One Week Into The Semester And…

I’m actually looking forward to going to class tomorrow.  When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to get done and get out.  Now, the fact that I’m spending my time learning about new and interesting stuff, and more or less getting paid to do it, is completely awesome.

The Campus

The CCNY campus is a lot better equipped and well maintained than I expected from a public school.  If you’re not familiar with it, City College of New York is part of the City University of New York system, but it’s all a public school, unlike NYU or Columbia.  It’s not perfect, of course.  One glaring example is the fact that the escalators don’t work between the 1st and 5th floors, but I suppose I could use the exercise.  It does have a really nice library, lots of computers for student use (not that I really need them since I bring my laptop) and wifi throughout the whole school (or at least in every building I’ve been in).  There’s even a gym and shower facility in Wingate Hall that has aerobic and weight machines and an indoor track.  That opens for use tomorrow, so I’m debating whether or not I should bring a workout outfit.

My Classes

My ‘History of the Visual Arts of the World’ is basically an Art History course, and it’s looking like it’s going to be far more interesting than what I’d thought.  I took the class because it’s a requirement, assuming I’d be studying particular artists, brush strokes and other boring crap like that, but it’s more like learning history through pictures, or sculptures as the case may be.  It also helps that the professor is interesting.  He has a weird, dry sense of humor that I can appreciate, and, oddly enough, he’s an Iraqi, which makes him even more interesting to me, since I served in Iraq on a combat deployment.

My Art History class ties in oddly well with my Anthropology class, since both are starting with things that happened in the past and moving forward into the present.  I keep noticing that we’re discussing one thing in Art History and then touching on the same subjects in Anthropology.  It’s a bit confusing, because I can’t remember which class some bit of information came from sometimes, especially since I take those two classes back-to-back on the same day.  Both professors encourage discussion and don’t jump down your throat if you give an incorrect or incomplete answer.  They guide you to the right answer and then move the discussion along.  That active engagement in the class helps the time to go by faster, and it also helps with retaining the information that was discussed in class.

I only have World Humanities 1 once a week, so I only have one class to judge the course by, but the professor seems like a really cool dude.  I was actually supposed to have gone twice by now, but I missed the first day because I hadn’t registered for the class yet.  I wasn’t alone though.  I’d say a good 40% of the class wasn’t there on the first day, by a show of hands, when the professor passed out copies of the syllabus.  We’re starting off with The Odyssey, by Homer, and so far in class we’ve talked about castration, eating children, baby gods popping out of heads, murder, war, and the differences between gods during those days and the gods that are commonly accepted today.  One girl in the class had a particularly hard time understanding the fact that Greek gods weren’t omniscient and omnipotent and kept asking questions, like she either has a hard time learning or wants to make sure she stands out.  The professor really seems to know the subject matter and how to make it interesting.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy this course.

My American Politics and Government class seems like the dud of the semester.  I can’t really be sure, since I’ve only sat through two lectures, and the first discussion group isn’t until Tuesday, but I wasn’t very impressed with how the material was covered during our second lecture.  The first lecture was just a discussion of the syllabus.  We were told to read four source documents and when I went into the lecture I was expecting to be amazed and given a new way to look at the material that would give me a better understanding of what it meant, and what the people that wrote it were thinking at the time.  I suppose my Art History and Anthropology professors set a high standard, and my experience in the PSC just didn’t measure up.  Instead of broadening my understanding of the material, the professor just restated what was already in the document, which I already knew, since I read the document before going to the class.  Oh well, they can’t all be winners, and there’s still time for this class to turn around.

Course Work Load

Again, kind of early to tell, but based on the first week, I think I’m going to have plenty to occupy my time.  There is a LOT of reading involved.  I’m having to set aside time to sit in the library and just study and read the textbooks and other documents where it’s quiet and I can concentrate.  I’m also a week behind on the Odyssey, since I wasn’t in class the first day and didn’t know what book we were covering first.  It doesn’t help that the professor wants us to use a particular version that was sold out in the campus bookstore, not available in the campus library, not available in the New York public library, and sold out at most Barnes & Noble locations.  I finally found a B&N in Greenwich Village that has just one copy left, so I put it on hold and I’ll pick it up tomorrow.  I’ll have to knock out 8 chapters of the book by Friday.  I think I can handle that.  I like to read anyway, and The Odyssey is an interesting story.

I’m hoping to find time in the week to still go out and exercise, either on the street or in the school’s gym, and still maintain my other hobbies like surfing the web and blogging.  This week was so packed that I hardly found time to post a blog entry.  Regardless, I’m going to make sure I study first and play later.

The Verdict

Overall, this is turning out to be a really positive experience.  I’m meeting new people, learning a lot of new things, and I’ll finally finish my bachelors and then move straight into a master’s degree.  Good times.

4 thoughts on “One Week Into The Semester And…”

  1. I'm going to start positing some of the stuff that gets talked about in class, but just for a good laugh, we were talking about Sumerian city states and what technologies they were producing. The usual things got mentioned: religious iconography, metal tools, textiles, art… and then some girl says “electricity!”. Uh, no. I could see the professor struggling not to laugh, before saying, “No, that didn't come until a long, long time later. We're talking about 3000 BC here.”My art history class is only 1 hour and 15 minutes at a time. It's actually my favorite class this semester, so far. Maybe World Humanities will be more fun, but I've only had one session of it, and the class isn't being held this week because of a holiday. The Art History professor keeps things interesting, jumping around from modern politics and situations to textbook stuff, to slides, to questions about things in his handout. He encourages a lot of discussion to keep you if not interested, at least wary of being called on and not knowing the answer. ha ha ha.


  2. Happy to hear things are going well and the first week was promising. The Humanities class seems like it could be the most interesting as well as the heaviest on course material/work. I'd be interested to know more about the topics discussed and students responses – as you already saw, some times people have a little bit of trouble thinking outside the box when it comes to literature in my past experience. I had a similar Art History class as with your visual arts one, and I enjoyed it even if sometimes it was a tad boring. Not too boring but watching slide after slide for an hour on certain days was almost too relaxing.


  3. glad to hear youre having a good time! enjoy school! i wish i felt that way when i was in college. all i wanted to do back then was run, eat and sleep. kinda glad i still turned out okay. hehe well you know what i mean. i should have taken advantage of school when i could. so goodluck with that!


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