Today I found myself taking a step back from all the hustle and bustle and giving a little time to observing what's going on around me.
The campus construction is nearing completion around the Concourse and library, opening up more space for student traffic and for congregating in the sunshine between the heavy showers. Familiar faces are appearing everywhere now and, while names are often hard to assign to the right people (nobody has yet managed to memorise more than a few) it doesn't stop friendships from growing. Now that everyone is pretty much settled into college, conversations are less about "What subjects are you doing?" and more about "How are you doing?". We are getting to know one another a bit better.
Had two special encounters today. First one was when I bumped into my second year 'mentor' shortly before a lecture. Glad she's over the worst of the flu as I've missed seeing her around and was delighted to be able to help her with a bit of editing on her English essay. Outside of the classroom, students from different years mix all the time and this adds to the friendliness of campus.
My second pleasurable meeting was with a girl from one of my classes who I've not really spoken to since the first day. Discovered she lives near me so we walked home together and she dropped in for a coffee and a chat. Was only thinking this morning how nice it would be to have a friend living close by and, as if in answer to a prayer, Rachel pops up! How lucky I am to always seem to receive what I need most, when I need it.
Observing wasn't restricted to outside the classroom. Feeling less pressure and being more organised than I was, I can pay attention to the lecturers as well as the content of the lectures. Wasn't surprised to notice a correlation between the classes I most enjoy and the amount of preparation the lecturer obviously puts into teaching. Those who have notes, overheads and PowerPoint presentations all ready (technical hiccups don't count) are able to give more to the class. I'm not so fond of the lectures where notes are just read out without any interesting, relative interjections, or when the lecturer goes off on a rambling tangent.
Made it to the correct Spanish class today and found that the teacher has that 'no nonsense' style that some of my secondary school teachers had. We are expected to do our work without being mollycoddled and are corrected or praised as is deemed fit. Think I will learn a lot from her :-)
Started getting seriously into Plato's 'Republic' today - come the end of the second semester it might be very difficult to decide whether to keep on Spanish or Philosophy. English is a 'must' of course! It may seem like a long way away but, having a family, committing to an Erasmus year in only six months time is not something I will do lightly, no matter how much I would love to spend a year living in La Rioja. For now, the best thing is to work hard at ALL my subjects and, if I decide to drop Spanish after first year, there is always the option of doing a BA International - that doesn't have to be decided until the end of second year.
Deciding to go to college was only the first of many decisions that will need to be taken over the next few years. Taking time out for reflection every now and then is something that doesn't only give one a 'breather' - it's essential!