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finally posting again

I know, I've been terrible about this, but not surprisingly with the start of term I've been quite busy.

So far it's all going well, and since I've been to each of my classes at least once now that bodes well. On Friday I had my second English class, in which we had to write a diagnostic essay in class on our reactions to a poem which our prof. read to us (we also each had a copy). That was kind of stressful, since having never had to do something like that it was kind of a shot in the dark for me. It wasn't that bad once I actually did it, the anticipation was by far the worst part. I'm very curious to see what my professor has to say about it though.

Thursday brought political science and psych, both of which I was really looking forward to. PolSci was rather intimidating as it's one of those big lecture classes, followed by a small honors discussion section with the professor (no-honors groups get TA's). It was a very good lecture, quite interesting. Much of it was at least a little familiar or at least grounded in stuff I knew from my own reading, but still the environment made it seem pretty scary. Thankfully the discussion section was mostly centered on the syllabus. I got out of there rather wiped out though and was glad I had a 1 hour 45 minute break before my next class.

Psych looks like it might actually be pretty easy which would be good, while still teaching us something. Our prof., who is in post-grad herself, was apparently convinced that we'd try to cheat if we thought we could get away with it, and kept telling us not to.

On Fri. I had my first German class, which went well. The teacher is very enthusiastic and bubbly, and rather stereotypical of language teachers. She started off by babbling to us in German which scared us all but then she did start speaking English. She has a nice technique of just talking in simple phrases so we can figure out what sh'e saying (saying "my name is..." while pointing to herself) then asking us the same questions, without burdening us with text until later. I've never tried to learn a language in a classroom setting before and, being a rather tentative learner I had my doubts, but I think it will be at least somewhat productive. This being a non-honors class, we're allowed up to 5 unexcused absences and uncompleted assignments! That's ridiculous!

let the classes begin

Well, I've answered the question, in my own individual case, of whether unschoolers are able to cope with going to school for the first time in college: yes. Yesterday I had English 120, which was at the last minute combined with 220 so we're doing writing AND literature. It was a short class, 50 minutes, and we spent most of it going over the syllabus, but it was still a class and I felt no more or less lost than any of the other kids.

Since Macaualay canceled their first year seminar and are doing a series of freshmen meetings instead, I had a 4 hour break where I used to have FYS. I spent it hanging out, reading my Eng 120 guide to literary research papers, and having lunch.

Though also focused on introductions and syllabus discussion, CHC was great. The professor had been recommended to me by my brother and he was right, she's terrific. The class is, in my opinion, relatively unschool-y in that it focuses MUCH more on actually doing things than on silly academic work. (nothing against silly academic work, I am in college after all). We've scheduled to go to 7 or 8 outside events: galleries, shows, opera, rehearsals, and we only have two little papers to write.

The latter part of CHC, which is a very long class, was a discussion of South Pacific. People's thoughts on it were all over the map but we had a fairly interesting talk, and Prof. Lesser mediated it excellently and really respected our ideas.

Today I have Political Science, Political Science discussion, and Psychology, all of which I'm really looking forward too. English is fine but this stuff is really why I came.

Busy, college, busy, trial, busy

Wow I've been so busy I've totally neglected my blog lately. I'm afraid that is the future of my blog anyhow, with term starting on Wednesday. This week I had 4 consecutive days of orientation, which were fun and went well as I suppose most college orientations do.

But the more relevant point is that, despite dire predictions from MANY people I've met over the years, I was not socially awkward and rejected by the other kids for being unschooled. In fact, when it came up it was really just a point of conversation, nothing more. The head of Macaulay Hunter, when he talked to us, was very open minded and when he talked about how different college is from high school because you have more freedom and no one's telling you what to do anymore etc. etc., he did always mention that it's not like that for everyone. I'm not sure if he mentioned the non-traditional possibilities for my benefit alone (there are only 130 freshmen and I know he knows me), but I really appreciate the nod towards people coming from other directions. So far the transition doesn't seem to be any harder or easier for me than for anyone else, just a bit different.

Day in the park

Today was Outward Bound day for us Macaulay freshmen, all of us from all 7 Macaulay campuses, not only Hunter. We all met up at El Museo del Bario at the ungodly hour of 8:30 this morning, and eventually we were admitted into the auditorium, split into 20 groups at random, and given colored t-shirts, a different color for each team. Then the dean of Macaulay talked about how great we are, how great the school is, how much they're going to do for us etc. Next some people from Outward Bound gave us the rundown on what we'd be doing and how great it was going to be, and then we got started.

One by one our teams - we named ourselve the Spartans, not my choice - filed out, picking up boxed lunches on the way, and off into Central Park where a map and two volunteer Macaulay upperclassmen to guide us along. There were 15 stations around the park where our team could earn points for completing challenges. We moved from station to station quite slowly I thought, sometimes doing trivia questions or games for extra points along the way. The reuccuring theme all day was the importance of teamwork, with frequest guest appearences from creative problem solving and focus. The challenges were all pretty simple, sort of PE game type things like moving across a "river" on stepping stones and throwing balls into baskets and guiding blindfolded partners.

At the end of the day there was going to be a poetry slam for the top three teams, but all teams had to write poems. At a bit of a loss, we wrote a goofy rap song about how great the Spartans were using references to the challenges. We did fairly well at the challenges but our progress was quite lethargic and dissorganized, so we were all absolutely shocked when we won first place for points accumulated! Our poetry slam against the 2nd and 3rd place teams was a huge success; it was scored by applause and we garnered a huge racket from the crowd, making us the reigning champions of the Macaulay Honors Outward Bound day and winning us each a little trophy. 



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July 2010