November 1, 2013

Behavior Is Spelled With A “U”

Do you enjoy Halloween? (Which you probably do – who doesn’t like dressing up and eating copious amounts of candy?!)  If so, you would definitely enjoy spending the final week of October in England, folks here take Halloween seriously.  There have been zombie festivals throughout London all month, every day this past week I have seen people walking through the streets dressed in outrageous costumes such as Hannibal Lecter, Miley Cyrus, Superwoman, the entire cast of Game of Thrones (and Orange Is The New Black), Sherlock Holmes, a million Despicable Me minions, and many, many more.  Although I agree that dressing up can be a blast, on a brisk October Tuesday morning I would prefer enjoying a hot cappuccino, like this: The London Particular Cappuccino C’mon, doesn’t that look unbelievable? It was. If you ever find yourself in London, go to the London Particular for brunch.  You won’t be disappointed.

To be honest the end of October isn’t ALL about Halloween for university students.  It is now Friday, which means that “Reading Week” has officially begun in England.  This is essentially the equivalent of a Fall Break in America.  Lots of students go home to their families and enjoy a free week, during which reading required materials and writing papers is “strongly encouraged.”  Jokes aside, from the people who I have spoken to it sounds like reading week consists of 50% travel and 50% work.

Traveling around Europe is really quite simple, there are so many affordable options.  If you want to travel between London and Paris, hop on the Chunnel and in two short hours that high-speed train will have taken you from the center of one major European city to the center of another.  If you don’t like the idea of riding in a high-speed train through the English Channel then you can easily opt out for the more classic boat and stay above the water.  However, my choice of transportation is the plane.  There are many cheap flight options to get around Europe; it is really a shame that America doesn’t offer that kind of service.  It would be nice to take an occasional (and affordable) weekend break from university struggles and spend your time in sunny California.

The 50% work aspect of reading week, although less expensive than European travel, isn’t exactly as glamorous.  The reason that it is necessary to put at least a little bit of effort into this week off is because during the final five weeks of the semester English students are bombarded with papers.  The standard is one 2,500-3,000-word paper per class, however higher-level courses and certain majors require variations.  While this may seem easy to some of you seasoned American students, it can really be a terrible trap.  The false sense of security that many students have regarding their work situation (or lack there of) at this time will surely come back to bite them in the end.

Yet, this is really no different than American school work.  If you don’t keep up with the lectures and wait three days before an essay is due to start, the work will be sub-par, and the lecturer will surely recognize it.  My fellow Lafayette students and I feel that we were well prepared for the challenges Goldsmiths dealt us.  The only problem: Remembering that behavior is actually spelled with a u.

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