Oh Wait I’m Here For School

Most beautiful college campus!

Most beautiful college campus!

Sometimes I really have to remind myself that I am here for school.  When you are jetting from place to place, eating the greatest food of your life, and living on your own it is very easy to forget that at the end of the day I am a student in this country.  However, I was very pleased with the gradual submersion into school at Cattolica.  I came to Milan a few weeks before classes started in order to take a pre-intensive Italian class.

My Italian pre-intensive class

My Italian pre-intensive class

Referring to this Italian class as a pre-intensive is highly accurate.  I have never taken any type of pre-intensive course, and the truth is it is quite intense to say the least.  The class is two weeks for three credits.  I am not one to have a great aptitude for languages but despite some initial resistance I went into the course as open minded as possible.

This class really did help me so much, I feel as though I have such a better grasp for the Italian language after this course.  Of course I am not fluent by any means however, I think more than anything I just feel a little more confident in my own abilities.  The trick is you must be willing to make mistakes.  This class could not have been any more openminded, and non judgmental.  Our professor, Andrea was just the cherry on top of the sundae!  I really felt as though we worked together to complete this course as one.  In no way shape or form was this easy for me.  This course meant waking up everyday early for hours of Italian.  I would be lying though if I said I regretted taking this course, I am very pleased with my decision.

Our Italian professor, Andrea, slicing an AMAZING cake his wife made for us

Our Italian professor, Andrea, slicing an AMAZING cake his wife made for us

Fellow classmate MK and I enjoying our cake

Fellow classmate MK and I enjoying our cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pre-intensive course just ended Friday, and we started real classes Monday.  That was a strange transition.  We went from studying a lot, taking a final exam on a Friday, to starting over on Monday.  I am very pleased with how my schedule worked out.  This being my last semester, I really had the free rein to take anything at my heart’s content.  I am focusing on my passions for the media.  My classes include:  Dramaturgy, Methods of Illusion, and Television, Advertising, Music.  Dramaturgy, and Methods of Illusion are being taught with the same professor, and a lot of my fellow classmates are taking both courses.  These professors seem so accomplished; I look forward to learning from them.  There are also many field trips & guest lectures planned for these courses, which I am beyond excited for.  My earliest class is 11:30 and I have no classes on Friday, so I cannot complain about that either.  The classes are long, but full of interesting content.  I am just looking forward to all this semester has to offer!

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Entry 11: Another Lesson Learned

As you probably know, I havent been updating my blog with the rapidity and thoroughness that typified my earlier posts, however there is a good reason for this that requires some explanation. Traveling around a foreign country on almost a weekly basis makes you forget about why you’ve come here in the first place. At the outset of the trip I made it clear I was here for school and anything that happened afterwords was an extra bonus. But when you’re in the moment and living the dorm experience; when people will invite you to events on a random basis and you’re faced with the daily business of food shopping, house chores and cooking, its easy to lose the original goal you came here for. This past week was a rude wake up call.

Dundee has an interesting way of assigning and handing in assignments. For the first month and a half, I had absolutely no papers, no tests, nothing but reading assignments and note taking, and with only 5 hours a class a week! My flatmates on the other hand were handing in assignments on almost a weekly basis and fuller schedules; making me the laziest person on earth. By mid October this had changed: suddenly I was faced with a 1,000 word assignment and a 3500 word essay. For anyone reading this who thinks “why is he complaining”, you have to realize that since I was only doing readings for the past month, the last essay I did for a class was back in May for finals. Being in another country, with different professors who have different standards makes “getting in the groove” of writing a full blown report overwhelming. Add to that the traveling (in fact as we were in London, I was in the process of writing a paper).

Despite my initial difficulties in starting my essays, both were completed on time and handed in a week from each other; and for another two weeks I eagerly awaited my grades. The first paper I got back recieved an A3 (A-) and how happy was I that I was sure the next paper would do just as well! This sadly was not to be. We filed into class that day with high hopes of getting a decent grade on this assignment. However, as our professor handed back our papers it was like a bomb of melancholy had dropped. We all did poorly and I especially was shocked with my grade; I had never been so confused, angry and frustrated in the history of my academic career. Why had my one paper done so well while this one so poorly? After looking inwardly for a day or so I realized that the type of paper that was asked was something I had never really done before. It was supposed to be a critique of what I had learned in class for the past five weeks written in my own words with supporting evidence from the text. I have always hated writing about myself and as a result had a hard time contextualizing my thoughts. Compounding this was the traveling and going out with my friends. The dorm life experience was new to me as for the past 3 years, I lived at home and would commute to campus. Now in my senior year I had to catch up and as a result, my grades suffered.

As of now, I’m working on my final two essays of the semester before finals and just booked a flight to Dublin. Although my previous paper was a disaster, I’ve recognized what went wrong and am determined not to make the same mistake again. I’ve set daily page quota goals for myself in order to stay on task without overwhelming myself and have kept in contact with both of my professors. I remember in my introduction letter to the program I said I wanted to come to the UK so as to prove to myself that I can accomodate a social life into my academic life successfully and thus I feel that even though last week was a rude awawkening, it was another lesson learned.