Want to take a wild guess at which week in the term has me feeling so blue? Yes, week five. I’ve experienced this week time and again at Drexel. To my surprise, week five at UNSW doesn’t differ much. I definitely shed a tear or two in the library, but I made it through!
While that is, indeed, very true, there is still the expectation to earn passing marks. This is the first term where UNSW began to operate very similar to Drexel, with its 10-week trimesters, and demanding course requirements.
As a nursing and journalism student in my final year of college, my study abroad experience was always destined to be a time of more work than fun, because my goals were different. I wanted this term abroad to be a designated period where I could solely focus on completing the requirements for my journalism minor. The courses I enrolled in include Linguistics 1691: The Use of Human Language, Arts 1753: Culture, Experience, and Change (anthropology), Humanities 1006: Presentation Skills, and an online Drexel course in health care ethics. I had no intention of doing less work at UNSW, but I also didn’t expect to find myself crying in the main library, halfway through the term, from feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Lesson Learned #5 – Make your own peaceful place
If peace does not naturally find its way, then you must make it. While the novelty of Australia hadn’t worn off, it was still hard to enjoy it in my current state.
I had to make time to enjoy my surroundings, while also making sure I rested and recharged. When on campus, if I was feeling tired after class, I made my way to the level three of the main library where there is an area to devoted to power napping. There are two energy pods, and bean bag chairs for students to use for a bit of R&R. The pods actually close and block out the surrounding area too!
My Happy Planner has also brought me much needed peace while planning. I remember having to decide whether to leave behind my coat or Happy Planner so that my luggage wouldn’t be overweight. I still have not regret choosing the planner, though I would suggest leaving room for both when packing! I found it to be pretty cold in Oz until November came around.
Working on assignments by the beach, brought me a sense of peace. Wattamolla Beach, hidden within Royal National Park, was the best place to catch up with friends, nap, read, and finish up uni work, all on a Sunday afternoon. I also found it helpful to employ some other coping mechanisms, like taking a trip to the cinema and watching a new movie, connecting with family, or joining the campus Church for an afternoon picnic—UniChurch members taught me how to play a game I’d never heard of, “Pass the Pig”. It’s kind of like another version of dice, but with miniature pigs tossed around. If the pigs land a certain way, you may earn points, or lose them all.
The grading system is completely different. An 85-100 is High Distinction (HD), 75-84 is Distinction (D), 65-74 is Credit (C), 50-64 is Pass (P) and 0-49 is Fail (FL). I received a D+ on my first oral presentation. It took some time to adjust to looking beyond the letter grade and instead accept the number grade.
I also found it helpful to accept that study abroad just might be difficult at times, and that’s a reality of life, no matter where you are in the world. There’s peace in knowing that.
Here’s a pretty easy one this week!
In American English, a mark is considered a _______. I’m sure you can guess the answer, but if not, use context clues from this post to confirm your thinking.
I’ve found myself using advice I learned during my pre-junior year in CNHP’s Macy Leadership course—”leaders must learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable”. Whether the discomfort felt abroad be homesickness, difficulty adapting to a new culture, or in my case, academic strife—I’m willing to embrace it and work through the more challenging moments one-at-a-time.
Quick Trivia Answers: Mark = Grade