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General, School

Adjusting

08.29.05 | 2 Comments

The first official week of classes is complete, and the first full week is now under way. I am trying with all my might to keep the spazz attacks to a minimum. But it’s difficult. Really difficult.

To my fellow road companions battling and causing traffic: who the hell are you and where are you going? At what time must I leave in the morning for you not to be on the road? This town has exploded. And there’s really no need for onlooking at accidents. That is my absolute number one pet peeve. We need giant, portable partitions to erect when there is some driving distraction so other drivers know that no amount of craning will yield some gory, three second excitement for their commute. Let the people deal with their crisis in peace. They don’t need your nosy ass staring at them. Anyway, there’s nothing I can do about the fact that we live eighteen miles from the main campus, but I resolve to find a route to school that minimizes time spent on these atrocious main roads. Or I’ll leave at 0500 and study or work out or sleep when I get there. But this is the last morning I will get up at 0530 and STILL get to school only a few minutes before my 0800 class starts. There has to be a better way.

To the powers that control the length of the traffic lights near campus, I have a suggestion: the tiny road onto which everyone and his mother must turn to get to campus from the large road on which everyone and her mother must travel to get there should have a) a turn signal and b) a light that stays green for longer than exactly four seconds, which is just long enough for one and a half attentive drivers to turn and zero drivers to turn if the first one is a moron.

To my fellow students who saunter and congregate in narrow walkways: after sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for over an hour with a fuzzy radio and malfunctioning air, the last thing I want to do is get stuck walking behind your slow ass. I have places to be, and I like to compensate for my sluggish metabolism by speed walking when I can. Be late to class for all I care – your schedule is not my business. Just get the hell out of my way.

I will pretend that there’s a system to it, because surely there is, but I don’t understand the method of classroom numbering or building abbreviations. For example: when you walk into a building from the street, do you expect to be on the first floor of that building, generally? I do. But then I would be wrong in some cases, because sometimes it’s the second floor. And if you have a biology class, and the building is abbreviated “BB”, might you think it is the Biosciences Building or the Business Building? I would think Biosciences. But again, I would be wrong. Then I would have to trek across campus to the Business Building. (Sincerest of thanks to the UTSA employee who pointed me in the right direction during a frantic moment on the first day. I always get lost on the first day, no matter how many dry runs I’ve done.) Now, given the choice of pairing “BB” with something, I would choose Business Building, but the biology class trumped it, especially since the BB is also apparently called the Visitor Center. Also, I would want a map of the buildings to have, maybe in parentheses, what the abbreviations are. Oh, and a legend that tells at least one of the cardinal directions, because maps should have that. It isn’t too much to ask.

I’m not sure to whom I owe this particular frustration, but I’d like to address the lack of English speaking science professors in the schools I have attended. Let me say that I am not a racist, I value diversity, and I very much appreciate the people who bring their talents here, because clearly we are in need. I view the United States as less than a leader in education and science, and we benefit from imported techniques. I loved my Lithuanian chemistry professor at A&M – loved the class and the A I earned. His accent was strong but did not impair his effectiveness as a teacher. It may be a coincidence, but I cannot for the life of me understand the professors I have had for college biology. At A&M he was German. The one I have now writes very well and has good notes, but his accent is so thick that I literally have no idea what he is saying. It is a real impediment to my learning. Not to mention that my classmates are extremely rude and trickle into class up to forty five minutes late, letting the auditorium doors slam each time. I’m putting a sign on those doors on Wednesday. Some of us are very easily distracted, and it would be nice if people would be considerate, both to the professor and to the students. The good news is that the textbook is good and there is a syllabus.

I forgot that this school thing takes a lot of concentration. That has never been my forte. Add the fact that my brain has been atrophying for over two years, and before then it was thinking in a totally different manner. I have my work cut out for me. Also, science students are a lot more competitive than philosophy students. My undergrad classmates were rather laid back, usually accepting, conversational, and, about one third to half the time, were on something that made them pretty mellow (I kid, I think). I liked it. Now the panicky feelings of self doubt, loathing, and dread have returned, the old familiar mark of not wanting to be one of the weeded out ones.

I just have to take it easy and manage my time and stress well. At least I’m looking at six more years of school instead of the ten I saw when I was a freshman. It seems more doable now.

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