How to drop out of University

Hello there. 

It’s been a while since I have written a blog post and that’s because a lot has been going on. Since I have written my last post, my boyfriend has come to visit, which included us going to see a play and Bohemian Rhapsody, I booked another flight to visit my family back home, took that trip back home (which is also where the beautiful photo of the Scottish coast comes from haha) and ultimately, two weeks ago, decided to leave university after the first semester. While my time here has also taught me a lot and I have also made many good memories, this is going to be a very sad post, explaining why I’m leaving so if you’re not into sadness, I advise you to leave haha.

Since I have talked about and been obsessed with going to Uni in Scotland for like the past two years, leaving after only 3 months was a really difficult decision to make. But my mental health has gone to complete shit during my time at uni here, which has to do with the location of the campus, the scottish weather and lots of small reasons. One particularly bad night, I went through my journal entries from the last few weeks and I realized that at least every other day or so, I was so sad about being at QMU. I couldn’t even be happy about going home because no matter how long I would be at home, I always had to come back and that was such a horrible thought for me. So, I made the decision to take care of my mental health and leave. I don’t really see it as dropping out, because I do plan on starting Uni in Austria in September, so to me it feels more like taking a gap year/semester. However, officially, what I’m doing is considered dropping out and it’s been super stressful to get everything sorted so here are some of my top tips for how to do it: 

  • Be 100% sure you want to leave. I know this is annoying to hear but if you’re just having a bad day, dropping out might not be the best decision and a lot of issues can be fixed. However, if you know that you want to leave and are certain about that, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 
  • Talk to someone from your Uni, like your Tutor or the school office. This is not because they’ll convince you to stay but because dropping out isn’t just you stopping to go to Uni, it actually includes paperwork and documents and you’ll probably need some help with that. 
  • Think about accommodation. I live in Halls and in order to finish the first semester, I had to find another student to take over my room so I wouldn’t have to pay for a year’s rent even though I would only be there for half of it. Don’t leave this until the last minute. As soon as you know that you want to leave Uni, look into how to get out of accommodation without spending huge sums of money. 
  • If you receive funding (e.g. from SAAS) let them know as soon as possible and find out if you have to (and are able to!) pay them back. 
  • Have a plan. I do not yet have a plan for the 9 months between I leave QMU and start studying again in Vienna, but I know that I will start Uni in September again. Leaving without having a single idea of what you want to/can do after can and probably will leave you feeling confused and like a failure sooner or later. You’re not a failure if you leave uni, but you have to do something else (sorry if i sound like your mom right now). 
  • If you can’t/don’t want to take everything (like pots, pans etc.) home with you, try to find someone to take them so you won’t have to throw your stuff away. 

I’ve not even left yet but the past week has been the happiest week I have had while being here, simply because I know I will leave this all behind soon. Sometimes you have to put your own health and happiness before an academic career. 

Sophie 🙂 

 

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Bonfire night

One of the things I’d been looking forward to the most when coming to the UK was taking part in “typically UK“ events. On the 5th of November, this finally came true when I went to see the Bonfire night Fireworks in Musselburgh. 

The day already started off very well when I went to a vintage clothing sale at the University of Edinburgh (which is NOT my University) with my friend Rebecca. I’ve been to thrift shops/sales a couple of times but had never found as much stuff as I did that day. Also, everything I got was relatively cheap, which was really nice. The sale took place at Teviot Row House which is absolutely gorgeous and every occasion that gives me an excuse to head into the city makes me happy tbh. 

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We met up with two more friends at our Student’s accommodation lounge in the evening. After getting a cup of warm hot chocolate, a big group of students headed out to Musselburgh to see the Firework display there. The fireworks were obviously planned and organized and even though the start was delayed, what we saw once the “show“ started made up for all the waiting. The fireworks were such a spectacular sight and they lasted for ages. After a dinner consisting of some french fries, we all headed back home again and honestly, experiencing a tradition I had only heard of at school before with my friends by my side was such a special experience that I will remember forever. 

(Yes, I know that sounded really cheesy. Sorry.)

Sophie 🙂 

The easiest, quickest vegetable soup

I don’t know about you, but when it gets colder I crave warm comfort foods and one of my favorites is soup. Now I know, soup can sound like a very boring meal, but trust me, the one I’m about to introduce to you is not.
It’s the first meal I ever made-up myself and I’m honestly kind of shocked at how well it turned out. This soup has been one of my staple meals for the least few weeks because it’s really easy to make and it’s a perfect food to put into the fridge overnight and warm up and quickly enjoy in your way-too-short lunch break or after a lunch-time lecture.

