I have said that the self-reliance and expansive intellectual freedom is great. However, there is a flip side to this. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, a topic is so dull that you would rather use an angle grinder on your own face than listen to another 5 minutes. When you have to spend some 10 hours a week reading it, to then present it in a tiny seminar group there is NO place to hide. You will be on the spot, and silence becomes rapidly apparent. As does the colossal hangover you are nursing from last night. Why did I have that tray of shots? And where did that traffic cone come from? Sometimes, you just don't want to take part; being forced can be really quite grating. My last seminar for one module trailed by, as all of us sat there, only begrudgingly commenting; the looks shot between us indicated that in all honesty, we just didn't care.
I have also found myself frequently competing for resources. The content of my course is fairly specialised, so the the number of the books on the subject that I have access to is often few and far between. I intensely dislike having to fight over a single copy of the so called "core" reading for the next week, for a book which is then placed on week long loan, and subsequently facing the brunt of a rant from my lecturer about not having done sufficient work. Frankly, go and shove you core text book where the sun shines not. Whilst I am quite technology savvy, and have somewhat of a knack for finding obscure references from the dark and murky depth of the internet, some on my course have really struggled in the face of this, and this has even shown in the assessments where people's interests have overlapped.
The amount of contact time has been, on occasions, depressingly small. Many of my modules have had a total of 12 hours contact time, squeezed into 6 short weeks. Often, I found this to be mean that at the end of a module I was left feeling that I didn't know anything, and essays became almost a complete start-from-scratch affair with nothing but a few short references to go on and a serious dearth of relevant notes. This becomes rapidly worse when essay deadlines are some months away and by the time I get round to doing them, my head is a veritable desert of knowledge and any glimmer of an oasis is merely a tempting mirage. Of course, I could just be more organised, but who am I kidding? I won't be.