Third Year Highlights

I always love doing a little round-up post once my academic year comes to a close. Okay, well the academic year for me ended quite a while ago, but I stayed in Edinburgh for quite a while after that, keeping myself busy with loads of other work.

Anyway, I think reflecting on each year of university is important. When you're a student, you really measure your life in academic years rather than proper years. But so much can go on in those nine-ish months that you spend away from home. You grow, you change, and you start to think about the future more and more. 

Now that I'm going into my fourth year (I know I say this a lot, but YIKES!), that's really the big question: what's in store for the future? And for me, the other logical question that follows is: where are you going after you finish university? Okay, slow down. I'm getting there. And next year will be all about sorting that out, I promise. 

But for now, let's look back. I want to talk about the big things that have changed, or been exciting, or been scary over this past year. 

My Academics 

This isn't something that I usually talk about, because I think marks and all that are so personal. But I think I have the right to be proud of myself for once. As someone who in high school challenged myself with difficult classes, tried my best, and ended up with a shockingly average GPA, I'm really happy that I've truly excelled this year. I think I've finally gotten this "writing an essay" thing down to a T, and I've been receiving some really honest, positive feedback from my markers. 

But that doesn't mean I haven't struggled. Oh, did I struggle. This time last year, I was absolutely disappointed in a mark I received- I had submitted an outline, received a bad mark, and worked to address every bit of feedback I had been offered. My mark only rose by 1%. Okay, so I moved on. This year, Social Theory made my head spin. Classic sociology is no joke (Actor Network Theory, anyone?) I learned a ton, though. And I use the knowledge I gained during that class in subsequent classes. 

I'm also really happy that I was able to take some classes that really inspired me this year. The Social Life of Food was (not so shockingly) my favorite. I was pushed to challenge a lot of my own preconceptions in that class, and it fostered a passion in me that has driven me to write about food practices for my dissertation. Watch this space everyone! (Just kidding, I'm not going to blather on about my dissertation on here). 

Blogging Opportunities 

This has definitely been the year of blogging opportunities! From being invited to do tons of restaurant reviews, to visiting Mont Tremblant, I've had a lot on my plate as far as blogging goes. I've absolutely loved being able to write about my favorite thing- food, once again! It's challenged me to adapt my writing style, and learn to use a bit of a different voice. This also goes for writing for The Student Newspaper. It's been fun to feature a little bit more there, and I'm looking to do even a bit more student journalism-wise next year!

But I think over this next year, I'm hoping that I take more social blogging opportunities. Of course, going out for a meal for two is fun (and since Ben will be in London next year, I'm looking forward to taking my flatmates along for the ride), but I also really value opportunities where I can meet other bloggers. I was so lucky to meet Hayley last year, and our friendship has grown so much since then. I also met Alice, Emily, Lucie, Fiona, and the girls at The Quiet Resolution at different points over the past two years. I'd love to expand my Edinburgh Blogger network beyond the online world even more! 

Looking for an Internship 

This is the hardest bit to write about, because I didn't have a positive outcome. Actually, I'll come out and just say it (because it's nothing to be ashamed of): I didn't get a summer internship. This was the hardest pill to swallow this year, after applying tirelessly to about 30 different positions, waking up at 4 AM to catch a 6 AM flight for an 8 AM interview down South, and not getting a job at the end of it all. 

But I also applied for jobs where I thought I was a long shot, went to the final round (out of many rounds), had everything go wrong the morning of, and presented myself confidently anyway. I may not have gotten the internship, but I learned a lot from it. I was told that I needed to "increase my business acumen." So I did. I read countless articles about the industry, learned new terminology, and dived head first into a world that I wasn't familiar with. I put myself out there as the American Sociology major who wanted a big-girl job in an even bigger city that ultimately chewed me up and spit me out. But I'm still standing, and I'm not going anywhere. I tried, and I will try again.

(Also, I think I might write more about all of this on my blog, if anyone would find that interesting)


I feel like this is something that I always put on my list. But I'm so grateful for having such incredible access to the rest of the world from both of my homes. Since August I've been to Spain, Ireland, Canada, Morocco, and France. And I'm still fairly financially stable. I wasn't exactly having the jet-setting lifestyle that my American friends on study abroad had, but hey- that's their prerogative. 

But, for me, traveling isn't just about the 'gram or making your friends jealous or coming back with a tan. I always try to learn something when I travel. And I think the biggest learning experience that I had was in Marrakech. For me, my trip to Marrakech came with the realization that the colonial gaze still exists- that despite the poverty there, Westerners still fetishize this place, causing a striking disparity between the elite tourists and the locals. I'm sure this is the case with many places, but this was really my first time experiencing anything like it. I'd still recommend a trip to Marrakech for anyone, but it's important to do so with respect and appreciation (and really, this is something you should keep in mind when traveling anywhere).

Now that the academic year has come to a close, I can only look toward the future. Sure, it might be a little bit scary and very much unknown, but I'm really excited for the next stage of my life. Hopefully, I can look back next year and see that I've made even more progress, and had plenty more incredible experiences.   

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post Leda! Can't wait to see what you get up to next year!


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