Ingredients:
1/2 can of Canned Tomatoes
One big (or a couple of small) potato(es)
Red Lentils
One small/Half a big can of sweet corn
One small/Half a big can of kidney beans
Whatever other vegetables you want to add (the sky is the limit haha)
Salt
Seasoning (I use an Italian Seasoning mix from Sainsbury’s)

Recipe:
Bear in mind that I’m not really exact with measuring stuff, which results in the soup turning out a bit different each time. You might want to experiment with measuring ingredients etc. to find out what your favorite “style“ is.

  1. Peel and chop up your potatoes. Cutting them into small pieces makes more sense in a soup and will ensure that they only take a short time to be ready.
  2. Put the potato pieces into a pot and cover in red lentils. How many you want to use is up to you, but be aware that they grow during the boiling process.
  3. Add water and boil the whole thing for about 10-15 minutes (depending on how long the potatoes take).
  4. Once the potatoes and lentils are both soft and kind of soupy, add all the other ingredients, and let the whole thing boil or simmer some more (how long depends on how thick you want the soup to be).
  5. Serve 🙂

 

As I said before, this meal makes the perfect leftover, as it (in my opinion) tastes even better after one night in the fridge, so make sure to save some for the next day.
I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I have been recently 🙂

Sophie

A trip home

Last Friday, I went home to Austria for the first time after spending 5 weeks in Scotland and spent a really nice but very exhausting weekend with my friends and family.
My journey started on the 12th of October. After arriving at the airport way too early because I was paranoid about missing my flight, I spent two hours reading pretty much every book description in the local WHSmith. Our boarding was a little delayed, but after a relatively short flight, we landed punctually in Vienna. My dad picked me up at the airport and after a quite emotional reunion (there were tears haha) we hurried to the car so I could get to my old school’s prom in time. In Austria, you can pretty much go to any prom you want and I figured that attending my old school’s one would be the best opportunity to see EVERYONE again. After a quick stop at McDonalds, I finally arrived at the location of the dance at about 9:15 pm. I quickly got changed in the car (which proved to be very challenging) and then reunited with my boyfriend, my friends and some of my old teachers. I had so much fun talking to and dancing with everybody.

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After a relatively small amount of sleep, I woke up on Saturday, ready to go to my grandma’s house and catch up with her and my grandpa. This little reunion felt way too short, but I had to go back home after an hour. After an amazing lunch consisting of falafel and mash (no matter how hard i try, my mashed potatoes will never be as good as my the ones my parents make), I finally got to watch the season 3 premiere of Riverdale. My mom and I have spent the past two seasons almost religiously watching a new episode every Thursday and so I could never watch it without her. Doing something as simple and trivial as watching TV with my mom honestly felt so nice and it was wonderful to have something so „normal“ happen during that very busy weekend.


In the evening, Flo and I first headed to my other grandma’s place to have some soup (which once again was AMAZING) and she surprised us by having prepared mango and muffins in addition to the soup. After stuffing our faces, we then headed to a comedy show. Flo really likes the youtube videos created by this Austrian guy called Peter Klien, which usually feature him asking funny and scandalous questions to politicians. So when I found out that Peter Klien was going to have a live show near us on the weekend I was home, I just had to get Flo some tickets. I really enjoyed the show, but a lot of regular viewers of the youtube channel, including Flo, felt a bit underwhelmed since a lot of the content of the evening were videos which had been up online for ages. However, I feel like the entire audience certainly had at least a few laughs and in general, the evening was very enjoyable.
Afterwards, I felt really tired so we went to Flo’s place in the city he’s studying in. I had never seen it fully furnished, and I have to say I absolutely LOVE it. It feels like an actual home compared to my room in student accommodation which can feel kinda like a hostel haha.
On Sunday, we had to get up relatively early to go back to my house, where I cried (a lot). Flo was such a good companion in the situation though and made me laugh and managed to cheer me up a little. After saying our goodbyes, I finished packing up my stuff and headed to the car to drive to Munich with my parents. The two and a half hour car ride there was honestly really fun and we even got to the airport early enough to have lunch together at an Italian restaurant.

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However, saying goodbye to my parents was really emotional again and after going through security (and turning back millions of times to see my mom and dad one last time) I pretty much ran to the next toilet and locked myself in there, crying for like 10 minutes.
The entire journey back to uni was like that time at the airport: periods of feeling fine intertwined with periods of actually crying in public haha. But other than that first night, I’m pretty impressed with myself for how well I am coping with being back in Edinburgh. I don’t feel as homesick and lonely as I thought I would and honestly, I have been fine. So let’s hope it stays that way for the next 8 weeks until I go home for christmas 🙂

