Days 126-132: every time I think I’ve got a handle on this “big university” thing, something pops up and throws me for a loop

Tuesday May 16th-Monday May 22nd

On Tuesday morning, I discovered that there was gonna be a Q&A session with my Current Issues teacher about the exam.  I’m gonna be honest–I haven’t started studying for that one.  I’ve been sick and my Traditional Drama exam is much earlier.  (Tomorrow, yikes!)  So I didn’t have any questions prepared, but I went because maybe someone else’s questions will be relevant.  I don’t know if the session helped, because I was spacing out the whole time, and I almost fainted when I got up to leave.  But someone there did mention some kind of (legitimate–the teacher knows about it) website that has past tests?  So I may take a look at that.  The other big thing I learned is that this test is going to be less about logic problems and more about critically thinking about larger concepts, which is a bummer for me because logic problems are fun.

I ended up using the website–it’s called Past Papers and I’d link to it but you need a uni login–right away, for my Traditional Drama final, which was the next day.  It was super super helpful!  (I’m so glad I went to the Q&A.)  I discovered that the questions are almost the same every year, so I made sure I could answer some of the ones that pop up regularly.  (It’s an “answer two off this list” kind of test.)  It turned out I’d done a good job with my predictions, because when I went to take the exam, there were two questions that I mostly knew the answers to.  I feel like I did okay.

So here’s how taking a test when you have accommodations to be in a room with no more than five people works.  (And I think some of this holds true for taking the exams normally too.)

I’m in the same room for all three, and it looks like they put people who are taking different tests in together.  They make you put your bag against the wall, but you can bring stuff to your desk–I was worried they wouldn’t let me have my water bottle or wrist brace, but both were fine.  You have to get your ID out and put it face up on your desk so they can check it.  There’s an attendance form you fill out.  Then you have the test paper and a booklet to write your answers in.  I wrote both of mine in the same booklet, but they gave me two.  (I really hope that was okay.)  There’s some more stuff you have to fill out on the booklet, including one thing on the side that you sign.  Once you’re done with the test, there’s then a flap on the booklet that folds and sticks closed to seal off the signed part–I was super confused because I thought it was supposed to seal the booklet closed or something, but I guess it’s meant to keep anyone from tampering with your signature.

I finished early (because I couldn’t think of anything else to write) and while they seemed a little taken aback, they didn’t object to me leaving.  Oh, also, we got lectured at the beginning about how we’re not supposed to throw eggs or flour after leaving the exam?  I have no idea what that’s about, or why people would waste perfectly good baking supplies.  (Speaking of baking, I made some amazing lemon cookies after my exam.  I might go buy another lemon and make another batch.)

On Thursday, I ran some errands and it actually hailed while I was out and about.  Also, you know how I’ve been having trouble finding things I assumed would be universal, like Vitamin D supplements?  (Although I did finally buy some on Thursday–it turns out the uni’s pharmacy has a really good stock of vitamins, including D.)  Well, I’ve found another thing that’s not as universal as I thought–Aleve.  For those who don’t know, it’s an over-the-counter painkiller made of naproxen.  I’m supposed to take it every morning for joint pain and inflammation, but I ran out and I can’t find it anywhere.  I don’t just mean I can’t find the same brand, I mean that I can’t find anything in the pain relief section made of naproxen.  It’s not even available on U.K. Amazon!  I got some aspirin, just because I know acetaminophen makes me sick to my stomach and ibuprofen does nothing for me (thanks weird health problems!) so we’ll see how that goes.  I really don’t want to be using my heavy-duty painkillers during finals, but being out of Aleve is making my hand pain even worse.  I slathered my hands, wrists, and forearms in painkiller gel on Wednesday, and that helped somewhat.  (Side note: Voltaren gel, which is called Voltarol here, is over-the-counter and available everywhere!  It’s amazing not having to ration my one little tube I got as a sample from my old rheumatologist.)

I also went to the doctor on Thursday and it was totally disappointing.  He was like, “Uhh eat well and drink plenty of water and we’ll do blood tests but you won’t get the results for two weeks.  You’re gonna be gone by then?  Well just call us for the results!”  I was sitting there like uh okay cool but I’d like to stop being super sick soon?  Before finals are over maybe?  Ugh.  This kinda answers my question about how Health Services here would deal with something that’s not straightforward and easy to solve–badly.  I got my prescription refilled though, which is good because I was completely out.  For people who know me, that should be an indication of how seriously ill I’ve been.  I’m normally very on top of prescription refills and I almost never run out without already having the next month’s meds ready.

My errands-running really messed up my back, so I took a lot of painkillers.  This lead me to impulsively decide to see Guardians of the Galaxy that night at the Odeon Cinema–it was pretty good but I was surrounded by a mildly obnoxious Quidditch team* who kept talking.  They mostly were quiet enough during the movie, except for the one sitting right next to me who sang along to all the songs.

The Seven Seas person came on Friday morning and picked up my duffel bag–I really hope that works out.  Then, in the afternoon, I had a meeting with my Personal Tutor to talk about Special Circumstances stuff.  I was really hoping that I could just hand him the form and the doctor’s note and he would fill out his bit and then tell me where to turn it in.  But nope, looks like there’ll be a little more work than that.  He wants me to fill it out on the computer and add a couple of things into my explanation.  Then, I’ll email it to him and he can fill out his section.  He’s also not sure where I actually need to turn it in, since apparently my being a study abroad student affects that, so he’s going to check that out.  I also wasn’t sure if I was supposed to wait to do my overdue work until after I’ve submitted the form or not, but he said no, I should do it now.  So I’ll need to email my teachers and say that I’m going to do the work (since they need to know to look out for it so they can grade it) and then I need to get it done soon.

On Saturday, I went with my friend to a place called Maison de Moggy.  It is a cat café.  I am not a cat person.  It was pretty fun, though–I didn’t do much cat petting, because I was worried about doing it wrong and getting bitten.  But my friend asked me to take a bunch of pictures on her phone (I couldn’t find mine–although the camera’s crap anyway–and I’d forgotten my camera) and I enjoyed that, since I like taking photos.  Also, I showed up early to poke around some of the clothing shops in the area (cute, but too expensive) and caught the tail end of a farmer’s market.  I bought a huge loaf of sourdough bread and ate the entire thing by myself in the evening.

I felt kind of cruddy on Sunday and Monday, so I mostly just studied for my next two exams.

Also, here are the hoodie photos I promised:

I don’t even speak French.**

[Image description: two photos of a light pink hooded sweatshirt with a zip down the front.  It’s on a hanger that’s hanging from a hook on a door.  The first picture is the front and the second is the back.  The front of the hoodie is mostly plain, except for the University of Edinburgh logo on the left side (viewer’s right) with the words “Linguistics and English Language” under it.  The back has a simple line drawing of a wug (a cartoon-y, somewhat birdlike animal) with the words “ceci n’est pas une wug” under it.]

*Yes, really.  I was vaguely aware that some people play Quidditch as a fun hobby, but these people were very serious.  They had matching jackets and sweatpants and they were talking about going to a competition in… I think Norway or something?

**Joke explanation: a “wug” is an imaginary creature from a really famous linguistics experiment that I don’t want to explain, so here’s a link.  It’s kind of become the linguistics mascot.  Part of the experiment involved the words “this is a wug”.  So that’s being mixed with that famous painting of a pipe with the words “this is not a pipe” (except in French) under it.  The French text translates to “this is not a wug” which is a play on the original wording.  Like I mentioned a while ago, this is an older hoodie design, but I don’t like this year’s.


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