An International Student of Literature in England.
This is freedom, at last! The first semester is finally over, I’ve handed in all my summative essays and I’m on holiday. I’m free and flying back home tomorrow and, to be honest, I plan to sleep for a month. This semester has been very long and hard but I have a huge weight off my chest and sense of relief now that I’ve submitted all three essays!
That’s how happy I am!
The past two weeks — after my birthday weekend — have been particularly intense since pretty much all I did was sitting at home every day, on the same chair, working on essays, desperately trying to find ideas for them, wondering why this house is so cold, complaining about my back and legs hurting from walking so little, reading more texts to find good quotes, going through many French books to find the most interesting extract for my translation essay, stressing, worrying I wouldn’t be able to hand anything in, working, finishing the new series of Doctor Who, working, working, eating chips way too many times because that was the quickest thing to make, sending lots of stupid Snapchats and spending a lot of time on Yik Yak to keep my sanity and to reward myself after each sentence written.
I’ve heard lots of people say that the second year is suddenly much harder than the first one but I didn’t get that feeling. It’s probably due to the fact that I started working hard from Day 1 of my first year, while lots of people just wanted to have fun and kept saying “I only need 40% the first year”. I found this semester exactly like last year in terms of workload and expectations. In a way, it was probably easier because I only had one essay per module and had two for some modules last year!
But hey, it’s all behind me now! I won’t lie though: university can be very hard. Semesters are long (12 weeks), there’s a lot of work for everybody and there’s a lot of pressure not to fail essays, especially when they’re all worth 100% of the module. To be honest, I probably add a lot of pressure on myself but I’m not making my parents pay so much money to fail. All this had better give me an awesome and well paid job in the future (haha). I’ve accumulated a lot of fatigue after three months and these intense last couple of weeks have made me even more exhausted. Of course, it’s very rewarding once you’re done and get good marks (hopefully), but while you’re doing it, it’s far from being fun. Can my brain still function properly? I don’t know. You’ll be able to judge with this compilation of stupid photos I sent to my friends.
Along the way, several incidents happened. It started with me dropping about 10 kilos of cooked noodles in the sink. I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to laugh or cry and hide forever. It’s given me an idea for an article about my best cooking catastrophes. I can tell you it’ll involve an impressive amount of burnt food. I swear it’s all the reading that did this to me! Last Sunday, a day that had the potential to be great since I’d finally finished two out of three essays, my housemate offered to make a lot of falafels, hummus and scones. I’ll mention it all in my “Cooking incidents compilation” soon. Everything turned out to be a disaster and, to finish the day on a nice note, our toilet got blocked. I hope we’ll be able to laugh about it all… one day. That is when I uttered the now famous “A shit day that ends with literal shit!”. I was more proud of it than of my essay.
My housemate really tried to motivate me with this amazing inspirational speech: “Currently you’re in the mindset of a loser so CHANGE THAT AROUND AND MAKE YOURSELF A WINNER!”. It certainly helped!
Despite all this, there were some fun times and I finished my last essay yesterday evening. It was deliverance! Almost exactly this time last year, I was in my room at UEA (PINE HOUSE <3) and finished my last essay of the semester on Mary Barton late at night. I was so happy that I went to Tesco Express to get Pringles. This time, my Pringles were already loooong gone but the relief is the same. Last December, I was getting ready to go back home for the first time since Freshers and had no idea what to expect… This year has passed so fast, it is absolutely crazy! Where has it gone? I’m now halfway through my degree… I can’t wait to finish it but have no desire to leave UEA, my house, Norwich or my friends.
This morning, for the first day in three months, I didn’t have to worry about work at all, or about getting out of bed. For the first day in three months, I could just watch stuff, go for a walk and have fun without feeling guilty of not working. And it feels so good! It was actually the first time in days that I went out of my house. On my walk around the UEA lake, I was listening to cool New Wavey stuff (New Order) because I’m so edgy, and found myself humming, whistling and singing (because UEA was completely empty). I initially planned to go all the way to Pine House but decided not to spoil this nice day with nostalgia. This emptiness was weird and it really hit me that, although I’m excited to go home and really need a break, I’ll really miss my house and friends. However, I’m not looking forward to all the work I’ll need to do and the amount of books I need to buy. The holidays will pass way too quickly again.
I’m flying back to France tomorrow and cannot wait to see my boyfriend, my parents, my grandmother and of course, my (not so) little brother because I’ve missed them a lot! 😀 I can’t believe I’ll sleep at home tomorrow…