Full grown students

INTRODUCING….Brenna, Seattle, Washington!

I work in a corporate office with your typical multi-level management structure. It provides quite a lot of security, and a lot of room for growth if you want it, but I find it to be far less glamorous than all you ladies’ well-traveled lives.

With this very rigid hierarchy comes not only comfort and opportunity, but a lot of challenges (for me.) I am really extroverted and a compulsive “yes” person when asked to do something, so I am constantly finding myself stressed and sometimes over worked. The lesson to learn here is to say no things that do not serve me.

I was once blessed/cursed with a boss who knows far more about technology (I work in IT) than I ever will know or will ever care to know. This is a somewhat a-typical situation in my company because a lot of managers don’t have a lot of technical skills. This might (and I stress, might) sound like a good thing, but have you ever tried to learn anything from someone who ‘knows everything’? I felt like nothing I did would ever be exactly right or exactly good enough because I know and he knows that he could have done it better himself. I wouldn’t call him arrogant, but he does have a way of unintentionally making his employees feel stupid.

What I learned from him is that I can’t learn from him. I learned that I need to work with/for someone that is happy to teach and share and take the time to do those things. Working for someone who has a “if I want it done right, I have to do it myself” attitude was proving to be endlessly exhausting. I want a boss who is a coach and a mentor, and someone is also willing to learn from me, instead of assuming they’ve already learned it all.

Thankfully, otherwise, my work life was rich with positive influence. One of my lovelies in particular is not only an amazing mentor, but also my carpool buddy and friend. She teaches me every day that being a strong, motivated female in IT is an opportunity and not a curse –  she reminds me why I wanted to enter this field, and what I love about my job. She has taught me to ask for what I want, and adjust my own life around other instead of expecting certain people to change. I do want to continue learning and growing, and I need to be around people who support that.

Clare, Clermont-Ferrand, France

The adult student:
Hannah has gone back to being a student as I’ve just stopped being one. I also turned 26 this year, which is a double whammy on the reduction front. I keep on walking into museums or buying train tickets waiting to say ‘and I’m a student’ or ‘I’m under 26’ but my mouth opens and nothing comes out. And then I begrudgingly pay more. Yes, I am a post student miser – though in my defence I’ve been paying reduced rates for some institutions for nearly all my life (free for under 5’s, half price until 16, 16-25 discount, student rates…).
The weird thing is, I feel more like a student that I did before. Yes, I now have to wear proper clothes rather than pyjamas, tidy my desk rather than live in walls of precariously stacked books, and fill out an insane amount of adult bureaucracy, but the learning curve has been so, so steep it reminds me of becoming a student again after I had a year out. Then I googled ‘how to write an introduction’ now I’m googling ‘how to fill out X form’, ‘how to apply for Y’, ‘how to replace a pipe filter’, ‘why is my fridge making this noise?’…
I moved to France and having lived here before, as a child and a student mind, I thought, ‘yeah, there will be a bit of admin, but it’ll be OK…’. How wrong I was. The most important thing I’ve learned is asking for help. Over the first six months out of the student cocoon I have had to deal with: a repeatedly broken boiler, plumping issues, furniture that fell apart, an international move, a long-distance relationship, an incredibly confusing tax system (like no one mentioned you still get taxed on your ‘net’ salary until a friend told me), xenophobic officials, the whole starting work thing, office arguments, bereavement, German bureaucracy gets a whole mention on its own, wedding organisation… Yes I had to deal with some of these when I was a student but facing them as an ‘adult’ seemed much more daunting and I thought I ought to know all of this, or be able to do it myself. How wrong I was. It is only because of the help of the welcoming people around me, and learning to ask for it, that I have managed. I still find it hard, it’s putting yourself on the line, showing you don’t know something, but your dishwasher will at least work.

Kirsten, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Maintenant, je suis une étudiante du français. Donc, je vais essayer d’écrire ce blog poste en français.IMG_20170105_174314584 (2)


J’aime apprendre.

Mais pas dans une école.

