Life as an undergraduate: A blur of exciting and fun (albeit stressful) experiences all rolled into one. One thing’s for sure – a day in the life of a French and German student is never boring.
When considering stereotypes of university students, you may notice the most common opinions tend not to be very flattering: We “spend our loans boozing down the pub 24/7”, we “live in hovels and take our laundry home to our mums on weekends” or we “waste most of our days watching Jeremy Kyle and sleeping off hangovers”. Certainly, no one seems to consider the hours of studying, researching and essay writing it takes to come out with a degree.
Just what is life as a student really like? Read on to experience a day in the life of a French and German joint honours student.
7.30am: The sound of my phone alarm rouses me. In previous years, dragging myself out of bed for a 9am start would have been akin to climbing Kilimanjaro in roller blades. Having now spent 9 months in Germany, where the school day begins at 8 (meaning a 6am start) , I breeze out the door with 20 minutes to spare and feeling quite smug.
8.45am: I arrive early for the German seminar. Fellow classmates have quickly slipped back into the student routine, when they turn up 15 minutes late and proceed to fall asleep while our tutor attempts to explain the subjunctive tense.
Studying languages at university means I can give my opinion on nuclear power and immigration, but lack the ability to order a Subway because everyday vocabulary such as ‘cucumber’ and ‘peppers’ still eludes me: Go figure.
10am: I realise with sheer horror that the reading for the week is located in the Health Science library, aka home to the medical students. As I walk in, I feel hundreds of eyes narrowing down on the scummy BA student that has dared to blemish this hallowed space of study. Here, arts subjects are obviously akin to a particularly challenging colouring-in task. They smell my fear. I make a quick retreat.
11am-5pm: Being a fourth year, work is now coming in thick and fast. Most of the afternoon, I spend drowning under German literature and smashing my head against an open dictionary in the library. When I start contemplating to actually use Google translator, I realise that things have finally gotten too much. Heading to the careers fair, I get terrified at the prospect of possibly not getting a job. I feel depressed on realising that everyone assumes that as a language student, you will become a translator, interpreter or teacher. Obviously there are no other options!
7pm: I arrive home after a French grammar lecture that should be attended by 350 students. I counted about 50 present. If they will insist on putting it at the stupid time of 5pm in the evening, there won’t be more attendance.
I tell myself that today I will cook from scratch to be healthy. After finding my ingredients have turned to mould in the fridge and noticing that all of our utensils are festering in the sink, this idea fades rapidly. The microwave, a frozen ready-meal and a fork become all I need.
9pm: I spend an hour moaning about the necessity of oral exams to a flatmate – because obviously you never need to actually speak a foreign language… #studentlogic
2am: I fall onto bed determined to get an early night. These plans evaporate, however, when course-mates announced plans to attend a ‘quids in, quid drinks’ night at a local nightclub. Having spent the night speaking German to an Erasmus student, however, I do feel the evening wasn’t a totally pointless exercise.
Indeed, life as a student is nothing if not hectic. Essays, work and deadlines mean a constant state of stress, but knowing that graduation will soon be looming, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The benefits of learning a foreign language and experiencing life abroad can hardly be underestimated.
In a nutshell: being a student of French and German is everything you could wish for. And just that little bit more.
Let us know in the comments what happens on your average day as a student!
About Author: Jade is a 20-year old French and German student heading into her final year at the University of Leeds. When she isn’t grappling with complicated grammar structures and foreign literature, she can usually be found blogging on travel and exotic cultures and enjoying life as a blogger for The GKBC Writers Academy.