Sophie

An eventful week

Flo’s visit marked 14 days until I go home for a weekend and even though that’s a pretty short time, by the time he left I felt lonelier and more homesick than ever, which is why I was really lucky because the following week was pretty eventful and distracting. On Monday, I did not have any classes but kept busy by doing laundry, some reading and attending a meeting by the Christian Union in the evening. I grew up in a catholic household but over the years have stopped going to church and engaging with christianity. However, I have struggled a lot with mental health over the years and thought that maybe reconnecting with my faith could give me some tools to help with that (I’m also going to counseling here so I’m really trying a few different options in order to get better). We did some bible study, connecting certain passages to everyday life at Uni and that was honestly a really interesting a nice experience and I can’t wait to go to the next meeting on Monday!
On Tuesday, I attended the Musical Theatre Society meeting like every week. Even though I’m still way too anxious to sing myself, I really enjoy watching everyone else perform and getting to know more musicals in the process.
When I woke up on Wednesday, I was not feeling too great. I have been feeling a little under the weather for a few weeks now but on Wednesday I woke up with the worst headache and just an overall „feverish“ feeling. I still attended my classes though and in the evening even went to see „Twelfth night“ at the Lyceum in Edinburgh, which is such a stunning building. We got to the theatre pretty early so I got some cake from Starbucks as a pre-show treat. The play was really well-made and interesting. If you can, go see it and don’t let yourself by scared away be the fact it’s Shakespeare. The actors really did a fantastic job and even if you don’t understand every word of the old play, you’ll get the gist of it and it’s really fun to watch! Unfortunately, I started feeling a lot worse during the second half of the show, which is why I couldn’t really enjoy that as much as the first part. After an exhausting bus journey home, I fell asleep pretty much immediately as my head hit the pillow.

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When I woke up on Thursday, I felt even worse than the day before and even had a light fever. Once again, I pulled through though and went to classes and a screening. I had planned to go grocery shopping with my friend Kari in the afternoon, but in my state it just wasn’t possible, so I asked her if she could get me some bread from the store. When she showed up to my room after her grocery trip, I couldn’t believe my eyes. She had gone out of her way to make me feel better and got me a „Fresher’s Flu Starter Pack“ which included tea, pastilles and tissues. Feeling ill had once again awoken my homesickness so having someone here who cared this much about me made me feel so much better!

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Another life-saver on that day was some soup that i made on Wednesday and just had to warm up on Thursday. I guess that soup is the first thing I’ve ever cooked completely without a recipe but it’s so easy to make and really tasty so maybe I’ll share my „recipe“ in one of the upcoming blog posts. (It also tastes a lot better than it looks in the picture haha).

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Fortunately, after lots of rest and naps, I felt a lot better on Friday already and got to go food shopping myself, which was desperately needed as my fridge was pretty much empty at this point haha.
As I’m writing this, it’s Saturday afternoon and I’ve been doing Uni work and cleaning my room for the entire day. In the evening, I’ll head to the theatre once again to see a play called Arctic Oil and then tomorrow I get to see my all time favorite film on the big screen and I’m SO excited. But that’s all material for a different blog post, so see you then 🙂

Sophie

A visit from home

The hardest part about leaving Austria was leaving my boyfriend and for the first two weeks, I’d cry pretty much every time I thought of him because I just missed him so much. So, it’s safe to say we both struggled a lot. When I first came to Scotland, I thought we wouldn’t see each other for 6 weeks but pretty spontaneously, Flo decided to rescue the relationship and fly out to see me for 2 days at the end of October, cutting those 6 weeks into a 4/2 ratio. He arrived on Thursday afternoon and left again in the early morning hours of Saturday and even though that sounds like a pretty short time, it made me the happiest girl alive. On Thursday, I had a lecture and a screening (of the Grand Budapest Hotel, which i LOVE) and I knew Flo had landed during the film. So once the credits were starting, I essentially ran across campus to prepare a quick salad for lunch and then headed down to the train station to pick him up. I almost had a heart attack when I saw it drive into the station and when I looked across the (actually surprisingly big) group of people who got off at the stop. After an actually kind of awkward but still very emotional greeting, we went to my room, where we spent the entire evening just talking and watching the new Shane Dawson video. Flo actually went to sleep really quickly (but who can blame him after a day of getting up early and traveling to a different country) and i really tried to sleep too, but ended up just scrolling through social media for about an hour haha. I know this is gonna sound so cheesy but even just doing mundane things like that feels so much better when Flo’s with me. On Friday, we went Grocery Shopping (where I took advantage of having a strong companion to carry my stuff) and after my only seminar for the day, we headed off to the city. We took a quick trip to the beach (more or less, it was actually kind of a canal, but stunning nonetheless) and saw a lot of Edinburgh during the bus ride there.

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We then had dinner at „Illegal Jack’s“ where they make really good burritos (although the portions were a bit too big for me haha). After that, we pretty much immediately hopped on the bus again to go to Flo’s hotel (which was located near the airport). We stopped at a Morrison’s for some breakfast for the next day before finally crashing into the hotel bed and watching British TV/being on our phones for a while before falling asleep.

