Andrew B. Spr05

Argh. I’m not good with subject lines. Anyway, I handed in one of my bigger papers today: 2500 words, roughly equivalent to 9 pages double-spaced, for Psychotherapies and Counselling. I’m not done for this week, either; I have a presentation on Thursday for my Aboriginal Religions and Other Australian Spiritualities class. It seems everyone has some assignment due this week. I’m rather glad that I didn’t try out for Theater Restaurant, the dinner theater that my college is putting on. It is this weekend and after burning myself out sophomore year, I didn’t quite want to experience it again, thanks.

I suppose now is as good of a time as any to mention classes. I’m taking two Psych courses and two Religion courses. The Religion courses are… meh. The Spirituality of the Mystics course would normally be interesting, and it is, but being in there for two hours just makes it seem to drag on longer than it should. It may just be the material, too; all philosophy, with little room for discussion in order to get through all of it. We’ve talked about mysticism throughout the ages: shamanism, Kabbalah, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christian mysticism, Sufism (we’ll be touching that soon, actually), etc. It’s interesting because I’m interested in it, but I know some people with less interest don’t really care for it.

The other Religion course is Aboriginal Religions and Other Australian Spiritualities. *takes a deep breath* The first half of the semester, we talked about Aboriginal beliefs– the Dreaming, “clever people,” sacred spaces, men’s business and women’s business, etc. Now we’re talking about how different aspects of Australian life could be seen as a manifestation of spirituality. It’s mostly interesting, being a non-Australian, but I sometimes feel like the subject matter is even more vague than Mysticism class. And considering how vague mysticism is… That’s pretty strange. Anyway, my presentation needs to be on how the New Age movement has de-emphasized the reverence for heroes in Australian culture.

Ironically, you would think that I would have had a tougher time adjusting to my much larger Psychology classes (one is a lecture consisting of 240 students), but really, I enjoy them more. The Psychological Problems of Adolescence class is very interesting, and I get quite a bit out of the lectures. The tutorials– our small groups– are also interesting. When we talked about bullying and life at school, we watched clips from Heathers and Mean Girls, which worked well to re-emphasize the lectures. My other Psych class, though smaller, is also not that bad. Considering how it’s Psychotherapies and Counselling and I plan on becoming a clinical psychologist, learning about different techniques and everything is definitely useful.

Forgive the boring post, but I suppose I should get the Possibly Interesting to Some People info out first, then the fun stuff later. I’m going to the beach this weekend, so hopefully things don’t get too interesting (i.e., getting stung by jellyfish, seeing someone get carried away by a rip, and all those other lovely things that make Australia so endearingly deadly). Cheers!

I figured that it would be a good idea to have a blog to talk about my general thoughts about Australia and the adventures I’ve had so far, so here I am.

To be perfectly candid, I am definitely going to miss it here. There are things that I miss about home (in decreasing order of intensity: friends & family, buffalo chicken pizza, Dr. Pepper), but I can envision myself leaving on June 26th with a substantial amount of people having to half-drag, half-carry me and my luggage into the airport. Yes, Australia is that good. It’s a nice “break” from life in Pennsylvania, which was starting to get a little too cold and dreary for me. Believe it or not, coming here was the first time I was on an airplane.

Have I changed since leaving? Even though change is often so subtle and few people recognize it until others point it out… yes. For starters, I’ve started jogging/running at night, which is giving me more energy, building up my endurance, and just making me feel good over all. I never did so in the States, because I felt this prominent “being stared at” feeling that seems absent here. Plus, there’s a walking path that starts right in front of my college (yes, we stay at “colleges” here), so that’s always a plus. I’ve also noticed how quickly I adaptable I am, physically and emotionally, from long-distance travelling and getting used to new cultures.

Relationships are a little slower for me. I have trust problems, difficulties opening up to people, but I’ve still managed to meet a lot of different individuals from different backgrounds: Americans, Aussies, Mexicans, a guy from Chile, a guy from Singapore, a girl from New Zealand… The list goes on. I think I’ve done very well, considering my past anxieties about relating to people. The Dickinson group is phenomenal. Seriously, without sugar-coating anything. We have a nice group here, and I’m glad that I have become friends with people I don’t think I would have ever met on campus. Being here has definitely allowed me to become more outgoing and not only learn more about other people I didn’t understand/know before hand, but also show that I’m more than just a quiet observer. I can DANCE, too. I’m learning more about myself, inside and out, and also about the world around me.

I should conclude this now before I start to ramble, but I’m really thankful for this opportunity to just talk about my general thoughts, feelings, etc. about being in Australia. Photos from both Australia (Brisbane and Sydney pics) and New Zealand (North Island) are here, in case any one is interested. Cheers!