Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My awesome (and incredibly weird) class schedule

Hello readers! So, I know I said I'd do this over the weekend and it's now Tuesday afternoon, but better late than never right? Besides, today kind of starts the week for me for real. And then it kind of ends on Thursday. I know...most of you are probably thinking that it sounds like the best schedule ever. And mostly, it is...just not for the same reasons you might think!

So on Mondays, I have one class from 8:30 AM to 9:35 AM. Why on earth would I choose to get up early on a Monday for an hour of learning? Well, I hate wasting time, but I never realize how much I hate it until I've already wasted away my morning by laying in bed. So this keeps me from procrastinating! Anyway, once I'm done on Monday mornings, I can't help but remain in weekend mode--the day seems infinite with "nothing" to do! But the truth is, there's always something to do, especially after avoiding homework the whole weekend. So Mondays are big homework days for me.

Anyway, on Tuesdays I have class from 3:00 to 4:35 PM and then a 3-hour photojournalism course from 6:30 to 9:30. Again, a huge chunk of the day is "free," but it's good workout and library time. And, I like to get my homework done before photojournalism, because I would hate having to start everything late at night--especially after a 3-hour class!

On Wednesdays I have my 8:30 class again, plus ANOTHER 3-hour class from 1:30 to 4:30. Thursdays is my one afternoon class at 3:00 and Friday brings me back to the 8:30 AM and then a seemingly infinite weekend!

I wanted to talk about my schedule first because on the surface, it looks like I have a lot of time to kill 3 days out of the academic week. But the important thing to remember is that my class time equals the same amount that most other students are taking, it's just that two of my classes only meet once a week for an extended period of time. This means that my week actually takes a lot of planning, especially around Tuesday and Wednesday. Having large chunks of time out of class can be beneficial because I can often sit down and get something done in one shot. However, not having that time period broken up can mean a slow start, procrastination, and daydreaming, which are all things I happen to excel at. It can also lead to thinking that I have a lot more time on my hands than I actually do. On Sunday night, I went to the library and checked out two DVDs, thinking I'd watch them after I finished the rest of my homework on Monday. It's Tuesday afternoon, and I still haven't watched them yet!

Anyway, I'll spare you guys a lecture. Just remember that if you have a freaky class schedule, you should be realistic about how much time you have. Manage it well.

Now to the fun part: a review of my classes! Prospective Journalism and Environmental Studies friends, listen up:

1.) PH-209A Philosphy of Science, Technology and the Environment (MWF 8:30-9:30 AM): I will admit to you all freely that I am no philosopher. I mean, I can think pretty deeply (believe it or not) but I don't have much interest in philosophical reading or debate. I took this class because it fulfills the Liberal Studies requirement of a second-level philosophy course, and it also counts toward my Environmental Studies minor. So, I was not thrilled to be enrolled in a philosophy class early in the morning, but I did it out of practicality.

That being said, I will also admit that I had no idea how much I'd really enjoy this class. But as soon as Professor L'Hote began her discussion with us last Monday, I've been pretty hooked. This class has a pretty self-explanatory title: we're looking at the impacts of each of these concepts through a philosophical lens. It's probably no surprise to you that the first question our class was asked was, "What is science?" and it also may be no surprise that none of us had a definitive answer. What the course title doesn't tell you is that these concepts actually have a lot to do with our own ideas, observations, and especially our varied views on religion. Our interpretation of science, for example, can show someone how we percieve the rest of the world.

I'm just skimming the surface here. In all honesty, a lot of the stuff we've been discussing is way over my head. But every now and then I catch an idea and things make a lot more sense. You know, philosophy is a pretty "messy" subject. There's really no right or wrong answer. There probably are no answers at all.

Anyway, I can't wait to get to the "technology" and "environment" sections of the course. Not that I want to rush science along at all, but those are the two I'm really interested in. Technology, as you know, plays a huge role in social and global media, and its very existence affects the way I will someday be doing my job compared to the way past journalists and other people in the realm of media creation did theirs. And don't even get me started on the environment. Just the word itself implies a lot, but I won't go there. All I will say is that as an environmentalist, certain movements and current environmental issues are close to my heart.

