“Essays? I Thought This Was Vacation”: When Schoolwork Hits

For those of you who have been following my adventurous semester, you may have noticed the lack of ‘studying’ happening while I’m ‘studying abroad’. It’s not because I’ve chosen to not write about my work load. The fact is, it’s been nonexistent (besides my internship, but that was an additional aspect I chose to add on). Let me explain…

So the schooling system in the United Kingdom is a strange thing. Look, it works for them, but for my procrastinating self, it’s semi-torturous. Here are things that, from my experience, the university system in the United Kingdom does not believe in:

  • Homework – (Wooo! Wow exciting! I’m so lucky, right? – WRONG) Although I dread coming home from class and spending time reiterating what I just heard a lecture on, it helps. Homework either refreshes your memory of what your professor taught you or forces you to teach yourself. Surprise, it has benefits!
  • Quizzes – Short little annoying but helpful tests, sometimes in the “pop” form, that again force you to brush yourself up mid-chapter. Here, they don’t like these things.
  • Tests – Yeah, even these bad boys don’t make a regular appearance until the end of the semester when they’re longer and more daunting and more accurately called “Final Examinations”.
  • Class Participation – Let me tell you something. NO ONE TALKS IN LECTURE HERE. At my home university, class is more discussion based. The professor talks, the students respond, the professor responds to the students’ responses. In the UK, a “lecture” is just that. You sit there (sometimes for up to three hours) and just listen. Even on the rare occasions when a professor does ask a question, the entire class stares at him in silence as if he has three heads. Great Britain is a strange place.

In essence, the semester goes something like this: Welcome – Pick your classes – Go to class (or not – they don’t really enforce that either) – Listen – Don’t speak – SURPRISE IT’S TIME FOR ASSESSMENT.

Assessment period runs from May-June and I most certainly lucked out. When I chose my courses, I picked ones that were assessed through essays and group projects. So I have no written final exams where I have to study and be tested on a semester’s amount of information. However, I do have a 20 minute presentation, a 3,500 word essay, and a 4,000 word essay.

All of these are no easy feat; however, when the last college deadline I had was in early December, it makes the situation that much more difficult. The up-side is that my topics for these are all interesting and range from ‘Nike’ to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. But, I’m still having to chug some RedBull and clear off the desk in my room that I’ve been using as a makeup area.

In other news, I completed my internship and it is so bittersweet. In my last week there, I was not only the interviewee, but also became the interviewer. The latter was completely unplanned, but my internship supervisor, being the lovely lady she is, knows I’d like to get into broadcasting. So, she stepped down from the interview and let me take over. I’m seriously going to miss chatting with those ladies over coffee, tea, and lots of chocolate.

It’s the home stretch here, and I can’t wait to be back in that North Carolina sunshine with the ocean waves at my feet. Thankfully, one of my favorite North Carolinians is coming to visit next week!!

Stay tuned….


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