Photo on 30-04-14 at 13.30 #2

sweater: W&LT by Walter Van Beirendonck found via eBay, shirt: it just magically showed up in my closet?, jacket: second hand, skirt: hand-made, knock-off dr. martens: second hand, earrings: gift
Still IMMENSELY overwhelmed by school; I’ve already dropped two courses in the beginning fo the semester and I might drop more to focus completely on the most difficult courses. However there’s this one seemingly easy one that I feel I can get through by my previously gathered knowledge thanks to being an art theory nerd & having been in art school and thus followed a lot of art courses but knowing university it’s gonna bite me in the butt and laugh at me so IDK. Either way current focus is the three most difficult courses for which I have to memorize over a thousand (I think it’s nearing 3000??) pages and many more images. Hahah OOOPS. Here’s how Belgian uni’s work: you get school for 2 semesters (each 12 weeks), usually there are little or no assignments and you have to memorize everything at the end of it. It seems to me US schools have a lot more assignments that count for your end score, that’s so appealing to me! It makes so much more sense! It gives you so much more motivation to continually keep wokring whereas our system kinda motivates you to party a lot (or, like me, bingeing on TV shows & playing video games) and ultimately freak out over the amount you have to study when all your partying is done. But then again, reading Americanah (gorgeous, just like Half of a Yellow Sun my heart literally broke and I had to take time to put my emotions together phew), US courses also seem unchallenging with a lot of discussion time? Of course the latter is what I’m trying to convince myself because of course it sounds awesome despite for the fact that you probably have to listen to some terrible opinions. This discussion system would NOT work in Belgian; everytime a prof asks a question the entire auditorium lapses into the most uncomfortable silence you can imagine. Ultimately, only the people from The Netherlands answer. Bless you Netherlanders for disguising our well-rooted shame to speak up. Bless.

(A side note: in Americanah I also read that US people don’t use sponges to shower? Is this true? Not even a loofah? How do you shower/live??)

One of these days I truly am going to compile a list of all the amazing tips I have received about studying. But for now I am giving a shoutout to Anki a digital flashcard system; it gives me a sense of purpose and it kinda feels like a fun game to me. It feels very rewarding to correctly answer and click ‘good’. Yay!

Aaaand on another note!! I totes forgot to link to this really cool interview with me by I Shape Beauty. Please do check out their blog I love their projects so much!


  • Discussion-based systems in American courses really depend on the professor and the subject. I’ve taken courses at a couple different universities and am currently a matriculated student at a private liberal arts one– my average class size is about 15 people. Discussion tends to come up more in theory courses (gender studies and literature from my experience) and actually isn’t that bad– I find it really helped with my ability to speak in front of people, form my own opinions, and made me really understand what we were studying. I’m currently a sciences student, though, and that is all lecture based with very little dicussion. Discussion is only useful in really small classes, though, in my opinion/experience. Logistically it just doesn’t work in big lecture halls.

    Also I guess the sponge thing is relative to the person? Haha, some do some don’t.

    • Thatnk you for the info! I am always so curious how other educational systems work! It’s different from school to school & even more so from country to country! Discussions sounds very interesting for gender, philosophy etc. and Belgian students could really use a practice in speaking up sheesh. Hopefully some of these kinds of classes come up later in my uni career!

      Haha I thought so! The sponge thing rly cracked me up in Americanah! The protaginist said something like how the US thinks itself so cultured yet they don’t use sponges??? A light-hearted motif that shows how ridiculous it is to label others as barbaric~

  • Haha, I’m American, just graduated from university a few years ago. It’s always interesting how other education systems work. I took a lot of literature courses and the discussion component was always my favorite thing. Usually we had lecture with the professor, and then a graduate student led discussion in smaller groups of 15-20. I’ve followed this blog for a while now. Can I ask what you’re studying?

