ENgLIST editor shares her daily experiences at her university in Slovenia

Karin Petko

ENgLIST Editor-in-Chief

I know, I know, you have probably just fallen asleep and you have just forgotten about your worries and started dreaming about something wonderful, yet I am bothering you with my morning routine already

Well, it is not my fault – let’s rightly put the blame on the time difference. So, bear with me. 

Sweet dreams to you, and good morning to me. Waking up comes first and apart from staying awake at occasionally boring lectures, it is the hardest part of the day. The rest is pretty easy, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, dressing up, taking the bus or riding my bike to the faculty (college department).

Speaking of which . . . here’s the thing about our faculty: it is too small for the many subjects it offers. Therefore, the lectures are spread through the entire day.

Scan this code, or click the link to watch a video tour of the Faculty of the Arts at the University of Ljubljana.

Some study programs turn the students into early birds, the others into night owls. I must have been born under the lucky star, since one of my studies usually starts before the sun rises and the other finishes way after the moon takes over.

OK, I admit that I might be exaggerating, but just a little bit. Anyway, there are usually big empty slots between the lectures – some are so big that students can actually return home for a few hours if they are from Ljubljana, while others spend time in libraries, cafeterias and restaurants. One such little coffee and snack place is a part of our faculty – surrounded by lecture rooms, but also with its very own little garden. 

Did you know we have a thing called student coupons that make the food much cheaper and sometimes even free? It sounds awesome, right? The government finances a part of it and it makes students’ lifes a whole lot easier. 

Anyhow, after the first couple of lectures, it is lunch time! Bon Appetit to me and good morning to you, my dear Trojans! While on the other side of the pond you are making your last turns in bed, shutting off the annoying alarm clock and trying to get up, here we are already merrily eating our lunches. And while we are eating a very cheap but delicious meal, let me tell you something more about our faculty. 

The Faculty of Arts is a part of the University of Ljubljana and its different faculties are scattered throughout the entire city — quite different than what you are used to, right?

Anyways, then the second part of the lectures starts, and some students even go to work. Well, some work in the morning, others in the afternoon, a few not at all. But most of us try to take up at least one job to make our college experience easier. 

Some of our lectures happen in enormous lecture halls, while some are more private and only consist of up to a dozen students. I personally prefer these since they are more practical and usually also more inclusive. However, there are some perks to huge lecture rooms and countless students – chatting with your neighbors is much easier.

After a long day at the faculty, we return home, either to the dorms, rented rooms, apartments or real homes – depends on where you are originally from. You see, Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, but even though our country is considered small, a lot of us have to stay in Ljubljana during the week when the lectures take place, but we return home for the weekend. It would mean too much driving to do it daily.

However, this is completely different now that the virus has changed how we live. All that I have described so far is thus a lie. This is how life of a student at the University of Ljubljana used to look like, but now we stay home all the time and wake up for lectures that are held online via Zoom.

We pray that the professor will not ask us to turn on the cameras while happily crunching our breakfast in our pajamas. If the day allows it, there is an unavoidable nap between the lectures – oh, but the bed is so close, and it is loudly demanding attention. 

When you, dear reader, are just waking up, we are cooking lunch while once again hoping that we won’t have to turn on our cameras. But to be honest, we have gotten used to seeing each other with spatulas in our hands, smoke around our heads and flour on our faces.

One of the perks of staying home and Zooming your lectures is that the entire family can join in, even the four-legged furry friends. Trust me, I have never gotten to meet so many of my colleagues’ families. Or invited so many of them into my room for that matter, but that is the topic for another article. Now, let’s return to our ex-normal for a short time. 

It’s evening here. I bet you are eating your lunch now, huh? Well, I am slowly preparing to go to bed and being a diligent student: I am doing my homework, projects, studying . . . OK, you caught me red-handed, again. Books are awesome, and so are movies. As for the schoolwork? It will be done some time during the night or in-between lectures. This is one of the things that the quarantine has not changed – as it is appropriate for the students, we tend to keep up the last-minute standard and late hours. 

Still, even during the quarantine, we try to make an extra euro with a student job. Those of us in the pedagogical branch tutor and teach online. Let’s just say that we all try and – somehow – we manage. The same goes for sports and other healthy activities, where the opportunities are much more numbered than usual, but we still make sure to get some air, take a walk and sweat a little bit, so that the reason for it is not merely studying.

Well, I am now fast asleep. You? I bet you are eating your evening snack. Enjoy, but please do not eat it so loudly, some of us are trying to sleep here. 

Thank you, that’s better. Now, I am off to my dreams, and I promise that I will not wake you up again when you try to fall asleep, and I will already be snoozing – except if you decide so. 

The words are always here, you know, even when the world has shut itself out. And even when there should be no touching and no closeness, the words can do both: touch your heart and come close to you even in isolation.

This article was provided by our new international collaborator – the ENgLIST – in Slovenia. To read the companion piece from the Tropolitan, click here

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