A girl from the Southeastern part of America partially living her dream by studying abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland in the fall. Excited to be around all the food, films, television shows and music she loves, but absolutely terrified of freezing to death. This will be her recorded journey through pictures and more.
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There are things you do in life that surprise you, because they are things that you never thought you could do. For example, I graduated college in 2008. I spent a year working a job that paid me below minimum wage, and I never found a better job, because the recession had hit America at the time. Needless to say, I probably could have tried better, but would it have helped? Who knows. Anyway, after a year, I knew I had two options.
1] Keep looking for a job while working that job that didn’t even pay me minimum wage.
2] Go back to school.
I decided to pick option #2, hoping that the economy would be better by the time I got out of school.
The next step was to decide what my new major should be. My first one was in English, though I had been aiming for Theatre. I could go back for theatre, but no. That was just as pointless as english at the time. What did I want to do with my life? I knew I wanted to go overseas, so I asked myself, “What major can get me overseas?” Two main choices came up: politics and business - both were options that I loathed. “I did English for a reason! I’m not smart enough! I can’t do this stuff! It doesn’t even interest me!” Still, I applied to the school I had graduated from and picked business. “I’m giving myself one semester to see if I like it.”
I went back to school, and I spent my first semester taking these business classes, and let me tell you. I sucked. I had been out of school for a year, and the thought process between English and Business is so different. I can tell you that I didn’t want to do it anymore. So I started to ask my former professors if they would write me recommendations to Grad School. Do you want to know something? Not a single one of them would. All of them told me that I wasn’t good enough, that I hadn’t performed well enough. These were from teachers from classes I had made passing grades in. Decent B-grades. While I wasn’t an A-student, I didn’t fail. I didn’t get piss poor grades. Still, they wouldn’t recommend me, so Grad School was no longer an option. So I was faced with two more options: drop out of school or keep going with the business degree.
I decided to keep going with my business degree, and I quite literally busted my ass the next semester. I took Managerial Accounting, and I went to Supplementary Instruction each week (which is like tutoring), and I studied my ass off 24/7. I had already been in college once, and I was already in debt, and if I was going to stay in school and put myself in even more debt, I was going to be serious about it and reach for those good grades. I was going to bust my ass and not screw around, because I couldn’t afford it.
I will never forget the moment I saw that I had made an A in Managerial Accounting. It was the one class I had dreaded the most. I hate math. I’m not good at math (or so I thought). I previous semester had sucked, and I didn’t think I could do it. But I had gotten an A in one class that most people don’t get an A in. I screamed in shock. I cried. I shook, and I stared at my grade in disbelief. How is it that the girl who didn’t think she could do anything business related get an A in such a tough class? The other grades I made that semester were A, B, B, B. It was a very good semester. I worked hard, and I proved to myself that I could do it.
The next semester, which was the most recent semester, last semester, I continued to work hard, and you know what? I made an A in every single damn class that I took. Well, I made a B in my PoliSci class, but honestly, I know exactly why, and I know that if I had done just a grade better on my first essay, which I very well could have done, I would have made an A in that class as well. But the point is… I became a straight A student. In business. In something, a year prior, I didn’t think I could do. That I had almost dropped out of.
I proved myself wrong.
I proved to myself that I can do it. That I am smarter than I thought I was, and that I do have the ability to excel.
It really is one of the most worthwhile and fulfilling feelings in the world, and every single time I think about it, I tear up.
Being in Scotland makes me feel like I’m going through another period of learning. And now I suppose I get back to the point of this blog, which is about me being in Scotland.
As I said before, my one goal was to get out of the United States with my new major. With International Management, I figured it was as good of a chance as any, and the reason I did study abroad was so that people would look at my resume and see that I had the motivation to go abroad. The one thing I rarely tell people is that one of the conversation I had with my study abroad coordinator is that I wanted to move to the UK. Then she told me something I already knew - it’s good to live in a place you want to live as a student so you can experience that, but also know that you’re going home if you don’t think you can handle it.
Before I left, I had a feeling that I would never want to go back to the States. When I’m back home, I watch British TV, I watch Brit films, I listen to music from here, and I eat food from here. I thought of myself as more culturally British than American, and it was always a pain in the ass, because people back home just don’t care about the things I care about, and it was a rather lonely existence. I couldn’t wait to get here and be around like-minded people. How in the world would I ever want to go back to the States when I was going to be in a place that would be more like home to me than my actual home was.
I also found myself teetering on the edge of being anti-American while being American myself. People over here were always so surprised when I didn’t have this uber-patriotic spirit, and that I could point out the flaws within America. I wasn’t the typical America, and I did get a lot of respect for it.
I have one month left of being here, and I can tell you with sincere honesty (as of right now) that I cannot wait to get home. I’ve been homesick for a few weeks now, and if I had a choice between being here right now and being back in America, I would pick America without any real hesitation.
I keep wondering why I want to go home so bad. I think I can pinpoint the reasons, and I know if I were here for a job, these reasons wouldn’t even matter.
1] I really hate where I’m living. I’m a 25 year old girl who has already been in the real world and experienced things living in a freshman village full up 17-19 year olds. These are children who are experiencing being away from home for the first time. They are drunkards, immature, ridiculous, and the list goes on. The guy below me is completely noisy and disrespectful. It’s stressful. I think it’s come to the point where he actually enjoys being reported for noise problems.
