Monday, September 3, 2012

Back and Better Than Ever!

Ever since move-in day last Saturday, the days have been packed with organizing, learning, social gatherings, and TONS of fun! Let me catch you up on my classes:

Fall 2012 Academic Schedule:

1.) Intro to Environmental Studies: This class meets for one hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, plus a 3-hour lab period every Monday. I have one professor for the lecture class that meets 3 times a week, and then the lab class is split up between three different professors. This is a different setup than other lab classes because environmental studies involves so many separate disciplines. So, one professor teaches the more scientific concepts and works with us outside while the other two focus on the philosophical side of the course, as well as history, law, and everything else that goes into understanding the complexities of human impact on the environment. In all honesty, I was really afraid of how having four professors for one class would work out. It turns out, though, that they all work together really well and the entire class seems to just blend together perfectly. Our class project seems pretty cool too...but more on that later! All in all, this is my first class for my ES minor, and I think it's going to end up being the perfect choice for me.

2.) Advanced Digital Media: This class is a Media Studies elective that is only offered every two years. After taking the required Digital Media: Art, Culture and Theory class, I decided this next level would be a good idea for me. I love Journalism, but I know my weakness in the MJD major is anything having to deal with graphic design or learning different computer programs to create images or web pages. Although computer stuff proves itself a challenge for me, I really liked the first class last semester and I'm already enjoying this one. There's just so much to learn...with constant updates in technology, this field is always changing, and even though it's so quickly paced it's all quite exciting! I have this class for an hour and a half every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and I always find that time flies quickly while I'm there. Professor Sultze teaches it, and she keeps her students very engaged with the fascinating content of this course.

3.) Christianity: Past and Present: This class was the one a bit out of my comfort zone. I'll admit that my reason for taking it was to fulfill the LSC (Liberal Studies Core) requirement; I would have never thought of it otherwise. Before my first class I could only think, how am I going to sit through an hour and a half of straight lecture? After all, this is a religious studies course--there would be no lab component, no class outside, no interactive computer program assignments. But, this is why the LSC classes are so awesome...they're never what you expect, and they always show you another side of yourself and teach you what you can do. I found that it's actually a really interesting subject. I always thought that all of the different branches of Christianity, as well as its relation to other religions, was really confusing, and maybe that's also why I was wary about taking the class. But so far, everything is completely understandable, thanks to Professor Byrne. I also enjoyed the homework that I had to read from the Bible, now that I actually get what's going on! As for the lecture, it turns out that I can get through it after all! We often break into groups to discuss different themes, ideas, and questions, and the class is set up so that all of us can have our questions answered.

4.) Nature and Outdoor Writing: I saved this class for last for a reason--it is my absolute favorite! As my second class this semester with Professor Sultze, it has a very relaxed feel but it's also an excellent learning environment. Besides, all of my assignments involve spending time outside! We had our last class out in Gilbrook, on the nature trails behind the 300 Townhouses--just a short walk from the classroom. We all had to find a quiet place to sit by ourselves and write or draw our observations, including every sensory detail. It was a very calming exercise, and I found when I was done that I was much more focused and less stressed than I had been before I entered the woods. I enjoyed a nature walk with a friend today as well, and was actually able to call it homework because I took pictures for a class project. I'm learning so much already, and this class is also reinforcing my passion for creative writing. I've officially made the decision to declare a Creative Writing minor!

So, those are my classes this semester. I'm a little bit behind on updating you all, and if I had the time now I'd describe my weekend trip to the fair and all of the unpacking and reunions that took place even earlier in the week. However, it's getting quite late, so I will fill you in on all of that fun stuff next time.

I hope you've all had as great and fulfilling of a week as I have. If you're just getting back to school now, too, then I wish you the best of luck. Have a wonderful year!


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