05 December, 2009

The End

I'm going home in 10 days. Before that I have two exams and a paper and I'm not very prepared. I've been doing almost nothing because I've been sick (or I've been using being sick as an excuse; I don't know that it really affects my ability to do anything, except on the first day when my hands hurt and I was really sensitive to water and cold).

I feel worried. It's funny because even though I frequently feel like an underachiever at home, I am capable of pulling all-nighters and stuff, but here I feel like I've forgotten to do work altogether. It doesn't really matter, I guess, since I just need to pass to get credit at Oberlin, and it's incredibly easy to pass here. But I'm worried that I've fundamentally destroyed an ability in myself. I hope things get better.

Here's what I think about me and school: I like systems and closed spaces. This is why I love riding trains because I feel contained. In the UK, at least at the University of Edinburgh, I feel like I'm floating around in a void. No one knows whether I do any work or not. In the US, you have to take tests and write papers all the time, and your teachers might call on you in class. Here, no one can tell if you're doing any work, and then they judge you on one paper and one exam that suddenly appear in the middle of the endless days of coming to class and spacing out because no one seems to care.

I'm not proud of the fact that I don't do work unless someone notices whether I do it or not. I know that makes me sound like I'm not a person who has a passion for learning, or anything. But, if you can believe it, when I'm being forced to learn I love learning. When I think about last year, about how much I was incredibly interested in all my classes and thought about them all the time--I mean, I am lazy, but I'm not apathetic, I just have a really hard time making decisions and planning and getting down to business.

I think a lot of the reason I have lost interest in Latin gradually since high school is that in high school we had to turn in a translation and my tenth and eleventh-grade teacher always praised my translations. I put effort into translating things not just correctly, but in a way that sounded good. Both at Oberlin and at Edinburgh, you have to write a translation on the test, and at Oberlin you have to translate in class, but it's about reading, not writing. I miss being able to create something. I'm supposed to be doing a medieval Latin project for winter term, and I'm thinking of asking my adviser if the focus of my project could be producing a translation, instead of just reading.

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