This moment, right now, is the first time I’ve calmed down and started to feel like myself in the last few weeks. I had a great vacation visiting Galen in Umatilla and then spending a week at home in Montana, but ever since I got home, it has been go, go, go, without one single second to spare. Hopefully I’ll be able to post about some of the fun adventures I had, but I’m too exhausted to do it right now.
I wouldn’t say school is hard, per se… just that it’s an adjustment. It’s hard to remember that my time outside of class isn’t free time, it’s study time. My television and blog have been neglected. I barely have time to answer my emails every day. This is a huge difference from my former life, in which I spent at least eight hours each day glued to a computer screen, keeping up-to-date on news and youtube videos, then went home to watch TV and read blogs. Happy hour, which used to be my preferred method of getting together with friends without spending much money, is no longer an option on Mondays or Wednesdays, when I have class from 5:15 – 8:30. Some days I’m away from my apartment for over 12 hours. Is it difficult? No. Just new.
There are lots of great things about my new life, too. I really enjoy most of my classes, and only one of them is currently kicking my ass (damn you, Anatomy & Physiology!). Audiology, it turns out, is a lot like Physics for Non-Majors, which is great for people like me who took Physics in college. One of my professors is so totally awesome – I want to be her when I grow up. Most of the assigned readings are interesting and thought-provoking, too. (Not the ones from the textbook. I have yet to meet an interesting or thought-provoking textbook.)
It’s also abundantly clear that the world of higher education is very, very different now than it was five years ago when I graduated. Everything is done online, whether it’s assignments, readings, communication, or presentations. All of my professors show us YouTube videos instead of regular videos, and in my Sign Language class, our tests are actually video presentations that we record ourselves, place on YouTube and allow our professor to view. Just us, signing at a camera. Handouts and notebooks are rare, since professors usually make their PowerPoint slides available online for students to print out and write on during lectures. I’m even taking one totally online class (Statistics) and one hybrid class where we meet once a week and are then expected to spend the equivalent of one more class period online learning or connecting with classmates. The last time I did this whole “college” thing, email was big and some professors had their own websites, but that was about it. Who knew so much could change in just five years?
Needless to say, there are also a few differences between a state university of 30,000 students (most of whom commute) and a liberal arts college of only 1800. I was reminded of this in my first class on the first day, when the entire class found out that the class time had been changed and the administration hadn’t actually told the professor. The professor who was the chair of his department until the end of August. Then, as he continued to lecture, he mentioned that there had been an orientation for everyone in my program last week. This was the first most of us had heard of it. Clearly, communication is an area that needs improvement.
But, I’ve somehow managed to find my way around and figure out how things work, for the most part. Now it’s just the reading and homework that I need to work on. Wish me luck!