First day at a new school is a nerve wracking experience for everyone. I still remember my first day of High School, walking through the gates; 5 feet 2 inches of pure awkward prepubescent teenager. But first day of university in a new country with no clue of how anything works or where your classes are? Now THAT is cause for a whole new level of anxiety.
I wish I could compare US and UK university classes but I can’t do that because I’ve never attended a US university so I’ll just tell you what I know.
Each of my classes have 3 components for grading: an essay of 1,500 words due at the end of the semester, seminar participation, and an in-class multiple choice & short answer test at the end of the semester. Percentage wise, as long as you’re above the 30% mark, you pass and anything 80% or above is considered “exceptional first class”. See, back in California, getting an 80% was a piece of cake so for a second I thought to myself, “Damn, this is going to be a lot easier than I thought it would be” and got ready to kick back and relax for the rest of the year. As I continued reading the course description packet I discovered that 80% marks are rarely ever given out as anything near an 80% has to be of publishable quality. The chances of me producing work of publishable quality at the age of 18 with no previous experience in journalism or politics? Slim to none. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of types of writing I excel at: witty tweets, politically incorrect jokes, etc. but academic essays where I have to sound like an intellectual student? Not exactly my forte. No joke, I’ve had teachers write “tone down the sass” and “please do not swear in your essay” on my work on more than one occasion.
As for the actual lectures themselves, they never take roll and it’s all very chill and laid back. My high school classes always put me to sleep even after a good night’s sleep but these lectures are so interesting that even in my hungover, sleep deprived state of mind, I manged to stay focused the entire time without nodding off.
So basically, if you’re a high school student reading this, first of all – I know, I know, hang in there, high school sucks. Second – just wait until you graduate, in uni you could end up actually enjoying your classes for once (what?!). I mean unless you already like your high school classes, in that case, good on ya sista friend.