2] Everything here is so expensive, even when it’s not that expensive at all. The exchange rate sucks so much that you have to basically look at something that is £1 and say it’s $2 in your head, because it’s basically really close to that.
3] Some people here have me so fed up. There are some people here who like to complain, but they don’t like to do anything about it. If you have a problem, then do something about it. If the noise bothers you, then report the person. If the noisy person is your flatmate, and you hate it, talk to the person. Stop cowering behind other people, expecting them to be the one to complain. I don’t want to be your mother. I don’t want to be the bad guy all the time. It’s not my job. Take initiative. Also, sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone. God knows I’ve had to do that. I hate sharing dishes, but I’ve had to deal with that here. You might like to use one certain pot, but when that pot is dirty, and there’s five other pots to chose from, just choose the other pot. They all do the same thing. One frying pan will do that same thing as another frying pan. Don’t get pissed off and throw a fit because your favorite pot or pan is dirty. Use another one. I promise you it’s really not that hard.
I want to go home and get away from this, and every single time I think this, I am shocked. I really thought I’d never want to go home, but now I’m so certain that I want to go.
Being here has made me realize something that I didn’t know about myself - I like America. Yes, there’s still bad aspects about the place, but I can’t wait to get back. But would I want to go back if I had a job? If I wasn’t around these people, and I didn’t have to worry about money, would things be different? Probably. So should I write this place off completely? Probably not, but still. I’m growing, and I’m learning, and I’m coming to realize that I am an American, whatever that means for me, because if I wasn’t American, I wouldn’t miss the country, wouldn’t I?
I have to keep up hope and believe that if the circumstances were different, I wouldn’t want to go back, because the entire point of this second major was for this - to be abroad, to get out of America, and learning that maybe that might be something I don’t want to do after all?
I don’t know what do about that.
I haven’t been keeping up with this Tumblr, and I can’t bring myself to care.
One of the wishes I’ve had for the past few years was to be in the UK for Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night. I never really thought it would happen.
Tomorrow is Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night.
I am in Scotland.
SO FREAKING EXCITED. TIME TO BLOW STUFF UP.
The downside of being a study abroad student living in Hillhead Halls? EVERYONE IS A FREAKING TEENAGER.
I am dying for someone my age. Tumblr, please help me. If you live in Aberdeen, and you’re around 25 years old, or older… please let me know. Lets meet up. I have a bus pass.
PS - Slains Castle Pub is pretty much the most awesome pub I’ve been to in my life.
Sept 16 -
Woke up after not sleeping much. Walked from the hotel (on Chapel St) all the way down Union Street to the area where Asda/Poundsomething/Aldi/Cardona are. That’s a long walk, ok. My feet had been killing me already, and it got worse then. Surfed online. Stayed in hotel. Was tired. Then it rained a lot. Ate chips and curry for the first time.
Sept 17 -
MOVE IN DAY AT HILLHEAD. Oh, hey. Was given a ride here by someone very lovely I met on Facebook. While getting room key, heard my name and turned around it’s in my flatmate. Hours of bonding time. Thanks to Facebook, I already knew a lot of people living in this set of buildings, so I was going around finally seeing these people for the first time face to face. Then a lot of us would gang up (really at least 10 of us) and go find someone else from Facebook and meet them. We got plenty of remarks about “how do you guys already know each other so well?!” from people. “Oh, Facebook.”
The bed pretty much sucks. It’s the worst bed I’ve ever slept on, and I’m convinced the radiator in my room doesn’t work. I plugged in my alarm clock, and less than a minute later, it sizzles and dies. Scotland plugs can go screw themselves right now. I need to find hangers, so I’m not living out of my suitcase, especially since there really isn’t room for suitcases in this flat.
I really don’t know what to say. I like the people. The end? More later, I’m exhausted.
Foods I’ve eaten:
- chips and curry
- scotch pie
- chicken curry pie
Finally in Aberdeen. Arrived yesterday, but was too jetlagged to care about updating Tumblr. I was awake for over 24 hours, and I was on a plane/in an airport for most of it.
Listened to Owen Pallett (from Canada) while flying over Canada and Sigur Ros (from Iceland) while flying under Iceland.
Arrived in Amsterdam in time for the sunrise, and saw beer glasses and shot glasses with weed leaves printed on them, but no actually weed in sight to buy. Everything was so expensive in that airport, I sucked it up and had McDonalds, but it was still almost $20 for something that would have cost $5 back home.
So my first picture of today is actually from yesterday, and it’s from the Amsterdam airport McDonalds cup. I took a picture of one of the weed glasses, but it’s on my American phone, and I don’t know if I can get that on my laptop until I get back home in December.
i was sitting outside the international representative for the business school’s office today, flipping through a binder for university of bamberg, when the other rep saw me and asked me if i wanted to go to germany.
“after spending six years learning the language, i’d like to actually use it.”
“i’ll send you there for $1,500.”
“……. [whatdoisay whatisgoingon]”
so i point out that after i get back from scotland, i have one more semester left, and he says that’s ok. as long as the classes i need are in germany.
“decision models for management.”
“germany doesn’t, but denmark does. i can send you to denmark for $1000.”
so, basically, the business school will send me to denmark for the spring semester, which starts in march, and i can get all the needed classes for my last semester of college.
first semester in aberdeen scotland.
second semester in aarhus, denmark,
you know efterklang is from denmark. maybe i’d run into them.