My first ever class at the university was chemical principles I. It was an 8 am class (typical science class time...) and I was waaay too early for it. The day before, I had gone to the bookstore to get all my books and stationery for class. So I had also packed my bag the night before. I spent a good hour studying maps of campus just to make sure I would not get lost (even though I'd printed a map off and had my class schedule in my binder anyway). My walk around campus the day before class began had clearly deceived me into thinking the size of the East bank campus was equivalent to the area covered by the Mall of America times a 1000! So on Tuesday, September 8th 2009 I rolled out of bed at 6.00 AM sharp. By 6.30 AM I was showered and rearing to go! Only...the dining hall in Sanford Hall didn't open till 7 AM. After waiting the longest 30 minutes of my life, I headed to the dining hall to eat. I was determined to use my 14-meal/week meal plan to the best of my abilities! No food would be wasted on my watch. There was so much food...good tasting too! (Sanford Hall had, still has, the best meals on campus). And so I ate. I ate and ate and ate until I could not move.
Pretty sure I gained my freshman 15 the first day of class.
It was only 7:15 AM when I was done. But I had to make sure I got the best seat in class! So I dragged my poor, food-laden self out of the cafeteria to the bus stop in front of the building. Alas, the bus was nowhere to be found! I would not let this be the cause of my tardiness that day, so I began to walk. I got to class by 7.30 AM only to hear crickets chirping. No one was there. And so I waited some more, till about 7.55 AM. I had never seen so many students in one class. There must have been at least 200!!! Anyway we carried on with class. The Professor introduced herself and mentioned how we would be going over the syllabus and some introductory concepts. I thought to myself, "Syllabus? What is she on about?" Of course majority of the students whipped out this 'syllabus' item from their bag, all ready to start learning. Despite my obsessive preparations, I had missed this small detail. "Nooooooo!!!!", I thought to myself. "Behind already" (not significantly though haha, I was just being dramatic). There was even a 5 page reading for the lesson that was supposed to have been completed. How in the world could I have missed this? Not to be defeated, I noted this down: Look at course website well before the first day of class ALWAYS. (By the way, the Professor had syllabi printed for the class, so I needn't have freaked out. Most Professors do this). Despite having such a large class, the Professor still tossed numerous questions to the audience. Some unabashed students answered, in full view of everyone in class, EVEN WHEN THEY WERE WRONG. Apparently it was okay not to know the answer. Scratch that. You were lauded for your attempt to learn, without qualms of being wrong. I continued to see this as my classes went on that first day. Different classes, different teaching styles, different expectations. Some professors wanted you to call them by their first name; others wanted you to use their title (Dr., Professor etc.). Some classes had 4 exams for the semester; others had 0. Some classes required me reading 100-120 pages per week; others just solving problems on homework and handing them in. There was so much to keep track of and by Thursday, I'd decided to drop a class to make my workload much more bearable. I did not regret it. My first day at school was an eye opener. Needless it is to say, I got lost despite my little map (inside of buildings are more confusing that outside) and despite all my planning I was still so flustered. It was fun all in all.
Tuesday, September 4th 2012 was the first day of class for the 2012-2013 academic year. I automatically woke up at 7:55 AM, just before my 8:00 AM alarm goes off (my sweet 5 minutes of sleep lost forever :( ). I rolled around refusing to get up until I heard my roommate enter our shared bathroom. I sprung up from my bed to catch her before her shower. If she started, I would never make it to my 9:05 AM class on time. I was too late. "Oh well", I thought, "it'll be cutting it close, but I'm sure I can wing it". While waiting for her, I stuffed some old blank sheets of paper into my one binder (my writing material for 5 classes) and looked around my desk for an old pen and pencil. I found both, no lead for the pencil though. I noted to myself: Buy lead from bookstore at some point today. I heard my roommate exiting the bathroom at 8:25 AM. I dove for the bathroom and made quick work of getting ready. Or so I thought; it was 8:50 AM when I emerged ready to leave. My apartment is a 20 minute walk from my first class. I had 15 minutes to make it. Grabbing a bagel sans cream cheese, I dashed across campus to my class and arrived at 9:10 AM. "Not bad", I thought to myself. I found a seat in the back of the class since it was full (my fellow classmates had had an 8 AM class in the same building and so were early). ¾ of my bagel still hanging from my mouth, it was then I realized the class was awfully quiet. Then I realized, we were having a quiz on the first day of class!! Who does that? And without warning?! Mind you, this time I had checked the course website to make sure I was up to speed on expectations for the first day, but no one had seen the quiz coming! Even the Professor later joked about having to create some 'element of surprise' for the first day. Honestly, I was not too surprised. Some things in college just don't shock me anymore. My motto is "If you can imagine the worst case scenario, it probably will happen" and so I'm always a bit prepared hahaha. As we went through the solutions for the quiz, I answered a question I was certain I had got right. Of course I didn't get it right, in fact it was so far off, the entire class laughed. On seeing my mistake, I joined in too. Over the course of 4 years, I had got to understand why students answered questions in class even when they were wrong. It is quite exhilarating to be able to learn without worries of being embarrassed for not understanding. Also concepts that I may have thought about the wrong way, once corrected, really stuck better than things I had learned on my own. As the day progressed I went from class to work and back to class, only to meet up with my student group in the evening to talk about our objectives for the semester. It felt good to be able to juggle as many activities as I could handle at once. Of course without planning, things did not go completely according to plan that first day either. For instance, I never got the lead I needed for my mechanical pencil. However 4 years at the U has really helped me learn how to deal with these unexpected changes.
4 years in college help me deal with things like 3am homework completions, lol jk! This picture just cracks me up.