…is very important.
At home, it isn’t as hard to find that balance and imitate it. However, being in a new and exciting land at a university that naturally does things differently from most American universities has made finding the balance more difficult than with just any other change of daily routine.
As opposed to the full-time course load of five classes I’m accustomed to at Temple, UEA employs a “module” system, with three courses being the typical full load of coursework. Three modules translate to 15 Temple credits (at least in my case), and each module may only meet once or twice a week. You must be reading this and imagining how amazing it would be for you to have such an open yet full-time class schedule–I was certainly excited at the thought of all the free time I could have.
…Yeah, not so much the case for me. Even though my classes only meet once or twice a week, and there are only three of them, I personally feel the workload is enough that it’s very much like having a full-time Temple schedule. That being said, time management is your best friend here at UEA! I promise that you will have time to both enjoy this beautiful country, and enjoy a beautiful UEA transcript at the end of the semester. In my experience, I expect to work on at least one of my courses every day of the week. You will get a more accurate gauge of the amount of time each module requires when you meet your instructors, but practicing your time management skills before your journey will make adjusting to the new system much, much easier. Of course, everyone’s perspectives and experiences vary.
It’s difficult at first to sit down and do schoolwork because Norwich is such a beautiful town begging to be shot by my camera, but I must pace myself and remind myself that my academic performance in England could lead to many great opportunities in the future.
Then again… how can I be expected to stay inside and work when there are dozens of these little guys hanging out on campus? All joking aside, hanging out with them for just a few hours a day serves as a way to help clear my mind; exploring the campus trail grounds also helps me to get in a day’s worth of exercise, as well as enjoy the solitude of nature. This is a combination that has proven to be both an enjoyable way to pass time, as well as a powerful motivation tool to do the reading and writing necessary for my classes. So, while I am not able to visit the city centre every day, I have so much beauty at my disposal just on campus!
I didn’t get any of my first choices for modules, and from overhearing other students talk this seems to be a common occurrence (one student claimed to only have gotten their first choice module one time since being here). The options available to me were all so interesting though that I knew it would be impossible to be assigned a module I didn’t really enjoy. I am enrolled in “Writing Life,” a writing class centered around biography writing. We meet once a week for a three hour seminar discussion based around the assigned book for that given week. Second is “Shakespeare,” a lecture and seminar-based course; and finally, “History of Norwich”, another lecture/seminar-based course detailing the history of this “Fine City” from the Norman Conquest to present day.
All of these modules are fun, interesting, and I believe they’ll only further enrich my experience here in Norwich (Hopefully, a few posts from now, I’ll be able to share with you all some interesting historical facts about this city!). I would absolutely recommend saving some spaces for elective courses to any prospective Temple students planning to attend UEA so that they can model their roster around subjects and themes that interest them and will motivate them to fully enjoy England!