Reaching the end of Semester I: ‘I’m excited to see where the rest of the year takes me!’

Only a couple of weeks until teaching and the inevitable oral exams and essay deadlines come to an end and this seems as good a time as any to update our series of profiles of current French at Stirling students with the following post by Semester 1 student Mairi Edwards:

“Salut, my name is Mairi and I am a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Stirling studying French and Religion. When I was asked by the French department if I was interested in writing an article for their blog, I jumped at the chance, but I also had no clue what to write about. So, I started to think, what would I have wanted to know a year ago when I was applying to study French at universities across the UK.

One of the first things that came to mind was the course content. This is an obvious one but something I think is very important. French at Stirling, at least in first year, is comprised of one lecture per week along with three seminars to improve speaking, writing and culture knowledge. I had studied all of those except the latter at school. So far, I have very much enjoyed learning about the history of France and some of the novels and films it has to offer. One of the main reasons I picked the University of Stirling was the flexibility the institution offered. I wanted the option to be able to study lots of different things during my time at university, and Stirling is perfect for that.

However, the main reason I chose Stirling was not because of the course flexibility or the distance from home; it was in fact the campus. From the age of eight I have wanted to come here. It all began with a school trip to see a pantomime that the university Drama Society had put on. I remember being so amazed by the university and how beautiful the campus was. Ever since that day, I was determined to attend university here. I can say wholeheartedly that my instincts were correct. Stirling is fantastic!

I’m lucky enough to be living on campus, which means on my way to class I get to take in the picturesque surroundings that the university has to offer. This is one of the many qualities that I love about Stirling. The campus is stunning, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful universities in the UK, but maybe I’m a little biased. I’ve met some wonderful people here at Stirling, and I think I’ve been very lucky to have such great flatmates. We get on really well, which was something I was apprehensive about before coming to uni. I wasn’t entirely sure if moving out was the best idea for me, but it has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Of course, it has not all been easy. I had to get used to cooking for myself, cleaning up, and doing my own laundry. I have always considered myself to be quite an independent person, but university made me realise how much I relied on my parents. Simple things like deciding what to eat and what food to buy was something I struggled with a lot in the first couple of weeks, and still do.

University is not easy; in fact, it’s very difficult but I’ve had so much out of it already. The first week of classes was a shock to the system. The idea of having to prepare notes and do reading before class was something I couldn’t quite wrap my head around. At first, it didn’t make sense to me. University is very different from school, in that you must be your own motivator. The tutors will not nag you to do the work; it’s up to you to study. However, compared to what some of my friends at other universities have told me, Stirling is a lot more ‘hands-on’ than other institutions. The lecturers will go the extra mile to help you out but you must ask first. They aren’t psychic, so they can’t read your mind when you have no idea what’s going on. This was something else I struggled with at first: asking for help. At one point, I just had to admit to myself that I was confused, so I emailed my tutor and she was more than willing to help. I’m only a few months into my first semester at university, so I’m still very much new to the student life but I think it is starting to make sense.

Anyway, back to French. Languages have always been a passion of mine and they really interested me. I like the idea of being able to communicate with lots of different people and learning about new cultures. I have really enjoyed the French course so far. I was apprehensive about the culture side of the programme, as I had never studied this at school but it is one of my favourite parts of the course. The parlé section is also really fascinating, and I have learned many colloquial statements including ideas about sheep in waves (I don’t remember the exact translation) and numerous discussions about finding other words for ‘interesting.’ I’m sure Brigitte (my parlé tutor) will understand what I’m talking about…

It’s very strange to think that I have been at university for over two months now. It has gone by so quickly and before I know it, first year will be over. I’m very excited to see where the rest of the year takes me, and I’m looking forward to continuing my studies here at the University of Stirling.

Thanks for reading, à bientôt!”

Many thanks to Mairi for this blog post and enjoy the well-earned Christmas break!

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