University this week has been insane.
I have actually worked myself into such a state that last night I came home and threw up. A lot. My stomach has been in pieces and my sleeping pattern is now atrocious.
My assignments for this week: a photo story with eight edited images, an article (including conducting four interviews) which made at least 30% of my overall grade, and a twenty minute presentation followed by a discussion all led by me. On top of that I had readings for four classes, an essay outline plan, and then all life outside of university. Including this blog which I do consider to be a job, one which I probably would have been fired for this week due to my lack of posts.
Maybe this does not sound like a lot of work to you, maybe you are reading this and mock-laughing about my difficulties in keeping up with school. Maybe this week you have mid-terms and fifty page essays and group projects and entire class presentations. Well good for you if you can cope with all that shit. Good for you if you have mastered the skill of working and having a life. But this whole week I have just wanted to curl up on the sofa with my mum and complain about work and get some mummy-sympathy. I have wanted to eat my home comfort foods, which I cannot find in this country, and watch my favourite British TV shows in my study breaks which I cannot do here either.
I guess this is the part of studying abroad when you realise that this is not a long holiday. You cannot spend every day immersing yourself in culture and taking trips and going to museums or hanging out with your new friends. You have to buckle down and you have to apply yourself and show off those abilities. On top of all this, I feel a particularly pressing need to impress the journalism school here out of fear that they will not let me stay for another semester if I do not excel. And even worse; if they reject my possible application to finish fourth year at Carleton because my grades are not good enough.
I feel pressure, I feel a difficulty in coping with stress in a new environment, and I feel strained for time. What if I do badly in my classes and therefore forfeit the chance of extending my time here? Or worse; what if I spend all my time concerned with my grades that I let this experience pass me by? What if I wake up on December 22nd and realise that I do not have a place here next semester and that I have spent the past four months stressing about grades which, in the end, turned out to not really matter anyway?
I know, I know, balance is the key. But try spinning someone really fast on a rotating chair and then telling them to stand upright on that seat. What are the chances that they will be able to keep both feet firmly planted? Because that’s how I feel; moving to a new country, a new university, a new house and a new group of friends. It’s enough to leave a person in need of a serious lie-down. So please don’t judge me if I just need to take a seat for a wee while.