Lorsque je suis allée à l’université, je n’ai pas su comment d’apprendre vraiment. Jusqu’à ce temps-la, j’ai su juste comment de faire du bon marks. Mes professors excellents du lycée m’ont montré que l’histoire du monde, l’anglais, et économiques étaient très intéressante et utile. Ils m’ont donné quelques moments de érudition inspiré. Cependant, je n’ai pas encore su comment d’apprendre de la joie pur et de la curiosité d’envie savoir en plus à propos un sujet que m’inspire.

Qu’est ce que la raison pour investir tous de votre temps dans quelque chose?

Pour moi, il faut que je fais ce que j’adore.

Entre parenthèse*, quand il est un mec super (pas chelou ou laid, je préfère, hehe), j’investe vraiment tous mon temps dans ce mec. Malheureusement, ce façon n’est pas souvent bon pour ma santé ou dignité. (Hein! Il n’y a pas moi, tout le monde a ses défauts.)

Retournons maintenant au sujet principal…J’adore d’apprendre le français, cuisiner, et essayer de devenir une mieux personne.

D’abord, le français est une langue que j’adore naturellement. Pensez sur un homme ou une femme qui dès que vous l’êtes recontré, vous l’êtes tombé en amoureux aussitôt. Pour le français et moi, c’est comme ça. Je suis, sans honte, une Francophile, complètement. Maintenant, j’apprends à l’Alliance Française à Addis Ababa. (Oui, tu m’as écouté en Afrique mes gars!) Mais, avant que, j’etudiais avec moi-même, et franchement, c’était mieux. Bien sûr, il y a d’avantages pour l’éducation structurée. En obstant, je dirais que j’apprends mieux sans beaucoup de guidance.

Venons-y à la cuisine. Je peux passer tout la journée dans la cuisine – essayer des nouvelles recettes, experimenter avec l’equilibrium des goûts différents, cuisiner pour ceux qui j’aime. Quand j’apprends une chose nouveau, ce n’est pas d’érudition, c’est de découverte. Je voudrais devenir un chef dans mon propre restaurant à l’avenir. Bah ouais, c’est une rêve, mais je chasse ma rêve maintenant.

Et finalement, c’est l’érudition d’être morale, ou un bon être humain. Je suis chrétienne, et pour moi, j’apprends comment on doit vivre de ma religion. C’est très important pour mon croissance et intégrité. Quel est le raison de vivre si je n’essaie pas d’être un version mieux de moi-même? Cependant, il reste encore beaucoup de autres points du vue que j’ai besoin d’entendre. J’ai envie d’apprendre des tous. Mais, bien sûr, pas dans l’école.

*Pardon moi pour le vocabulaires ennuyeux, j’entraîne pour le DELF B2 maintenant.

Hannah, Paris, France

My contribution to this section was almost going to be just one sentence : It’s hard.

Without getting into the gritty details, and in an effort to be emotionally and academically productive, I have decided to give you the top 10 list of things that are getting me through, not necessarily in order of importance.

  1. Laughing (that sometimes turns into crying).
  2. The people that care about me near and far and who put up with listening to, analyzing, encouraging, and giving perspective to all my challenges. My family. My lover. Friends here and elsewhere. Les copinoux de ma promo. The darlings of floor 2 at the FEU. You know who you are and I repeat – YOU GET ME THROUGH. Thank you.
  3. Endless cups of tea accompanied by biscuits and often tiny chocolate bunnies provided by Mambi.
  4. More recently, travelling to beautiful places and eating phenomenal food and reminding myself that life is bigger than this 60 page mémoire.
  5. The knowledge that this degree is a privilege, that my life is not in peril and that I have access to a vast network of resources that so many others do not.
  6. Power naps that turn into comas.
  7. My vibrator.
  8. Yoga and its ability to remind me to sometimes put my feet in the air because it does the body good.
  9. The man that makes crepes right outside my residence hall and who lets me order as many as I want without judgement when I have no mind to cook.
  10. Pure conviction, combined with stubbornness with a dash of idealism and a healthy dose of hope that I will come out of this will greater skills to serve people.

There’s your general rundown for the time being. Even this blog is helping me get out of the paper-writing headspace. It’s amazing how allowing yourself to create and to be organic can release the baddies.

That being said, if you see me and I look like a zombie woman, don’t be alarmed. I am feeding myself and bathing semi-regularly. Vive la fin de l’année!IMG_20170409_153326697



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