Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last First Day Of School (Here)

My last semester at my junior college started today.

I feel weird about this.

This is my fifth semester, technically, although I've only been full-time for four of them.  The first semester was a dual-credit class (I took General Psychology from the best teacher ever, who I'm going to make a concerted effort to go visit sometime this semester), so it doesn't really count.

I had four of my five classes start today.  The last one starts on Monday, and is a hybrid course so we'll only be meeting on campus about every other week.  The rest of the time will be online work and discussions, which is great.  That's the psychology class, Human Sexuality.  I'm excited.  The professor seems to be a ton of fun, from his website and introduction to us.

If you're interested, I'll give you a little blurb about each of my classes this semester.

It's my third semester with the same English professor -- I took Composition I and II with him last fall and spring; this semester is World Literature II.  He took six months off to do research in London, which is why I didn't take a class with him last semester.  I missed him a lot, and I'm glad he's back in town for this semester.  The class is organized a little differently than the Comp classes, but the basic structure is pretty much the same.

My favorite part of his system is the 5-question reading quizzes, of which the first four are "did you read the thing?" questions and the last one is "random question I feel like asking" so essentially 20% of the quiz grade is free.  His response papers are only 400 words and he grades only on mechanics and clarity, so I don't find them difficult as a general rule.  The only thing I'm not really fond of is the major essays (still only 600 words) which we had to copy out of our drafts onto bluebooks (lined paper, basically) by hand.  In this course only the final is done that way, but I usually write 700-800 words, and that is some major hand strain.

The two great things about the first day of class with this guy are the roll (I know, right?) and latecomers.  When he takes roll on the first day he comes prepared with several pages containing information on everyone's last name, which is how he refers to everyone the entire semester (Mr. and Ms, usually).  I actually hunted down my notes from my first semester with him, so when he asked if I knew what my name meant I would have an answer for him.  (In case you're curious, it's from Irish and means foundation or base.)  When people come in late he pretends to be another class.  Astronomy, this time.  "Astronomy 1412?"  When they apologize and start to walk out, "Just kidding; this is English."  It's fantastic.

This is my second semester with the Government professor.  I took the first required course as an honors section with him, but he doesn't teach Texas government as an honors course so I chose him over another honors course.  He likes to call his classes "citizenship boot camp" since he doesn't expect most of us to go into political science.  He's very big on civil discussion on divisive topics, doing research on topics that interest you, and general engagement.  I enjoy his class a lot, even though I don't enjoy the presentations or the homework.  The website through which we do homework is not at all my favorite thing, especially on slower days.  I'll probably try to cram a lot of homework into the beginning of the semester so I get a decent ways ahead and don't have to worry about it as much.

In other, unrelated but funny news, I've taken a class with the same guy all four of my full-time semesters, and somehow we're not friends.  I took both American History courses with him my first year, and both Government courses my second.  It's pretty funny.

I've spent four semesters trying to get into the Introduction to Yoga class, and I finally made it into one this time around.  The professor is a lovely older lady who's been teaching yoga for "many years", and her voice is so steady, calm, and quiet, that just to listen to her is to relax.  I anticipate learning a lot from her.  We're going to study the Sanskrit names of the poses as well as some of the English ones, and as part of her explanation why that is, she asked if anyone knew the English name of shivasana.  Thanks to a short story written by a friend of mine about five years ago, I was able to tell her the answer, Corpse Pose.  (I also learned I've been pronouncing it incorrectly.  The correct pronunciation is shih-VAH-sah-nah.)

The math professor I took last semester doesn't teach the second half of the course, so I had to pick another one.  I ended up in a one-night-a-week, 3-hour class.  Thankfully a lot of the students from my previous class are in this one as well, so there are some familiar faces.  The professor is awesome so far.  She gives a lot of teaching tips and tells a lot of stories (her go-to names for example kids are "Johnny" and "Susie"), and I've already started making notes on the backs of the chapter handouts, which I'll have to put in a binder because they'll be the size of a small book by the end of the semester.

This class isn't going to be my favorite because I struggled with probability, statistics, and geometry in high school, and guess what this class is about!  But hopefully I take away enough from it to be worth it.

It's really late now -- apologies for the past-midnight post, but this class doesn't let out until 10pm and I had dishes to do and such -- so I'll be heading off to bed.  Tomorrow is a day of errands, homework, and hopefully sock-knitting.  I've barely touched the poor things since Wednesday, and the new clue comes out tomorrow.  Yikes.

Additionally, I know I didn't do 3 Good Things yesterday.  It didn't seem very appropriate, to be honest, with the rest of that post's contents.  I'll probably go through them tomorrow.

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