Jealousy, turning saints into the sea.

Classes have started less than a week ago, and already I’m at the stage where I’m staying up at the library till 1 a.m.

So this is where I start to get really worried.

I’ve only been to 3 “Cultural Encounters in History” classes, and I’m already lost. Class participation makes up 30% of the grade, so people are compelled to speak up. The big problem for me is that when I do my reading I can only understand the surface of what’s going on, whereas people in my class are somehow able to understand it on a completely different level or something, and they give these super intellectual and interesting views and all.

Like if the document said that the king was sad, then all I can tell you is the king is not happy. But they will probably tell you that the king probably only pretended to be sad to fool his subjects so that they will blah blah blah whatever.

Get what I mean?

I do know that they kind of briefly covered what we’re now doing back in their high school (deeper coverage if they did AP), while the only sort of history lessons I know are ones involving trying to differentiate between the seemingly bazillion Sultan Mahmuds and Mansurs, and ones of UMNO and Henry Gurney and Bintang Tiga. (Not that those are not useful to know, they are just so different from the Spanish crown and the Dominican Order and all that non-MPAJA stuff.)

I am completely lost. I have even resorted to looking up stuff from my reading assignments in Wikipedia to have another (simpler) explanation at hand.

Kind of boring lor actually, but it’d be wrong to drop ’cause I didn’t get into this class initially and had to email the professor to get in. =(

* * * * *

Okay, regarding libraries.

I’ve always kind of judged schools based on the kind of libraries they have. For example, CHS is a pretty okay school because they have a pretty decent library, at least for a public Chinese high school. Not amazingly good, but still decent. Practically lived in it back in high school during major exam periods.

Then I went to Taylor’s, and was humongously disappointed. The library sucked. With all the money they charge us (double? triple? quadriple? the fees of other schools darn it!), you’d think that they’d at least spend a bit more on upgrading their library.

The library is drab, collection of books not at all impressive (tertiery institution!).

(Frankly, I’d always felt that Taylor’s cared more about enticing -tricking in?- new students than keeping their current students happy. The people there are rude, and you can defintely get lecturers who are just as good -or better- some place cheaper.)

I was hardly ever at the library. I was probably only ever there to get books for my research paper.

And then there’s Grinnell library.


Super nice! It’s not beautiful from the outside, it doesn’t strike you as amazingly stunning once you enter either, but if you go in further you’d start falling in love with it.

They have these amazingly cozy spots to work in! There’s a treehouse, or whatever it was they call it, where it’s basically about 20 study desks stacked into this fort-like structure, so that you can climb to the top (from where you can see everything around you) or you can sort of slide yourself into this little opening, so that you’re inside the fort where it’s dark (unless you turn the lamps on) and very very cozy. Apparently it’s a hot spot for make-out sessions, but who would expect different?

Then they have this extension on the second floor that kind of hangs above the first floor, and they have beanie bags there so it’s a super nice place to read.

They have many interesting desk arrangements!

It’s really nice to put your pajamas on after your shower (decent-looking PJs, of course), take your laptop and class materials with you, put on our iPod, then curl up in one of those cozy spots in the library and work till the library closes.

It’s especially nice to go very late at night because there aren’t as many people there, so it’s really quiet and you can have some places to yourself (PLUS less people will be there to see you in your pajamas!). I can forsee many many more hours here!

I love libraries!

Not that I love reading so much, but it’s just that good libraries are so cozy and quiet it feels like you’re in your own world.

BUT. Being in the library for hours does not solve my problem of not being able to properly digest my history notes though. How can I make intelligent comments in class then. =(

So how?

* * * * *

I’d been expecting this lor actually. Being slower and feeling more stupid than everyone else.

During orientation I found out that close to 1300 international students applied, and only 120 were admitted. I was like, WHAT?! And I was admitted? Definitely a fluke. I didn’t do anything amazing in high school also! (In the speeches they talked about the achievements and involvements of this year’s entering class, and they seem pretty darn amazing.)

Then everyone here seems to be “top 10% of high school class”, it’s pretty scary. During my first tutorial class everyone some how did MORE than the professor asked for (except me of course, I did ngam ngam hou), and this girl went, “We’re all overachievers here!”

Well, I’m not! LOL. I’m just your average, procrastinating, last-minute-cramming, forget-everything-after-exam average Jane!

During my first week I also heard of a lot of people (students + professors) saying that Grinnell’s workload is intense, so much so that the typical hours of sleep is 3 per night. They say Grinnell’s ranked #3 school with most heavy workload or something like that, a fact I obviously DID NOT KNOW of when I applied here!

Already you can see how the workload is building up lor. Some of my friends, for example, go to the library straight after dinner, stay until it closes, and then go off to the science center (where it’s also nice to work) to continue studying. Then wake up early next morning for an 8 a.m. class. And still remain chirpy throughout the day. Super crazy right? (First week of classes only somemore please!)

* * * * *

Library tonight.

WILL wrap my head around these darned history reading assignments!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *