That pretty much sums up the past few weeks, and the next ones. I had my first exam on the 26th of November, and I will have my last on the 20th of December so we have nearly a month’s worth of exams. I’m just spending all day, every day studying and revising and I’m so burnt out at this point.
Am I smart enough to realize I need to take breaks and stuff like that? Absolutely not. I have spent a couple of hours playing games but it never really feels like a proper break. I’ve tried to be more sociable too but it’s not helping much because I feel guilty for not revising anymore.
One thing that has been keeping me sane is acoustic versions of my favourite songs. That and the occasional trip to go buy junk food or whatever. What do you do to stop stressing so much? Or to just unwind? I would need all the help I could get.
In my previous post, I talked about our course on Intercultural communication. In this one, I will talk about a course regarding English as a language and understanding the culture. We have two main textbooks for this, British politics for dummies and World Englishes.
British politics for dummies is pretty much self-explanatory. It gives you an insight into British politics and how everything works. Everything is simplified and easy to understand so I really like the way the book is set up. I have never cared much for politics because it has always been such a dense and heavy subject but this was not bad at all. I enjoyed it a lot more than the book we had to read for the course about Norwegian politics.
I think I will always find politics to be kinda boring, but we do need to learn about it if we are going to end up working as translators. We need to know the terminology of many different fields of knowledge and all of that.
World Englishes is more interesting to me. It starts out with the history of the English language and shows us how the language has changed and transformed into what it is today. It starts off by talking about how the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes settled in the UK. I find that kind of history to be so fascinating, there are always so many elements to it and I’m eager to learn. The book covers a lot of topics, like for example the different varieties of English, which could be very useful to know when working as a translator too.
I think this is my second favorite course that we have, with English grammar being the first, and the other three share the bottom spot together. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them, they just don’t interest me much at all but I will get through them anyway. We’re having our first exam on the 26th of November, and the very last on the 20th of December so not long until most of the courses finish, and we start the new ones over New Years.
The next month and a half will probably be super stressful but I really hope I’ll get through it and will be able to pass all of the exams. Luckily they are all written exams so that makes it a whole lot easier. I don’t enjoy the oral exams at all, speaking in front of people makes me so incredibly nervous.
In my last post, I talked about one of our courses that is about Norwegian politics. In this post, I will talk about one called “Intercultural communication”. It is all about how situations would play out in life, both in your own culture or in a situation where conflicting cultures meet. It’s going in depth about how it could have been done better, how cultural clashes could be prevented and things like that. It’s really useful to learn about when you’re learning about languages and other cultures.
Each chapter in the book covers different topics, anything from your own identity, thick descriptions and social constructionism to Othering or Orientalism. It presents a made up (or inspired by real life) scenario, then it moves on to provide you with a deconstruction where it shows exactly what went wrong, then it shows preventative measures or alternatives that would make it better. It really helps you to think about future situations where you might find yourself interacting with someone of a different kind of background than yourself.
We recently had group presentations in this course, and the topics ranged far and wide, what they had in common was to find a situation where the intercultural communication collapsed. We had to do that, connect it to situations in our textbook and connect them to dialectical pairs, then provide preventative measures. My group did a presentation on community carers and their struggle to communicate with patients of a minority background who haven’t learned the language of the country they reside in, nor have they adapted to their culture. We received very good feedback on it, and it was a really fun experience. Usually, I dread having to do any kind of speaking in front of a class, but our classmates are all so laid back and we have like an understanding that we’re all just here to get through it and pass the class.
It is an interesting course, and if you’re interested in learning about intercultural communication, I’d definitely recommend picking up our textbook sometime.
This semester we have five courses that we are taking and one of them is all about politics… My favourite subject! No, not really, but I guess it’s necessary to know different contexts where translation or interpretation is needed. The book we read through this semester is called “Our political Norway”. It is so intimidating and its content is so so dry and boring but it’s alright, I guess. Need to know about all of that. Sure.
It goes into depth about how the political system works here in Norway, and it also talks about ideologies and how they work. We had to write a paper on Marxism, fascism, conservatism and liberalism and it was mildly interesting. I’m just glad we didn’t have to write about how our politics work instead because I just can’t pick up on how it works at all. Some people just aren’t meant to understand politics I guess? Hopefully, it’s not just me being incredibly dumb or dense.
I really thought our courses would be a lot more language-centric in the beginning, but it’s a lot more about culture and worldviews. You’ll notice that in the future posts about the courses I take, I think only two of them are purely focused on language and grammar while the other three are about culture and the world.
Life as a student is both full of routines but also absolutely unstructured madness. You have one week where you make all of your food from scratch, you go to every lecture, you keep your shared apartment clean and everything is nice.. Then the next week, you and your roommates end up having a suspiciously large amount of pizza boxes to toss out and everything is an absolute mess.
Luckily it doesn’t happen too often, but just know that you’re not alone in this, it can happen to the best. I have been making 90% of my meals from scratch though, it’s so liberating to be able to just choose whatever the heck you want to eat and live on your own schedule. I eat way less too now that I’m not as stressed anymore.
If you ever do have one of those weeks where everything goes to hell, I would suggest finding someone to talk to. I don’t know how many nights I’ve spent over the past week talking to a buddy of mine until the wee morning because I can’t sleep in the first place. It really helps your mental health to be able to talk about whatever it is that is bothering you.. And it also helps if they have a great sense of humour and can make you laugh from pretty much nothing.
Maybe talking on the phone for almost four hours isn’t your thing, but it can feel very therapeutic. You could also choose to go outside though, being out in nature is just as nice, and if the weather is right, you’ll have a great walk. I have yet to actually go for a proper walk down here where I live now but my surroundings are absolutely beautiful. There’s forests everywhere, a large lake, nicely lit up trails and whatnot and I really should be using them all more.
I’m sure that I’m going to write about the actual subjects too, I just didn’t want to write like a three thousand words long post.. So there will probably be separate posts dedicated to each one, talking about and explaining what we learn.. They’re quite interesting, to me at least! Have you gone to university before? What was your experience like?
A lot of things have changed over the past two months. I got accepted into university, so now I’m a “Translation and intercultural communication” student. I also moved to a city three hours away from my hometown, and I share an apartment with four other people. They are all great for the most part, and we frequently have movie nights, luckily we all seem to have the same taste in movies… But there are definitely a lot of bad movies out there. It has certainly been a process to get used to living with strangers but I have become good friends with at least two of them and that makes it a whole lot easier.
I’m no longer on an extended sick leave, my surgery wound is almost fully healed and I’m back to being able to walk around as much as I want. I always walk to university and the path there is so nice. I can choose to just follow the trail or cross through the woods for most of it and it’s such a peaceful walk. Just being able to be out in nature makes me so happy. I have been feeling a little bit sick lately though so I have missed out on a few lectures, I’m sure I’ll be able to read about it all on my own too.
I also joined a Dungeons & Dragons group with one of my roommates, so I’m able to connect with more people and stay social for at least one day a week. Every Tuesday is D&D day and it’s so much fun. Our first sessions have been four hours each and time really flies by when you’re having fun. My character (for anyone interested) is a level 3 Drow rogue assassin and it’s really interesting. I can’t say I’ve ever had a Drow character in any kind of D&D game so it’s definitely an interesting first for me.
So yeah, that was a short-ish life update, I guess! Has anything interesting happened for you lately?