After Sis went to her first class on Monday, I went up to school to get my book for A&P (I still have the required books for English from last semester's failure). With the book bundle--which is the book, the lab manual, a couple of extra anatomy guides, a CD that deals with the physiology part of things, and an access code to the online part of the class--and supplies like binders and dividers, the total was $364. At least at the campus bookstore, all you have to do is tell them that it needs to be charged to your financial aid and they do so. The book is loose-leaf so you have to have a binder to put it in. However, because it's loose leaf, I can bring just the chapters we're covering for the test with me, so I'm not lugging a 10lb book around all the time.
My English class is going to be awesome, I think. The professor is my age, or a little younger. She goes by Courtney. She's all about using social media, so part of our class participation grade will be communicating on Twitter. We have our own class hashtag. And the best part about her: the profile pic she uses? Her dressed as the TARDIS at a party. So, not only is she cool, but she's a Whovian. She told me on Thursday that she might be calling me Sara on occasion because I look exactly like her best friend. I told her that it wasn't a problem because that's my sister's name and I already kind of respond to it. She's included all kinds of communication and expression under the rhetoric umbrella: how you dress, buttons, posters, social media posts, etc. She feels that writing academic essays, like the ones I wrote last semester, are really inapplicable to real life. She said that even while she was in school for English she stopped writing that kind of academic essay once she got into grad school. I agree fully. It's boring and useless to write that kind of thing. So for our projects in this class, she's having us do things like create a button that expresses your opinion on something, a protest poster, create an article for submission to a publication (though we don't have to actually submit it), and a historical narrative that is told using a non-traditional medium like YouTube, Twitter, blog posts (easy) etc. I don't think they'll be easy, but they'll at least be absolutely not boring.
What surprised me most about this class: how little the other people prepped and/or cared. As I went to class for the first time on Tuesday, I was totally guessing where the classroom was. While the school gives you a map of the campus, they don't give you detailed maps of the interior of the buildings. So you have to absolutely wing it when trying to get to your first class. I ended up talking to a kid--he can't be more than 20--who seems like a really sweet kid. OMG 20 is now a kid to me. I'm OLD. We had a reading from a book that talked about this woman's view on a more engaging teaching method (in which she used the words "pedagogy" and "self-actualization" about a billion times in 10 pages). I'm pretty sure that I was one of only a handful of the 25 people in the class that actually read the thing prior to class. I know I was one of the few who was talking about it in class. As we were discussing the book, she asked the question, "So what does 'regulatory and punitive' mean here?" When no one responded (I had already decided that I wasn't going to be the only one to talk), she simplified and asked what regulatory meant first. He replied, "Like, regular?" His answer to "punitive" was, "Like, um, tiny or something?" The urge to *facepalm* was so strong. There's one woman who seems to like being argumentative about everything, and there was another girl who as discussing the thing even though she'd already admitted she hadn't read it. I'm interested to see what happens next Tuesday. I'm determined to not be the only one talking. However, there are so many times where I feel like have to pipe up becaus no one els is talking.
On to A&P. The professor in this class will be good, I think. She went to the medical school here in Houston. During her residency she decided that teaching was actually what she wanted to do. She went back and got her degree in education and has been teaching ever since. She does ESL science and math tutoring at local schools during the day, and teaches this class in the evenings. Sis had her for A&P II last spring and told me that she is a really good teacher. I told Dr. Ruiz that she had had Sis in her class last spring and she asked how Sis was doing. She seemed very happy that Sis is now in nursing school. I know that I have a good leg up in this class after having taken medical terminology last summer. I already know the basics and the language, which is already helpful. However, the one annoying thing is Dr. Ruiz's pronunciation of the words. It's rather critical that these terms are pronounced correctly, since some are similar enough that it would be confusing. I realize that English is her second language, but damn.
Lab is going to be interesting. On Thursday, we dissected a rat. The second day of lab, we do a rat dissection. That's hardcore. The three other people in my group are going to be an interesting group. The two girls are nice and seem to be willing to go with the flow. The guy, however, is going to be a challenge, I think. He kind of took over and, when I tried to assist, he shunned my help. WTF. We've got a cat dissection happening a month or so from now. That will not be one I will be doing. I will firmly object to doing it. The death of Cole is still a really raw wound and to think of cutting up a cat is just abhorrent. Sis had to decline to do the same thing when she took the class and Dr. Ruiz was understanding.
What I have determined is that I need to have a really portable way to access the internet. My laptop is fantastic, but it's heavy as hell. I carried it and my other binders around campus on Thursday and my shoulder STILL hurts on Sunday. Doug gave me a $100 gift certificate to Amazon. I've pretty much decided that I'm going to use that and whatever I get as a refund from my financial aid to buy myself one of the larger Kindle Fires (it's 8.9"). I think with a keyboard, I'll be able to access the internet, read my books, and take good notes while only carrying a few pounds around with me instead of the 8lb. laptop I've got. Several other girls in my A&P class use their iPads to take notes. I would get one of those, but I can't buy it on Amazon. Anyone have a Kindle Fire out there? Opinions on it and how it might work--or not--for my purposes?
I'm cautiously optimistic about this semester. Sis is struggling, but that's to be expected. I have caught a cough. One of those lovely, deep, barking coughs. And I can't take dextromethorphan to keep myself from coughing because it screws with my brain chemistry and makes my moods rapidly cycle. The last thing I need right now is instability. So I'm coughing and hoping to God that it'll resolve itself before Tuesday afternoon.