Thursday, 5 December 2013

Big, Bad Breadth

For those of you who aren't familiar with the so-called Melbourne Model, the basic premise behind it is that one should leave their qualification-getting to post-graduate study and use their undergraduate years to receive a broad education. So for a student studying science, they would not be expected to engage merely in the one science, but to delve into other areas until eventually getting a bit more precise in first year (though still with the capacity, and indeed the necessity, to broaden their horizons).

Another requirement of the Melbourne Model is that students in all courses complete 50 points (4 subjects) minimum of something called breadth. Put simply, students must study 4 subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with their faculty. As a Biomedicine student, this gives me considerable scope. I can choose from History, Fine Arts, Writing, Music, Politics, Language, Linguistics and from a host of subjects known as Uni Breadth, which are designed to encompass aspects of science and arts. What I am not allowed to do for breadth, however, is anything sciencey.

Breadth has suited me well. I was able to, this year, continue my passion for languages by taking Spanish. This will also allow me to take two subjects over summer and considerably reduce my commitments at University during my third year, something that I am particularly happy about. All the while, I've really enjoyed the class and have each semester found Spanish to be my best subject—bonus!

Next year, however, I've decided that my passion for Spanish after the summer will have waned, as Antonio Banderas' voice becomes less and less impressive, and have thus taken the decision to "branch out" and actually dabble in breadth. (It's worthwhile noting that Spanish was a safe choice; language has always been my forté). The first semester I'll be taking a level one subject, Australian Politics. I'm happy about this. During the last year or so, I've become more engaged with the political process rather than just haplessly repeating what I've heard on the news and I feel as though taking this subject will help me to consolidate and indeed expand on my knowledge of the political process.

This decision was particularly reaffirmed when a local, off-the-record, offered to make a strong and almost irrefutable case for my endorsement by one of the big three political parties in the upcoming state election. I was particularly chuffed by this, but somewhat stupidly answered that offer with a rant about all the things that were wrong with that particular party.

Choosing my second semester subject is proving troublesome. I have a list of about 15 that I am interested in. My dilemma is that I want to find a subject that is likely to maintain my interest but that won't come at the detriment of my marks in itself or in other subjects (by virtue of its workload). It's becoming extremely frustrating, as I'm normally not an indecisive person.

Stay tuned!

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