Academics in the UK
So the next topic I want to tackle is academics in the UK. I was insanely nervous about the school part of my adventure when I arrived in Scotland. I had heard that their system is much tougher than the US and that grades were much lower than I was used to. Our orientation when we arrived did not do much to settle my nerves. So I was pretty surprised at how relaxed school is here. When I say relaxed I mean I only had two papers per class due throughout the semester. The rest of the work was just reading (a LOT of reading) and participating in our hour long seminars.
I think the thing that threw me most about the academic system here was the lecture and seminar set up. I am used to two hour classes that are equal parts lecture and discussion. This is not the case in the UK. You sit in on a lecture that lasts about an hour; no one talks during the lecture except the professor, so no one asks questions. Then later on in the week you attend a seminar where you discuss the readings and the lecture.
I hated this because there was no real drive to go to the lectures. This was made even more difficult because most of my professors posted scripts or slides from their lecture beforehand and then most would add a recording of it later. I am not going to lie here because this is a safe space. I will admit to missing a few lecture in favor of travel or the very elusive sleep because I knew I had access to both notes and the lecture itself whenever I wanted.
As for grades because I had so long to work on two assignments I found myself procrastinating a bit but did get them in and even got good grades! So for those of you who are about to embark on this wicked journey here are a few tips:
- If possible schedule your seminars for the middle of the week I.E. Tuesday-Thursday.
- DO THE READING!! It is pretty excessive at times (especially for an English major) but it will be worth it when you are the one making good points during discussion…and when you write your paper.
- Go to as many lectures as possible, but don’t over stress about them. Seriously, it is really helpful in the long run to show up, but you will be on of like 20 people to go in a class of over 100.
- Do not procrastinate on papers. There are so few of them so it will help to get them done early.
So try and follow these super simple tips and the UK academic system will be a breeze. That’s all for now, but there is more to come and very very soon!