Four honours students took the one-hour structured section of the ecology paper I set last semester for the new second year ecology module. The questions were not straightforward and the look on the second years faces when they left the exam had me wondering if I had over-reached. So I asked the honours students for help and they arranged the session today. At 12.45pm, they tore into the paper.
It was quite an impressive sight to behold – there was no hesitation. The four started scribbling away silently the moment the clock started. Well, all of them are field biologists now and help each other out during field trips, getting even more exposure. So it was no surprise they could handle a structured ecology paper without preparation.
For some, the transformation has been particularly dramatic – from novice to seasoned field worker. The difference, in addition to the various 3rd and 4th year modules they have taken has been the experience and responsibility of their research projects. So it's heartening that some second years have linked up with these field biologists – this will nudge this transformation along earlier.