Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Things. And university.

I used to write things on here. It was fun for a while, and then I stopped because I figured I didn't have anything to talk about, where I felt I actually knew what I was talking about. Fast forward nearly two years, and that hasn't really changed. But now I'm at university! And that's probably worth writing something about.

Boring things first: I'm studying Linguistics and Japanese, at the University of Sheffield (England, if you happen to belong to The Outside World and weren't sure.) I finished college with an A* in Philosophy, and an A in English Language and Computing each, beating my offer of ABB1. Linguistics was something I chose because a guy recommended it to me a few years ago. I started learning more about what it was, decided that the study of languages was really fun and weird and interesting and fundamental to our existence, so here I am. 10/10 would choose again! Then, I realised that linguistics isn't really an employable subject if you don't want to stay in academia (fyi, I don't want to stay in academia,) so decided that I should learn a second language. For reasons that I don't even really understand, I went with Japanese. I don't care about manga/anime, if you were wondering... I just think the language is pretty (ω)❤

This is the start of my third week in Sheffield. Freshers week was pretty nuts, but I don't drink, so I remember just about everything that happened. As much as I remember things, anyway (which isn't much.) I met a shitton of really cool people, (with some assholes thrown in for good measure,) and have continued meeting really cool people since! I won't name and shame them, but if they're reading, they should know I wuv dem ♥. In particular, I've really been enjoying meeting international and European students; people from cultures so different to our own, telling me cool things about places I've never really thought about. There are so many Japanese students in Sheffield, too; it's really cool being able to practise the language I'm learning with native speaker! I may well be orally murdering the language, but the students I've spoken with so far have humoured me otherwise :).

I've joined a ton of societies, too. Japan society, kayaking, the LGBT club, the Christian Union (and I intend to join the atheist society too, of course,) and my favourite: the gospel choir. They're a group of beautiful people who have fun singing and don't take it too seriously. So excited to get more involved in it! There's so much going on here, though; it's hard to keep track of all the different things that happen in a week.

Lectures started last week. There are thirteen contact hours in my week, which is worse than some and better than most; Japanese takes up the most time though. I have five different senseis, which is a strange and interesting experience, but they're all nice, at least. It being the third week, I've barely scratched the surface of linguistics, so all I'll say for now is: it's really interesting, and I hope it stays that way! But Japanese is so fast-paced, it's really easy to fall behind. The older students have been hammering in from day one: it's hard, and you need to work at it. The drop out rate is over 50%; the fourth year lost about 75% of their students. It really makes you think. And it really makes me want to belong to that 25%. I expect it to be a trial.

I'm really not that hot of a student. I made it through A-levels by a mishmash of vaguely effective revision techniques and mostly knowing what I was talking about, but studying independently, managing my own time, revising regularly... it's all alien to me. So, there's a lot of pressure, externally and internally. But I really want to do it, and I want to do it well. Hopefully, that's enough to keep me through these four years.

So, I'm really here, and I'm doing this, I guess. That's weird enough to me; university has been an idea, a goal to work towards for so long, that I don't feel like I've fully comprehended the fact that I'm here now. But I'm okay: I'm happy, I'm enjoying making new friends, and I'm so far keeping up with everything. Early days. Good ones, though.

1 Now that I think about it, I don't think I ever wrote a single thing about college. If you're interested, I went to Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh. I studied English Literature, English Language, Philosophy and Computing at AS, and at A2 I dropped Literature, taking up a certificate in Japanese, which gave me a year of useful (though basic) experience in the language.

~Love Leonidas

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