First of all, I want to thank you guys for all the encouraging emails and comments I’ve gotten since I posted last. Thank you so, so much. I am so blessed to have friends like you all!
Things are going a bit better at the moment, sort of. Good-ish news: It turns out that we won’t be retaking the Strukturdynamik exam in June; we have decided/been advised to wait until the official retake in August. That takes off some of the pressure right now and gives me more time to prepare for that 4-hour monster exam. Bad news: Professors at VT and TUD encouraged us to take the August exam instead of the June exam because they thought there was no way on Earth that we’d be ready for the June exam. We were told that our bad test scores were either the result of us not studying properly (I have never studied harder for an exam in my life, darnit!) or because Virginia Tech didn’t teach us the necessary prerequisite material. Um, thanks for the boost to my self-esteem, guys. And my home-university school spirit. Really. Makes me feel so good about myself and my ability to learn and my education in general. </irony> Virginia Tech really is a good engineering university, and I was honestly pretty insulted. But expressing that won’t help me now.
Pushing the exam off until August just takes off that stress now and spreads it over the entire semester. That exam will be the last one I take at TUD, so long as my current exam schedule doesn’t change. There aren’t any lectures for that class going on this semester (not that they would help, though; that professor talked very fast and was very hard to understand), but it was mentioned that the department might be able to find a German student who did well in the class to help tutor us. I hope so, but I can’t count on it.
I keep wondering why I decided it was a good idea to do a long-term study abroad in which I took technical classes in another language. I’m still wondering that, and I’m regretting not just taking a single semester to go abroad and take some fluff electives and travel all over Europe. I would still have gotten the cultural experience without having to stress over taking senior-level engineering classes in German. I’m doing my best to learn the necessary material here, but I’m sure some things are getting lost in translation, and that scares me. (Dear potential future employers and grad school advisors: if I am behind on any subject due to having taken the class here at TUD instead of taking the class at VT in English, please do not pass me over. I am willing to work hard to catch up.) I’ve learned a lot of things here, some of which are academic- and engineering-related, but most of which are more adaptability-related. I may not fully understand all of the systems and bureaucracy in place at this university, but I’ve figured out how to survive, and that’s worth something, right?
Or I think I’ve figured out how to survive. My remaining 3-ish months at this university will show whether that’s actually the case. And then I’ll be going home sometime in mid-August. I’ll definitely need the time off.