Some thoughts on Going Home

Apology

I’m sorry that the volume of my posts has decreased somewhat since the new year. I’d like to say that I’ve been busy, but the truth is that I’ve not been busy at all. I haven’t been busy doing the things I should be doing: revising, packing, general house keeping to be ready to leave Sweden on Sunday. At least, not doing them enough as I possibly should be doing.

Feeling Down

The time I’ve spent not being busy has been spent instead trying to understand why I feel so depressed about leaving. I’m certain it’s not because of the weather, nor the dark that’s doing it. I’m pretty sure it’s because of leaving my new friends, and the realisation that I am going to need to begin to try and fit back into the life I had back in Southampton.

It sort of feels like I’ve done everything I’ve come to Sweden to do, while at the same time feeling like there’s so much I should have done. I can’t name the things I feel I’ve missed out on, nor the things I feel like I’ve achieved… It’s just a feeling.

I’m pretty much just going through the motions of daily life at the moment with no real drive to do anything.

The Exam

The exam I’m revising for holds no real intrigue for me, so motivating myself to feel interested in it is extremely difficult. There is another complication that occurred with the registration process which has changed my indifference towards the subject to a pretty intense dislike for its existence.

Long story short: I forgot to register for the exam on time – my fault. However, LiU’s exam registration system doesn’t allow for you to register late, nor does it allow for your name to be put on the list of ‘unregistered candidates’ until the day of the exam. Even though I brought this problem to the attention of my lecturers and the International Office of LiTH a week in advance of the exam. There isn’t even a way that they could make an exception for the fact I’m going to be leaving Sweden, and therefore won’t be able to re-sit if I am refused entry to the exam room (as a result of this experience, I think I can say with confidence that the UK is better at bureaucracy than Sweden).

Don’t get me wrong, the lectures made the material interesting, but it wouldn’t have been my first choice of subject to take a course in.

Bringing things into focus

Preparation for the exam has brought into focus some of the bad things about being on an exchange, especially on a technical course.

I’ve not been able to learn more about aerodynamics, fluid flow and propulsion systems; the things I’m really interested in. This is because of two main reasons: either I’d already covered the material at home, or the course required a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate study. In addition, I’m going to be faced with an individual project to complete in a more limited time period. I knew this was going to happen, of course, but the reality is rearing its ugly head above the horizon.

Most of all, though, it’s throwing into sharp relief the thing that I’d always known about this exchange, but never really acknowledged before: I didn’t really feel intellectually stimulated while I was here. There were challenging courses, and the teaching has been very good, but when it was a course about something I was interested in, it wasn’t new stuff, and when it was a course about something I’m not interested in, there was no amount of good teaching that would make me interested.

In fact, the only courses that I thoroughly enjoyed were my language courses. This was because they were both challenging and fun! The fact that I could instantly take what I learned into the world and try it out helped enormously.

Why am I feeling down, then

So, having just acknowledged that I’m not entirely happy with the exchange, I find myself thinking this: Why am I so down about leaving? Surely I should be jumping for joy at the prospect of going back and doing a project on a gas turbine engine and attending lectures on Wing Aerodynamics.

To an extent, I am looking forward to that. Just writing it down has made me feel better about going back.

I think that, all things considered, the main reason I’m feeling a little down is that I’m worried about going back. I’m worried I won’t fit back in with my course, my friends and my life in the UK. I know that it will be fine, or at least I hope it will. But it has been a feeling I’ve had for a little while now, and it’s getting more and more intense as my departure date comes closer.

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