Thursday, 18 February 2016

Firsts-Dorm, Classes, and Traveling Alone

Platform 9 3/4
Sometimes I wonder if I am spoiled at Harvey Mudd, then I remember how much I pay in tuition compared to how much tuition is at Queen Mary and I realize that I definitely earned all the luxury at Mudd. That being said, I couldn’t help but feel very isolated in my new dorm. Harvey Mudd is an environment where you are always surrounded by people, with roommates or suite-mates or dorm-mates. But here, there are only flats, where only the kitchen is shared and everyone has a single room with an attached bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, it’s glorious having my own private bathroom, and the kitchen shared by eight people with a dorm attendant to clean it isn’t bad either. But, I find myself missing my roommate (Hu, you rock! I owe you chocolate!) and the comforting sights of people in East lounge. Apparently people here make friends with their flatmates, not the people in their classes, and I definitely see it happening. There is not as much of a collaborative environment here, which is something that I love.
A Dalek at the Doctor Who Experience
As an American student, I have noticed that no one here really likes raising their hand in class, and I end up feeling a mixture of pride and embarrassment when I raise my hand and answer the question correctly. I have also noticed that the technical classes here are nowhere near the difficulty of Mudd (thank god, I don’t think I could survive that.). For the first time, I find myself bored in school. Don’t get me wrong, the classes are interesting, but I finish the work and find I have too much time on my hands, which is where traveling and exploring comes in!!
So far, I have had the amazing experience of doing a boat ride on the River Thames (it was an orientation event, and I highly recommend going to those, since they are usually pretty awesome!). I am a huge Harry Potter and Doctor Who fan, so I recently went to Platform 9 ¾ and saw the Alan Rickman Memorial. I actually just got back from the Doctor Who experience in Cardiff (almost eight hours of travel round trip), and I had a blast! I just want to say, for anyone who is thinking of traveling during their stay abroad (this
should be everyone), plan out your trip ahead, it saves time and money. I allowed for extra travel time when I bought my tickets and I’m glad I did, since today there was work both on the underground train and above ground train stations that resulted in delays and cancellations that would have killed me if I didn’t plan ahead. As it was, I barely made it to Cardiff in time for the tour.

I think the hardest part so far for me has been the isolation. Even with my fellow study abroad and Harvey Mudd classmates here, I still feel alone at times. I’m so used to always being surrounded by people that it hits me hard sometimes. But a great way to get out of that is just to go and explore, even looking for a new place to get dinner can lift your spirits and make you excited.

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