There I used to be, in a crisp, blindingly white uniform, sash all pressed, not a hair out of place, sitting with my legs tucked beneath me. Shoes polished, composed demeanour, perfect little Conventarian child. Oh how that changed. Going from a private English school to an American university…walking across worlds.
1. Professors are human too. In an English private school, pupils are taught to address teachers reverentially as “madam” or “miss.” We are required to say good morning, please, would you madam; anything short of outright curtseying…”required” being the key word. University needs you to actually talk to your professors, even gasp joke around with them sometimes. As a conventarian, this was a strange transition to make.
2. Your books aren’t enough anymore. Get good grades in that test. Cram the night before and write everything you know. It’s either a pass or fail. Come to school, study and go home. Not so here. Now there are clubs, and groups, and projects to ‘get involved’ in. You can teach a child, write a script, or glue yourself to a ps3 for hours on end. You find yourself staying back till 7-8 pm at least. Being used to set timings like a drill sergeant, this was also a weird progression.
3. Nobody cares. Okay, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say you’ve been abandoned completely. But as in a convent where nuns feel it’s their personal duty to scrutinize your nails, hair, shoelaces and personal conflicts, it is completely the opposite. Your life actually becomes your life. What you do in your personal time is your business, and yours only. Unless you know, you decide to become the friendly neighborhood serial killer, and then that’s problematic.
4. Humour becomes humor. This is one thing I cannot be okay with. The British system of spelling is so much more elaborate. Why must ‘favourite’ be changed to ‘favorite’ and ‘rumour’ to ‘rumor’? It just doesn’t make sense. Just sounds so wrong; I feel illiterate sometimes.
5. Sleep is a luxury you cannot afford. I remember sunny afternoons in school where we got lectured on the importance of naps and sleep. You lived a perfect Conventarian life if you napped when you went home, studied and came back in the morning with a bright and bushy disposition. All out the window now. Nobody even pretends that sleep is available. Because its not.
The Queen’s English indeed.