Natalie Colaiacovo PLA
Okay, so maybe the title of this blog is a little misleading. Having lived in France for a few months while on exchange, I know that French students get just as stressed as everyone else. Before heading over there, I had these (extremely stereotypical) impressions of French students spending their days eating baguettes and lounging about stylishly in berets. When I got there, I discovered that they actually had to study (quelle idée!). Fortunately, while I was in France, I didn’t live my life like a French student but like a student living in France.
I had heard about that book, Why French Women Don’t Get Fat. Supposedly it has something to do with taking the time to enjoy your food – although, I definitely enjoy my food, and I don’t seem to be getting any thinner. However, I think that the principles of the book seem to apply even better to studying than they do to dieting. When you take time to enjoy what you study, your learning is more effective, and you’re happier, too.
Before going on exchange, I was burnt out. There were a couple reasons for this. I hated my courses, I couldn’t find time to finish my readings, and I didn’t feel confident in my abilities as a student. When I was studying, I felt guilty for not hanging out with my friends, and when I was spending time with them, I felt like I should be studying. When I got to France, I learned to do one simple thing: take time.
Now, coming back to Queen’s, while I don’t get to eat éclairs daily, take a train to Switzerland on weekends, or stop by at the Picasso exhibit on my way home from class, I still live my life like a student living in France. And no, I don’t mean that I live my life like I’m pretentiously snooty. I just make sure that I take the time to do what’s important. That’s not to say that I don’t study. But I realize now that there’s a time to study and a time for fun, and I make sure that I take time for both. Not only that, but I take time to understand what I study. I know that it can seem impossible to do that for all your courses, but if you can latch on to at least one thing that you really enjoy, it will make your week go by faster and give you something to look forward to as you’re slogging through the hard stuff.
So, even though Reading Week is only one week a year, make sure you bring a little of Reading Week back with you to Kingston. Whether it be to read a book on your (non-educational) reading list, catch a movie with friends, or jog in the morning, if you take the time, you’ll be living like a student in France…in Kingston, in no time.