Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My First Day of School

Yesterday was my first day of school. BYU last summer was fun, but restarting school yesterday was even better, because this time I am a Real Student instead of a visiting one.

It was sort of like back in elementary school, when we would be all excited to go back to school, and to have new teachers. Sewing Barbie clothes, and training the cats, and camping in the backyard is fun stuff, but after a few months of it, school starts to sound really great again. We used to get new school clothes, which we were absolutely NOT allowed to wear until school started, and like two weeks before school started they would post The List. We were always anxious and really excited (and occasionally disappointed) to see The List of Classes.

Now that I’m older and some of my friends are teachers, I’m sure that classes are carefully assembled. I’m sure they divide up the obnoxious kids so that nobody has too many of those, and maybe they even sometimes put friends in the same class. Back in elementary school, The List was like a revelation though. It seemed entirely random, and I guess it kind of was, anyway. It was always fun to see what teacher we had, and which friends were in our classes. Back in the elementary school days, older kids would talk about which teachers were hard, or fun, or whatever, and that was kind of like our old-school (ha) version of Ratemyprofessor.com. Based on what we heard, we were especially excited, indifferent, or terrified.

And on the first day of school, my parents would take our pictures with our teachers.

I knew I would probably blog about this, so I really had to resist the urge to get a couple nervous-excited with-my-new-teacher pictures to post along with this.

I registered for three classes, and I am going to keep two. I’m still working full time, and commuting to Salt Lake, and I have other projects, and it’s summer, so I decided that two classes is fine to start with.

My first class is my first English major class, and my professor seems fun. I immediately liked her, because she’s really cute and one of her first comments was “it feels a little bit more like late October than May,” which I completely understand, since my California upbringing makes me especially unforgiving towards unseasonal bad weather. My favorite thing about her is that she holds her office hours at the Museum of Art CafĂ© instead of in her office. My least favorite thing about her is that she seems to really like poetry.

Actually, things kind of went downhill after the part at the top of her syllabus about her office hours. The rest of the syllabus was intense. If you text in class, she asks you to leave. Three tardies (after 5 minutes) count as an absence. And even after that, she writes “Your mere presence in the classroom does not automatically qualify you as present.” Holy cow. I hope that it’s just establishing commonsense rules, but a whole lot of commonsense rules is still a whole lot of rules, even if they’re ones that I’d usually follow without actually thinking about it. (Kind of like commanding someone to keep their body temperature between 98 and 99 degrees. Most people will do it anyway, but it’s still an extra rule and one more thing to think about and be concerned about.)

And then there’s the fact that I’m not excited about any of our reading. And we’re reading Italo Calvino, who is Italian, and the professor pronounces his name wrong. I know we’re not reading it in Italian, but usually people -try- to pronounce authors’ names correctly. And if she knows the text well enough to have chosen it, she should really know better.

Plus there was a “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” feel to the class because we had to introduce ourselves to the class with our name (fine.), our last book that we read (fair enough, since it’s a literature class), and a song from when we were growing up (oookkay). I knew like…2 people’s songs. And like 3 people’s books. Frankly, I think almost all of my class is kind of stuck up, in the coffee-house, make-a-statement kind of way. I hope I’m wrong.

And I knew it wouldn’t be Provo…but…it’s almost like un-diluted non-Provo-ness, instead of just a normal mix of people.

The class wasn’t awful. I just felt really out of place, and started to worry about the next two years. Hopefully I’ll end up liking it. I could. Aside from the strict syllabus, the professor does seem very nice.

My second class is a Finance - Investments class. I actually completely planned to drop it. I was going to take an Intro to Business class, but thought I would sign up for the Investments class because it is a Business Minor requirement. I thought I would go just to check it out, but that would be it. Turns out, I love it. The professor reminds me a ton of Olympus. Except 15 years older. They really do look a lot alike, though. And, they’re both awesome.

My Investments professor kept interjecting with stories during our class introductions. I think the best two stories were the ones about how her family goes golfing really rarely, but they have an electric golf cart which they use like, every day. And one of her sons has this ham-board, which is a long board surfboard, except on wheels. So they hook a water-skiing line up to the electric golf cart, and the kids sit on the ham board and they pull each other around the neighborhood. Awesome! And then her other cool story was about this one time when she and her sister went to New York and her sister (who was from? Montana?) carried around this huge can of -bear- pepper spray, which they (unfortunately or fortunately?) never had to use. Random. And of course, everyone knows that whenever you have a fantastic professor who is really excited about their subject, you should keep the class because it will be amazing. We seriously laughed for half of the class. We already have a few class jokes, even. It’s going to be such a good class.

AND! It meets the math requirement that I still needed to fill. AND! I’m all curious now about my retirement investments, and what companies I have stock in, etc. I’ve always just kind of skimmed my quarterly reports without knowing what they mean. By the end of the class, I should understand that stuff. We also get to do a portfolio project, which I’m so excited about. (On Neopets, I totally made a killing on the stock market.) It’s at the most ideal time (eg. I don’t have a 6 hour break like I would with the one I was planning to take), and it’s right across from my first class. After all that, I definitely couldn’t drop the class. So instead, I bought the book.

And then for a bunch of my 2 ½ hour commute home, I did homework. And loved it.

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