August 24, 2007

In Which We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings


"What does Christopher Robin do in the mornings? He learns. He becomes Educated. He instigorates-- I think that was the word he mentioned, but I may be referring to something else-- he instigorates Knowledge."

What a week.

I very much wish I could have posted when I came home on the first day, last Thursday, but it simply Wasn't To Be. And since then life and homework have successfully confederated to make sure that I didn't post. But today I was sneaky and cunning and cleverly captured a stray 45 minutes to spend with you Gentle Readers.

I've always thought that one of the greatest misfortunes of the modern school calendar is that one must start school in the middle of the hottest weather all year. It simply isn't right. I mean, in picture books, children wear sweaters and caps to their first day of school; in the real world we start the school year off wearing as little clothing as we can in good conscience, because the great outdoors is by that time something akin to a pressure cooker. Maybe this doesn't bother some, but it deeply disturbs me. I always did want life to be like picture books.

Well, I couldn't wear a sweater to the first day of school, but I did other things to bring on the academic mood. For instance, I bought a lunchbox. A Hello Kitty lunchbox. And a black composition notebook-- you know, the kind you instantly think of when you think 'notebook?'-- and two Pink Pearl erasers. Now, technically, I didn't neeeeeed a black composition notebook, and there are erasers on the end of every pencil, but since when has life been all about practicalities such as those? What I says is, if buying a notebook and two erasers makes you feel like starting school, then do it, whether you have notebooks and erasers at home or not. (note: having used those erasers for a week now, I'm remembering why I love them so much. They work better than any other kind, much better than the one on the end of the pencil.)

Of course you've already read Mamadah's account of last Thursday. I am happy to report that she sent me off with only a reasonable amount of Motherly Anguish. I was so blessed by the prayers before I left. I try and remember now to pray every morning before I get out of my car on campus because of what a good beginning that was. As I drove to school that morning I kept trying to convince myself that it was actually happening. The reality of it finally kicked in when I found myself waiting in a hallway with 15 other people for my first class to begin. It was very strange. Sometimes, with things like this that you've planned for and thought about for a long time in advance, it's odd when it ceases to be something abstract in your head and on your calendar and instead becomes a campus and parking lots and books and classes, real things and real people all around you.

With one week down, I'm getting a better idea of what my classes are like. I think I'm going to enjoy my Government class-- it's been very interesting thus far. Algebra is boring and befuddling by turns as always. Rhetoric (basically freshman composition) has promise. We've had some interesting class discussions, and it'll be good to exert some discipline in writing. I just wish the essays in the textbook weren't so liberal. Bleh. Choir is shaping up nicely-- we're doing a Halloween concert, which, if not exactly what I would have wanted, will still be fun. But my favorite is voice. We had our first 'real' (as in not spent going over the syllabus) voice class today, and I'm really excited. I have a wonderful piece -- Oh Had I Jubal's Lyre, by Handel. It was a felicitous choice on the part of my teacher because I love the words, I love the way it sounds, and it suits my voice. I got to sing it with accompaniment for the first time today-- it was exhilarating! I can't wait to polish it.

The last week has been one long whirl. I've had to think through things that I'll probably never think much about again-- where to park, the quickest walk from each class to the next, how to use the lounge computers, how to budget time so's to not arrive late for things (I'm discovering that everything takes longer than I think it will), and, oh yes-- how to open a locker. An amusing and protracted little episode, that. Involved 3 days, at least 3 dozen failed attempts, a few bangs on the door, and a trip to the Info Depot wherein I swallowed my pride and asked the guy working there how to, um, open a locker. I felt rather silly. I mean, school children do it every day. But then, the beehive doesn't have any lockers, so how would I know you have to turn the knob around to zero a few times before the combination?

This is part of what makes starting college so vivid and strange for me. I have absolutely no school experience. None. For most people, it's college itself that's new. For me it's not only that, it's institutional schooling in the first place. It's strange to be away from home for hours every day. I happen to like being home a lot; I've spent most of my life there. What an odd departure from the past to get up every morning and leave.

I feel very triumphant tonight. It looks as if I made it through the first week in one piece. I haven't lost anything, I haven't wrecked poor faithful old Elwood, I've stayed on top of my homework, I haven't been late for anything, I've looked both ways before crossing every street, I've figured out a whole bunch of stuff, and I've enjoyed all of it. It's been a good beginning, and for that I'm thankful.

Some transitions are so abrupt. From Wednesday to Thursday life changed completely and permanently-- it will never be like it was again. An era has passed. Life gets bigger and bigger, and I feel very old and very young at the same time. But I think I'm going to like this era too.

But enough of that. I must go read about Visual Rhetoric and Search For Truth through Mature Reasoning and Inquiry.



Dani said...

I put off taking the crazy liberal class until my last semester. I ended up being pleasantly suprised, in that the professor was a person. I learned more, possibly, in that class than in any other. If nothing else, it taught be to argue my points better by understanding their arguements, even if I thought they were a bunch of folly.

I'm glad you had a good first week, I prayed that it would be good. I'm sure you'll do fine. :) You do have good home training, and alot of common sense, and are bright.

Owl of the Desert said...

I is way too hot to start school, especially college, where you must hike from one class to the next. There were quite a few classes where I would arrive sweaty and out of breath, having walked a good 1/2 mile to get there.

I'm happy to hear classes are going well, and excited to know you are in the choir and taking voice. My good friend in college was a vocal performance major, and I had the pleasure of listening to her practice and attending her recitals and shows. Wish I could come hear some of yours!

Hope this next week goes just as well.

fa-so-la-la said...

Fortunately the campus is on the small side. I actually don't have to walk more than a couple of minutes to anything. And right now that's a really good thing. :-)

Nardo said...

I remember my first day. The administration folks had changed the location of my first class, History, and had moved it all the way across campus. Not the best start but thankfully not a prediction of the rest of semester.

I always tried to have something plaid to wear to school when it got crisp. And a pea coat is the best with a scarf. It makes you just feel positively smarter.

Good luck with school.

Queen of Carrots said...

I think the picture books were all written by people in New England. I grew up in Washington and was always distressed that my life never fit, either. Now I live in Ohio and things fit much better, but it's still too hot to wear sweaters back to school.

rachel tsunami said...

dearest fa. this is one of the most endearing first day/week of school tales I've ever heard.

i see you went with the more traditional garb rather than the leather jumper w/ slingshot and 5 smooth stones. probably a good choice.

the Hello Kitty lunchbox should serve you well. i've always had an unreasonable fondness for Hello Kitty. especially since i didn't discover her till I was in my 30's. the lunchbox is good.

love picturing you in your new environs. a/r

Mimigrace08 said...

Guess what? I don't know how to open a locker either! That will so be me next year :-)

Grace-n-Glory said...

Dear Fa-So-La-La! I'd be so delighted to hear you sing Jubal's Lyre! Such a perfect choice for you! And what a challenge for the BREATH support. =) I never could have pulled it off as a freshman. Good for you! =D As the craziness of the semester plunges onward toward Christmas, may you be blessed with moments of profound peacefulness.

(PS since Grace&Glory won't necessarily let you know WHO I am, I'll give you a hint -my mama is Patti and my brother is Gabe and my sister is Hannah and before I had 3 little ones, I taught voice even a few times to you!)