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Sula Powell: Study, eat, repeat
October 30, 2015
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So I am back, finally. I have been M.I.A. University is literally engulfing my life right now, “Welcome to the real world,” my lecturers keep announcing. I have actually been back for a few weeks, although it feels as if I have never left.

On my first day back in the UAE I arrive at 8am and I am already thinking of Spinneys (yes, the food obsession continues). For two days, my lovely friends were kind enough to let me stay with them and pretend I was in holiday mode.

Naturally, of course, I then had to upload an obligatory “hot dog or legs” photo with the Burj Al Arab strategically placed, with the words “no filter” just in case my fellow Scots had forgotten what sunshine looked like.

Holiday mode was sadly, rapidly banished, and I was back in university halls, or prison, according to my peers. I decided to put my education first and social life last by not venturing out into my own apartment and remaining in an extremely close, and advantageous, proximity to the library. Yes Dad, if you see this, I am in the library often, obviously.

My first day, a 9am start to begin the worst of the work – sorting those pesky Visa forms and enrolment procedures. A mixture of language barriers, being told “No, we do not know who you are, you were never enrolled” plus long, exhausting queues and jet lag does not bode well. I can clarify, if I did not laugh, I would most certainly cry and potentially un-enrol if that is feasible.

After being back in my second home a mere three days, I was already securely settled into my old routines. Kcal Tuesday at Mirdif City Centre (literally the only mall where I feel at peace) never tasted so good, and I was finally content after almost three tense, prolonged months without my Salmon Ragout. I also met with some friends for P.F. Chang’s Dynamite Shrimp, as I am sure it is criminal to deny one from these, especially for over three months.

Yes, when I am not eating, which is almost never, I am working hard (I think). This semester I only have one maths related subject, BONUS. As I am now a Second Year student, I have officially been deemed sane enough to choose my own subjects – hence the “no math subjects” theory, and most definitely no accounts, one more balance sheet and I am positive my anxiety would most definitely cripple me.

Instead, I chose every possible essay writing related subject, one in particular, Commercial Law. Law, of course, entails never-ending case laws. Who knew a judge’s decision could be condensed, yes, condensed, to 40 pages? I am sure at one point I maybe did actually yearn for those balance sheets.

To be fair, university for the first few weeks was surprisingly enjoyable – only because I have rarely been there. With Eid holidays and the Islamic New Year we were entitled to days off, a luxury the Edinburgh campus does not get. I am sure they also aren’t aware of some of the deadline extensions we get either, but I am not one to complain of course.

After months and months of two, burdensome and nauseating hour journeys on the metro to JBR to use the beach, I finally found a nearby hotel, with a monthly, all access, membership. Not only is the hotel 15 minutes away, but I can also remain bronzed, indulge in the poolside snacks, i.e. hummus, and get student discount on the membership so my bank balance isn’t scolding me.

However, I am greatly missing those JBR camels so, at some point, I may need to be brave and embrace that two-hour metro journey again.

Rather oddly, I seem to have been living in the cinema recently. The new Mall of The Emirates cinema is very impressive. The entrance is more like a hotel foyer, and the loud music, combined with the buzz of people, leaves you feeling as though you are in a club, but the smell of popcorn keeps it real.

Now all I am left contemplating is whether it is okay to pay double the price just to taste the new Gary Rhodes Theatre Menu. I am wondering if students back home do these types of things often? No, of course not, it is only in Dubai.
Sula Powell is a Scottish/Jamaican business student at
Heriot Watt University in Dubai. Sula is a keen horse rider
and a part time model holding a number of prestigious titles
including Europe’s Perfect Junior Teen. For the remainder
of her journey in the UAE, Sula will be sharing her experiences
on the ups and downs of student life.

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