I have decided to come with this new format of posts, which will analyse and compare my expectations of American college life I had before arriving here (Bowling Green State University) and how they turned out. I think it can be very interesting to go back and see how ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ I was, and furthermore how I culturally adapted to these differences.
My ever first post then will be on the Life in a dorm and Course work! Of course there are many pictures to illustrate things I will be talking about!
Living in a dorm
Expectations: I tend to over-think everything, come up with the dramatic expectations, either very high or very low. After watching American movies, talking to some students from BGSU about the halls with old furniture, no AC, my expectations were low. Furthermore I spent past year in Aberystwyth having a room to myself and it was amazing luxury. Growing up I had to share room with my siblings, but I dreaded going back to that. Having a roommate seemed the worst thing about the dorm. What if she is crazy? What if she has people over all the time and I can’t even sleep/study? What if she steals my stuff? What if…?
Roommate: Over summer I received an email with name of my roommate and even though I tried to google her, nothing came up. Few weeks later she contacted me over Facebook and we clicked! We both loved TV, pink and she was even bringing mini fridge and microwave! As for now, we have established kind of routine around our schedules and habits. She wakes up later, I go to bed earlier, we share some things and like to talk. Tristan is funny, friendly, helpful and very crafty&creative person. Thanks to her the room is decorated and it feels very cozy in it. Lately we got fairy lights!
Hallway: The 4th floor hallway is about 80 girls with 3 bathrooms (I posted pictures of those back in HERE). There is a lot of noise, however most of people respect quite hours (Sun-Thur 11pm-8am, Fri-Sat 12pm-9am) and there are many friendship formed. For the whole floor there 3 RAs (resident advisers) who live nextdoor, help, support, control and make rules, create roommate agreements, organize events and decorate the hallway. For the whole floor there is additionally a shared lounge with LCD TV and bunch of sofas to socialize. Finally, the communal areas and bathrooms are cleaned by cleaning ladies every morning.
Overall the experience of living in a dorm (in hallway with almost all freshmen) isn’t at all bad as I thought it would be. The only problems I would say is the noise for which I can’t study in my room and when people don’t flush toilets. Number of fire alarms is comparable to Aber.
(This picture is from Caroline’s assignment for Cinematography class, but I thought it fitted well with the theme)
Expectations: This was one of the first things I talked with Leah (BGSU student at Aberystwyth) about. The image I made from our discussion was following. Lots of homework, quizzes and tests, but they are easier and weight less. Not like in Aber, where there is one essay per semester worth 60% and the final is 40%. As I already was in USA 4 years ago I knew the level is bit lower (as high school sophomore back then, I took senior classes without big difficulties and I didn’t know the language back then!).
Reality: I WAS SO WRONG! I don’t want to scare anyone, so before I say anything more I need to establish that I’m perfectionist, I have to do everything as good as possible and I’m willing to sacrifice my social life in order to success academically. And I enjoy studying since I’m majoring in fields I love. Which brings me to the last thing, I have double major (Film and French) which means much more work. So I brought this onto myself and don’t let following lines discourage you. For each class I study at least 2 hours a day doing very long readings, taking notes, completing homework and trying to work on bigger upcoming projects. The amount of homework is for me much bigger than it was back in high school.
For example next week: for Monday I need to do about 40-50 pages of reading, make a discussion presentation about it and prepare questions to lead a debate; do another reading about 30-40 pages with notes as it is possible there will be a pop-quiz; and for the last class I have reading in French, couple exercises on paper and about 5 online but I need to revise for upcoming test as well. For Tuesday I will have to come about 2 hours earlier to Editing lab to have extra time to edit films since 1,15h class isn’t enough, before that I need to write an essay for extra credit since my grade isn’t as high as I would like it to be; and for the second class I need to work on upcoming 3 projects which is going to take me about 5-6 hours. And that’s not even the middle of the week. But you get the idea. When I’m not in the class I’m studying or worrying about not studying. Especially this time in the semester.
What I’m trying to say that there is much more work. I prefer doing things ahead and then relax, however with this system it is impossible which makes me stressed. But then again not everybody wants/needs/is willing to work for A grades.
How this coursework works with personal and extracurricular life is what I’m going to discuss in next post, so stay tuned and see you on the 20th!
Thank you for reading and share your thoughts in the comments!