The semester in Paris has already come to a close, and while I would love to say that it’s been a fabulous one with loads of cultural injections and memorable times with friends, I’d have to say so with my teeth barred and face made to force a smile. The truth is, though, that while I’ve met some great people and had tonnes of fun, the semester in terms of academics has been a complete killjoy with assignments and studying always at the back of my mind.
NYU in France takes great pride in its academics, and the French, too, take education pretty darn seriously. But while others at the numerous NYU study abroad sites still make time for fun, it seems as though that everyone at NYU in France is perpetually stressed. I would love to say that it was just my experience, but have the professor walk away from the classroom for a moment during evaluations, and everyone will say how they did enjoy being in Paris, but it was the tantamount piles of work and the constant stress that made it unbearable. Even the balancing act of cultural and academics seemed almost an impossible task.
So what may have you as a reason for such? Well, there is the expectation and pressuring from some of those overseeing the handling of the undergraduate program that students in Program II (including those who barely understand the function of the subjonctif mood), the more advanced section enrolled at NYU in France, should be taking a full course load in French. In any case, it’s best to perhaps stick to your instincts and don’t take on more than you can chew.
I originally planned my schedule to be taken, for the most part, over two days a week so that I would be able to work during the rest of the week. That was idealistic to say the least. I found myself on the extra days constantly trying to catch up, and rewriting my papers because I hadn’t received too great of a grade. Up until that point, no one had told me that my French writing was incomprehensible until now when essay after essay handed back to me had such written largely beside my paragraphs. That is not to say that I didn’t appreciate having improved a considerable amount in my language skills, although it was more so through an interaction with WordReference than it was at the bar.
To put everything into context, I’ve spent time at NYU in France before, and it wasn’t so nerve-wrecking as it was this time. Workload was similar in first year, but in English, what with me reading two to three books per week and churning out papers at a constant rate. To add, the summertime content courses weren’t so bad either despite meeting everyday; the courses were demanding, but they were not exhausting. Tossing in a job to a full course load? No problem for me. I’ve been used to working in conjunction with school for quite some time now, so I quite honestly thought that it would continue to pose no problem for me.
Bref. I did manage to make time for fun this semester with friends and still work (kind of), despite constantly feeling overworked; I don’t mean to cast blame on anyone, really. So I will gladly remark on the semester as having been challenged for the first time in a long while, and having had lots of fun. In any case, cheers for me for daring to entertain another round of Paris next semester! At last this time around I’ll have a two-week vacation.