– by Kristen Stanley
So many events and activities have kept me insanely busy since classes have started. Classes here at ANU are not as structured as they are at UT because lectures are recorded and uploaded online so you don’t always have to attend class (but yes mom, I go to class anyway) and the days and times of classes can be different. For example, I only go to Marketing once a week, but it is a three hour lecture while the rest of my classes are over the span of a couple days during the week. Also, grades here are composed of less assignments that are worth a larger percentage of the overall grade. Most classes have a minor assignment, a major assignment, an exam (usually a final), and tutorial participation while at UT you may have three or four exams throughout the semester and homework every night. But enough about classes and on to what I’ve been doing outside of lecture halls!
My life at Burgmann College is fantastic! I am so incredibly happy that I get to live here for these six months because the people, community, culture, and activities are so welcoming and fun. The food could potentially be better, but thanks to Domino’s $5 pizzas on Mondays and Tuesdays, McDonalds Amore Meals, and Jeremy Jones’ (one of my best friends that lives a few doors down) Two Minute Noodle Parties keep my tummy happy.Over the past month Burgmann has had tons of events! We kicked off the semester with Commencement in which we all got to dress fancy and eat delicious food at a beautiful venue and swing dance all night!
We had a real-life Hunger Games situation going on during Kill Week in which each resident is assigned another resident to “assassinate” in which you pin them with a clothes pin or quirt them with water through a water gun or syringe. Let’s just say I should never be a part of the Hunger Games because I didn’t even last a day, but I was able to tie for the first kill of the week by shooting my neighbor at exactly midnight of the first day of Kill Week (sorry Harry!).
Although Kill Week is fun by helping your friends kill one another and hoping you get the bragging rights as the winner of Kill Week, by far my favorite experience at Burgmann so far was winning the Women’s Volleyball tournament against all the other colleges on campus. The tournament lasted three days and we played every team in a round-robin and then played our rivals in the final game. A large number of people from Burgmann came to cheer us to victory at the gym with painted faces and wearing yellow all over.
Another great event I got to participate in was cheering on my friends and Burgmann family in Inward Bound 2014. This is a competition in which each college gets 7 Divisions of 4 people each that are blind-folded and driven on a bus for 4-8 hours and dropped off in the middle of the bush, given maps of Canberra and told to run their way to a secret destination (turns out it was Cotter Dam) and colleges are awarded points based off of the place in which each division came in. These teams were running anywhere between 40km and 115km for 8-12 hours trying to get to End Point.
Because I don’t like running for long distances, am scared of the dark, get sick in the car, and didn’t want to go through the training, I joined all the other non-IB runners at End Point and waited and cheered for teams as they ran in. We got to Cotter Dam at about 7:30AM where eggs and bacon and pancakes were being cooked for us and we bundled up in jackets and sleeping bags and screamed our heads off any time any division of any team made their way to the finish line. We had a live band play for each Burgmann Division that ran in and definitely had the most spirit of any college out there!
Through cold, sunshine, and even rain, we stood out there until all the Burgmann teams made it across the finish line (thankfully everyone was in by 3PM). Although it was a long day for everyone, especially the runners, it was great to cheer on everyone that made the great journey of Inward Bound, not to mention all the good food and good company!
I haven’t done much traveling since classes started because I’ve been busy with projects and assignments, but I have spent a lot of time getting to know the great city of Canberra including visiting all the embassies and admiring the architecture of each country (and of course loving to US Embassy).
After finishing the first half of the semester last week, we now get a two week break where I will be going to Sydney for a few days with some friends and then I will fly over to Perth to visit my cousins and aunt and uncle for Easter. Homesickness hasn’t hit very much for me because of the great support system Burgmann provides and although I miss my friends and family and my dog, I am really enjoying my time here and wouldn’t wish it any other way.
I love it so much here that I am officially extending my stay in Australia to do more traveling for an extra month over the UT summer break. The food is great, the accents are awesome (and still a little confusing), the university is terrific, Burgmann is fantastic, the people and my friends are superb, and I can’t wait to see what Australia has to offer for these last few months!