The next morning, we got up at 4am in order to get a taxi to the airport when Flo realized that he had forgotten his laptop at my room at the University. Since he is a student himself, his laptop is really important to him and sending it to Austria would have been super expensive, so the best (/only) option was to go back to my room and get it. So after a 1-hour journey across Edinburgh, we finally arrived at the airport a bit later than expected but still in time for Flo to catch his flight.
Of course I cried when we said goodbye to each other, but the fact that at this point it was already less than two weeks until we’d see each other again made me feel better. I then took an Airlink bus to Waverley bridge and from there, hopped onto another bus which took me back to University. In all honesty, this journey back home was miserable. It was cold, dark and I was very confused about what bus to take. In the end, I figured it out though and finally fell into my bed at half past seven and went straight to sleep.
For me, my homesickness always is worst in the hours/days that follow seeing people from home, so for the rest of Saturday, I tried to keep as busy as possible. I went grocery shopping with a friend, did some homework, skype-called my parents and spent my evening playing Monopoly and Jenga with some friends.


Getting to go to University in a different country is a opportunity I am lucky to have and has already taught me a lot about myself and the world around me. However, it’s also the hardest thing I have ever done. But there are so many more thoughts I have about that, so maybe that will be a different blog post in the future.
As of right now, I’m just trying to make the most of the situation and I’m just gonna have to wait and see what the future holds 🙂

Sophie

 

Freshers’ Week 2018: Part 2

I’m writing this on a Sunday, the official end of Freshers’ Week and to be 100% honest, the past few days have not been too great. I’m still pretty homesick but I still attended a couple events from Wednesday to today, so here we go, this is a recap of the second half of Freshers’. Unfortunately, I did not really take a lot of pictures during that time, sooo… sorry about that haha.
So on Wednesday, the 12th of September, I had my first course induction events, which was really exciting. I essentially spent my entire afternoon at Uni, attending Welcome Talks and getting my photo taken for my Student I.D.. After going to a workshop on how to get a part-time job in the UK, I headed back to the flat and my flatmates and me attempted to make Pancakes. However, we all still have not 100% figured out the stove and therefore, we ended up with one edible pancake and a big amount of burnt dough. I hate throwing away food, so I felt horrible about the whole thing but we really tried our best.
I headed to bed relatively early, since I had to be at the National Museum of Scotland at 10 am the next day. After a belated and therefore pretty stressful bus-ride, we arrived at the meeting point a couple of minutes too late, but there were quite a few people who got there after us, so it was fine.
Our lecturers were hanging out around the huge museum and we were split up into groups and had to try to find all the lecturers while exploring the building and the different exhibitions. However, at lunch time, something (or someone haha) set off the fire alarm and so everyone had to evacuate the building. After standing outside in the cold for a while, we were told to go and have some lunch and sure enough, the people were only allowed back in after about an hour and a half, so sitting in front of a nice café and having some food was certainly a good decision. We spent the afternoon back in the museum in a seminar room, doing some exercises in small groups, which was actually really nice and a quite relaxed way to end the day.

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After a quick trip to Sainsbury’s, I jumped on the train and headed back to Campus, where I got to Skype with my family. I know there are different opinions on homesickness and whether skyping helps or just makes it worse, but for me, it was definitely a good idea. I was just so excitedto talk to my parents instead of texting them and having to hang up in the end was quite sad.

The next morning, I got up pretty early again to first head to a Library Workshop (where we learnt how to look up books, journal articles etc. in the library), followed by a Theatre-themed workshop. This was by far my favorite thing I did this week. We once again split up into smaller groups and then had to create a short play in like an hour, using some pictures that our Workshop leader printed out as inspiration. This exercise was SO fun and the first time I really felt like I had made the right choice coming here and choosing this course.

Friday was also the day my boyfriend returned from his vacation in Italy and the first time we would be able to facetime again in like 5 days, which might not seem like a lot, but it felt like an eternity.
So of course, I was determined to stay awake until he was home. I had quite a long time to kill in the evening, so I went to the Accommodation lounge and ended up watching the movie „Knocked Up“ with another International student. I had such a good time and it felt almost like sitting at home in my living room. After the movie had finished, it was time to go back to my room and finally see Flo again. We ended up facetiming for 3 hours, which left me tired but ready to go to sleep happily.
My weekend has not been all too busy so far. I talked to my grandparents, posted a letter and went to a free brunch hosted by the ResLife Team. The only thing I really have planned for today is to finally do some laundry, so the rest of the day I will probably use to relax and prepare for my first lectures on Tuesday. I’m actually really excited about finally learning and being busy and hopefully a little less homesick.

Sophie