That guy who used to post on here?
Well... I'm back!
For those who actually enjoyed reading 'Fraser On Tour!', I cordially apologise for the complete inactivity of the blog over this past year. My freshers year at University turned out to be a lot more busy and hectic than I'd really planned for and thus lead to FOT slipping further and further down my long list of priorities. To make amends, I intend to provide you all with a summary of everything I've managed to get up to over the past 12 months or so with the hope of being completely up to date in time for my return to Southampton in a few weeks time. There really is a lot for me to talk about and share with you and this will be the first of a few posts so I can do it all justice. Prepare yourself as I naively dip my toe back into the pool of words, random images and terrible jokes that is my blog.
Here goes nothing.
So last time I made a post telling you all about the end of my summer in the USA. That was on the eve of my freshers week and the next day I moved into my room in Connaught halls, my home from home for a year, to begin an awesome action-packed week. I must say, I do actually kind of enjoy meeting new people for the first time and doing the whole charade of asking generic get-to-know-you questions of which there were plenty of those and my halls' community feel created quite a welcoming atmosphere. Besides all the obligatory settling in stuff, as with pretty much all freshers' weeks, there were plenty of nigths out and partying. So I don't have to go into too much detail, here's some evidence of that.
|Me with my block mates before Freshers Ball|
Once all the excitement of freshers week had died down, it was time to get cracking with the actual reason why we all go to University: studying. Academically, my course has been enjoyable albeit difficult to adjust to. I have embarked on a course in BA Modern Languages which entails 4 years of studying including a year abroad in my third year. In the course, I study French and Spanish from Post A-Level standard as well as starting a new language from scratch (Accelerated* Portuguese) and an elective content module per semester (I chose a French history module during first semester and a module called Intercultural Communication in the Modern World during the second). Despite holding some degree of interest in each of the classes I was taking, I must admit that I really struggled to stay on top all them throughout the year. I'd describe it all as a great balancing act which can be especially difficult with languages when there's so much extra-curricular work to do to help improve them as skills as well as general studying. Having taken a year out of the studying environment, my work ethic had all but vanished. During my gap year, the only thing I had to do that was anything similar to academic work (besides my TEFL course which was very easy) was writing this blog which I could work on and post on at anytime I liked regardless of quality so going from having so little responsibility and then returning to homework, coursework deadlines and exams was particularly difficult for me. My first year's grades don't count towards my overall degree and all I needed was 40% in my assessments to pass the year which further encouraged my study apathy and made the distractions of nights out, sports and facebook all that more appealing. That all being said, I did manage to get to grips with everything in the end and managed to get the grades I needed to pass the year. I made plenty of mistakes and didn't study as well as I could've done but I've gone through that learning curve now and will be much better for it going into second year. More organised and prepared than before.
*=by Accelerated Portuguese, I mean I'm learning the language at a faster rate than I did with French or Spanish. In this first year, I've gone from being a complete beginner to roughly AS-level standard in the language. That's arguably a pretty big jump to take!
Besides frequenting the vast variety of clubs and bars that Southampton has to offer (mostly Jesters, SoBar and the Hobbit) I spent much of my first year busying myself with activities outside of my studies. First year is when you're supposed to try out new things and get involved with as many clubs and societies as you can before your course completely takes over your life and I definitely wanted to make sure I used this time to do just that. From all the amazing clubs and societies offered up at the Bunfight, I decided to commit to three sports teams for the year: Swimming, Touch Rugby and Quidditch. These clubs took up the majority of my spare time throughout the year (especially Quidditch, but I'll tell you all about that at another point in time) and have proved to be a great way for me to meet new people from across the University and further afield, stay in shape and make friends and let's be honest, drink a lot.
To summarise, my first year as a language student at University has been exactly as I described my course really- Enjoyable but difficult to adjust to. I really enjoy the university lifestyle and all the freedom that comes with it but it does come at a price, and I'm not referring to the £9000 tuition fees I'm paying a year to attend. Being a good student really revolves around handling all the extra independence granted to you and organising your time well. This ranges from doing the small everyday chores such as washing-up, cleaning and laundry to waking yourself up in the morning, cooking and motivating yourself to study- All things my parents especially helped me with during my GCSEs and A-Levels. At the end of the day, I still enjoy learning my three languages and having seen my sister graduate from Southampton with the same degree (and with first class honours!), I am much more determined now than I was a year ago to get my own degree but also to enjoy the experience along the way as much as I can. It's now the end of the summer and I am actually really excited to get back to Southampton. Going into second year, I am moving into a new house with some new people who I can't wait to meet, I'm starting a new part-time job as a Swimming instructor plus I am a freshers rep for my halls so there's plenty of new challenges and experiences lined up for the next 12 months. Let's hope it all turns out alright I suppose!
Well that's been some kind of summary of my year. Hope you've enjoyed it. I have at least another 2 posts lined up for you before term starts again so keep an eye out for those and I will do the best I can to deliver them to you.