Well. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged a new post about my British junkets, and to anyone reading this, my apologies. I actually felt a bit silly writing this blog, because I wasn’t sure how many people were actually interested and keeping up with my activities. In typical Julia fashion, I felt more comfortable journaling with a trusty pen and notebook. Therefore, I have nearly filled the entire classic-sized red Moleskine notebook I packed from home with the last two month’s adventures, travels, sights and emotions. It was supposed to last me until I leave in a month, but there’s simply no way unless I somehow manage to do absolutely nothing notable in the next 30-something days (a strange thought I try not to entertain). Luckily, the school has this program for first years and internationals where they literally GIVE you £50 to use in the bookstore. I don’t have any textbooks or required reading books, so I chose to spend the amount stocking up on Moleskines! Bought an amazing special edition HOBBIT one. It’s black with a red embossed drawing of Smaug and the Misty Mountains on the front and more illustrations/quotes from Tolkein’s The Hobbit inside. Unfortunately, there are fewer pages than in the original, but it’s all good.
I won’t waste any more time than I already have today by attempting to recap everything I’ve done in the past month and a half. However, I will say that I am still very happy here in Chester. I am less than pleased with my classes, despite the promising start of all four modules. There is one class creating a large amount of difficulty, but I’m basically choosing to put that work/research/interviewing/writing/stress off until I complete my British Politics essay. [Not the wisest choice, I know. But it is how I deal with things!] The final BP assessment is a 2000 word essay, due this Friday. It shouldn’t be too difficult, given I churned out a 2000 word (or 8-page) paper in under 8 hours “back in the day,” aka freshman and sophomore year. The modules are not what I expected them to be, and I am especially disappointed in the lack of magazine journalism topics covered in the course. The Magazine Journalism and Online Production class (my favourite module by far), which I was most looking forward to because the short online description said students would produce the concept and content for an entire magazine from start to finish, isn’t actually doing magazine journalism till next term after I’ve left. We’re essentially doing an online newspaper, so I’m stuck writing the same basic stories as in Media Writing last year.
I chose to study abroad for many reasons, but taking actual magazine journalism classes was one of the highest reasons on the list because my school doesn’t offer anything relatively close. Therefore, while it is the area of journalism I am most interested in, it is sadly the print medium I know least about. Again, it’s very disheartening to realize you’ve come all this way and gone through the trouble of adjusting to a new school only to discover the classes either aren’t what you expected or aren’t covering the interesting (and finally NEW) material until after you leave. Being in the UK is a total dream come true. However, I wish I’d taken mum’s advice and enrolled in the ONE final journalism/communication course required for my degree, then selected the remaining credits needed for full-time status from the art department. My sketching and illustration talents are improving slightly, as I practice more here. However, I wish I’d enrolled in art modules here to give me a solid understanding of areas I find more difficult, such as perspective in architecture.
This city and the surrounding areas still amaze me every day. Plus I’ve been able to spend a week in Scotland and multiple weekends in London since I’ve been here. Returning to cities I ‘bonded with’ last summer was a surreal feeling. I always try to drink in every possible ounce of my surroundings when I travel, because I typically try to at least pretend it is the last time I will ever be there. Just because everything is relative, and you cannot ever be absolutely positively sure you will make it back to a certain spot. Walking across my beloved Waterloo Bridge, getting lost (not for the first time) in Covent Garden, hiking Arthur’s Seat, eating at my favourite pub in Edinburgh, and navigating the Underground all for a second time has filled my heart with joy. Especially because I have been so fortunate as to do it all again so soon!
My sister and I had a long discussion about returning to Scotland (with the referendum coming up and my support for Scottish national independence, let’s refrain from saying the UK) in the fall of 2014, and that has given me something to look forward to. Nothing is set in stone, but it feels reassuring to have an image beginning to outline itself in the mind’s eye. Motivation!!
Life is good!