Which brings me to my next class:

2.) ES-201B Environmental Problems (W 1:30-4:30 PM): Okay so I'm not going in order, but I just had to take advantage of that transition. Anyway, in this class I will be taking a look at current environmental problems and trying to figure out ways to solve them. You all know from past posts that environmental studies encompasses multiple disciplines and there are often several ways of looking at any particular problem. This class is no different. We will be doing a lot of reading about problem solving, policy making, economics, ecology...you name it. We will also be having "field trips" to different areas where we will assess issues going on in those locations. There's also going to be tons of research, as majors in this class need to start one of many projects that will help them focus on their concentration. Since I am a minor, I think my assignment will be to find a project that relates environmental issues to my major.

I've only had this class once so far, but I am quite excited about it. I have Professor DeCarlo, who is incredibly experienced in the field and has a lot of hands-on knowledge that she's ready to share with us. She's a very inspiring person, too, and you can tell that she really gives her whole life to her work.

3.) MJD-250A Global Communications (T TH 3:00-4:35 PM): Here's the zinger! Whenever I hear anything about the MJD major, it's almost always about this class. People will say they've heard "horror stories" and that this is the most difficult class in the major. They warn you about it.

Want to know the truth? I'm being sincere: it's not that scary. Seriously. It's a demanding class, yes. There is a lot of reading and there are a lot of expectations. Limits might be pushed. But I can tell already that it is worth it.

First of all, any class that has the word "global" in it should indicate a lot of reading. And to be truthful, most college classes in general are a LOT of reading. Global Comm is the class that helps MJD students prepare for media in the global sense. We try to look outside of our New England perspective and see real-world issues through an objective lens. We look at how the media have changed the way we see the world, discuss this phenomenon called "global culture," study geography (yes, geography in a journalism class--it's actually really important!), and keep up with current events in every region of the world. At the end of the course, there will be a huge research project that will incorporate skills we've learned in other courses, like having to use a web design program.

This course is taught by Professor Hyde, and he helps bring the classroom to life in really interesting ways. On our first day, he told us to work with partners to try to fill in a blank world map as fast as we could. Of course, none of us have terribly wonderful geography skills, so it took a while. We listened to different forms of music from all over the world as we worked. We also filled out index cards with information on it like our "personal ideology." Heavy question! We sort of stared at each other for a while like, is this serious? But once we got used to thinking outside the box, some interesting answers came to us. I can tell that this class is going to help me rethink the world and see it in a different light. So, all I have to say is challenge accepted!

4.) MJD-210A Photojournalism in a Digital Age (T 6:30-9:25 PM): You might be thinking, "who would want to take a class that late at night?" Well, to be honest, I'm a little bit too used to hanging around academic buildings during late hours. Besides, this is the "fun" course! First of all, I got a shiny new toy: a beautiful, magical, incredibly expensive camera. Admittedly, I'm a little scared of carrying this thing around with me.

However, who doesn't like to have fun taking millions of pictures? I think that after this weekend, most of my friends probably won't want to hang out with me anymore unless they want their lives to be documented at every moment. It's like they've got a personal paparazzi!

Sheila took this class last semester, and I used to go out with her when she was working on projects. So, I already have an idea of what to expect. For example, I know that the "Day in the Life" assignment will require me to follow a classmate around for the day and document their interactions. My friend Cara is taking the class with me, so I'm hoping we can be partnered with each other!

I'm incredibly stoked for this class because I've always loved taking pictures but I've never learned how to use professional equipment or how to get the most out of an image. I'm hoping that I'll be a much better photographer by the end of this course. Maybe not National Geographic-worthy just yet, but a bit closer!

Here are some of the pictures I've taken so far (I only picked a few out of the 684 that I took this week!):

And now I'm off to my photojournalism class! Sorry I don't have time to caption the photos--but hopefully you get the picture! (Ha!)



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