I have been SO busy lately! Has it really been a week since my last post?! I’m not sure if I have anything interesting to even say, but this week has been quite crazy so we’ll see how that translates to writing.
Freshers week is officially over, and classes have officially begun. I only just now have my timetable sorted out, even though a week ago was when we signed up for modules- it’s even more complicated and frustrating than I originally thought. Not only is the system confusing for all the other students here, but as an international student, everything is different for me as well! It turns out I didn’t have to go to any of the introductory lectures last week, but was supposed to meet my tutor at some point. I ended up going to her office to figure things out, which was helpful. However, now that classes are in progress, I still think I’m missing some things (which for me is basically the worst feeling ever). I’ve gone to three lectures so far, but everyone else I know, including a few people in psychology, went to some seminars as well, planned by their tutor. Currently waiting on/stressing about an email from my tutor to see if I’ve been accidentally skipping classes.
I am happy with the classes I got into, though, and my schedule seems so empty (regardless of if I actually have seminars). I’m in Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Personality and Individual Differences, Christ and Culture, and Issues in Feminist Philosophy. The biggest theme throughout all these classes is the homework- it’s ALL reading. I have a few essays dispersed throughout the term, but other than that, I just have to sit and read. All. The. Time. Coming from a year of bioengineering, where all I did was solve math and physics and chemistry and engineering problems, learning how to budget my time properly to get my reading done is very strange. It also means I’m never really done with homework, because there’s always something else I can read. On the plus side, though, I might be getting away with not buying any books, because all the professors seem to put required reading online! My bank account is happy about that one.
As far as completing the craziness of freshers week went, I actually can say it was a really fun and successful week! I ended up going out a few nights (still feels pretty darn weird), and I think I’ve cemented my role as the group mom. I don’t mind it though, because being the sober one means I get to remind everyone what they did the night before and get thanked a lot for helping friends not lose their phones or wallets.
There were tons of great freshers week activities other than going out, too- one of my favorites was definitely boating on the lake! The more I see of the campus, the more I love it. It really is beautiful.
Somehow, after all of us giving it a go, I was selected as the best rower. It was pretty fun though and despite my terrible upper body strength, I think I did alright (after figuring out how to row the boat forwards not backwards). We’ve been luckily having sunny weather still for a while- it’s only rained once so far- even if it is a little cold.
There were also lots of sports and activity fairs going on during the week- they do sports a little differently here, so basically, everyone can participate in whatever sport they fancy at any level. The Varsity teams are the ones that represent the school, and those are chosen based on open tryouts. From those tryouts, though, anywhere from 3-7 other teams can be made at lower levels for people to still play competitively. Also, there are sports clubs and societies, which have any kind of athletic activity imaginable. I’m planning on participating in some “Rambling and Hillwalking Society” events (aka, hiking), but I could’ve also chosen kayaking, mountaineering, touch rugby, kung fu, trampolining, badminton, or even skydiving (I actually picked up a flyer for that one and everything). They had seriously everything. If for some reason within those options you still can’t find the sport or society you want to join, there are also teams within the halls, and teams within the different schools of study. Unfortunately, because I’m only four months post knee surgery, I can’t do what I really am dying to do (soccer/football), but I still have lots of great options.
On the subject of my knee, though, I’m pretty excited with my improvement, even though I can’t play soccer- yesterday, I ran for 15 minutes straight with no pain! Yay! That doesn’t really relate much to my life in Nottingham, but it’s significant for me. To bring it full circle, though, this school does have an amazingggg gym that just opened. It’s the largest University gym in Europe, and cost a whopping 40 million pounds to build. (I don’t have a pounds money symbol on my keyboard and don’t know how to do that, I’m just now realizing.) I thought Dixon, at Oregon State, was huge and nice, then I saw this one- there are 20 various sports courts, a climbing wall, an indoor track, dance studios, an archery range, a fencing salle, a table tennis hall, spin studios, a martial arts dojo, a swimming pool… it’s crazy. I think I’ll be pretty sad to leave it, but I’m excited to take advantage while I can (I even tried my first yoga class two days ago)!
I went to some more Christian Union events as well last week. We watched the movie Cool Runnings one night, which was pretty cheesy but I did have to hold back tears. Another night, there was an event called Equip which is every Friday, open to all the campus, which has worship and a local speaker come to a big room in the Portland building! It was packed last Friday, and I think it’s pretty awesome that we’re able to be in a school building while worshiping and learning about Jesus. Nottingham also has an incredibly large number of churches, so I’ve tried a few out and met some really nice people so far. We had our first hall small group, as well, called a 920 group named after Luke 9v20: “‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘God’s Messiah.'” Again, it’s pretty amazing we can sit in our hall lounge and discuss Jesus. We have a group of seven people so far, and next week, we’ll start reading Ruth along with all the other hall 920 groups.
As far as actual classes go, and I’ve only had my three psych classes so far, they don’t seem too different than what I’m used to. The school system rather than individual courses is what is the most different, in my opinion. I’m happy to finally be on a schedule and have productive things to do again, especially since it is a little easier than I’m used to with bioengineering.
This is pretty random, but one of my big worries when I first moved in was if the coed bathrooms would be uncomfortable. That worry now is completely gone, and replaced with a question instead- when does everyone shower???? I’ve consistently showered at least once a day, at a variety of times, and have literally never had anyone else showering at the same time as me. Most of the times I shower are pretty normal before bed or in the morning showers, too. This seems really insignificant, but I seriously don’t get it. I’m worried about the hygiene here. When do these people freaking take their showers?!!
I don’t know when the next interesting thing I’ll be doing is, so I also don’t know when my next post will be, but we’ll see how the rest of my first week of classes goes!
As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:1