Flashback: exam block

This is my first exam block experience without actually being a student. I get to watch on facebook as everyone complains about their lack of sleep and leaving the house for a few weeks, and I’m handling it better than I thought 😉

To be honest, I thought I would hate life outside of uni! I think it was part of the charade that I had going on where I convinced myself that I love stress so so much and to do anything but intensive study which ruins my life would be painful for me!

Well what I can say now is: maybe. At this moment, I’m perfectly fine not being at uni: having time to do things like bake each week, and so it seems like I’ve proved myself wrong. But, it’s only been 6 months which actually feels like 2, and I suspect that if I had a few more months of this I would probably start to get a bit restless and sign up to online courses, because there’s still too much I don’t know.

In summary: I think that the time I’ve taken away from uni between November and September will have been a perfect balance.. good job, ‘Deanna just doing what the world forced her to do’.. you did good!

Regarding the blog post title, I think it’s about time I started documenting some things that maybe haven’t happenedrecently, but that I think I’m likely to forget. And so by documenting them while I still remember, I can get that ‘oh yeah, I remember that!’ feeling when I read through this years from now (supposedly).

Having everyone in exam block made me remember what my exam blocks were like, and I thought I’d share as the first of many flashbacks.

In summary: pyjamas. Exam blocks at QUT run for maybe 3 weeks, and in that time I’d usually have 4 exams (sometimes 3, sometimes 5 (they had these damn subjects with two ‘module’ which were pretty muchentire units)). I could have a day between exams, or a week between (I can’t remember ever having two on the same day). I would study by going through the whole subject’s tutorial sheets, and then once I was confident I’d try to tackle the past exams as if they were the real thing. I would scan my working and send it to my friends, because I have a feeling that Michael just used my explanations as the basis of his study 🙂 If there was a test without answers provided, I’d usually check with Lawrence and Ellie on their responses. But, without fail, there was always at least 4 consecutive days of me wearing the same clothes and sitting at the dining table with my laptop and the radio on (see the result below: pre-MSS luau party end of 2010).

Which station? 97.3, of course: all of the best 80s to keep me focused. Seems like a strange statement, but I find that if I don’t have music then I’m very quick to get distracted.. and that usually leads to me eating a lottt of food (chocolate). But the advantage of having the radio on for 3 weeks in a row is that you’ve got a pretty good chance at winning whatever competition they’re running! Ok, I never won, but I did get the phone answered twice to tell me that I was caller number 8 instead of 9! Kept me occupied though 🙂 One year I was given a tamagotchi for my birthday by Alex’s sister Elise.. it was perfect for studying with! Whevener I got bored, a 30 second game with it and then I was back to work. As opposed to a 5 minute trip to the kitchen (or heaven forbidoutside!)

PS. had a mini freakout about how I won’t possibly be able to deal with exam blocks without having my family around the house being annoyed at my 80s singing 😦 I will find a way.

AAA Travel

(That’s an inside joke.. we used to joke that Mum was a travel agent at this AAA Travel because of all of the holidays she planned over our time.) Just now though I felt a bit sad.. because now that we’re all adults, will we ever have a family holiday planned for us again? I hope so.. and Mum and her family went on their Asian holidays, so it’s definitely possible 🙂

I’ve spent this weekend playing travel agent.. well, I thought I’d done my time and sorted it all out, so I was off to see Amy’s brother the travel agent at Student Flights to see if he could work some magic. He could indeed: he got access to a cheaper flight than the ones I’d found, with a 5 star airline. Can’t beat that! Book me in, right? Except.. ‘So what are your plans?’ ‘I was gonna spend a week in Paris with my friend.. I should really be doing more travel than that but I don’t want to leave Australia too early..’ and THEN, the bombshell: ‘Have you thought about a tour?’

No! Why hadn’t I thought about a tour? I didn’t think I had enough time, I guess.. really, it just never crossed my mind! But as soon as it did, I was open to the idea. ‘Contiki is more partying, Topdeck is more sightseeing but still young people.’ I only got the Topdeck book, which I now see as a great thing because there were TOO many options with just the one company! It was narrowed down to trips under 10 days for logistical reasons (I’m not going to have too long back in Brisbane otherwise), and also to Western Europe because at the moment those countries get me excited. I’m sure that Eastern Europe and I will meet one day, but at the moment I feel a bit eh about it (I know I’ll read this one day and laugh!).

