Part of being a student at a new university, I discovered, is that I’ve got to deal with a new student number. I’ve had it for almost a month, and I still cannot remember the bloody thing.

I’m also still sorting out my courses. I wonder if I’m going to hate myself, because I’ve found a bunch of courses that look really, really interesting, which I won’t get to take again, and which will likely be incredibly difficult. That said, they’ll make final year at Queen’s look like cake, I suppose. It’s between those and a literature review course. Initially I was excited about the literature review, but now I’m thinking that it might be a better idea to do more actual courses, because literature review is only three hours with the lecturer in the entire semester, and the entirety of the course is a single essay. I want to take advantage of the ability to take actual psych courses while I’m there.

I also feel kind of amused, but also kind of bad that I accidentally used something that sounded suspiciously like “me” as a personal possessive twice in the past couple of days. I used to do something like that basically no more than once a month. I’m not even in the UK yet. Bad things happen when I talk fast and don’t moderate output. I just use my poker face and hope nobody catches it. I need to talk to more real humans.


I feel the need to make a post about the name “Edinburgh” and how much it irritates me. If I didn’t know better, I’d pronounce the last syllable like “burger” minus the “er”. I’ve mostly heard “Edinburrow” and “Ed-in-burra” from other Canadians. However, I have had the correct pronunciation drilled into me by, well, here’s an excerpt from the essay that I got an acceptance with:

“…, and had me repeat “Edinburgh” an uncountable number of times until I could say it to his satisfaction.”

You know who you are. Look at the beginning of the excerpt, implies a laundry list of offences, yeah? (Make all the faces and noises you like, you may never know). Incidentally, said individual seems to also have hilariously lost the ability to say “Edinburgh” properly upon getting me to say it properly, indicating that there may be some principle of conservation operating here. The irritating thing is that I am the only Canadian I know who says it like that, and it’s really annoying, because I get this weird feeling that I’m faking an accent whenever I say it. I cannot win, because if I said “Ed-in-burg” on principle, I’d be saying it wrong. Bah. Though I was vindicated, some person introducing a University of Edinburgh video said it close to the way I do, so I don’t suppose that I’ll go there and people will give me weird looks for the way I said that one particular word. The other annoying thing is that my mom has taken to trying to copy me, and keeps saying “Edinburrrr”. Deleting that one syllable to make “Edinbruh” seems to just be a problem for Canadians. It also was slightly tricky for me to make my mouth do that last sound “properly”. Incidentally, the “bruh” in Edinbruh is supposed to be the same vowel that goes in “foot”, but that is damn tiring. That’s what comes from learning “Edinburgh” from someone who says “strut” with the same vowel used in “foot”, I still haven’t stopped feeling pretentious about it. The trick to feeling less ridiculous is changing the final vowel to a lazier one, because I have a theory that Canadian English has basically evolved for great speed with minimum effort. 

It occurs to me that once I’m there I won’t have to say it as much. Hooray! The way to stop saying “Edinburgh” might be to go there, who knew.

There is a thing I like to call Whilst Disease, which is the really irritating urge to use “whilst” whilst writing things, or whilst talking to people.

It took me until basically within the past year to realize that “whilst” was a british thing, and not just ridiculously old-fashioned. Since I thought it was just old-fashioned, and I was a pretentious little teenager, I liked using it in speech and in writing because I thought having two words for “while” at my disposal was pretty cool. Then someone told me it was british, and then I had to go scrub it from my vocabulary because at that moment it flipped from harmless eccentricity (in my mind) to an intolerable bit of pretension. In retrospect I needn’t have worried, since that was a drop of water in the bucket. However, within the past year I’ve had to go to the websites of a very large number of various british institutions, and then I understood that it really was very very british.

british airways whilst

And people were just using it like it was a perfectly respectable, ordinary word (british people do that a lot with weird words). Never mind that I’ve heard “whilst” all the time from certain specific people, or read it often enough, but for some reason, when one is on random websites, or on a student forum or something, and people just use “whilst” like it’s not a completely weird word, or people who suck at writing use “whilst”, then things get odd. If it’s on the internet, then I suddenly have to acknowledge that it is a perfectly legitimate word, despite that as a confessed former occasional whilst-user, I am fully aware that it is a real word.

My problem is that I see “whilst” a lot, and so I’ve started thinking with “whilst”, because my brain is a traitorous and pretentious sponge, and I feel strange shame whenever I almost have a whilst moment. I actually have this shame whenever I feel as though I am getting into things too much. Yes, I know that I’m going on exchange to the UK on purpose (hopefully), but I really don’t want to turn into one of those aggravating people who goes away for a year and then likes to try and convince people they’ve turned british. 

Maybe I should just go with it so as to avoid spending extra brainpower thinking about Whilst Disease. It’s not that I think it’s better in some way, because I don’t, I just absorb things, that is the way my brain works. This will likely be a repeated theme. I used the word “whilst” in my personal statement, and I feel kind of funny about it, because I don’t know if they’ll go “wow, this Canadian sure was trying too hard, lol”, or they won’t notice really, because they think “whilst” is a perfectly normal word.

Yes, I’m aware that normal people don’t spend 500 words talking about “whilst”. I take linguistic self-consciousness to abnormal depths.