Travel Journal #14 – Late Night Breakfast

Finals week at Centre College has never been a dull experience for me. There was that time in my first year at Centre, where intermittently throughout my studying, I’d notice a young fellow who would only wear fuzzy leopard-print sweatpants. He wore them everywhere—in the Campus Center, in the Quad, even in Sutcliffe—all week long. This time last year, I distinctly remember thinking I was going to die from finals, when in actuality I caught the flu (get your flu shots people!). I missed my last final that semester (Chinese, ironically enough) and had to come back to campus to take it a week later. However, one thing that I never fully appreciated until today, while knee deep in internet research sludge, was how much support I got in my last two years of finals. Sure, they were hell but at least my professors were a frantic email or office visit away. There’s no safety net here, and I’m really just guessing what all of my professors want from me. Having no real parameters for final papers is not as freeing an experience as I’d like it to be.
Chinese poetry competition
Don’t get me wrong—Tongji University professors are very kind and are quite knowledgeable in their respective subjects. Nevertheless, communicating that knowledge is often tricky when you don’t speak the same language. It’s not uncommon for a professor to stumble over a complicated term or pronunciation, but all in all this problem has been manageable. What’s frustrating is not knowing what’s expected from professors without a syllabus or even the knowledge of who is going to be grading my assignment. Usually I’m playing a guessing game of what is appropriate for each professor, and I’m not always successful.
What I miss the most from Centre is the personal relationship that I’ve had with my professors. Even when I was tearing out my hair trying to write a paper, I knew that if I took my paper to my professor they would help me organize my thoughts. Essays and exams, while not always graded quickly, were always graded by the same person. And if I have nothing else at the end of the day, there’s always the healing power of professors serving us a late night breakfast during finals week.
 
by Morgan Whitehead ’15, currently participating in the Centre-in-China study abroad program. Learn more about study abroad in China.
 
PHOTOS: A girl playing in Century Park (top of page); Claire and I in our costumes for a Chinese poetry reading competition (above right).

By |2013-12-10T10:48:09+00:00December 10th, 2013|News, Study Abroad, Travel Journals - China|