And so, my plans were uprooted, and I spent the next 30 hours researching, planning. It was quite interesting: during that time my favourite tour which I was just about certain on changed at least twice. Which is worrying.. when you’re expected to finalise something in that weekend, turncoating isn’t a good sign. I narrowed it down to two (my original favourite didn’t make the cut!): both 9 days, one starting in Paris, the other in Barcelona, then proceeding to the French Riviera, Swiss Alps, Florence and Rome. There are pros and cons to both: the first, I get to explore Paris with the group rather than wandering around confused by myself, but there’s no Spain. But, it’s not like two days in Barcelona would really be enough, so either way I know I’d be back (well, plus I study there second semester!).

My new housemate Dan (taking Paul’s place while he’s in America) normally stops and chats at my door when he comes in, and last night it was late so I was like ‘ugh don’t stop and talk’ but then we were talking about my travel plans for ages! He’s done a few years of backpacking in his time, and said he was glad that he stopped to chat because now he’s excited about travel again and looking forward to hearing my stories. He told me some of his favourite places (small backpackers towns) and how originally he wasn’t keen on the group tour idea that I mentioned, but now can see that it’s perfect for someone like me (on my own without much experience, and not quite at the ‘independent traveller’ stage).

After documenting all of the possibilities (including flight details, tour dates, and whether or not La Tomatina is involved), nothing seemed obvious. I’d tried to call Mum last night and today but she was camping or something and didn’t have reception. Some service, AAA! Called Teagan instead which was just as good of a decision. ‘Why would you pick a tour that goes to Paris, when you’ll practically live there?’ ‘Well it’s like the place I’m most excited about.. originally it was the only place I was going..’ ‘But you’ll be there every weekend with your uni friends!’ ‘okok I’ll pick the other one!’ But it depends on availability, you see.. Andy says there aren’t very many places available and so you have to contact them directly to see if there are any spots left; it could go either way. Perfect! I love it when the decision is out of my hands 😀 Whatever result comes back, I’ll be happy with! The tour that starts in Paris (/London if I want to catch the ferry with them) has enough places that it’s a guaranteed departure, and with guaranteed places leftover (so none of this ‘maybe’ booking).. I’d pick the one which finished up in Rome a few days before I was due at uni, so I could stay in Rome (I met an Italian at the EMA thing and he raved about his hometown), and/or spend some time in Paris. Man, how good would it be if my timetable gave me a long weekend!!! I could just go to Paris every weekend…! ahh!

So anyway, Andy has gone to America for the week but has requested the near-booked-out tour and is reserving a cheap flight he found. In the meantime we wait, and I try to decide whether I want to leave 5-6 days earlier so that I can go be involved in a food fight for an hour in Spain with Carly. I really hope I don’t make a habit of this, but: there’s always next year, right?

EMA

Just got home from the launch of the Erasmus Mundus Association Oceania Chapter.. what a great night! Had to sit through some presentations that didn’t tell me a whole lot of anything new, except that apparently I should watch a movie called Spanish Apartments. And that not many Australians apply for EMMCs.. well, at least being the first Australian in VIBOT might not just be because we weren’t good enough then..

After that, the real fun began: chatting. All of the people there with the exception of one girl were EM alumni, and therefore full of wisdom. I spent the night (snacks and then a dinner) picking their brains on where to go in Europe, how to get around, what to take, how to settle in. It was really great to talk to people that know what it’s like to move every 6 (or 3!) months, because that can change a lot of the answers. I’m really happy I went, and I hope that I get to attend another event before the big send-off!

I have a new appreciation for the GEMS mentoring program because it’s been a long time since I’ve been the ‘mentee’, but it really is such a nerve-calmer to meet people that have done it before. It would be nice if there was a way to make the other higher-year GEMS realise just how much it can help. I think the mentoring should start before girls are even at uni: like an orientation day, which I know there has been talk of, but just a dinner with GEMS could have such an impact!

Tomorrow morning I’m going to see Amy’s brother to book my flights hopefully… let’s see what happens!

francais

firstly, I wonder if you were to type in French on a ‘normal’ (hah) keyboard, without special characters, would you still be understood? might ask my teacher.

but what I came here to comment on was how sure the order of words might be different in French, but for the most part it’s remarkably similar to English. I put my Facebook into French yesterday, and have found out that they call the browser window ‘fenêtre’.. as in window in a wall. What I mean is that they have the same homonyms as in English, like ‘permit’. Even with different tenses, I can understand what I’m doing because you say ‘I go to paint’ or ‘I have painted’ (even though I’m told it’s actually different to I have painted.. it makes translating easy)

Blog at WordPress.com.