This is Me

Looking out on the Danube by Francesca Bonafin January 2016

You know those times during the first few weeks at school or university? You’ve turned up to one of your many classes and the first thing the teacher wants is for the class to go around the room, one-by-one, to introduce themselves and also tell everyone a “fun fact”? Well, try doing that in Germany, in a German class, full of native Germans… having to speak in German. I thought I had felt fear before, but those other occasions were nothing in comparison to this extremely painful experience. It felt like judgement day. I was there, representing Britain, showing that we can be so much more than our stereotype: the classic Brit abroad shouting slowly and loudly at a poor bewildered local; “WHERE.. IS.. THE.. STATION?” I don’t know why it is so hard for us to comprehend that no matter how much we elongate the syllables, it makes just as much sense as if a monolingual German were to shout at us “ WO.. IST.. DER.. BAHNHOF?” We can do languages, I was going to prove it.

I think it’s safe to say that even though I managed to stutter out some nervous German, it certainly wasn’t the big kafuffle that I had built it up to be. It’s a little hazy, but I think I quickly introduced myself and told everyone I was an Erasmus student from England before directing attention to the next person before my inflamed cheeks became to obvious. I survived that encounter, everything was going to be ok. Nevertheless, it makes me wonder why teachers and lecturers decide that this awkward self presentation is a good idea. I don’t know if perhaps the nervous awkwardness characteristic of the bumbling British person just naturally becomes a part of us in these situations, or if it is just me. I do, however, know for certain that any “fun fact” that I may have about myself quickly dissipates when faced with a room of my peers, let alone a class full of very very competent German students.

I think, just in general, I find it quite hard to describe myself. I don’t really spend any of the hours throughout the day thinking about me. I know, I’m just such as saint. But honestly, what am I like? Who am I? These are quite difficult questions I think because personality traits and attributes are quite subjective. I certainly know what I want to be like, and what I think I’m like, but is this the case? It is difficult to describe what you are like and often difficult to find the words. I’m just me; I work hard, I like sport, I have a few too many items of clothing and I guess I have a bit of a mad sense of humour. And just like that I’ve started to paint a picture of who I am. Not too difficult after all. It seems that this is how you go about describing yourself; take little pieces of what makes you, you and slowly start to form this overall understanding of a human being.

So I am a 4th year student at the University of Kent. I am roughly 5”4 with brown curly hair and brown eyes that are usually surrounded by black glasses. Appearance-wise, I would say fairly hourglassy/curved frame, with a slightly keen butt, and averaging on UK size 8/10. I also have tiny feet and hands which I have been told are “creepy”, jolly good. I’ve played netball since I was 10, and continue to play for the Uni as well as going to the gym. I love going on hikes which was re affirmed when I spent my year abroad in Freiburg, Germany, in the heart of the black forrest. I’m afraid, since my year abroad, I have become one of those cringe people that “learnt so much about themselves” on their year out. Since then, I have gained an increased work ethic, a proud independence and a heightened sense of confidence. It’s not easy living in a foreign country; Germany is very efficient and keeping up with the frankly impressive populace (yet I must say their confusing and out-dated bureaucracy leads a lot to be desired) was a tough challenge. Coming out the other side, however, has created a far stronger person than 2 years ago.

So in conclusion to this text depicting how difficult I find it to describe myself, it’s actually not that difficult to come up with some sort of description. Humans are so complex that there are plenty of other things I could have said to fully develop a detailed understanding of who I am. But, this isn’t the point of this and I just needed to get a few hundred words out. This being said, I hope I have given you a vague idea. I guess it doesn’t really matter what I chose to focus on, just chose some words and get them down… or speak them out to that class of people. A lot can probably be established just by the way in which you write or speak. So no worries! It doesn’t matter what they’re gonna think of you, or how they’re gonna read it, it’s about you. Who cares if your fun fact isn’t as exciting as that girl before you who once High-Fived Benedict Cumberbatch in a Starbucks. Own your fun fact and own who you are; thats all that really matters. This is me, at this point in time. Do with this information what you will.

Oh and P.S for those who were wondering:

FUN FACT: I once had a friend called Harry Potter.

With thanks to Lauren Wylie