    Regarding sponges, I’ve heard from a lot of (American) people that shower loofahs are full of bacteria. But I use one anyway. But if the sponge you’re talking about is the sponge I’m thinking about (a kitchen sponge), I’ve never even heard of someone using one to shower. 😛

    • Aaah in that way it sounds really interesting! I WANT IT TO BE PART OF MY UNI. But I think that kinda stuff only happens later on, and maybe only w/ literature students only? I SHALL SEE. (I’m defnitely taking a minor in literature later on!)

      And I study art history, but it’s called “art sciences” bc there’s more of a focus on researching art as a medium than there is on history, I think.

      Haha I’ve heard that loofahs carry bacteria as well and I use one anyway but I think this whole thing comes from germaphobic media and I doubt there’s much harmful truth in it~ and there’s so many different kinds of sponges though!!

  • as an art history major I had to chime in…. but before I go off, greeting from los angeles california!!! love your blog because you are deep and you write alot. I appreciate your thoughts and your style Elaine.

    what do you mean in Europe your major, art science, is used as a medium, please elaborate. also what is your emphasis?? (just curious)

    and no in america we use cats to bathe….OF course we use loofahs and sponges! some use towels or their tongues too! wow! I do personally use any thing… my hands and soap will do, if its really bad towel… god I love showers, Imma have one after I type this cuz its 32C here today ugh!!!!!

    darling I think you are fantastic! stop the insecurities! you are fabulous! believe it!!! find what works for you, and learn to pace yourself and breathe!!! school is not that hard, the real world is! wait until you get into the work force, now that’s where the fuckery begins! This is your time to enjoy yourself and find your passions and run with it! just don’t forget to breathe! ( I wish someone would have told me this years ago, BREATHE!) ::rainbow::

    • Well, the reason I came to study is because I was unemployed for over a year and had a really hard time in general so I know what the real world is thanks. I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety all my life and because of my previous hard year I think I am channeling all of that anxiety onto my studies. I really wish I could just get over my insecurities, because intellectually I KNOW I can do this but emotionally I feel like this is my last shot at life and it’s kind of slipping from me. And damn, school is hard though is doesn’t matter if Real Life might be harder, there is a ridiculous amount of pressure upon us here and a lot of students are suffering under it. I’d rather say Real Life can be just as hard but has a different focus of hardness. I just want this degree so I can have a 9-5 job and not have to feel this pressure & intense financial insecurty 24/7. And yes, this degree will make a difference I was unemployed & searching & seeing many job offers slip pass by me because of a lack of a degree.

      I mean that we study art “an sich” rather than the history of art. I mean I think that’s the point of the study anyway but it’s not VERY different though!

      You use cats for bathing? I hope the cats are okay with that~ Americans are really THE WORST. J/K I love your enthusiasm for bathing haha

  • omg ok hi i’m an american studying in the UK right now and the system here sounds a bit like the one in belgium. it’s the WORST, tbqh!! professors just talk @ you & they don’t create opportunities for you to engage with the subject matter.

    i just turned in my final papers/am taking my final exams, and i’m completely overwhelmed and how have idea how i’m gonna do in my classes; it all feels really arbitrary and stilted, like i didn’t have to show up to class that much in the first place, and i just feel really removed from my professors and the material and the process of learning in general?? which sucks.

    i go to a big public university in the US so it’s not like i’m used to a lot of personal attention, but we still have discussions and they are usually valuable (and definitely more interesting than stodgy lecturers!!). and we have assignments thru-out the semester so you have many opportunities to change your grade (and incentive to keep up with the readings). sry to rant, i’m feeling really upset about it!! best of luck w your studies, i’m rooting for you. x

    • YEP that sounds about the same!! On one hand I kinda like that it’s so anonymous but on the other it’s stifness can be super demotivating. Eeeeek I hope you do well!! It’s a lot of pressure & HUGE workload to put on a student! Good luck I’m rooting 4 u too!!! ::thumbsup:: WE CAN DO THIS!! ::yay!!::

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