Student Snippets


First Day Jitters

I remember the first few days of each new semester in college being really overwhelming. I'd go to each new class, go over all the syllabi, find out about all the readings, assignments and expectations, and trudge home wondering what the heck I'd gotten myself into and how on Earth was I going to get it all done and why oh why did I register for so many credits?? But then things would get going and I'd work out a routine and a rhythm and everything would settle in just fine.

Well that overwhelming feeling is kind of what I'm experiencing right now after the first week of my new fall classes. I have my very first completely online class and a Saturday morning class at SLIS West and both my professors were like, "this class is going to be very demanding and lots of work and you cannot slack off one little bit." Not in those exact words, but that's definitely the impression I got. And when you've had a few weeks off and you've been spending your time haphazardly and a tad irresponsibly the prospect of getting "back to the grindstone" is slightly terrifying. Not to mention, my son started going to preschool for the first time so we've all been feeling jittery this week. Nervous, excited, and a little overwhelmed.

It felt so good to be back up in South Hadley at the campus of Mount Holyoke on Saturday. I left my house in southern Connecticut nice and early and drove with the sunrise, arriving to a perfectly crisp but not too cool day that hummed with a kind of anticipation. I know the route by heart now and I didn't have to consult a campus map to find my classroom so there was some predictability to sooth my nerves. I found quite a few familiar faces from my previous classes and the day was filled with renewing old acquaintances and making new ones! I really do love the crowd at SLIS West. I love that it's small, I love that we share one communal office space and see each other a lot, I love that we get people from all ages and life circumstances. I met a woman who is similar in age to myself with a young child and we talked about parenting for at least an hour. We had both noticed that most of the people in the program seem to be younger and/or childless, or older with grown-up children, so we were delighted to find one another. Earlier my professor had mentioned that she had a 6 month-old when she originally took the class herself. So yes, you can be a mom with kids still at home and go back to school!

Speaking of socializing, I'm having my first experience with the online forums and group discussion that accompany an online class format. Since all of our class discussion must be conducted in this way, we are required to do A LOT of posting. That means a lot of writing. Now, I am somebody who thinks pretty carefully about what I'm going to say before I speak, but I do even more thinking before I write something. In person you can always clarify your statements and convey meaning with tone of voice, but with this discussion format I find myself choosing words carefully and taking time to craft my statements. I'd heard that online classes could be more time-consuming and feel like more work than in-person classes and I'm beginning to understand why already. But it's also kind of fun. It's like social media when you and your friends are all commenting on each other's posts and getting excited about stuff except this is all about archives and there are such passionate, intelligent voices adding to the discussion. Stay tuned for more of my thoughts about online vs. in-person classes as the semester progresses.

I realize this post has basically been me unloading all my feelings from the first week of class and I could keep going but in the interests of time, I'd better wrap it up.

Until next week,