This past week proved to be uneventful in terms of exploring but very eventful in terms of schoolwork. Next week is already the last week of classes for the semester. Needless to say there is a great deal of papers or projects due in the coming weeks. Final papers range anywhere from 2,000-3,500 words and are nothing extremely difficult or different from writing a paper at Drexel. Despite this, it seems to be much more difficult here to focus. I think everyone has been so used to travelling or exploring (when not in class) that sitting down to write a paper seems so uneventful and dull in comparison. What also is unusual is that for every class I am taking, there are 2 or 3 grades total for the entire semester. There is a midterm, final, and occasionally another small assignment. Work comes in waves; on a normal week to week basis, our responsibilities are to go to class. Then once midterms start you are hit with work all at once. It is very strange because I am not really stressed about my assignments, which is very different from when I am at Drexel. I think it really is reflective of the attitude of students here as well as the professors. My philosophy professor was describing the requirements for our final paper and what he was hoping to see in our papers. A student raised the question about the due date, making sure what was written in the syllabus was correct. The teacher replied with a response similar to, “Yes you can hand it in then if you’d like, but I just need it by the last week of classes.” This lax attitude with deadlines was something I have never really experienced, especially with something like a final paper.
I suppose that the difficulty in getting started with papers and assignments is that I am taking classes different from those I am used to taking. I am taking my first college philosophy class, which is definitely challenging since it really requires me to change my normal way of thinking, looking beyond the face value of concepts or ideas. Two of my other classes deal with Australian history. One of these classes looks at the political history or Australia. It is a topic of which I have no previous knowledge and although Australia’s political system is somewhat similar to the one we have in the states, there are some great differences. Even the names of the political parties can be confusing. My other Australia class covers the very beginnings of Australia, from its original inhabitants, the Aboriginals, to modern day society. We covered topics such as Aussie slang (which proved to be very helpful), lifestyle, the natural wonders of Australia, and Australia’s role within a global context.
I think that studying in Australia has given me the great opportunity to not only learn about the area within a classroom setting, but also explore the place which I am learning so much about. If the trade off for the experiences are papers, I can handle doing the work. But fortunately we still have about a month, which means more adventures to come!