English Grammar

Its the end of Week 2 at school. Tutorials started this week so it was the first time meeting up with all my tutors and group members.

All my tutors are women.

It was just something that got my attention. Nope, no hot tutors. I’m not saying they are ugly but they’re normal people. All doing PhD. Some attached, one just gave birth.

Having a hot one would be an incentive though. I’m just saying.

We have to attend 9 out of 11 tutorials, about 80%. Anything less than that will be considered as absent. And it means I might be failed or suspended or kicked out.

Not a nice thing to think of, especially with a AUS$13,000 per semester fee hanging over my head.

Yeah, AUS$13,000. 20% of Sydney U funds come from us, the international students. I’m pissed that there are no grants, fee helps or scholarships. Even if there are scholarships provided, I’ll either have to be on the dean list or one of the top students. Don’t even get me started on transport concessions.

All I can say that international students get screwed left, right, front, back, top and bottom. I should have went to Aberdeen instead of coming here. Sure, the cost of living might be higher in Scotland, but I can say that there’ll be probably more financial help in UK compared to Sydney.

But what can I say? After all, I’m part of the AUS$15 billion education industry. I’m just a fucking product.

My only option now is to grit and bear it. Study the shit out. Party the shit out. Drink the shit out. Okay, not so much on the last two, probably more on the first, lest my dad decides to withdraw from his $100,000 ‘investment’.

So to increase my dad’s ‘investment’, I turned up for every single tutorial. There were four, one for each subjects. The first tutorial of the week was Psych. Pretty easy tutorial, mostly just talking about the introductory material and introducing ourselves to each other. Second was English (the film and fiction one). Pretty easy tutorial too, just introducing ourselves, citing our favourite movie (I mentioned American History X, to impress the shit out of everyone. And yes, I watched the movie twice) and our favourite novel (mentioned Life of Pi even though I’ve only read 10 pages).

Third tutorial was World Politics. Same thing, basically just introducing ourselves and then on to yabbing about the  theory of realism. My group was mostly girls and all of them were discussing passionately about international relations while the four guys (me and three others) just sat there like stone. We made non-committal remarks and just left it there.

But the last tutorial, English (Text and Language) was a killer. For this subject, we were studying about the structure of the English language, something like linguistic but not quite. For this week, we were studying English Grammar. Now, of all things, I suck, suck, suck at English Grammar. Countless of of my essays were marked by English teachers, stating I had excellent vocabulary, great writing skills, great this, great that, BUT horrible, terrible grammar.

I mix up my past tense, present tense, future tense, past continous tense and what not. I still can’t tell the differences from a pronoun and noun, adverb and verb, adjectives and what not and et cetera.

Well, our tutor made us pair up and made us go through a paragraph to hunt for all the pronouns and nouns. Thank God I did a bit of reading the night before, so I roughly knew what pronouns and nouns were. The whole tutor group went silent while we went through the passage, looking for the said pronouns and nouns. After 5 minutes of doing that, we went over our work with our partners.

Then, right there, in front of my partner, I made myself look like a total idiot.

First, she had those startlingly, misty gray eyes. Now, misty, gray eyes usually transform me into a blubbering idiot because all I can do is to stare at them dreamingly.

And that was what I did. Stared at her for 30 seconds, which was like eternity when she asked me whether this particular word was a noun. And the whole time she was looking at me with a puzzled look, wondering why I was not answering her.

The second time was when I actually told her that the world “white” and “straight” are pronouns. She gave me another puzzled look and said: “Really? I thought they were adjectives.” I shut up and didn’t offered anymore opinions.

Really, FML. It seems like I have to start studying and reading more again.

Most of the class contributed to the discussion about English Grammar while I just sat there like a block of stone. Oh FML.

Seriously, these people are fucking geniuses. The worse thing? They don’t look like it. That’s what I hate. They don’t look like a geniuses until they open their mouth. First, you underestimate them. Or you think that they are like you, average. Then you get screwed by them. God…..

But they are nice people, really. I remember the particular conversation I had with my partner during the English Grammar tutorial, which went like this:

Me: “Did you do this week readings?”

Her: “No. Did you?”

Me: “Nope, neither did I.”

Then we both smiled at each other, comforted in the fact that we both didn’t prepare for the tutorial. Of course, that illusion was shattered when I realized that even if my partner didn’t do any readings, she was still smarter than me. And her English Grammar could kicked the shit out of me.

Hmm, maybe she did do the readings. Maybe she was just trying to make me feel better. Or maybe she paid attention during lectures.

Crap, I need to start paying attention instead of zoning out all the time.

P.S. I’m still a bit freaked out by last night nightmare and keep expecting a MINDEF e-mail to pop up in my inbox, telling me to report back to Singapore.

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