So week one is officially done! In some ways, I can’t believe it’s only been a week as it feels like it’s been a lot longer than that, but I suppose that’s because I’ve already been here a month. It’s crazy how time has flown! It amazes me how much it still feels like summer here, the weather has been perfect(!), even though the autumn is drawing closer and closer.
It’s probably not enough time yet to give an accurate perception of uni life, but somehow I feel like if I don’t write my posts the minute I think about them, I’ll never get around to posting anything, and I think that’s a shame. Blogging really is a passion of mine, because where I fail with words in real life, I make up for in my writing. Everything seems so much clearer to me in pen and paper, or on my laptop screen.
I’m not sure what expectations I did have for university (a question I was asked by one of my tutors this week) but I never fully understood or anticipated how challenging it would be, course-wise and generally university-wise. For starters, I think my biggest shock is transitioning from high school to university. All of our assignments are uploaded in to obscure corners of this website the university uses, so I have been missing the assignments given to us, which is to do a fuck load of reading before tutorials/lectures which means I’m already behind. I guess I thought we’d be given more guidance, but it seems like we have to find these things for ourselves.
Also, the books we have to read are incredibly detailed, yet not very well organised so it’s very difficult to know what we should note down and what we should read. My university gave us a lecture on reading and writing, but I swear 80% of that lecture was our lecturer banging on about the “sins” of plagiarism – like we know! All of our tutors have made the same point! Yet, when it comes to note-taking, it’s all very blasé and honestly I could do with a course on skim reading because we have to read a lot and make a lot of notes on key concepts! Maybe this is all very basic stuff that I should already know as a first-year, but I wasn’t prepared for it. And the embarrassing thing is that I’m a native English speaker, yet I’m finding the wording extremely difficult to understand! I do wonder how the internationals are getting on with it!
I also feel a bit ambivalent towards the people in my tutorial class, which is a shame. We had two “introduction” days last week and I thought everyone was really quite nice! We were all laughing away, sipping our beers, enjoying time off before the hecticness of uni life really kicked in. But now, I’m starting to see them for who they are… And I’m disappointed, to say the least. This may be a generalisation, but they all seem somewhat arrogant and unapproachable, interrupting other people and putting other people’s ideas down which I can’t stand. Luckily, I have a really good friend in my class which makes everything so much better. I could not have asked for a nicer, funnier Dutch friend, despite his constant remarks and teasing about how I speak and the way I say “bathroom”, for example. He actually pisses himself. I’m glad he finds it so funny – to me it’s just normal.
I hope this blog post doesn’t sound overly pessimistic! I just don’t want to falsely advertise myself as having a brilliant time, living ad idealistic life if that’s not how I feel. I want to stay true to myself and post about how I really feel about things, because I want to present an accurate portrayal of my feelings, even if they don’t look so glamorous to some people. But going back to what I was saying, I guess I’m just a little in shock, or as the university councillors called it, suffering from first month blues. I can’t help it! I thought as international students we would be given more guidance about things. What happens if I have a serious medical problem? They have given us a name of a GP, who I emailed, but so far I haven’t heard anything and for all I know, don’t even speak English. It’s things like that which make you realise you’re totally isolated and you have to be prepared to stand on your own two feet, directly contrasting high school where everyone seemingly held your hand along the way. I don’t know… it’s just a really odd time in life right now.
I am truly grateful for my housemates though, despite their nit-picky ways of doing things, but I recognise that I just need to put in to practice more tolerance. They are really nice people and they do help out if I ever have a problem, like for example, they told me that I should visit a pharmacy about this eye problem I’ve had for the last few days and showed me where it was and everything. I know I could always fall back on them if shit hits the fan, and hopefully when I’ve had time to open up to them, they’ll feel that way about me too. I also really like my neighbours, and we’re often having parties and the last time I was over, I even cooked with one of them. At least I have people surrounding me right now, so I’m not completely isolated, at least I have people that can accompany me whilst navigating through these unknown waters we’re currently experiencing.