I may have another day of travel to Fullerton tomorrow, but as of 6:00 p.m. today I have officially experienced all my new classes for the semester. So, as promised, I’m going to take my blog post today to run through my first impressions of all five courses I’m taking.
You know, outside of the general little factoids that are just a part of every new semester.
Like parking being garbage.
Or the fact that I’ve probably spent more on gas this week than I did over the entirety of the summer.
Some of my opinions here may seem more aggressive or more mundane than I’ll actually feel by the end of the semester, but that’s just the nature of first impressions isn’t it? Being probably a little too far on either end of the spectrum?
Frankly I’m not even sure why I’m giving this long disclaimer. It’s a personal opinion post on my personal blog that may or may not be played more for comedic value if anything else.
That’s basically what America was founded to facilitate.
So yeah let’s get into it.
Mass Media Ethics
I decided to go in order of major classes, minor classes then honors classes for this small listing even though it isn’t the order I actually have those classes throughout the week.
Thus we begin with my first Comm class, Mass Media Ethics. It’s a bit strange starting with my two classes that are one-day-a-week, three-hour blocks… But that’s just how things wound up this semester.
Despite those seemingly long, arduous class periods, I think these two Comm courses are probably toward the top of my positive first impressions. Mass Media Ethics specifically started off in a good place because it was my first class this semester where I had a friend.
Tim, who was a social media assistant on the Titan last semester, is in that class with me on Tuesday. Funny enough Chelsea, the other social media assistant last semester, is in my Visual Comm class on Wednesdays.
But that’s a topic for later obviously.
Mass Media Ethics was also interesting in that it presented me with the first time a professor knew who I was before I knew who she was. The professor was an ex-Daily Titan advisor, so we already had some common ground, but it also turned out that she knew my name from an SPJ newsletter announcing my having won that scholarship this summer.
I don’t exactly have too much to say about the class itself since we mostly utilized our time to get to know one another and read out the syllabus. But just based on that alone, the air of support and camaraderie amongst those of us in that small room was already pretty great.
Plus, the one actual ethics thing we started to look at was a debate about publishing the name/picture of a mass shooter from around the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting a few years back. So there’s definitely some interesting stuff coming down that pipeline.
Yet. The most interesting thing about that class, hands down, is the fact that it isn’t in the basement.
I know that sounds like a joke, but literally every class I’ve had in the Comm building before now has been in the basement and this one wasn’t. So it’s already an exciting change of pace.
I’m fresh off of this class, given the fact that it’s my 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night course. Honestly the only thing separating me from writing it on-the-spot is my hour-long drive home.
Even if I had a little more time before writing this, I’d still say the first impression for this class was strong.
My professor here seems far more energetic than just about anyone else I have even in the face of a 230-person lecture.
Oh and I mean 230 people. Because he took attendance for every single one of them today. All 14 pages of his roll sheet.
Granted from here on out he said he’ll just be utilizing a sheet we’ll pass around, but it was still interesting watching that whole experience happen.
Especially since we also talked about the syllabus right after that, so probably close to the whole first hour of the three-hour course was just introductory stuff!
But like I said, he was so energetic and fun about it that that wasn’t even a problem.
Then our first broach into the subject included, amongst other things, discussions about Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code, Ridley Scott and Blade Runner, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and other various and sundry movie-and-pop-culture-stuffs.
So, as I said in a tweet during the break we took:
Well said, me.
Also every exam is online only. ‘Nuff said.
Learning and Memory
Alright, these next two classes are my Psychology minor block. Learning and Memory specifically is actually the first class I took this semester since it’s my earliest Monday/Wednesday session.
It’s also probably the class I’m most divided on now that I’ve had my first two days of it.
On the one hand, my professor seems like a nice, old man. Which isn’t just a derogatory ‘lol he’s old,’ I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s one of the oldest members of the department.
It’s great in my opinion. More experience = more knowledge to impart and all that jazz.
Though an unfortunate side-effect of it is the fact that his voice doesn’t travel very far. So it’s a little harder to fully gather everything he’s saying in what is already a quickly escalating lecture course.
Also there are certain ways the class is constructed that baffles me and that I will openly complain about regardless of who may see this.
Like every other class, we’re required to write a paper sometime during the semester. For this class, it’s going to be a paper analyzing the similarities between what studies have found regarding operant conditioning practices in animals and in humans.
Pretty interesting stuff, in my opinion.
The problem is… According to our syllabus and his discussion of the paper…
We’re not allowed to quote or paraphrase anything in the paper we right.
We have an analytical research-driven report that requires us to discuss specific experiments that have been conducted in the past using very specific detail to demonstrate various given vocabulary words.
But we can’t actually directly reference any of the experiments we’re utilizing within the text of the essay.
This and a few other things scattered throughout the course bewilder me in how nonsensical they seem to be. I suppose I’ll just have to see how it all turns out.
Sensation and Perception
Out of all the classes I’m taking, I probably have the least to say about this one. Which is ironic considering it’s the subject I’d argue I’m the most excited to learn about coming in.
Sensation and perception was actually a large part of the reason I fell in love with Psychology back in high school.
Just based off our first class session, it promises to deliver on the cool brain stuff. We’ve already discussed why everything tastes like chicken, for example!
The professor is also pretty chill and prides himself on a sarcastic sense of humor. Yet that sarcasm isn’t so pervasive that it overshadows moments when he comes to the front of the room to tell a story, or when he asked me to stay back after hearing I’m just a Psych minor to make sure I felt okay with the style of essay we’d be writing coming in.
That’s all pretty sweet.
I just don’t have a lot to talk about beyond that really. Seems like it’ll be a good time.
Actually, if I did have one more thing to discuss — what is it with upper-division Psychology classes this semester asking me to present evidence that I’ve passed the prerequisites?
Both my Learning/Memory and Sensation/Perception teacher made out first assignments presenting some kind of proof that we meet the requirements to be there. To which I say… Wouldn’t the computerized system prevent us from taking this upper-division class if we didn’t pass its prerequisites?
I would think so.
But oh well, it’s easy points for me in the end.
Evolution and Creation
My only honors class this semester, given the fact that I didn’t finish with my Honors Project proposal last semester, is Evolution and Creation. An examination of the two differing world views on how we got here.
It’s actually a course that I’ve been looking to take for years now. It always sounded like a fascinating subject to examine, but my schedule has never allowed for it. That’s just life when you have four nights of newspaper production a week.
But this semester I don’t have four nights of newspaper production a week, so I actually had the opportunity to take this class I’ve always wanted to take!
As an added bonus, it’s a class being taught by a professor who I’ve had a couple of classes with in the past, so I already know I like the guy.
The only thing I can really think to complain about in that perfect storm… Are the chairs in the room.
For some reason. This tiny ass room in the bottom of the education building. Is the one place I’ve ever seen these bizarre alien chairs.
Not only are they on wheels and roll around like bumper cars, but the chair piece and the desk piece both independently swivel above the black piece.
It’s honestly like sitting in a chair meant to distract anyone with a semblance of ADHD.
No idea how anyone can learn in them, but I suppose I’ll have to figure it out.
On the bright side, they’re easy to move around the room. So we’ll be able to gather in circles for all of the discussion-oriented portions of the semester.
That just about wraps up my first impressions of my classes this semester. For the most part I have a lot more positives than negatives, and the extra time I’ve built for myself really opens up more work opportunities and the option to keep up with my time in the gym.
So if anything, I think this might just be one of my better, healthier semesters overall.
That said, how are all of you faring if you’ve just started school again for the year/semester? Let me know all about it in the comments down below!