The first week of school in New Zealand! What a week it has been. A crazy mess of running around trying to figure out where my classes are, trying to get my papers settled, figuring out where I need to go to get things done, picking up household necessities on multiple grocery runs, and trying to slowly get into a routine. Self-care, personal growth, study, and fun (in no particular order) is the motto for this trip. Let’s see if I can keep it up.
The school part has been hands down the most hectic thing to manage so far. The classes (which are called papers here) are divided up into multiple lecture sessions and either a lab or tutorial session which is once a week. I didn’t find out when the tutorials were going to be until I had already started so there have been time clashes between lectures and labs. Luckily the lab that clashes with my lectures is only 3 times throughout the entire semester so I can just watch the recordings of the lectures after. I am totally not the type of person to skip class unless I really need to, so skipping 3 lectures for not just one but two classes three times does give me a bit of anxiety. Thankfully these first few classes are mostly things that I have learned previously so hopefully, I’ve got some time to get myself together before things hit the fan. Its been a bit of a culture shock because people here are so used to it that the attitude is more of “well that’s just how it is, you adjust” type of attitude when I just want to complain. I never thought of myself as being capable of being that stereotypical American who feels entitled to things until I came across these issues in my academic life. I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to take a step back and realize that these problems are my own and no one else’s, and I need to go with the flow or get carried away in my own wave of self-pity.
Its an odd feeling being fully on your own in a new country. One minute I feel so adult because, I am cooking for myself, going to the gym, studying, and taking care of myself, then the next minute I find myself in a toga made out of a pillowcase at a club full of first-year college students with my flatmates hitching a ride home in the bus at 2 am. It’s both empowering and humbling at the same time. At home I tend to ask myself what type of person I am every now and then, but here I feel myself wondering this in many of the day to day situations that I encounter. I used to be a sleep by 10:30pm wake up at 5:30am type of person, and now I am waking up later and later as I find myself spending late nights talking with my flatmates, surfing the internet, and doing school work. As I write this, I wonder who will I be at the end of all of this? I know it will probably take some hardships and work but I really want to know and love myself better in the end.
One thing I am really grateful for is having flatmates who are so inclusive. It feels good to get a knock on your door and have people asking you if you want to go somewhere or do something with them. Even though sometimes I like to be alone, having a group of people you can feel at least somewhat close with is so comforting. Even though there are pro’s and cons of living in the dorms, the social aspect is a major perk. I would imagine there would be a greater sense of loneliness if I weren’t here.
A part of that social aspect is all of the outings provided by the University. Since I’ve gotten here I’ve been to a board game night, hiking, Hobbiton, the beach, glow worm caves, and waterfalls. My advice: TAKE ALL OF THE OPPORTUNITIES PROVIDED TO YOU. A lot of the people who are on these trips were other international students from all over the world. It’s so incredible to meet so many people from so many different places all at once. At one point I was in a group of like 6 people where every single person was from a different country. How cool! on top of that, you dont have to worry about planning trips like that. I still plan on doing my own thing a few weekends but the trips that I’ve been provided are definitely worth it.
Anyways, I’m calling it another late night (or at least for myself) going to try and get to the gym a bit early tomorrow morning so I can do some studying tomorrow and try and catch up with my classes. Wish me luck for this next week!