This is the second of two posts about my experiences and opinions of studying at University of Stirling. Read about the positive sides here.
There are two main teaching buildings, which are too far apart for getting quickly from one to the other. Add the fact that both buildings are large and relatively confusing, in particular one, let’s call it the C building, which has 4 floors, a number of corridors and rooms with little or no logic on naming said rooms and corridors, and you have a lot of people being late to classes all the time. If you know your room number you can generally find the right floor, and after wandering about for a bit you will eventually find the right rooms, but even when you learn where the rooms you use are, you will still usually be late if you have a class right after/before in the other building. It’s more or less impossible to find a map of the buildings, showing where the different rooms are, which is rather stupid as it would be really helpful for every new student and during the exam time, as exams are often in rather random locations. But hey, it’s so much more fun to let the students wander around for ages being confused, right?
In general the library, and to some extent the university, seems like they’re trying to hard to be great. They try make it all seems a lot cooler than it really is. Like the library which was redecorated not long ago looks nice and seem great when it’s described, but it’s not as useful for daily use. Too few computers, few group rooms, generally a lot less space than needed for the number of students. Of course there are some great things about it, but it just seems like they’re trying too hard. Especially the number of computers in the library is a problem for me. It’s always, always really busy during daytime, and it can easily take 20-30 minutes to find a free computer. Which is particularly annoying when you only want to use the computer for 10 minutes anyway, say to print something. Sure there are some computer labs as well, but it’s difficult to find out when they are used for classes and they are in pretty random locations, so if you don’t know they’re there, you’ll generally not know of them. And even if you do know, it’s difficult to know when they are used for classes or are closed for other reasons.
I mentioned the confusing buildings right? Well, it doesn’t make it easier when the same classes are spread out in different rooms. Such as one subject I have this semester is 6 hours a week (3 lectures, 2 practicals, 1 tutorial), and I have those 6 classes in 6 different rooms. Sounds fun,doesn’t it?
The website is next to useless. Ok, not completely useless maybe, but not far from it. Sure there are lots of pretty pictures and boasting about what the university/students/people at the university has achieved lately, but really, hardly anyone cares. What most students or prospective students are interested in is things like timetables, map of buildings to know where to go, where to find the office of a particular department, exactly which classes you can take, how the grades convert if you’re an international student, and number of other purely practical questions, many which are difficult to find the answer to. But no, of course that’s not important to make it easy to find out these things…let’s just talk about our publications and other uninteresting things instead! This does seem to be a common affliction of university websites though, so it’s not just in Stirling. It also gets slightly better when you are enrolled in the university, as you then get access to a portal where it’s at least a bit easier to find what you are looking for.
This is more of a personal preference, but I don’t really like most of the classes I’ve had this year. Sure, most have interesting parts, but most also have really boring lecturers and even more boring assignments. Not to mention most of the assignments being absolutely useless, where it seems like there is more focus on quoting and referencing enough and in the right way than on the actual content. Fortunately at least some of the assignments were actually useful, in the sense that I actually learned something from it. I’m actually looking forward to starting classes again back in Norway, as I know the majority of what I’ll be doing there is actually useful in some way, even though it might be boring at times.
Have you experienced the useless-university-homepage-syndrome?