Since arriving in America I have been changed. Not for the better. Something in the water or the air has significantly interfered with my ability to look after myself. I’ve been here for almost a month now and I haven’t died so I’m doing okay in the key areas of my life, but I am suffering from a number of first-world problems.
The amount of work I am expected to do here is crazy. At my home university we do work, just not a lot of it. We maybe do two “papers” of a couple pages each term and a final exam at the end of the year. I wasn’t one of those typical crazy British students who would go out every night (the vast majority of them), I wouldn’t miss a lecture (unless it was raining), and I wouldn’t sleep in till noon (just 11 a.m.). I did my work and handed it in on time with good grades, but I didn’t have to work all day, every day. I could afford to completely waste a day binge watching New Girl (although definitions of “complete waste” are subjective).
I now know the suffering of the American student however, it’s not necessarily the difficulty of the work – it’s the sheer volume of it. I swear my time management skills are being put to a test devised by MENSA. It’s only been three weeks since class started but my brain is already turning to mulch at the 100 pages I am set to read each day for one class, that source I have to analyse for another two, the other book I need to read, oh and that annoying topic and bibliography I need to finalise for my research paper that literally isn’t due in for months, plus a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t even deal with right now. I feel like I’m in Secondary (American translation – High) School again, with homework being set each lesson; we don’t get that at universities in the UK.
Also I just want to inform America that “lectures” are not lectures if they are held in a classroom. If it’s in a lecture theatre then it’s a lecture, if it’s in a classroom (which for me is all of my classes this semester) it’s a class. I went to classes in secondary school, not university. I may look 16 years old, but now I’m feeling like it, and that’s something I’d like to avoid. Â No one likes being 16, let alone having to relive it.
Living in a triple room definitely reminds me of being 16 and younger. I went to a boarding school (Please stop thinking Hogwarts right now) where the younger years had to share a room with two others. It is pretty similar in many aspects such as the apparently logical decision to have no ladders for the bunk beds. While bunk beds may seem fun as a child, they have completely lost their charm by the time you are 19 and the simple act of waking up in the morning is a distant dream, let alone having to navigate your way out of a bed which is over a meter in the air. Â However, I know from experience that falling out of them does wake you and the other people in your room up very effectively. Especially if one of them screams at you because she mistook you, rolling on the floor in pain and twisted in your sheets, for a ghost.
The most ridiculous part of this is that I actually (sort of) broke my ankle. It may have only been a hairline fracture but I still got to wear a totally attractive foot brace all week, although no chivalrous boys came to help me as I hobbled through campus so I feel like it wasn’t even worth the humiliation.
In the UK I am regarded by my flatmates as a rather responsible person, even the calming influence of the group. However in America that really isn’t me. In fact, the French girls I’m living with think I am “stressful to live with” and that I am like a child, always with my head in the clouds. Oh well, I’m always going on about how I don’t quite want to grow up and become a responsible adult just yet– I guess America is keeping me young (and foolish).