Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Academics and Homesickness

As you may remember, at the end of February I went on a trip to Copenhagen and Amsterdam. It was my first opportunity to get out of Ireland and into other parts of Europe, so that was really fun. It was a great trip, but exhausting!


It wasn't really until I got back that I realized how quickly the term is flying by. The academic schedule is somewhat different here than at most schools in the US. We have 12 weeks of classes (including study week, which is when I went on my trip), and then we have 3 weeks to study and 4 weeks of exams. As a result of that, and because the semester here started much earlier than I'm used to at Wellesley, it seems like classes are ending very early. Before study week, I felt like I had all the time in the world. It was only February, after all. However, when I got back, I realized that I only had 5 weeks of classes left! (As I write this, there are less than 2 weeks until the end of classes.) And I also realized that I had four essays to write before the end of classes, none of which I had started. Oops.

(I'm also realizing that I can only do so much writing. Working on essays hasn't left me much desire to write a blog post! I guess it's a good thing that I'm a computer science major and don't need to write essays often.)

Another difference between here and at home is the amount of class work. Classes tend to have less work during the semester, partly because exams are much more important. Compared to home, this term has been a breeze. As a result, it has definitely been more difficult to get back into being responsible with my studying! Having too much free time is a lame excuse, I know. I guess I'm learning that I need some sort of external motivation to work my best. It's been especially bad here because of the new culture and academic system that I need to adjust to, plus the fact that ALL of my classes are pass/fail, and they are much less work than at home.

Only two more weeks until break!

Lately I have also been kind of homesick. It suddenly hit last week for some reason. It caught me off guard - this definitely isn't the longest I've ever been away from home, since I go to school across the country. I guess something about being immersed in a completely different culture has made me wish for home. I've been thinking about how nice it will be, not only to be back this summer, but also to live in Minneapolis again after college. Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely loving my time here. Just this past weekend I went on an amazing trip to Donegal, Ireland, in the north of the country. It was beautiful!

Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal County

I have been very lucky with the friends I have made here and the people I have met, and I know it will be very hard to say goodbye. Sometimes, though, I just find myself longing for familiar things.