Monday, September 2, 2013

First Week of School

So much to tell!

My stomach was all upset Tuesday, my first day of school, but the nausea was completely unnecessary.  I think it’s going to be a very successful semester.

Here I am--had to have the traditional First Day of School picture :-)  Too bad my eyes weren’t open yet…

Here are my observations, reactions and whines:

**I got to school my first day an hour and a half early, anticipating horrible first week parking.  I drove around the structure just long enough to see that the best option was to go up and park on the outside tier, where there were still plenty of spaces.  It actually took me three times as long to leave at the end of the night as it did to find my parking space!  Second night, I lucked into a space half a tier down and it only took twice as long to get out :-)

**Had a leisurely snack wrap and soda at the nearby McDonald’s.  Then walked back to the zoo--I mean, the campus bookstore.  I looked for what I thought was my French 1 textbook.  Went into shock and left--more later.  Second night, I drove through and got a burrito to take to school.  Here’s where I ate:
Nice, huh?
**Before class on the first night, I sat on a bench in the shade and read for a while.  It’s been an extraordinarily mild summer--of course, the first week of school it turns blazing hot.

**First night I didn’t think I was the oldest in the class but the second night thinned out (people dropping, not coming back…) and so now I know I definitely am.  That includes the teacher…

**The classroom--can you say “sardines”?  Little desk/chair combo’s with just enough space to walk through.  Claustrophobia!  Even the teacher doesn’t have much room to move.  Like I said, though, we lost some folks, so the second night wasn’t so bad.  With a few empty seats, it doesn’t seem so squashed.

**Textbook--$162.50!!!!  Well, to be fair, it’s a textbook, two workbooks, a lab book and the key to the Supersite website that goes along with the class work.  When I saw the package at the bookstore that first night, I really thought I was looking at the wrong thing…  Then someone in class had already gotten it and quoted the price.  Amazon only sells the textbook, not the other things and even that was outrageously expensive…  The teacher says it covers both French 1 and 2 and most people just take the first class and use the book to continue their study afterward…  And to add insult to injury, the textbook is loose leaf, so then you need to get a binder!!  The Husband went out and bought me a purple one the next day :-)

  So supportive!

**Our teacher’s name is Abeer and her first language is Arabic but she sounds like a native French speaker.  She’s a lot of fun, working us hard but also making us laugh.  For some reason, she reminds me of Kate Winslet in The Holiday.  She doesn’t really look that much like Winslet but it’s something about her facial expressions. 

**We are required to have four hours of tutoring at the Skills Center, with two more for extra credit.  Joel, the main French tutor, came to speak to us the second night, explaining all the rules.  He can take a number of students at a time, so it won’t necessarily be one on one but he’ll have time to answer the questions we don’t get to in class and keep us current on pronunciation and grammar.  All tutoring is free, which makes me very happy because I know I’ll need it for math…
**The first week, there are stations set up around campus (see the blue canopy in front of the library) to assist you with questions and information.  So thoughtful.  Since I’ve been to this campus before, I was ok but I’m sure there were a lot of straight out of high school freshman who needed a little guidance.

**The bookstore is very efficient.  Tchotkes and snacks at the front, books by alphabetical order of the class name in the back.  I went late Wednesday afternoon, the day between my classes, so I could have the package and look through it before my second night.  All of the registers were open and the line to pay snaked through the aisles.  A young guy behind me talking to his girlfriend nailed it: “Yeah, they have you walk through the aisles so you’ll grab a greeting card for your aunt’s birthday, a bookmark and an energy bar”.  I admit, since I was writing a check from my savings, I figured I might as well buy a t-shirt and support my school…

**Never thought I’d have to relearn the alphabet but it was like first grade all over again!  The pronunciations are very different, especially Y (i grec--how do they get that??!!).  We’re already speaking in class and doing some conversation.  I’m there to learn, so I did do some speaking in class--but I didn’t raise my hand to do the whole alphabet--although I did spell out my name :-)  I’m usually The Quiet One, so this is going to be interesting!

**This morning, I logged onto the Supersite and took a look around.  There are no assignments yet, so I clicked on a few things and watched some video’s in French--they go along with the lessons.  Right now, we’re on greetings and goodbyes.  Once we all have our books/website keys, required by tomorrow, it will start to move a lot faster.  Whee!!!!!

“Life is only as interesting as the number of times you say yes.”

Harvey Fierstein