Sunday, March 27, 2011

Counting down

Where has the year gone? It's so hard to believe that there are less than three weeks until the exams are over and that after last week I will never have another Philosophy lecture. One course finished and this week will see the final lectures in everything else. This time last year I was only doing the Aptitude Test for NUIG and now I'm almost finished First Year. So much has happened in the past 12 months and it's going to take a while to wind down for the summer.

The sunshine last week had crowds of students sitting outside the library. One topic of conversation was which courses we are keeping for next year and realising that many of us will not be together for lectures again. We'll see each other around campus of course but there are some people I will miss a lot. Have been thinking that 2nd year, with smaller class groups, will be an opportunity to get to know some students better, and thankfully most of our Spanish class will be moving up together. It is going to be a whole new experience again.

Now it's time to get the head down to the books for the final push before the exams. I'm not as nervous as I was before the Christmas exams - maybe a bit too laid back - but am only interested in passing everything on the first go and moving on. This semester we had way too much work piled on us and keeping the head above water has been an achievement in itself.

Roll on 4.30pm on Friday, 15 April - the countdown has begun.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It never rains...

Taking a breather from two hard weeks of slogging - this time with plenty to show for it. Got an essay on teleportation done for Philosophy and another on Early Welsh Poetry finished this afternoon, so only English to go. I don't count the weekly Spanish essays as they are part and parcel of life now. Prepared and gave a presentation with two of my English tutorial class last week as well - a great way to prepare an exam question!

As if all the book-work wasn't enough, have been lucky enough to get myself an 'Intercambio' - a mature student from Spain to meet up with so we can both practice our second language with a native speaker. Jesús is a really nice man from, of all places, La Rioja. He lives in a small town between Haro and Legrono so I will be able to meet him and his family when I visit my friend Arancha in the summer. As I hope to do my Erasmus in Logrono, I couldn't have found a better person for my Intercambio. It's a really small world! Speaking Spanish in the 'real world' seems to have unlocked my reluctance to speak it in class. Chatting with Jesús is like being in the pub in Conchar or a cafe in Durcal - and boy am I 'homesick' for Spain!

Oh well, less than four weeks before this semester is over and it won't be long before I'm sipping Cava in the sun again :-)

What else has been going on? Well, have got myself some work doing typing and proofing for a couple of M.A. students. It does eat a bit into my study time but will last all summer (on and off) and I can advertise for more work next month. It's nice doing my old job again - the only drawback is that I've had to cut short my nails again. LOL

Must comment on the huge change that has come over campus. The fine weather has tempted people to sit out again but the atmosphere has completely changed from September. The high-jinx are over and students sit alone reading or in small groups, talking seriously about work. Even the guitar players are muted. It's as if we've all grown up a lot over the past few months and the impending exams are being taken far more seriously than the pre-Christmas ones.

Just wait until April 15th - we First Years are going to celebrate big time! :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The bookworm emerges

I can hardly believe it is over a month since I last blogged. The pile of books that needs to be read this semester grows daily. Making headway with primary English reading but have less than six weeks to get the secondary reading done for three essays and all of the exams.

To be honest, it's all a bit head-wrecking and at times it all seems to be too much. Add in (of course) the daunting amount of work needed to keep up in Spanish and - well the only word for it is 'meltdown'. Last Wednesday, after yet another confusing grammar class, during which I managed to get almost everything wrong, ended up in floods of tears all over two of my friends from class. This was probably the best thing I could have done as they told me that I had hit 'The Wall' - something that they and a few others had done over the previous couple of weeks. It seems to be a phenomenon peculiar to mature students and worst for high achievers. My friend explained it to me as a natural reaction to the increased workload of the courses this term after doing well in the first semester. It just isn't as easy now and, after setting a high standard to begin with, you feel compelled to continue getting top grades and end up with the mistaken belief that you are useless and shouldn't have dreamed that college at this time of life was an option. Yeah - for supposedly smart people we can be really dumb!

The goal is now to get through the exams at the first attempt, get all essays submitted on time and just do the best I can without turning myself back into a blubbering lump of jelly. Ease off the pressure girl!

This is Rag Week and, with the return of the sun, campus is lively and the bar is packed. Lectures and tutorials are half-empty with only the 'oldies' like myself turning up. My college 'madness' has been to colour my hair red this afternoon instead of going to a Philosophy lecture. Keeping away from the boozing and taking advantage of extra space in the library to work.

Oh, after 10 weeks, I'm finally off the crutches and receiving Physiotherapy for the knee. One less thing to worry about. Now, back to the books!