Thursday, January 05, 2006

Back to class

Today was my third day of classes. Eh, I've got a doozy this quarter (as usual) but I have made a New Year's resolution not to complain so much about my life, which is quite good and even excellent when compared to most others.

My 8 o'clock class is Graphics in Communication and is taught by the notorious Hodges. Hodges gives out As the way the Gideons International gives out hotel Bibles; alas, this easy A is accompanied by just about zero useful instruction. That is the word on the street, anyway. I have, of course, only attended his class three times; the first two days were devoted to administrative issues and the third (today) was fairly rambling and incoherent; only near the end did he get into any information worth taking notes on.

The worst part is that Hodges tells really awful, not-really-funny jokes, CONSTANTLY. You know, the kind of joke which makes one say "... Ha... Ha" as an awkward silence wraps its slimy tentacles around the lecture hall. Hodges is quite large, and so he is always making fat jokes; he walks with a cane, and has made a couple cripple jokes. He also felt obliged to give us a psychiatric history today; he told us he suffers from clinical depression and ADD. Now of course, I am sympathetic, since my mother herself has been diagnosed as bipolar for well nigh a decade. But it is still not the sort of thing one expects to hear on the third day in a class of 60 students. Perhaps Hodges is just trying to help reduce the stigma of surrounding mental illness, which of course I would appreciate, since my family always felt that pretty strongly in our small little community.

I am thinking of skipping that class a couple times a week to go to Mass, however. People say that you learn everything you need in the lab, and that the actual class time is a terrible waste. So we'll see.

My second class is a history course on the medieval period. I know that I am a dork, but it is starting to seem like a really fun class. Of course there will be the usual blah-blah about the growth of the papacy, which is very complex and has historically been a potential stumbling-block for would-be converts; however, I already have at least a little bit of education on that from my informal Catholic catechesis, so it shouldn't be too hard to keep in the proper perspective. The professor is also of the non-scary variety. She reminds me of my mother when she's being "good!"

My third course is my quarterly Class From Hell, and it's the one I'm going to have to try not to complain about: Reporting Contemporary Issues. The other students in the class are very advanced and professional; I know that technically (credit-wise) I am a senior, but I think I am still at a junior-year maturity and confidence levels (it IS, after all, only my third year in college)! Maybe even at late-sophomore-year levels. That's what it seems like, anyway. So much writing, so much original reporting, group work, group reporting, argh, argh, argh! The syllabus is wicked on so many levels. I want my Magazine Journalism class back. That was last quarter's Class From Hell, and I ended up really enjoying myself. Sigh, sigh.

Okay. That is the last time I am allowed to complain about that class... Pinch...

My fourth and final class is another history course (History is my "specialization," which is a term the J school uses because we're too snotty to go and get "minors" ;) and it's the companion to last quarter's course on Non-Western History. While in the fall I studied Non-Western History before 1750, in the winter I will be studying the globe after 1750. I was terribly pleased to discover that the professor is not a painfully PC person; he recognizes that the course name is meant to emphasize the global scope of the course, and not meant to exclude the West entirely. Besides which, one can't tell the history of the world without telling the history of the West; any leftist well-versed in colonial imperialism and exploitation would have to admit that. The only trouble with this class is that it is late at night, from 7-9 pm. Hopefully he will not keep us for the entire two hours, every single night. If he does... Mega-MEGO time!

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