12 May 2009

Exam numero uno tomorrow. Popular Religion in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500. I have over 100 pages of notes, which theoretically means that I should be prepared. Still...

At least the weather has been nice here the last few days. Last week, it was absolutely miserable. The tree outside my leftmost bedroom window actually punched a hole in the window. I came home from my trip to the gigantic Murrayfield Sainsbury's (a grocery store chain in the UK) only to find glass on the window ledge, a golf ball-sized hole in the window, and numerous cracks. It took me ages to get a hold of an RA in order to file a maintenance request and, since I live on the first floor (ground floor is zero here) and, therefore, am not in danger of a burglary due to said hole, was told to place cardboard over the window until a glass repairman can be brought in. Well, that was on Wednesday. It is now Tuesday of the following week and the only change that has been made is that a large plywood board has been nailed to the window. Of course, this is better than it had been. I did not have access to cardboard on Wednesday as most of the stores were closed and I went to dinner with friends at the World's End. It was incredibly windy on Thursday morning and, when I woke up, I had glass shards all over me from where the window had broken further. (My bed is right next to the window.) Luckily, while I was outside with a friend, a repairman came in and nailed the board to the window. So I can now sleep without fear of being impaled by glass. On the other hand, I feel just a wee bit like I am in prison/an abandoned building.

Back to the weather. Last week it was so windy that any trip outside was made quite perilous indeed. I literally went outside twice a day: once to get lunch and once to go running. I no longer even attempt to go to the library as it is impossible to find a seat. Instead, I've been bringing the books home with me. Less is accomplished, but my emotional health is preserved (for now). Coupled with the rain was the weather's inability to decide what season it wanted to be. One moment it would be bright and sunny. The next, it would drop ten degrees and start pouring. Miserable. The past two days have revealed bright, cloudless blue skies. Despite the fact that I should be chained to my desk chair in the midst of heavy revision for exams, I have allowed myself to be coaxed outside to sit on the Meadows for an hour or two. It has been wonderful, save for the damn wind. Still...I will take sunshine and wind over rain any day.

As for exams...I have two this week. Popular Religion is from 2:30-4:30 tomorrow whilst The Blessed Union is on Thursday at the same time. The pile of notes for Popular Religion is quite daunting indeed but I have yet to actually read over them as I've been finishing my reading for The Blessed Union. I literally have to know everything about Elizabethan and early Stuart politics, religion, patronage, foreign policy, interactions with Ireland...everything. This is one of the key differences between US and UK university education. In the US, you learn background knowledge in your lectures or seminars. You are not expected to come with extensive previous knowledge of the subject. In the UK, you are. Since my classes are seminars, I should have come in already knowing most of what we were going to discuss. Unfortunately, I did not get this memo (neither did most of the kids in my Blessed Union seminar, so I don't feel too bad), so I am having to do loads of work now to make sure that I have the necessary foundations upon which to write my essays. It is exhausting work and has left me physically ill. Still, I manage to go running each day in addition to my little Meadows excursions, so I do take some breaks.

Ah, well. We shall see how I do tomorrow. At least I have 'Angels & Demons' to look forward to this weekend!

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