In September 2013 I could never have imagined the trials and tribulations that I would have overcome by the time I had had my final ever lecture. I’m sat in the airport lounge; somewhere I’ve spent quite a lot of time in my three years living in Paris. I’m reflecting on the things I’ve learnt and what university in Paris has taught me. My time in Paris as a student has not what you would call an easy few years but I can say that it has been both informative and life-changing. In this post I’m going to detail some important life lessons that I’ve learnt in the past three years, some silly and some serious, as I move towards the final furlong that is final year exams.
1. Always carry plasters, Werthers Originals and tissues in your handbag. This comes from my time spent with the two girls I used to look after but also from the itinerant babysitting I’ve done since then. Bribing small children has never been so easy when you hold in your power the thing they crave the most – sugar. Or at least the thing they are forbidden the most! The tissues come in awfully handy too either for friends crying in nightclub toilets but for when the inevitable child is sick on the plane back to Liverpool with unexpected turbulence.
2. Self-care is one of the most important activities of the day. A lesson I’ve sometimes struggled with myself but there is hardly anything more demoralising than pulling all-nighters on essays, skipping breakfast because you’ve over slept or having to turn up to uni in some old-baggy jumper because everything else needs washing. Making sure that I spend at least a day once a week getting all of my personal admin sorted has revolutionised my mood. As soon as I started keeping a mug at uni and herbal tea bags in my rucksack I started to feel a lot calmer and more focussed making my everyday life a lot easier.
3. Sometimes pain au chocolat, red wine and Pringles can function as a meal. Not healthy whatsoever even though there are benefits of drinking a good Bordeaux every now and again this tip is more for when in the classic student style you have nothing in the cupboards apart from some mouldy cheese and some experimental spices for your Persian cooking phase so instead you have to rush to a corner shop before it closes and grab whatever is closest to hand. France doesn’t have Sunday trading which is both a delight and a chore so you have to be prepared for your unexpected cravings or happy to settle with an eclectic meal from the shelves of a shop that can smell your desperation a mile off.
4. Buy a Moleskine diary. This has been something that has changed my life completely. When I started working I realised that those little calendars you get on your smartphones aren’t nearly capable of containing all of the information that you need to keep your work schedule and social life on track. There is something about my Moleskine diary that evokes the charm of a bustling coffee shop where people are busy writing screenplays or at least I hope it makes me look that cool and quirky as well as organised.
My exams will all be finished in just under two months. I’ve already expressed how excited I am to enter the big wide world and I am sure I will look back on my university years with nostalgia. More lessons will definitely be learnt but this blog shall continue to document the everyday life of this Anglo-Parisian endeavouring to be more native than the natives every day.