Traditionally my January has been filled with anxiety driven thoughts of the unfortunately placed mid-year exams that are cruelly brought upon my lazy person. I am always impressed with my ability to procrastinate over Christmas and the New Year, whether that be having ‘one’ pint at Falmer Bar for a much-needed revision break, or eating three Co-Op Meal Deals whilst rounding off-season two of ‘Orange is the New Black’. With only two episodes left I must finish it because you know, symmetry. Then BAM, it is one week until my first exam and I have an existential experience, my eyes dilate and I realize that in seven meager days something bigger than me will occur in the sports centre hall. Panic ensues.
But not this year. I am currently undergoing my year abroad in Chicago and I have already completed my finals and received my results. This difference in schedules has given me clarity and whilst all my friends back in Brighton are losing chunks of hair over deadlines, I am able to focus on resolutions. Yay for me, unlucky for you.
Currently Chicago’s temperature is barely reaching higher than -8 degrees celsius and I am constantly trying to figure out ways of warming my face as I walk through the streets. Searching for balaclavas on the internet, I happened to find some bargains but I have been warned against this due to constant condensation. The battle is real. The weather will not stop me achieve my “see more of the city” resolution however and I have become more acquainted with the beautiful city of Chicago (in the purely tourist sense for this month however). I have ticked a good lot of ‘Chicago-ey’ things off my list – but one of my favorites had to be visiting the ‘Art Institute Chicago’. I had heard good things and I was aware that it ranked very high in the best museums in the world. This definitely showed with the amount of collections that were on show. I got to see American Gothic, Nighthawks, The Old Guitarist, The Bedroom ( my favorite van Gogh) but my favorite had to be Monet. What some may deem dull, I defiantly found calming – especially in the bustling city of Chicago.
I also happened to visit Garfield Park Conservatory which was described as ‘one of the largest and most stunning conservatories in the nation’. I had to go. One of the things I do miss about Sussex Uni, is the abundance of nature. I took for granted the unusually large amount of rabbits and the rolling hills held on campus. Garfield Park was beautiful and well-timed for my soot-covered skin from the city and I welcomed a bit of sanctuary akin to what Sussex campus holds everyday.
Orla Keenan is a third year Law with American Studies student currently on a Year Abroad programme at Roosevelt University in Chicago