“That attitude can block them blessings. Check ya self.” – the Awkward Chemist
I hope you’re all doing great and I hope you’ve been getting along well with life.
I know I’ve been away for a while but as you can imagine school got the best of me. The volume of work I was doing was something I wasn’t expecting especially in the time frame. All in all, we were taught, we were given assignments and we were tested. Let me tell you about them all… 🙂
Master programs are usually broken down into modules, so obviously we did modules 1 and 2 first. From October 31st until November 30th, we were absolutely loaded with information. Six chapters of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) (Mod 1) and 3 sub courses of Water Resources System. Along with these courses we took supplementary tutorials on Geographical Information Systems (QGIS specifically), ‘What is Science?’, Critical Reading and Referencing Skills and Plagiarism Awareness.
When I tell you it was a lot for one month of teaching, believe me. IWRM alone was HUGE and our lecturer taught us in 4 days. Just imagine condensing a semester load of work in FOUR days. Anyhow, Water Resources Systems was split into 3; Introduction to Hydrology, Ground Water Resources and Water Quality (Ecology). This was the calculation and “science” module between the two. A lot of work, yes but somehow better than Mod 1.
Assignments & Exams
For the assignments we had a total of 6 assignments, all due before exams. I am a procrastinator who works BEST under pressure. So you know I left MOST, if not all, of my assignments til the last minute. Yes, I know, it is a horrible habit. It has worked for me all through my academic life but somehow, the stress it caused me here has taught me that is has to stop IMMEDIATELY. Beyond that, I was able to finish all and submit before the deadlines so that I could have at least a few days to revise (another horrible habit of studying at the last minute).
Being a student for my entire life, I’ve always taken exams and PLENTY at that. Having said that, the only time I was ever as nervous as I was at the beginning of exam week, was probably when I took the Common Entrance Exam. I was so nervous that I couldn’t sleep properly, I didn’t eat breakfast, I was shaking. You would think I never took a test ever in life. After the first exam, IWRM, I felt a little better and was able to take that confidence into exam 2. However, exam 2 came at me like Mike Tyson and bit my resolve right out! I wasn’t looking for it to be like that. What helped me to be okay afterwards, was the fact that I had the entire afternoon and the rest of the week for myself. Praise God! Finally, I can watch my shows and relax without feeling guilty for procrastinating.
Out of Classroom Experiences
- Fire it Up Friday: We took the final Friday of the intro week to visit Den Haag (The Hague) and Binnenhof (Parliament Buildings) and Madurodam (AWESOME MINIATURE ARTISTRY). We visited the Dunes by the North Sea, which was particularly exciting because we travelled on tandem bikes and heard about the history and traditions of the Dutch. Just know, the Dutch love a bell; something always happening for one to ring. After the tour, we went to a lovely hotel for the Welcome Dinner (FOOD GALORE) and right back home. It was a good day.
- LIBRA: This was a game which served as an ice-breaker for the new participants and helped to open our minds to the world of stakeholders and water institutions. It consisted of different water managing authorities in a particular delta or basin around the world working together to give the best service to the civilians, farmers and municipal sectors.
- Buying a Bike: That was an experience. I hadn’t touched a bicycle in years and it felt so foreign to be riding especially a bicycle with back breaks only. However, it was a very welcomed move because walking to school wasn’t the business. The goal was and will continue to be getting to and from places a quickly as possible to get out of the cold.
- Nile Water Lab Launch: Studying at IHE means knowing the Nile back to front, or source to mouth. EVERYTHING is based on the Nile, every single class I hear about the Nile. From the High Aswan Dam, to the conflicts between the countries it feeds, to the ecology, to how it has been affected by climate change other human influences. So I wasn’t surprised when my MSc group (Water Management) was invited to the Nile Water Lab Launch. This is a website which aids to shed light on the social-economic side of the Nile plus giving information about the projects going on. It invites you to contribute and it is quite the interactive site (Nile Water Lab).
- Church: I joined the Redeem Christian Church of God Mount Zion International Parish Church. Everybody that knows me knows I hardly go to church in Barbados, but here I go every Sunday and I’ve even joined the choir. This was one of the best decisions I made since it was only because of God I made it to Delft or even heard of this opportunity. We were talking about blessings at Bible Study and I can tell you that it was NO MISTAKE that I’ve been brought here. Everything happens for a reason and I am especially happy & grateful that God touched my life in this way.
- Dutch Family: the Meet the Dutch program is something I was hesitant in signing up for but I did anyway and I was paired with a lovely woman by the name of Franca De Vos. So welcoming and her family too. Having a family here to lean on is something anyone would need and I’m glad it was Franca and hers.
- Friends: The mini-world that is IHE has brought light to so much darkness in my mind, it showed how ignorant and even self-centered I was. It showed me that I have a lot to be thankful for and how proud I should be of where I come from. The Caribbean family I have here has been a vital part of my time here and I am sure it will continue to be. The others have taught me culture and have opened my eyes to life outside the west. I am so grateful for that.
Overall, my first month in Delft and at UNESCO-IHE has already done so much for me and has really urged me to re-evaluate my life. The many practices I had at home can’t and won’t work here and maybe I needed to shift some of those habits anyway. I am so happy for this opportunity and I pray I make my loved ones and myself proud. At first I was sad and confused but now I’m determined and just focused on finishing strongly. The lecturers at IHE are some of the best in the water sphere and for them to be teaching me, inviting me to their project launches and treating me like one of them, and not an outsider, is all a young black girl from Rock Dundo, St. James BARBADOS, could ever want.
I never guessed my life would turn out this way and it makes me so emotional to look back at where I was and compare to now…Thank You, God. Thank You for blessing me with an understanding family, with amazing friends and countless messengers who brought your messages to me.
– the Awkward Chemist
P.S – I’m not saying that everything is all roses and glitter. I have to work my behind off to get the results I’m looking for but it is the experience, the people, the change of scenery. It was NEEDED and I will not forget nor regret this.