Week 1 of online studying: Year 4

I have about 3 hours of ‘live’ online classes per week now, which encourage slow living – slow studying, slow working, (slow internet) and slow reflections over anything I do. Really. Sitting at home with gloomy weather outside favours contemplation, and going down the auto-reflection and self-doubt valley. Might as well make the most of it and turn it into a blog post.

It is also a great opportunity to document the last year of my undergraduate study in Edinburgh, and put some nice pictures in here. At one point in the future I will look back at them and reminisce the good old cloudy days in Scotland’s capital. I’m feeling sentimental about it already; but I shan’t, because I need to focus on my assessments. Nevertheless, here’s how my first week of online learning went. (Treat it as some sort of auto-ethnography).

This could be my last autumn in Edinburgh. Above: the Main Library, and orange leaves.
This library saw me at my worst, but also at my best. I guess I can say we’re best friends.

On Monday, I had an in-person PT meeting. It felt like the first real Edinburgh moment in months. My PT is one of the best people I know, and I’m so grateful for him. After the meeting I treated myself to a hazelnut flat white from North Bridge Pret and sat in Hunter Square for a bit.

At 1pm I met Robin and we went over to Gilmore Place, a very nice row house near the Canal, to pick up £50 worth of books that I bought from a recent architecture graduate. One of the best deals I’ve made at uni. I’ll inevitably sell a large chunk of these books, but for now they’ll serve me well.

One day, I treated myself to a full Sunday roast from the throwaway section at Scotmid. I completed the meal with lettuce and Scottish blend milky tea. Even my friend from Yorkshire said this dinner looked impressive.

On Tuesday I had my first lectures of the semester. They started at 10am, so before class I popped into Pret and got some coffee. Both sessions were just introductions to the courses, but they were informative enough. Then I managed to describe my dissertation topic in 11 emojis. At 7pm I took part in an online quiz night organised by my friends, it was good fun.

My favourite view of Bruntsfield Links: when it’s sunny but it’s also cloudy, and the sky is intense navy but the grass is bright green and the clouds are sort of white but also dark grey and shadows are long and trees have leaves and it’s just a glorious yet unlikely combination of colours and shapes.

On Wednesday I only had class at 2pm, so around 11am I went to the Zero Waste Hub to pick up some groceries. I also bought a great book for £1, it’s about photography criticism (the basics, for students, accessible enough for me). The workshop was good, although I did not (and still don’t) want to take this class, but I couldn’t swap because the other one has a waiting list (so unfair, long story, but I was originally supposed to go on the better one). I don’t remember what I did for the rest of the day; I hope I studied.

This is how our flat kitchen looked like before Alicia came to pick up her plants – total jungle!

On Thursday I have no recollection what I did; I’m assuming I did research, and that kind of stuff. I know in the evening I attended a webinar on the history of architectural photography, which was alright, though I didn’t learn an overwhelming amount from it. I also remember that during that webinar we had to exit the building because of a fire alarm, allegedly it was someone’s incense that set it off. Another proof why incense is evil and shouldn’t be used.

Some really nice artwork from a paintings shop in Morningside Road, depicting St Cyrus beach – exactly the one I went to the weekend before!

On Friday, I watched the pre-recorded lecture for architectural history, being all sad that it wasn’t a real lecture in Elliott Room in Minto House. I was also sad I couldn’t sit with a Costa cup in the A&A Library and reading hardback books, getting knowledge off of actual PAPER. In the evening I watched a webinar with Filip Springer and afterwards, a talk by a PhD student about her sociology research on AirBnB in Edinburgh. I also chatted for a bit with my AoL partner, we were brainstorming (with difficulty) ideas for our group project.

Pond at Inverleith Park, and the skyline of Edinburgh in the background. (Spot the Castle, Arthur’s Seat, and the Balmoral).

On Saturday, I picked up my fuel (coffee, that is) from the Pret in Princes Street, alongside with a delicious, warm, buttery pain au raisins (putting money in Pret so they can put hot coffee in my belly) and set off on what turned out to be a good 4-hour walk. I veered off the main path and ended up going all the way to Inverleith Park and the Scottish Modern Art Museums (didn’t go inside, obviously). I came across a free book library in the street and borrowed “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. It got me hooked from the first sentence I read.

I spent the rest of the weekend mostly at home. I made some content.

Some giant thistles I spotted in Stockbridge, outside an old people’s care home. Never seen such humongous ones anywhere else!

And today, well, I planned to get up early in the morning and write this all down, but I’m writing it down at 8pm, just before I come around to interviewing my friend for one of my courses. I took the photo of the Castle, that you can see below. The weather was consistently cloudy and depressing, although we had highlights of sun and some drizzle around 4pm, when I left for Pret. Also: I started the day with first, a hot, milky Scottish blend tea, and then an iced caramel latte from the Castle Street Pret. Then I stood in Princes Street and watched people walk by, and then I sat outside Sheraton Hotel and thought about depressing things and life and sad things and looked at the nice autumnal trees. I listened to my Daily Mix from Spotify, which was just spot on, perfect for today. Spotify? More like SProphetify.

“Mornings are for coffee and contemplation”. Both could be done in a city graveyard.

Stay tuned for week 2 of online learning as a fourth year student in Edinburgh.

Published by kotersey

Graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a First in geography, and from the University of Brighton with a Master's in history of design and material culture. Probably drinking iced coffee and thinking about buildings.

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