Innovative Learning Week

Saturday 25 February 2012

Blog V:  Innovative Learning Week


Woo! Next weekend this time I will be lounging in my favourite Uncle’s fantastic flat in London enjoying the comforting quiet and soothing company. But that is for another blog (that I will hopefully write on time unlike my Paris, Week 4 and Week 5 blogs which though I have notes for I have not yet typed up which is why this blog is appearing before them, so after this blog get ready to go back to the past for a bit because those three will soon appear…I hope).

So today is the beginning of the end (I know that is completely clique, so much so that I cannot even remember where it originate from, super sad), basically it is the beginning of the weekend at the end of Innovative Learning week which was basically the week of the 20th-24th during which Literature majors (and others I’m sure) had no class and the different colleges in the University were holding events and it was also a reading week (basically there is no concrete definition for what it is, the professors don’t really seem to know, it’s sort of like literary value; there is no exact definition for what it is, it just is). Any way the important bit is that there were no classes, which was great! I had all sorts of plans for my week of nothing; I would do all my reading for the next two weeks, catch up on my blogs, and most importantly start and hopefully finish research for my essays that are due on the 19th of March. It is now, as I said before, the end of this week and I haven’t done nearly as much as I planned and am currently fighting with the ‘failure’ feeling, even though I did actually do a good deal and sorted out some question areas in my life.

Things I succeeded in doing this week:

1. Finished reading all (not just one) of the texts I needed for my classes this coming week

2. Read three sources for one of my essays and one and a half for another (though I am still feeling lost and panicky about them, scary panicky not normal panicky –I am seriously afraid that I will fail this time…Happy thoughts!!!!)

3. Did the research (and asked a friend) and have now figured out which teacher licensure exam (I am an English Education major at home and need to take the licensing exam before October) I need to take, when I need to take it and where; plus I got a study guild with an amazon gift card I got for Christmas that my mother will be bringing over in April. Basically all I have to do is register and pay for the exam then show up!!

4. Did some research with regards to my masters (it occurred to me on Tuesday while at the only Innovative learning week event that the literature department held that I went to: ‘The Regius chair and its Incumbents’, that if I wanted to get my masters immediately after my bachelor’s I would need to start applying in the fall) and decided that instead of getting my masters in literature I am going to get it in English Education. And extra smart brain blast! I am going to ask one of my professors from here for a recommendation letter which would hopefully most definitely get me accepted!

5. Concluded that I will get my second tattoo in the beginning of June while I am at home (the town where I got my first one because I demand to get my second one at the same place by the same artist) because I am far too excited about it to wait until July/August after summer school when I may not even go back home for long enough to get it.

6. Started a free read book. This is one of the not so good things but I was so frustrated this afternoon because I was tired of reading secondary sources and really could not get into the books I need to read for week seven but didn’t have the energy to write up my blogs and didn’t want to watch a movie so I just picked up the newest book that I snatched for the fantastic price of 2pounds at my favourite used bookshop down on Cowgate (the book is Bridget Jones’ Diary, I am quite obsessed right now ever since my mom sent me the movie). And though it seems I wasted an hour plus reading this book when I could’ve been doing homework I am going to be honest and admit that I probably wouldn’t have done homework either way and at least I was reading instead of just zoning out with television. Plus in like an hour I got like 79 pages in and am just loving not having to pay attention to ever little detail because I don’t have to talk intelligently about it in front of an intimidating professor and 14 peers who I honestly believe 3 of which are smarter than me (I do think a lot of myself, perfectly healthy).

7. Sleeping and just relaxing. My whole life I have never allowed myself to sleep in past ten, stay in my pyjamas all day, and just veg around; I always forced myself up, got dressed and did something. But this week I probably only got out of my pyjamas and left the flat three times, the rest of the time I slept in past ten, stayed in my pyjamas and just lounged allowing myself to relax and hopefully get better. Last Friday I went to the doctor because I had been having glandular pain in my throat and was worried about it, she told me it was probably just a virus I was fighting off and that I should just rest and drink lots of liquids, so that is exactly what I did all week, hence why I didn’t leave the flat much, I was honestly just too exhausted, but that was probably due to doing nothing.

This bit brings me to a quick off-shoot. I have always been a type A personality type; the kind who writes down everything, plans out the entire week and gets ridiculously stressed about school. But study abroad has for some strange reason just made me more laid back, which in all honesty is probably really good for me because being as stressed and as much of a control freak as I was at home was definitely wearing at my nerves. Though I will probably go back to being like that, I am enjoying this time of just lying around doing nothing in my pyjamas all day, sleeping till eleven (any time past that and I would just be grumpy).

