Week 3 : Homesickness sets in
This week was rough for classes, insofar as I felt behind in them even if I had no work to be done, and felt generally not in the right mindset for school. I’m getting back into it now though and I think next week will be better.
I realized some things during my classes this week too, primarily that the students are remarkably similar to home, and just as if not more generally apathetic towards learning. In every class, of 20 or 200 people, many students are on their phones and this has become extremely distracting and frustrating for me. I haven’t got much else to say about it, other than I’ll have to focus on staying even more engaged in the lectures myself if I’m going to get what I need out of them, because it doesn’t seem to be bothering anyone else. Classes are otherwise very similar to home and involve roughly the same amount of lecture, discussion, and group work, and I’m at least thankful I don’t have to adjust to a dramatically different system of teaching.
This week DCU had clubs and societies days and Nathaniel and I perused the over 100 booths to see what we might be interested in. This was important for me, because I’ve been told from several different sources and my own experience in school, that getting involved positively influences your college experience, especially abroad. I know this will probably be my best avenue for meeting and connecting with local students, which is one of my big goals here. I may have a bit of social anxiety about it, but I don’t want that to stop me from joining some of these societies. So, I’ve started out with Book society, which I joined with Nathaniel, and Harry Potter society. I had to pay to join so I hope that’ll keep me invested in actually going. Things start to happen next week so I’m excited about that. Nathaniel also joined the Drama society, so I’m glad we each have our own thing to do and be forced to spend some time apart, because I’m sure it’ll be good for our social lives.
I started to have some weird homesick feelings this week that were different than what I expected I’d feel. At one point I would think about the fun things I’d been doing in terms of, oh I can’t wait to be home next week and tell everyone about this. And then I’d remember I’m not going home yet, but maybe wished I were. I’ve done so much and it’s only been a few weeks and it feels in a way just like a fun and short vacation. Time to wrap it up and head home. And part of me is okay with that and excited to be on a plane again, because I think traveling is kind of fun. Then I’ve been getting excited, thinking, wow, if this is all I’ve done in two weeks think of what I can do in three months! And especially once I’ve met some people, it’ll be fun in a whole new way. Then I worry it’ll go by too fast, the whole thing will be over before I know it and I’ll be so sad, after all, I’m only here three months. Then I think about my friends, my family, and my three year old nephew Kole, who is changing all the time, and think there’s no way I can do this, three months is so long! And so it goes in circles. It’s since passed, but this was strange for me. It may be an indicator that I’ll have some new feelings here that I hadn’t anticipated.
I got a bit homesick this week for other reasons too. Last week was new student week and that got me missing PLUS Team. I was on it last year and had applied to be a returner this year and had to drop out to pursue this study abroad opportunity. That was hard to do, PLUS team was really important to me and I made some great friends from it, some of whom returned to it this year. I thought about them all a lot during the week, mainly how much fun they’re having and how exhausted they must be. I still haven’t been able to talk to most of my family at home and when I have it’s been through email, and even though I never planned to keep in constant contact because I’d be so busy, I expected to connect with them more by now. That’s especially hard because so many people studying here have had family already come and visit them and I’m just a bit bummed that my family are unable to make that trip. Then, the shooting in Roseburg happened yesterday, and that was hard. It stirred up a lot of feelings and I’ve been both sad and frustrated since I heard, which has made it more difficult to focus on my experience here, especially when it’s made Irish news as well. I don’t want to forget about it, but I need to not let it bother me too much. I’ve been struggling with all of that this week.
Some other things from the week: I’m getting more comfortable crossing the street like people who live here, trusting my own judgment, I’m making an Austrian friend, the beautiful weather will soon be gone so I need to get myself outside more to enjoy it, I need to stop buying so many clothes or I won’t have any way to take them home and might spend all my money, I’ve been craving a diner like Dennys where I can get every breakfast food, but that doesn’t exist here.
The theatre (the Helix) on campus is very nice, and has a cafe and a great view of campus.
There a lot of great trees on campus and I love trees!
The river Liffey
One night we went out and saw Arthur Miller’s “A View From The Bridge.” It was excellent! One of the best shows I’ve ever seen!
The Gate theatre, Dublin.
The set of “A View from the Bridge,” a Brooklyn dock in the 1950’s.
A night on the town. Bruxelles bar and restaurant.
One day I went shopping and picked some flowers on my walk home. A final reminder of summer as the weather starts to cool off here and the leaves begin to fall. I’m excited about the changing seasons, it’s just as beautiful here as home!