FAQ Part 2

Anyone else been bombarded with 23,897 questions from parents, relatives, and even not-so close friends when you get back from school? It’s like we’re being quizzed after exams are through and the semester’s come to an end.

It’s hard to put on a happy face and sound enthusiastic when your great aunt’s second cousin asks you about your roommate for the fifth time. But, we’re inclined to answer and go on to tell them about how much we love college anyway.

I wrote a “Frequently Asked Questions” post before I left for my first semester at the University of Edinburgh, and now, with semester two just beginning, I thought I’d compile a short list of even more questions that I’ve been asked since being at school.

Do you have an accent yet?
Yes- an American one, in fact. Three and a half months in another country doesn’t change your way of speaking all that much. But maybe four years will. I may have picked up a few words and phrases here and there (sweaters = jumpers), but overall I still talk in the same way. Plus, I like to think that my friends at school think my American accent is cute. Either that or they think it’s annoying. Still, I won’t deliberately change my accent to fit who I’m talking to.

Is it weird not being able to drink when you come back to the States?
Or, conversely, is it weird being able to drink in the UK? My answer is yes and no. I’ve understood for years that the rules in the US don’t allow me to drink legally. So that doesn’t feel weird to me because I’m not yet 21. Of course, when I’m at home, I feel left out when my family’s at a restaurant and they’re all drinking. I’ll look at the drinks menu and pick out what I would have if I could. Now that I’ve been able drink in the UK, I feel like 21 is way too old to be legal to drink in a restaurant or bar. But I suppose that’s just the way things are.

I love Mexican food... and Margaritas of course!

Do you like your roommate?
Yes! I love myself. Not having a roommate is actually one of my favorite things about Uni. My entire dorm building is made up of single rooms, so I don’t feel like I’m doing something out of the ordinary. I love that I have privacy when I need it, but can still go down the hall or downstairs to see my friends when I feel like being around other people. I’m a very social person, but I’ve never shared a room in my life. Even with a big family, I always had my own room. And I just love being able to have it stay that way.

Do you like the UK or the US better? Edinburgh or Boston?
I think that this is a question that I’ll never be able to answer simply with “yes” or “no.” Both places have pluses and minuses. I love the convenience of being in the US. Everything is so efficient. At the same time, though, I love the more laid-back attitude of Europeans. Also, I find Edinburgh to be very similar to Boston. Both are bookish cities with a lot of history that are home to prestigious Universities. They’re also both the perfect medium-city size.

The State House in Boston, on a frigid, yet sunny, day.

 What’s the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make?
I think this may apply for a lot of new college students, but the biggest adjustment for me would have to be the academics. Compared to high school, Uni work is a lot more independent. You aren’t being told to read, and nobody checks up on you. I have one essay and one exam per semester. And if I don’t do the work, then I won't get high marks. The marking system in the UK is miles different than in the US. First off, my first two years are graded on a Pass-Fail basis. I get individual grades for individual assignments, but at the end of the year, what will show on my transcript is a “P” or and “F.” I actually find this quite helpful because it allows me to not focus so much on the grades, and more on the learning process. Passing is 40%, and a high mark (A range) is anywhere over 70%. But that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. In fact, it may just make it a lot harder. An “A” is considered to be publishable work. And not everyone gets As- you really have to work for it. Having to adjust to this marking system was hard, but I’m glad that it’s allowed me to look at grades in a very different light.   


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