Adjusting to Uni life


My first week of classes is over, and I’ve started to get involved in activities and meet non-visiting-American students. Doing that feels a lot better, although I still haven’t made any close friends. That’ll come. I haven’t even been to frisbee yet. The picture on the left is one I made with a pen on a piece of cardboard packaging. I’m proud of it. There’s rain in it on the right, now, too. Reminiscent of the weather here….

So, brief rundown of what I’ve been up to:

  • I met with my DoS (Director of Studies, pronounced “doss”, like an academic adviser) on Tuesday morning early. She’s nice, but we made no connection beyond the formal one.
  • I went to the main student center, Potterow, for the first time. It’s nice. Lots of places to hang out and eat, snack, study, or talk, and a nice convenient store. A good place to meet up with people.
  • Had Philosophy of Language. I think I’m going to switch out of it. The professor was nice, tall and lanky, reminding me of a Danish Prof. Turner, but more disorganized. His disorganization and his distracting accent, in addition to the fact that I think the class will focus more on the esoteric views of particular philosophers than the broader issues that I’m interested in, lead me to believe that I wouldn’t learn much or enjoy the class a whole lot. So, I’m looking to switch into a class on Wittgenstein that meets just before the Language one in the same room. One of the Americans in Language said he was in Wittgenstein and it was really good. I like the two guys who were in that with me (though I think they’re both switching out too), Tommy and Peter. Tommy lives right down the hall, but the halls are so anti-socially constructed that I only saw him moving in and not since.
  • I went to Badminton club with Peter. Wow. Let me tell you, it’s hard to even compare it to the Badminton club at Conn. First of all, there were about 50 people there, with 3 courts. Second, everyone was so good! I felt so out of my league there. Although really, there were a lot of people with similar ability to me, and I had some good, close games. Afterward, they go out to the Tron pub (coincidentally one of the ones we went to on Hogmanay) for free food and cheap drinks. I hadn’t had dinner in anticipation of this free food that would doubtless be better than the dining hall food. Alas, they ran out and all I got were some chips (fries, to you silly Americans) and half of a shepherd’s pie. Still yum, but insufficient. *grumbly tummy*. I met a 4th yr. named Jen who studies medicine (a 5-yr course, then they can practice; different from home with med school), and the treasurer Steven who’s a physics grad student working on the detection of dark matter.
  • Had Meta-Ethics the following morning. I was late, because I forgot the room number, but it was fine. There are only about 10 people in the class, and both of the two professors are American and really nice. They want us to call them by their first names, Mike and Matthew. That class looks to be a lot of fun. Perhaps partially because it’s more like I’m used to in the States.
  • Took two naps
  • In between the two naps, I went to go to frisbee practice. Unfortunately, I got the wrong time, and left the Meadows discouraged. I went and bought some food for lunches (which are not provided on the meal plan, which all us Americans think is weird and stupid). Turns out if I’d waited another 10 minutes or so, practice would have started. It’s okay though, I was tired.
  • After dinner, watched Wedding Crashers with some of my American friends
  • Watched American Beauty and Supersize Me while working on my drawing
  • This morning I got up late because I have no class, and I went into town to make an appointment about switching classes and to buy the textbook for Meta-Ethics
  • I saw a poster and later a pamphlet with all the Film Society’s movies for the semester. There are a lot of good ones. It’s 2.50 for one show, 10 pounds for the semester. With 3 a week and more than a third that I want to see, it’s definitely worth the 10.
  • I went to the International Students Center, and got free tea there. I talked with the girl working there; her name’s Natasja, and she’s a 4th yr. International Relations…not major, because they don’t do that here. She studies IR, how about that. Anyway, I think I might like to volunteer there. They need volunteers, and it’s a nice quiet or social place, with free tea, coffee, and biscuits. Yum. Caffeine and sugar, make the world go ’round.
  • Upon leaving dinner tonight, I saw a poster for Archery Club and decided to go to the one tonight. It was pretty cool. I learned a lot of technique stuff and improved a lot by the end of the night. I don’t think I’m going to pay the joining fee, because I think I want to play frisbee, but it was fun. There were about 20 or 30 people in this little long room underground. All firing long pointy objects at high speeds. Apparently the club is the most successful sports team at the uni; one of the girls is on the UK national team, going to the olympics, and several others have won numerous awards. The guy instructing me is named Denis, and he won a lot of awards last year despite being a novice at the beginning. I also met a girl Kathrin from Norway, and an American girl named Brett. Yes, a girl named Brett, get over it.

After Archery, we went to another pub, same deal, free food and cheap drinks. Except no food came. I ordered a club soda with lime, but the bartender had no idea what club soda was. It was chill though, I got an Irn-Bru instead. I kinda like it. I think that’s what I’ll get at pubs from now on; just about everyone will have it, and it’s probably one of the cheapest things available. Besides, aside from whisky, what drink could be more Scottish? For those of you who don’t know, Irn-Bru (pronounced Iron Brew) is a soft drink that tastes kinda like bubble gum, and is one of I believe 2 native soft drinks in the world to rival coke and pepsi in distribution in its home country. The other is in Brazil, I think?

Anyways, in the pub, Brett and I were sitting next to some random 20-somethings. They started talking to us, and we got to chatting. They invited us to head to another bar with them, and after much declining on our part, we agreed to go. We probably wouldn’t have gone if the bar they were going to wasn’t the students-association (EUSA) run building Teviot, which has 5 bars in it. As we repeatedly hear, it’s the oldest purpose-built student union building in the world. Anyway, we went with them, and they’re nice people, although some of them smoke and some of them were kinda drunk. Some of them are in a band called Vitamin Flintheart (btw, one guy, the one who started talking to us, was all three: smoking, drunk, and in the band…he was nice though, being silly). So, we talked about how the Bush administration sucks and also how the mass media in the US isn’t that great either. Small talk, and discussion of this Christian group on campus that was behind a class which promoted teaching gay people to be straight. Big controversy, big successful student movement against it. Anyway, I left and came back to my room. *anticlimactic end to post*

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