Adjusting to the Day to Day
Apologies for the belated update, for classes are officially underway and the school year has officially begun!
This past week has been quite the combination of the exciting and the mundane.
For the mundane, my suitemates (flatmates, mates in general) and I made multiple trips to Dundrum (a nearby mall) to get food from Tesco. One thing that I didn’t realize until I started making my own meals, is that food expires really quickly here. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the lack of preservatives and think that the meat and milk tastes a lot better for it, but it’s a bit unnerving to buy a bag of potatoes that have a recommended use date that is literally the next day. (Though here’s a trade secret, I actually ate my potatoes three days after their best by date and was fine). Having grown up in a city with a lot of malls, going to the Dundrum’s reminds me of home in some ways, especially since there aren’t really accessible malls close to Brandeis University. That being said, as much as I try to stick to making quality meals with authentic Irish grown ingredients, I’ve already bought Centra-brand pizza for dinner one night, and there’s certainly no shame in that. With all that is going on, I haven’t quite formulated a budget yet, but at some point this week I’m going to sit down and work through the numbers and how much I can use for traveling.
When it comes to classes, things are a little different, but not as foreign as I was expecting. I’ve been a variety of different classroom environments thanks to Brandeis, so while the idea of having only two assignments in a class is still a little daunting (such as in my Politics and Policy in the EU module), it isn’t anything I haven’t experienced before. It’s a note of distinction how the classes geared at international students are very different—in the sense that many incorporate weekly or bi-weekly assignments and wrap up much earlier. “Homework” has been pretty light so far, but I know soon enough I’ll have to spend most of my days staying on top of reading for my modules.
(a sign of what was to come!)
What has been keeping me busy, other than dealing with the onslaught of my first campus cold, is signing up for societies! I’ve been casually attending some society events here and there, but I don’t think I was really quite prepared for the extravaganza that is Freshers’ Week. Basically, for the uninitiated, Fresher’s Week is when all of the societies and sports clubs lobby for members. There’s a Freshers’ Tent that you can go to just beyond the student center where each society has a stand, and for someone who goes to a relatively small liberal arts college, it’s a lot! What’s a little different is that it costs 2 euro to become a member of a certain society. For that two euro, you get both a membership card, exclusive access to their events, and other benefits (many of the cards offer discounts to local eateries and clubs). I’m a bit green to the idea of shelling out money to join a club (at Brandeis I’m pretty sure I sign up for the email lists of almost every club in existence then forget to go to meetings for at least half of them) but it makes a lot of intuitive sense, and if you join what you’re really interested in, it pays itself off. For instance, my friend Alysha told me about the Film Soc, where for the price of membership you get access to any movie they screen for free and free popcorn! I thought the best part was all the goody bags that you can get for joining societies, I mean, technically, if you add up the retail value of the snacks that I got for joining the Literary & Historical Society here, I already got back my 2 euro.
I’m personally really excited for all of the society events that are planned for this week—it’s a little hard to get out there and get to know people as a one semester student, but it’s definitely worth it! From pub crawls, to debates, to trips, there’s really something for everyone.
That’s all I have for now, have to prepare for this weekend where I have some planned trips to various scenic areas of the island that I’ll be discussing in my next entry, alongside some of the other culture I’ve had the opportunity to experience here like Culture Night! : )