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A New York Sabbatical

28 April, 2011


Let’s pick up the pace, let’s shake the blues away, let’s make the parties longer, let’s make the skirts shorter and shorter, let’s make the music hotter, let’s all go to hell in a fast car, and keep. it. hot!

With the days to the Christmas break counting down, and the pace of semester rapidly dissolving into a steaming mess of exams, you would think that it would be time to hunker down in the libraries, and try and recover my grades from the cliff edge of an otherwise well enjoyed semester. And that’s what I would be doing if I were back home, desperately calculating what points I had conceded, and the grades I could still make (usually based on unreasonable expectations of final exams).

Being on exchange, however, with most students on a Pass/Fail regiment, offers the opportunity to take a different approach to studies. In the exchange paradigm, a two day break in between exams can be seen as an opportunity to broaden one’s horizons, to gain a deeper understanding of subject matter, instead of being bound to the desk.
At least that’s the half-baked rationale I used to justify a mid exam period sabbatical to New York, when visiting friends and an apparent airline price war presented an entirely justifiable opportunity to explore the greatest city on earth, instead of writing an urban geography essay in my room.

Skipping out of my Saturday-afternoon political geography exam, I made my way outta town, and was knocking on my friend’s apartment by 8. That night was great, catching up with some good friends from Sydney, heading up the Empire State for the view at night, and then off to a NYU house party, the host of whom my friends had ingratiated themselves with the night before.

The next day was much more cultured, and since there’s nothing modest about New York, I see no reason why I can’t boast: brunch with the Sunday New York Times, a trip to the Guggenheim, a show that evening followed by a trip to a Jazz club. Needless to say I had a great time, as suggested by my shameless quoting from Chicago above.

Waking up on Monday, show toons in my head and already smug from the success of my trip, I checked my email to find that my lecturer had unilaterally extended to Wednesday the deadline for my six page essay, which I had unreasonably decided could be written that night. Spring in step, I headed to the airport, only to find that my flight was overweight, and the airline would have to compensate me much more than I ever paid in credits – it seems lightening does indeed strike twice!

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