Term 2 Begins

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And I’m back in Canada!

This first month back has been very busy. The courses I am taking this semester have turned out to be more difficult than those I took last semester.

I am beginning to realize that the Canadian students stagger the difficult courses. They have much more choice over what they study than I am used to in England. If their degree requires them to pass four fourth year courses to graduate, many of them opt to do just one or two of these in the fourth year, and spread the rest between the third and sometimes the fifth (an optional extension of the degree.) When I tell people what I am studying, I receive looks of sympathy. A couple of the students from the UK that started doing the same courses as I have given up. The two Durham students are still standing though, I add.

In spite of the increased difficulty, the courses are more interesting than last term. Relativity is making very little sense. The fourth year courses I am taking are not as prescriptive as the third year courses. This means I am inundated with projects and reports. Finding time to eat has been difficult.

Still there is not better weather for it. There is nothing to do but study. In the mornings it dips below -30 degrees, and it hasn’t breached -10 for weeks. The snow comes in blizzards. I have honestly never experienced anything like it. It’s probably not that bad for Canada, but compared to English weather it’s on another level. On the worst days, a foot of snow has fallen in two hours.

On the other hand, it looks lovely.

Winter in Hamilton

-winter campus

Stepping out into -35 degree weather in the morning is deceiving. At first, it doesn’t feel too cold. I am always well insulated and covered from the neck down. After a few seconds you feel a chill coming through your many layers. Within five minutes your fingers freeze inside your insulated gloves. A quick bike ride to the university and the chill wind will make your breath freeze to your facial hair. The first thing I do upon arrival is de-ice my face.

Well, that’s it for now. ‘Reading week’ has just begun and the university is closed. If I battle my way through the snow to see anything, you can be sure I’ll post it here.

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