Monday, May 17, 2010

Welcome to the Club

Today was a good day, though I am still a little tired from London. My day started with my last ENS class, which was probably the best one yet! We finished up the discussion on the literary language, then did a recap of everything we talked about in the course, tied everything together, and made tons of comments that I found hilarious. For example, they said they were "modest" about certain aspects and probably could have explained more. Honestly, I don't think they could have gone much more in depth about anything, considering they talked about everything under the sun that has to do with literature, and all that with only two hours a week for one semester! Needless to say, I'm pretty upset it's over, and that I'm not doing the validation. It would be interesting - maybe, for the big French paper I've elected to write next year, I'll write about literary history!

After class, I met up with Justine. I think I've changed my mind about the concours here - sure, it's nice to know that everything is just based on one test and that you'll never apply to a school and not know why you did or didn't get in, but I think it turns really smart students into nervous wrecks. Seriously, Justine seemed so stressed. She said basically every day she just reads and reads and reads, studies a little more, has something to eat, then reads some more. Her written exams (the seven hour disserations) are over, so all she has left are orals, which means she gives mock orals basically every day and she said they're intense. Plus, she said if you don't do well on the concours, you can't be a professor, can't get a doctorate in France, and are just out of luck. So, even though it's nice that the process is somewhat objective (as objective as a philosophy concours can be, I suppose), it might just be a little too tiring. Now wonder they get paid to be students there! On another, somewhat related note: what is wrong with those Hannah Montana-dancing pompom ENS students? How do they have time to waste with that when they have concours for which they need to study?

Anyway, Justine wanted to speak English since she apparently hasn't since she left the US, and I don't think she'll ever speak English with me again after today. Apparently, I speak to fast and she hears too slowly. I would say something, she'd give me a blank stare, and then she'd say: "I'm sorry. I did not understand anything you just said." She told me about a new ice cream place I need to try on Rue de Bac, but I was too full to go there afterwards (considering I had two crepes!), so I just went to Pont Neuf and took notes for an hour and a half.

I figured I'd write this now, since I'm planning on studying for my literature in-class assignment that's tomorrow tonight, though I don't exactly know how since the class doesn't make a lot of sense. Then, tonight when I want a break, I'll upload pictures from London (that is, if I get around to uploading them).

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