Archive for November, 2011

Funny Business Deals

Anybody who comes from an average or poor family background and makes it through campus ought to be respected, regardless of whether he actually makes it through the university with first class honors or not. This is for the simple reason that university life is challenging and unless a student has a steady supply of finances, then life may be unbearable at some point. I am speaking from experience and hence you can be certain that I am cognizant of what I am talking about. I joined campus three years ago with my expectations held high-at least as far as how comfortable my life would be in campus was concerned-but that was never to be.

My parents are peasants, and it was through the help of a paternal uncle that I managed to go through my elementary school, my high school and my first year university education. He was to take me through my entire college education but for a fatal accident that cut short his life. It also cut short my ‘comfort’ in campus as I had to fend for myself, having the kind of parents I had. I embarked on dissertation and thesis writing on part time in a bid to sustain myself but it wasn’t working out. I then decided to be a dealer of computers and computer accessories.

I do buy the accessories in bulk at a fair price then sell them to my campus mates at a slightly higher price but which is lower than what you can find from the genuine dealers in the market if you were to buy it singly. It has proved to be a good way of investing money as it has sustained me in campus for the past two or so years. There are many students who are in the same predicament as me but the difference is that most of them engage in unorthodox means of making money like robbery, mugging, theft, looting and what have you. It is unfortunate, but it does happen.


MLA Formatting

When writing your thesis, the references are a crucial part of the process. You want to acknowledge other people’s work and expand upon them, not ignore or steal them.  So you need to cite each resource you use correctly.

Of course each field of study uses a different formatting style. For social sciences, such as anthropology, the Harvard style can be used, as can the APA style. For the languages and arts, and in particular English, the MLA style is used most often.

When using the MLA style (Modern Language Association), the acknowledgement of a source in the body of the text is done in parenthesis. If the author is not mentioned in the sentence leading up to the citation, then it is recorded as author and date published. It looks like: (Olsen, 2001). If the author is mentioned, such as in the sentence, “Olsen’s work suggests that…” than the date is only needed. It looks like: (2011).

In MLA formatting, the bulk of reference information is included at the end of the thesis or essay. They are listed in a bibliography or Works Cited list. Sources used appear in alphabetical order of the author’s last name. If there is no author, then it is listed alphabetically by the first word of the title. The name of the author, the title of the resource, the publication city, name, and date are all included, and in that order. It looks like:

Olsen, Colin. All I Know. Lethbridge: Pantheon, 2001.

If two or more authors wrote a book or paper that you are using, than you list all the authors in the order they appear on the title page. Only the first author’s name is reversed and a comma is placed between each author’s names.

If you are using a web resource, as is becoming more popular each day due to online journals, the website name, URL, and date viewed all need to be included.

Remember to cite all works that you used direct quotes from, but also those works you take information from and re-phrase in your own words. If you use statistics, examples, or ideas from a work remember to cite it as a reference as well.

A Black Election Day

Student unions all over the world receive a lot of attention. This is due to the fact that they have always offered ready training grounds for would be leaders. This is evidenced by the high concentration of the former leaders of these unions in the national political platforms. Our country has not been left behind in this and the elections of the officials always elicit a lot of interest from the established politicians who view the union leaders as their potential heirs in the challenging’ political realms. In this wise, they always influence the elections, albeit in the background, by offering’ logistical support for the candidates of different posts.

In this particular academic, or if you like, political year, stakes were very high. After meticulous preparations: spreading of rumors and propaganda, mad slinging and witch-hunting accompanied by occasional launch of visions which history shows are never fulfilled, it was then time to vote. All and sundry lined up for this exercise, to vote in, “one of our own”. I also took a break from my busy schedule in dissertation and thesis writing and went to exercise my democratic right. All was well till the final tallying hour when I suddenly noticed a change in the environment.

I did not wait to see the fire; the smoke was enough to enlighten me. I went and stood a safe distance away from the place and watched the unfolding scenario after the vote. A few people who had also smelled a rat came and joined me. Shortly after trouble ensued and a fight broke out between two opposing camps. The scenes that followed were unbelievable. The ballot boxes were emptied, windows were shattered, and many obtained cuts and lethal bruises. Even the chief security officer took to his heels. After the chaos, the union was dissolved and the student would have no one to champion for the rights. Indeed it was a black election day.