It’s been a busy week. I’ve been wearing three hats and just keeping them all on at once is a bit much.
A lost kid at camp hat
The first hat has been attempting to settle in. Things like getting various cards, buying groceries and figuring out where the libraries are.
Getting a bank was far and away the hardest. I have no idea why they make it so difficult here. All I had to do in Denmark was show up with my registration card. They didn’t care how precisely my name was spelled and I didn’t feel like they wanted any reason to deny me the bank account.
Here there are two documents. Banks want one or the other. The bank letter generated by our accommodation was only accepted at some of them, mostly near campus. I picked one and decided to go early. I managed to be second in line at 9:20. It was twenty-five deep by 10:00 when the bank opened. When we were let in they only had two people processing students. After carefully examining my form it seemed that my letter was missing one of my middle names. This early bird was going to get no worm. They kindly directed me to an office where I could correct my name to which I was like I have things to do I can’t be at your bank an hour before opening again.
I had another document in the bag so I took it to another bank that wouldn’t have taken the first. I pulled it out and they said it was alright. I’d have to wait for a bit because only one person was opening student accounts and he’d gone on break. (Note for bank managers: you may wish to have a few extra staff members scheduled to open student accounts during welcome week. Or not. Wherever we go there will be lots of waiting.) I sat sipping a coffee hoping that at some point that morning I would have a bank account. Things were calmer here and they seemed nicer. I chatted with another girl who was waiting. After a while I was called over, they looked over my documents and agreed to store my money. This was the last of my settling in tasks and I could begin to just be a happy student.
I describe this as being a lost kid at camp partially because it is the least stylish and cool of all the hats. You have no choice but to deal with these things even if you don’t want to. You also feel lost at times while trying to navigate all the red tape.
The second was being a social creature. I wanted to take in as many of the Welcome Week events as I could. I’ve moved around enough to know that friends don’t just magically happen like they did in school. It’s actually quite difficult to make good friends, especially when you only have a year. As in most things in my life I’m trying to play the quantity game: if I got to lots of events some of the people I meet may stick. A lot of this small talk (Canada, Urban Design, has tried haggis, didn’t like it) will be a wasted formality. Like many hostel friends before them they’re fun for a bit and I’ll never see them again. The hope is that some of them especially those who I live in the same housing as may also wish to become friends with me.
On the bright side I have some good roommates who I can at least spend lazy afternoons watching quiz shows and sports with while drinking tea. My program is small and will be much more closely knit than my enormous undergraduate class.
I am in a joint program, which seems a lot simpler on the website describing how wonderful it is, than it is in actual reality. The calendars for the two unis don’t match up this year so I had to start classes a week before everyone else. Instead of eating as much free pizza as possible and going to events I had to spend twelve hours in classes. This also means that readings and assignments will hit earlier for us than for everyone else (on the other end of things I get a week for travel).
Right now it feels like a lot to be doing. The three hats are a lot. I should be going out and socializing tonight but instead I feel like taking it easy. I also seem to have a cold. (My family will make fun of me for this and I am reluctant to admit this publicly. Apparently I have a reputation for somehow always having a cold or some sort of other minor ailment. They should be nicer to me.) Maybe it’s just how the cookie crumbles or my strange sleeping patterns or maybe it’s the stress of having too much on the go.
Other than the stress both of doing too many things and generally settling into a new place I have had a fun week. I feel welcomed (that is the point of a Welcome Week). They’ve done a good job of establishing a sense of community and generally giving people an idea of what’s happening. Over the coming weeks I’ll be able to develop a routine and things will be less busy. In Copenhagen there wasn’t much of a welcome and it took quite a while for me to settle in. This has been much nicer.