Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why it helps to be PREPARED for school

Today was my second day of school, and I kept feeling like I wasn't prepared for stuff. I ended up making my lunch this morning instead of last night, because I was waiting for my lunch bag to dry out (I had one of those "Cold Pak" things in it and it leaked water on my bag). I had meant to have my other two syllabi printed out, but they are saved heaven knows where.

I was also late to two classes due to lack of preparation. I got out a little early from my Bio class and at the time I realized I needed a notebook to write in cause Dr. Anover doesn't like you to use laptops in class (even though I saw a girl in front of me using one and the teacher didn't say anything, so...), so I went to the University Store (which, unlike the bookstore, sells apparel and stuff) to see if they had any notebooks but they didn't, so I had to go down to the bookstore and wait in this long line to buy ONE NOTEBOOK. Then I had to buy a pen too cause they have a $5 minimum for you to use your card. Then the girl tried to scan the pen multiple times and it didn't work. With this delay, I was five minutes late to French class after grabbing my bags from the bag check, running up a flight of stairs (or attempting to, rather -- I wore bad shoes for running in -- but since I had my laptop in addition to my backpack and lunchbag, I doubt I could've run fast anyways) and taking an elevator and then more stairs.

I was also late to my history class cause I went to the library to print these questions for Lit class, and when I went to add money to my print card I did it wrong so that took time to resolve. I made it less than five minutes into class, mainly cause I was closer to the hall my class is in than I was when I was going from the Bookstore to my French class in the same building. I would've had more time for that except that right after French class I went to Parking Services (whose building is close to Markstein Hall, where my French and History classes are) to get my bus pass and had to wait in line to get in cause they only had one cashier. Then, of course, it took time to get to the library from the outside tables of the University Commons, where I ate lunch.

In short, it is really easy to get yourself lost on this campus. The part by Chavez Circle I haven't even seen, as my classes are concentrated near Craven Circle (where the library is, as is the Commons, which is part of Craven Hall, which gives the circle its name), in Markstein, University, and Academic Halls respectively. Academic Hall, where my Lit class is located, is really annoying because it obviously has elevators (you have to have them for disabled people), but they are apparently very well hidden because I can never find them. It might have to do with the side from which I enter the building too, I suppose (I enter from the back side, since I'm coming from Markstein Hall - the back side of Academic Hall faces Palm Court, which is right in front of Markstein Hall). But so anyway, I have to go up three sets of stairs to get to my third-floor classroom. This is after two flights of stairs coming down into Palm Court.

One nice thing is that there are some nice common areas. The biggest are the two third-floor level plazas - Founders Plaza, where the University Store is located, and the plaza in front of the library, which I don't think has a name. Palm Court is also nice. It is surrounded on three sides by halls - University Hall on the right, Academic Hall on the left, and Markstein Hall right in front of it. It consists of a kind of walkway/square with benches on the sides and a bunch of palm trees that were donated by somebody. Then there are little shady places with trees and benches here and there; you can't miss them since they're pretty much the only shady outdoor spaces on campus. One is near the Tukwut Leadership Center, by the stairs that take you down to the bookstore. There's also another hidden by one of the big flights of steps.

I splurged and got a 3-subject notebook, since I know there are at least two classes I need a notebook for. I'll use the third section in case I need to write notes for my other classes and don't have my computer or something. It's also one of the "environotes" notebooks, so by buying it I'm being "green" or something. I think it has recycled paper or something like that.

For doing notes on my computer, I am using OneNote, since that's more or less what OneNote is for. It worked wonderfully for my Bio class, since I could copy and paste pictures from the teacher's powerpoint (which I also had open, having accessed it through WebCT, the program CSUSM uses for online classes and for sharing online content for regular classes) into my notes. Technically, they use Blackboard (as I noticed from the URL when I went to log in) but they rename it.

At least I survived the first week. It will get easier as time goes on.

I went to the Academic Advising Center again and ended up doing a walk-in talk with an adviser. Though walk-ins aren't really meant for what I thought I was supposed to be doing there (based on something said at Orientation), which was something about planning classes to take in regards to a career, the adviser did a good job of working with me anyway. She said if I took 15 units from here on out, I could still graduate in 2 years if I wanted. Since this just means 5 classes instead of 4, I might be able to make it work. I will probably have to take one of them online or something, since I can't really take a night class (no car). She said I could do summer classes too, but that there were only 2 of my classes that would most likely be offered in summer. I was also surprised to learn from her that Advanced Creative Writing is invitation-only (I guess cause it's a 500-level course), and consists of students from the Creative Writing Workshop course who are deemed invitable. Since I'm going to be a writer, it might be useful, but I'll determine that when the time comes. Seems like an exclusive writing club, kind of like the Dead Poets Society in the movie of that name.

I may still make an appointment so someone can sit down with me and be intensive, if it's necessary. I'm not sure if it is or not. I'll have to do research first.

It will be tricky to work out classes, with my minor on top of my major, plus one G.E. class left to take, but I think it's doable.

I think what I may need to do is research careers in respect to my major. I do want to be a writer, but it would be good to know what else is out there. I suppose one goes to the Career Center for this? After all, Literature and Writing Studies is broad, right?

I'm going to go downstairs to relax there (plus I think the internet signal is stronger there). More later.

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