An International Student of Literature in England.
The Autumn semester is finally over: I have finished my last project! I am really relieved about that although I am getting extremely close to the end of my degree. The holidays haven’t been as cool and relaxing as I hoped because of my never-ending Cultures of Suburbia essay but at least I know I spent the time I needed on it and I’m very pleased with it. And I’m still having a good time at home!
This semester has been a bit crazy and very busy, it wasn’t always plain sailing, but it’s been a memorable one.
I’ve said it before: both my modules, Nervous Narratives and Cultures of Suburbia (and seminar leaders) were awesome. I learnt so much and had a lot of fun with the reading, research, etc. I almost even had fun with the essays! Or at least I enjoyed all three of them. For Nervous Narratives, I wrote an essay about Austen’s Sandition and fashionable diseases halfway through the semester (see my article about it) and at the end, one about Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and the rest cure. My Cultures of Suburbia project was huge (now roughly 5500 words – the limit – but I actually wrote over 7000 words and edited a lot out). It’s so long that it’s about many different things but basically the idea is as follows: I talked about the tension between artificiality and authenticity in post-war American suburbs, which leads to conformity and social conventions, which leads to advertising, which leads to materialism, which leads to rebellion against the suburbs, which leads to despair and unhappiness, which leads to cures and accepting the truth or reality. Phew. It’s done and I never want to hear about “suburbia” ever again. When I find time I want to do module recaps with the reading lists or something…
I started the semester with a goal in mind: doing a lot and getting involved in more things – which I did. I probably worked less than the previous year but worked more productively. And I stopped spending days at home, in my pyjamas and in bed. I finally trained to become a volunteer for Norwich Mind/Wellbeing Service. I also joined the Headucate society and did the training to be able to go to schools and do workshops about mental health awareness. I haven’t had the opportunity to do any yet but hope I can very soon! I also got the job as a student Ambassador which should keep me busy next semester. These are all very positive things I’ve very happy about!
Now the less-happy thing about the semester was that I spent hours and hours and hours looking for graduate schemes and applying to them. I was invited to one assessment centre but was rejected from everything else, including two things I really wanted to do. I, miraculously, haven’t felt too bad about all these rejections – for now. I know it’s to be expected and that it doesn’t necessarily say anything about me and my skills. I just try not to think about it and move on.
The problem is, next semester will also be incredibly busy and stressful for many different reasons and I’ll have to spend even more time on job applications. I have no idea how that’s humanly possible and how I’m going to do that without AND remain sane but we’ll see. Sometimes I just want to give up applying to anything but unfortunately, I can’t wait until after I graduate to go home and think about that. The struggles of living abroad without your family…
The very positive thing about this semester is that I’m happier. I’m finally doing things I’ve always wanted to do – volunteering and helping people. I’ve gained a lot of good experience for my CV through this but also when I worked again during Open Days and Arrival Weekend, which is always super fun. I finally know where I’d really like to work in the future. I fell in love with English Literature again and decided that I don’t know how but I need to continue studying literature and perhaps philosophy because I love it so much (why can’t I just stay at university forever?). And finally, I’m so proud of how far I’ve gone in my studies and proud of the fact that I managed to move abroad and build a little life in England despite all the challenges. It certainly isn’t the life I imagined three years ago.
University can be incredibly tough but all I want to remember is the achievements and the fun! 🙂 So now I’m going to try to enjoy the rest of the holidays without stressing too much, before the beginning of the end.