Sunday, 21 May 2017

University Life

Prior to my Grade 5 Piano exam a while back!

Aloha, everyone! It’s Amy again, back with another blog post. Today's topic will be based around university life from the perspective of my own.

Prior to university, most students in the UK take A-Levels as a qualification to be considered to certain universities, but I on the other hand, went down the IB (International Baccalaureate) route. This is a whole different story that will feature in a later post. But on the basics of the IB, it consists of six subjects, plus a logical reasoning and thinking subject and I took: English Lit, Maths, Chemistry, Spanish, Geography and Music. Exams were early compared to those taking A-Levels, which also meant that results day was early too. I'd actually missed the requirements for the Music course at King's by one point, ONE, but admissions seemed nice enough to let me in.

The note reads 'A natural' for those who can't read sheet music out there!

I'm currently an Undergrad Music student in my 1st year, enjoying the whole course and the uni life to some extent. Although, the final decision was to study Music at university, it was certainly not an easy one.

Prior to applying to courses through UCAS, I had my mind set to do Music and/or Chemistry so I could teach it in the future, but I soon realised that I only really enjoyed learning Chemistry and was not prepared to teach it, so I threw that idea out the window. When the deadline for UCAS was looming in the second year of sixth form, I now had a conflicting mind to choose between Geography and Music; both that I could do well in and have fun learning about for the next three years. After a long discussion with varied opinions from those that I looked up to (shout out to the music department!), I ended up applying for my passion, Music.

Since I studied the IB, we started our exams a month earlier compared to those taking A-Levels and therefore results day was early too. Sure this meant an extended summer break before the start of university, but once again, I was questioning my choice of Music. An attempt to transfer to Geography during the first week failed, but I could always transfer after 1st year.

Now 8 months on, I'm still on the music course and definitely won't be moving over to Geography, I've found my part of music that I want to pursue: Music and the Brain/Arts and Health, which I would love to go in depth with.

Defying the Asian stereotype

It's funny when people ask what I read at Uni, and when I tell them Music, commonly, the reply is: do you play an instrument? or what do you even do in Music, just play instruments and stuff? More than often though, I can sense the judgement of why I would chose a supposedly useless course; most aren't openly throwing their opinions at me but family members are a bit more mouthy. On the plus side, I'm not conforming to the Asian stereotype (which shouldn't even be in place) of studying something that's directly helpful to society like Medicine, Law, Dentistry or something along those lines.

Exams and Assignments
Oh the dreadful exams, they were to be expected so it wasn't much of a surprise. January exams were something that I was definitely not used to; exams right through GCSE were all at the end of the year and IB had exams at the end of the 2 years. It felt so rushed from a long break, followed by 10 weeks of lectures and seminars and suddenly being bombarded by exams. It was just a shock to the system and one of the most stressful points in life so far.

This time round with May exams, I'm much more relaxed, maybe it's because it was on a module that I want to specialise in, maybe I felt more prepared or even just because they're not back to back! I have my final one in 2 days, and then I'm free for the summer, and I couldn't be happier! Assignments was another aspect of the course that was pretty much anticipated for because it usually just balances out the grade but there's also parts of the Music course that just cannot be examined by exams!

OH GOD, THIS WAS DEFINITELY NOT EXPECTED, NOT EXPECTED OKAY. I used to be a regular reader at a younger age, especially reading fiction where it was a form of escapism to experience another's life or even a dystopian universe.  But the readings assigned for music? My life. I can't completely say that I dreaded reading, especially if it was for Music and the Brain because I loved that module, readings for something like Medieval music, I can't deny that it was an absolute bore.

It always just seems easier when you look back at the previous level of education because I vividly remember the pain during IB. Trying to balance six subjects, struggling to meet deadlines and failing to get 8 hours sleep before the whole cycle begins again the next day. Whittling down to one focus from six must be a breeze...what was I thinking? By the looks of it, it's only going to be rough.

Dealing with stress?
King's offered a puppy therapy session for a few hours to help you destress, which I thought was a brilliant idea and so did everyone else for that fact since the queue went on for ages. But I mean who doesn't love puppies? (if you said yourself here, sorry, but we can't be friends).

Trampolining was one of those off-days, but eating a full meal half an hour beforehand was definitely a bad idea.

Going from a period of studying here and there to long intense periods of revision is a huge contrast and in my opinion adjusting to it is difficult (hence the procrastination!). I made sure to take regular breaks and to fit in off-days to just have fun with friends to relieve myself of the pressure of revising (although I did take a few too many days off). But all in all, definitely make sure to reward yourself from time to time!

During the first week of lectures, I didn't bond at first thinking that I wouldn't be in the course and even when I eventually learned that transferring to Geography wasn't an option, I still wasn't too social. Maybe because I wasn't much of a party person, I didn't live up to the stereotype of a 1st year during fresher's week and go to the events. A major factor being that I don't drink and not living in student halls meant that I didn't have instant introductions to students. Here I can't stress enough about joining societies or sports clubs, yeah to enjoy those hobbies but it's a way to meet people from across different years and courses. It hasn't been too long but I'm sure that I've made some friends for life. After difficult personal circumstances and happenings, I've basically left all my trust and love with them. Lots of love guys!

(Pretty much one of our most normal selfies we've taken together, WITH FLOWER CROWNS) 
Llama the Randall (haha), thanks for being on the other end when I rant about anything and everything, for tagging me in the most banterous memes and getting super excited with me at the mention of Nandos. Maybe one day you won't leave Tesco with a cart full of nonsense (salmon's good you know)

Dr. Dan, I can't thank you enough for everything from being an absolute inspiration (that Africa story oh my) to just being there to create memories for the lols (that race number is still my favourite). I love our long-winded discussions testing our way of thinking within our own strengths or even those odd ones with the billboard and the arrow. One day I will prove to you the importance of Arts and Health! 
Much love.

That's it from me today, hope it gives a bit more of insight of my current education situation, until next time.


Whilst studying, many listen to songs to help them revise; ever since Music GCSE and music analysis, songs with lyrics or instrumentals are too distracting. Desperate to block out background noise, I searched on YouTube for some study music and this is what I found, works wonders for me!

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