I am sitting here feeling proud and relieved, having survived my first UCL oral presentation. I tell you, everything just gets so much worse and nerve wrecking when you are giving a presentation in your second language at the fourth best uni in the world, as opposed to giving it in your first language at the crappiest high school in Norway. The assignment was to give a short 10 minute presentation on a painting/sculpture in front of our personal tutor and fellow tutees. While initially planning on being patriotic and talk about “The Scream” by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, I decided in the end to talk about a traditional Chinese landscape painting from the British Museum and how the different mindsets and philosophies of the East and the West have affected and influenced the way we paint and perceive beauty in painting. (As an Asian/European hybrid I am naturally fascinated by these things). I had practiced obsessively beforehand like I always do before presentations, and I managed to deviate from my notes and speak pretty much from the heart, so hopefully I came across as more confident than I was feeling. My lovely sweet tutor smiled a lot and nodded in agreement while saying “very interesting”, so I am crossing my fingers and toes hoping for a good mark!
Now I am sitting in my room. Declined an invitation to go play drinking games at the UCL Union Bar (something called “Ring of Fire”, whatever that is), and instead decided be a good girl and finish my Chinese essay draft, read for tomorrow’s Thematic Seminar and continue with my Thematic Seminar essay where I am discussing how abstract art can function as a progressive force within society, and draw examples and conclusions from the works of Wassily Kandinsky. (I know, it makes me want to kill myself too).
In mid-February the deadline for re-applying to student halls are up. The chances of being re-accepted to a student hall of residence in your second year are pretty slim, unless you have strong social reasons for desiring so, or having contributed positively to hall life in an outstanding way. Although I love living in Connaught, I have decided not to re-apply. This hall has created a safe environment for me here in London to such a great extent; no matter how small and drafty and mouldy my room can appear, it has become my place of refuge and solitude from the buzzling world outside. Living in Connaught has also contributed greatly to my social life, meals with Valerie, Bianca, Amy, Carmen and the rest of the inhabitants likely to become some of my fondest memories from university by the time it is all over. However, no matter how much I am going to miss it, I feel that next year it is time to move on and make way for new freshers. Even if I were to stay, everyone I know will be gone, and I do not have the energy to go through the whole fresher’s business yet again of smiling from dusk ’till down trying to make new friends and form social circles. I am feeling pretty established now, and although I love making new friends, I do not possess the motivation to start from scratch next year. Besides…being able to brag to everyone and say “I have a flat in London” is way too tempting for my ego.