Week Two Check-In

It’s week two of the new semester? It feels like week three to me, and that’s with the MLK holiday this past Monday and a snow day last week.

I still don’t have my bloody International Law textbook, which costs $123 new. I have the money, but am morally, spiritually and intellectually opposed to paying $123 for a textbook, especially one I will use for only one class.

I bought a used version of a previous edition online. Amazingly, I got it for $10 including expedited shipping. The prof thinks I can probably get away with a 2004 edition, and so do I. We’ll see.

The reason I’m getting this book so late, aside from the fact that I am offended by bookstore/industry prices and completely opposed to paying such an obscene amount for any book with short-term worth, is that I made arrangements to buy the book last weekend from an out-of-town seller who ended up leaving an inane message on my cell phone explaining that she’d forgotten to bring, on her trip to Asheville, the book she’d made arrangements to sell me.

Asinine young person, a little contrition for the inconvenience you put me though would have been nice.

So not having the book through an ill-fated attempt at thrift, I was of course the very first student to be called on in class by Int’l Law prof. I had no answer for the question he posed, as I’d just tried and failed to cram a week’s worth of crunchy law reading into 90 minutes in the library with the mimeographed material on reserve.

But with luck the book I ordered will arrive soon, and I’ll catch up completely.

In Latin class I have been equally stellar, making an 80 on the first quiz because I managed to study the wrong chapter. How does one study the wrong thing only a week and a half into class? How on EARTH can someone with four semesters of French and one of Spanish fail to conjugate a regular Latin verb correctly? ????

It’s amazing the stupid, absolutely stupid mistakes even a studious and reasonable person can make during a bad week.

I’m not sure why, but so far this semester I find myself scattered, anxious and exhausted. Not quite useless, but on autopilot for extended periods, which isn’t like me at all.

The semester so far:

LATIN I: I like Latin prof, who is young, smart and wears sensible shoes and no makeup. She quickly won my heart by complementing me on my knitted hat.

Latin is my first inflected language, where the NOUNS change depending on their function in the sentence, just like verbs do in French and Spanish (and to a far lesser extent, English).

Latin is complex, weird and surprisingly hard, even with my background in Romance languages.

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION: Interesting, low-stress class. The first thing the prof did was force a class of PC young people to admit that the practices of some people, cultures and religions are wrong and evil by superior Western standards based in Enlightenment principles involving science and reason rather than tradition and religious belief. Bravo.

Int’l Comm prof is a classic professorial type who will not shut up about his foreign travel experiences and (IMO) needlessly seeds the conversation with words outside of his audience’s vocabulary. But like at least one other similar character I’ve had at the college, he is also intelligent, fair, knowledgeable funny and cool. I like him, and I love his pronounced WNC accent.

MEDIA ETHICS: I love this down-to-earth, witty, teacher who couldn’t be farther from the stereotypical college professor making endless allusions to his recent trip to Brittany or his upcoming sabbatical/book deal. My favorite so far in the Mass Comm department. Terrible book; low-stress class. Ahhhhhhh.

AMERICAN POLITICS: Great textbook, intelligent professor. This class looks like the classic college experience with a solid professor and useful, powerful material (the concerns of early American politicians; the shaping of public opinion and the growth of the polling industry in America).

The political science department at UNCA seems the clear winner to me so far in quality of faculty, at least in the areas I’ve fumbled around in. Cornett and Subramaniam are outstanding, and Sabo, the chair and my professor for this class, imparts information solidly and well. If his teaching style were a food, it would be roast beef with potatoes and carrots, you know? Solid, basic, stuff that if it doesn’t set the world afire, is nourishing and filling. It does what it is supposed to do, simply and without fanfare.

INTERNATIONAL LAW: This class has met only three times, and I missed last time due to having an appointment at home for having my cable modem fixed (after all the hassle including picking up a new modem, my problem was a damaged connector cable). Int’l Law prof is that rare person whom you can observe for 90 minutes and not quite be certain exactly how intelligent he really is.

Which is kind of in his favor, to my mind, since I clearly prefer professors who don’t flash their learning needlessly, but bring it out, like a weapon or a tool, when and where it is appropriate to do so. He has strange inflection patterns and is extremely funny, which for whatever reason tends to push the mind toward thinking he is less intelligent, due to foolish ideas even I seem to hold that smart people aren’t loose and funny and casual, like he is. (And which of course they can be.)

The class is full of prelaw students, and I am not sure how much I will get out of it.

But one never knows what life and the future will hold, does she?

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