I’m almost halfway through my final semester in Humboldt and time still isn’t slowing down! After the mixed feelings I talked about in my last blog post, I am really enjoying my time here, the friends I’ve made, and all of the great opportunities and new things I’m learning in my courses.
The biggest change for me this semester is that I now have a roommate. The days where I could spread my stuff out across the room are gone and I now have to share quite a small space with another person. I knew I was probably going to have to have a roommate when coming to the US, most of the dorm rooms here are for two people, so it wasn’t a shock to find out and I was lucky to have had the room to myself for a whole semester. Living with another person in the same room hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be as I get on with my roommate and neither of us spend too much time in the room. However, I do get woken up when she comes in at a different time, or if one of us is ill it can really disrupt the other person’s sleep. I am looking forward to getting my own space back though, as the flat feels very small when all six people are in and there’s no private space, aside from the shower and the toilet!
^ Whilst we were away, some of my flatmates put up this banner and whiteboard which was really sweet to come back to.
One of the best things about coming back for the second semester has been seeing all of the friends I made last semester again. I’ve definitely found a little community here and it has added to making Humboldt feel like a home away from home. When I think about going back to the UK in the summer I keep imagining myself showing them all around and sharing with them my culture, only to remember that they won’t be coming on the plane back with me!
^ Over spring break I got to spend more time with friends outside of lectures and work!
I have been really enjoying my classes again this semester. I am taking more challenging classes compared to last year as I have now learnt more about the US system and how their modules are classified. I am especially enjoying a class called Social Change Digital Production, where there is one main project for the whole semester and a friend and I are making a documentary about sustainability and waste management in Arcata (the town that HSU is in). This class is really interesting not just because I am getting to have some film production experience, but also because I am learning more about social change media from an American perspective. In the class we have recently been discussing social change media that has had an impact on us. I talked about Blue Planet II and other people in the class have talked about topics like Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movement – Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement even came to the university for a talk a couple of months ago. I’m getting an insight into what matters to my classmates right now.
< Prepping for our first filmed interview.
^ We also visited the Wiyot tribe for our documentary. Arcata is built on their land which includes Table Bluff – shown in the picture. Learning about Native American history has been a really interesting part of my time at HSU.
Although I have been enjoying these classes, I am getting a little bit tired of the format they’re taught in. Unlike at Southampton where I’ll have 2 or 3 essays or presentations for each module over the whole semester, it almost feels as though I’m back at secondary school at HSU. In most classes, we have small homework tasks to complete each week and my Chicano Literature class, for example, is taught like an A level English class where we go through a couple of chapters each lesson. I am looking forward to getting back to Southampton where I feel there is a lot more freedom over what we can study because there is so much individual study, and where we are left to our own devices and I feel more responsible for my own learning.
^ Spring break also gave me time to explore more of the campus and the woodland around it, the sun even came out!
Part of this mindset might be because I have been doing a lot of planning and organising for next year. I have been accepted onto an internship programme, I’ve mapped out my module choices, and I’ve sorted out a house to stay in for the year. It’s been strange juggling the mindset of looking forward to next year whilst also becoming more comfortable in Humboldt and more accustomed to the culture here. I am learning a lot about loads of different things here, and I will be taking a lot of it with me when I get back home.
^ Since I haven’t been fencing, I’ve started running to make sure I’m fit enough to compete when I get back home. The woods behind the dorms are just one big hill so it’s taken a while to get used to!
* A note on the title – all of the American people that I have met here refer to university as school which has taken a bit of getting used to! *