M1 update #2

Just thought it was a good time for another update on my Master’s program.

Sorbonne library

Sorbonne library

I’ve seen a huge difference between the fall and spring semesters in my ability to comprehend what’s going on. Unfortunately, it takes me awhile to settle in to something, especially when a foreign language is involved. I wish I could adapt more quickly but that’s just how I am. Anyways, it’s a huge stress relief to finally feel like I’m on top of things. The classes themselves have been lighter this semester than the first, so that might help too. We also had SO much vacation – about three weeks off total between February and May, plus we didn’t even have many classes in January.

My new study environment!

The terrasse of my apartment

As an étrangère, I did feel a little bit behind in certain areas. Now I realize that once you are enrolled, you are allowed to take classes in the L3 level (quick breakdown of French university levels – L1, 2 and 3 are 3 years of a license degree that is equivalent to our Bachelor’s degree, M1 and 2 are 2 years of a master’s degree equivalent to our master’s degree, and then you can continue on to do doctorate work). If I could start over, I would have taken some sort of writing class or something to help me get my head in the French academic space. Too late for me, but if anyone reading this is interested in a Master’s in France, I highly recommend you take as many extra classes as possible!

Clignancourt library

Clignancourt library

Knowing I wasn’t guaranteed acceptance next year gave me even more motivation to do well in the M1, but it also has been stressing me out a ton this year. Added to that stress is the knowledge that I am a less appealing candidate for other M2 programs because I haven’t completed a mémoire (thesis) in the M1. After getting to know my classmates better, I’ve made the validating discovery that most of them agree with the complaints I mentioned in the last update, but above all for the concours to enter into the M2. Our professor randomly decided (without consulting the other faculty, according to gossip) to remove our mémoire and replace it with an insultingly dull database project. He ignored our protests at the beginning of the program, so we had no choice but to complete the Master’s in the manner he set it up. Now as we get nearer to the concours date, everyone is beginning to panic that if we aren’t accepted into the M2 here, we’re screwed. I’m just going to do my best to present a compelling research proposition (the way to “win” the concours) and go from there. With fingers crossed. If I don’t get in, quelle honte (the shame)!

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