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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tests

I'm really disappointed in myself. I'm one of those students that are actually convinced that exams "don't really evaluate" students. In other words, I'm a bad student. Today, I sat an IELTS, and I reached this conclusion: I need to improve my English!

The speaking component of the exam was yesterday morning. While my performance wasn't exactly abysmal, I couldn't speak with fluency. In the writing component today, what I wrote wasn't exactly smooth. What's the use of this blog if I haven't learned how to write properly so far? (Actually, I didn't start this blog to improve my writing, but it's supposed to be a by-product of practicing.) What's the problem? Context!

One of the downsides of standardized tests is that they're... well, standardized. Let's take the example of the writing/composition test. We've all been through something like that--in school, more commonly. You're given the 'task' of writing about a particular topic in "no less than [insert number] words". That's just not fair.

Today, for instance, hundreds of people sat the IELTS. They were required to write an essay of 250 words or more about the efficacy of increasing fuel and vehicle prices as a solution to environmental problems. Of all those people, how many do you think were students/workers of some field related to ecology (or even economics)? Not many, I'd say. And those are the ones that have enough information to construct a convincing body of text with examples and everything to sound like they know what they're talking about. Of course they need good command of English to write well; but they also need to have an inkling of the topic at hand.

What's the solution? I don't know. I don't know if it's really a problem. Education has been improved and adjusted over the years and I like to think that humanity is moving forward; these have to be the best educational methods we could come up with so far. After all, who am I to criticize the work of all the educators and researchers who have put so much effort into causing so much pain and suffering to students worldwide?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Identity

I know that this is wrong--that I shouldn't do it. Sometimes, though, I find it difficult not to share a video. Especially one that gets me thinking. I also don't like watching TED videos as they only seem to emphasize to me that I'm a "loser".

OK, watch this, please.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Therapy

I've recently started my dental internship in Jordan University Hospital (JUH). OK, not recently; at the beginning of July. I know you didn't ask, but everything is all right. Although, sometimes, I think that I'm so lazy and unused to work that I'm finding it difficult to "keep up". I wish there weren't any stipend so that I wouldn't feel guilty about not working as hard as I should. Not to speak of my obvious incompetence, of course.

One of the things that I noticed in us as a people--and it's a very exasperating thing (excuse me for modifying an extreme adjective)--is that we tend to think of the solution as a bigger problem than our main problem. I'll try to explain.

When you have toothache, it means something is wrong with the tooth in question, right? Something wrong that was brought about most probably by negligence. We all make that kind of mistake. Now, annoyingly, many people look at the visit to the dentist as the problem rather that the "cure". Some put up with a lot of pain simply to avoid the momentary pain possibly experienced at the dentist's office. What's even worse is that some people think the most frightening experience is the injection of the local anesthetic, without which many dental procedures are a real torture. Many patients end up with hopeless teeth that should be removed, and get injected with the anesthetic all the same.

I used this example because it's directly related to what I "do" these days. I think it applies to most medical disciplines as well. In my community, for instance, it's not socially acceptable to go see a psychiatrist or a psychologist. In other words, live with the problem, which--in some cases, as in depression--might be unbearable, but never think of seeing a therapist. Seeing someone, they claim, is "for crazy people". Well, according to these twisted standards, staying insane/crazy is better than doing anything about it.

Some people just don't seem to understand that the sooner you get treatment, the milder it is, the less it costs, and, most importantly, the better it is for your general well-being. In plain terms, some of us are willing to sacrifice their health in the name of fear for their health.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mi hija

It was the day of my IELTS exam. She had a driver's test on the same day. None of it made sense.

She was picking up flowers. Those were some hideous flowers indeed. "I will sprinkle them on him, and say 'I love you, uncle, even though you failed me.'"

Very pessimistic, I thought.

I held her by the shoulders. "I believe in you," I said, firmly locking my eyes into hers, and totally neglecting the fact that four-year old girls can't get a driver's license.

"Really?" she asked.

I nodded.

She clutched my shirt tightly, but I didn't care, even though I would never allow it to someone else. And then she hugged me. No--I hugged her. It felt great. I felt alive!

Next, we hailed a taxi. Only after I'd told the cabby to take us to Jordan University Hospital did I remember that that's not where either of us was going.

I couldn't correct myself, though, as immediately after that I awoke.