I made it through my first week of classes at Pitt! I was a little bit disappointed when I created my schedule, because the only classes available were two-and-a-half-hour courses that meet once I week. I would much rather have shorter classes that meet twice a week! It is hard for me to pay attention that long, even if the professor gives us a ten minute break in the middle of the class. But I’ll have to go with it…
So far, everything seems surprisingly manageable. I do have to keep in mind that two of my classes are online (via a local community college), and they won’t be starting until January 28th, so I haven’t really had a taste of the full work load yet. And most of my classes right now are undergrad level–there are a few prerequisites I needed to take care of before I officially start my grad program in the fall. So I’m sure it will get harder!
It’s exciting to be back in a classroom setting on the other side of things–I find myself watching the teacher and analyzing their teaching methods a little bit, taking note of anything I like that I might want to copy when I am teaching again. It’s also exciting to hear my professors throw some of that educational-field jargon out there (and so many acronyms! Like IEP, ESL, IDEA, etc.) and actually know what they’re talking about. When I was trying to memorize that stuff in undergrad, it seemed really confusing to me, but now that I’ve had some real-world experience and practice, it’s much easier to keep the vocabulary straight.
I managed to be early to all of my classes this week (woohoo!), AND find parking, which is no small feat for me! Pittsburgh has a lot of street-side parking, which tends to be MUCH cheaper than taking a space in a parking garage, but it also means that I need to get over my parallel-parking-anxiety. On Wednesday, I met my friend at the gym (that’s right! THE GYM) and the only street-side space available was a tiny, TINY spot between two cars right in front of the gym doors. I somehow managed to squeeze in with only inches to spare on each side of my bumpers! I was so proud! When I got out to inspect my work, I saw that my back tire was partially up on the sidewalk…but I’m still amazed that I squeezed in their without banging into either of the other cars.
I did have a bit of an embarrassing moment…When I went to my first class on Monday afternoon, I was REALLY early because I had no idea how long it would take me to find parking and find my way to the building that my class was in. I figured I could walk into the empty room and have a seat, but when I walked through the door, I realized that the room was far from empty. It was a stadium-seating-style lecture hall, and I walked right into the front of the room where the projector screen was. It was apparently some sort of nursing class, because the professor was at the front of the room throwing out words like “scrotum” and “semen” and lecturing about different parts of the male anatomy. Everyone turned to look at me when I walked in, professor included, and I quickly turned around and bolted out of the room. I was so embarrassed! And confused about whether or not I read my schedule correctly…but about twenty minutes later, the nursing students filed out of the room and education majors started filing in, so it was okay. At least none of THEM had seen my mishap. 😉
One thing that I’m a little disappointed about is that I seem to be the odd man out in most of my classes. Because I’m taking prerequisites, I’m surrounded by undergrad students who already seem to know each other from their other courses. In one class full of secondary level education majors, the professor had us raise our hands to indicate which subject area we would teach, and when I raised my hand for English, I saw that all the other English majors were sitting together in a group on the other side of the room. I’m so shy about making friends that I’m always searching for another oddball/wallflower like myself to approach–that seems way less intimidating that approaching a tight cluster of students who all know each others’ names and are in the middle of laughing about some shared inside joke. So far, all I’ve found are a couple of girls who want to be librarians (and one of them REALLY looks like a librarian already, too! I can’t even explain it! The other girl doesn’t….she has dreadlocks).
Justin has already fussed at me about it. “Don’t start making excuses!” he told me. “Just walk up and say hello to people, and ask them about their classes! It’s not that hard!” Maybe for him! Justin is the most social person ever. He can make friends with anyone in five minutes or less. I’m going to have to get really bold in the next few weeks if I want to break in and meet some people!
I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going…