got myself to school and well, was inspired. The preceding day I had a ginormous mood swing, and desperately needed some inspiration. Was glad I attended the session, came to realise something crucial that has given me insight.

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Decorated Batools school binder. Feel like a proud mom! Loved using all the glitter, was so fun!

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Distributed inter-madrasa competition certificates to students on Sunday, below I give one to my daughter!

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Hmm, that’s about it….Probably will post a rambling post soon…..

What have you been upto?

 

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!

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…

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Magnums Chocolate truffle is the best

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

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Check out this cabs sticker at the airport! Hilarious!

IMG-20150703-WA0031View from the plane

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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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.

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Batools class door, so cute

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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.

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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.

If you can't be human

I had a group counseling session with a class at school, and one of the topics we brushed on was gender equality and how it’s important to be human being before anything. Racism is common everywhere in the world, and while we are all entitled to our own opinions, I just wanted to share a basic realisation that I believe is worth sharing and at-least a discussion amongst your friends and family.

As human beings if we can’t be human, then we shouldn’t claim to be of any religion, belief or discriminate anyone on the basis of colour, caste, creed, education, economic status etc. It’s just pointless. No matter where in the world you are, when we bleed we bleed the same blood. This reminds me of a book ; ‘Whoever you are’ by Mem Fox. It’s a beautiful book for even the adults to read, it simplifies the issues of the world to the basics, in the end we are all human. I highly recommend parents and teachers to read this book multiple times to their children/students.  Host discussions on the topic, and sensitise everyone on being human. This book reasons with logic, that no matter where you are in the world the pain we feel, the blood that pours out, the feelings are all the same, no matter how we look, what we become, how qualified we get, no matter how different we are, we are all the same, we are all human.

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Explaining everything to children becomes easy when you break it down, the essence of us and what makes us unique from animals is our capacity to be beings with intellectual capacity, to understand, sympathise, empathise with fellow beings. And if we can’t be human, then we are worse than animals.

My white and clarity

It’s really odd when you’re thinking about something and suddenly you read about the same. There’s an overwhelming feeling that takes over you. I have experienced two such situations or phenomena recently. One of which I experienced just today. But we shall go in the order of occurrence for respect.

1. I have always been the loud one, when it came to enjoying, having fun, motivating someone, but never when it came to problems that were my own. I like to solve them on my own, I like to be patient, and be supportive via space and silence. I pick up on energy very quickly, I know by just walking past a person how they’re feeling. This sense gets heightened when I know the person. This is an area of my potential, and I believe that people like me bring comfort, there’s a reason why I am able to be a good counselor and comforter for students and friends alike. I will be the quiet, patient ear. And I have been treated unjustly. And well in the midst of all the sad drama I came across this quote of Ernest Hemingway, and it was the pure expression of what I was going through. And somehow it made me feel good that a man (especially) is capable of understanding an experience women face on a regular basis, especially in family life.

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2. My maternal grandfather was a spiritually blessed man, people used to come to him for all sort of ailments and he used to recite prayers for them and comfort them. I never asked him any future telling questions, I didn’t want the ‘grandparentness’ to go away from him, because no matter what he would be my nana first. Anyway, once he has asked me a question, he asked what it is that I want to see the most in life. And I responded spontaneously as it was something I had thought of previously and I knew the exact answer. I said, I want to see a lot of ice, all white around me, me in the center of white purity. I related that to ice, as I have never experienced snow. And his response was, well it was more of a nod and appreciating bafflement. He didn’t say anything, but he looked impressed. I didn’t ask ‘why?’ because that would break the ‘grandparetness’ code I had set up in my head. Today I was going through the 600 odd pics from last evenings madrasa event, and I saw this one pic and went, ‘wow! this is exactly the white purity and surrounded by whiteness I was talking about, and there’s no ice!’. And a feeling of complete beauty took over me, I smiled into the picture and tears came to my eyes. I found my white.

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I hope in life we are able to find the courage to not just try to find the truth but fight for it. So many of us live under the pressure of a conformist society, just trying to get through the day that; we forget that there’s a higher purpose to achieve. I have found my white, and I have faith in those who believe in moving forward, and aren’t afraid to stand for the truth. Stand up for what’s wrong, and most importantly refuse to be silent sufferers,because we know for a fact that; not all will realise that our patience, our silence and our strength is actually meant for the change, and not acceptance of dwelling in the problems.

Happy strength mommies!