8. Made my mother a fantastic ‘Mothering Sunday’ (Mother’s day in the U.K. is called ‘Mothering Sunday’ and it is on the 18th of March) card. I’ve sort of screwed up mother’s day in the past so am trying to do better.

9. Set up a ‘Save-the-Date 22nd Birthday’ on my Facebook and invited my friends so that they would be able to plan for it early so that I don’t have a ugh and rather sad birthday like I did last year. It is a save-the-date because I am not yet sure of my class schedule, nor of my accommodation, nor that I will for sure even be doing summer school (99% that I will be but there is always that 1% that could hurt things).


Things I failed at this week:

1. Did not finish, or get even close to finishing, essay research. In fact, I feel even further from any essay progress than I ever have, I don’t even know what path to go down.

2. Seriously starting the books I have to have read for week seven (though I did sort of start two of them, I don’t count two pages in as really starting them).

3. Catching up on my blogs. Now this is something I’m really disappointed in because as I have mentioned I have notes written down for every week and practically every day but when it comes to typing them up I just seem to be having problems. Ugh, I would be a terrible writer/journalist/whatever because I could have the entire thing handwritten but when it comes to actually typing it up I just cannot seem to do it. There is something about the blank page, it’s so daunting, but once I get going I am fine.

Alright so it seems I achieved more than I failed at, but the things I failed at were bigger but then again I did figure out major stress factors in my life and now have most of my summer sorted.

This thought brings me to another, as thought flow often does, hence the ‘flow’…anyway. So along with getting my summer and birthday plans off the ground and rolling I thought a lot about going home. My study abroad will end in exactly four months (exams are done May 25) and I will be on my way home two days later, so I will be back in the states the beginning of June. With the end rapidly raging towards me I have been thinking about all my friends back home and wondering which ones will really there when I return. Though these thoughts seem a bit morbid and negative I do not see them like this in any way, I mean by the time I return I will have been gone for 9 months, an entire school year! Most only go for a term, so while I stayed in contact, or tried, with these people there will still be a change. I will most likely fall out with a friend; others will remain just as they were before I left-acquaintances that I sometimes get coffee or lunch with- and others I will have a stronger and closer bond with. I am not worried about having no one because I will be living with two of my favourite people in the whole world; Liz-whom I went to Paris with and have stayed in constant contact with, and Devon-whom is a perfect example of someone that I have developed a stronger and better connection with while being gone. In fact, I’m really not worried at all I’m just…curious, curious to see who will actually go through with meeting up with me instead of just keep saying we should meet up and never make plans; sadly I have one or two individuals that I am convinced I will fall out with (I am very sad to say that one of them is my best friend, I just am not sure she will make the effort and meet me at the half way mark, she can’t even seem to make time to email me back). I am not upset or distressed by these thoughts rather I am relieved. Study abroad has taught me and will continue to teach me, a lot about myself: it has made me realize that I really do want to be a teacher, it has given me an amazing world perspective, and it has helped me grow as an individual and as an adult; but most interestingly is that by being gone for so long it will weed out my friendships from the ones that were dependent on my presence in the States and on the ones that truly are important and last and grow even while I am not physically in the same country; I have been surprised. I am sure that as the time for my departure gets even closer I will return to this subject and when I return, I plan to keep my blog though it will no longer be about Edinburgh it will be for my friends back here to keep up with me, I will hopefully do a complete follow up on how things are turning out.

Now away from that serious nonsense to the more entertaining and relevant nonsense: secondary sources and library books. So I am a hypocrite; always have been and have always been completely aware of it. This fact of course does not stop me from telling a friend of my, in response to him telling me that his boyfriend is younger than him, to always go up in years never down; when I am at this moment attracted to a very sexy someone who is…you guessed it: younger than me (two years to be exact). This unfortunate fact of my hypocrisy also goes hand in hand one of my biggest pet peeves: when people underline, star and just make marks in general in library books. It drives me absolutely mad when I open a library book and discover half of the sentences thickly underlined and marked in pencil, pen and once even crayon (crimmany what was a toddler doing reading a college level criticism on Beckett?!). All this marking is madding because instead of just being able to sit down and read the bloody criticism essay (which I really don’t want to read anyway) I have get my jumbo eraser out and erase the pencil marks leaving a slightly smudged page and a large pile of eraser bits on my desk. Though I complain fiercely about all this it does not stop me from doing the same bloom’n thing! Though I tell myself, I’m different, Ill erase it all before returning the books. In my mind I know this excuse is a load of hooey but it allows me to sleep at night so I stick to it. But sure enough when it comes time to return the stakes of books I never want to take the time nor make the mess to erase my marks. So my hypocritical self takes the books, marks and all, back to the library to annoy someone else.