Well I’m safely back at school, and things are off to a roaring start. By that I mean things are going well, and my cooking has yet to start any fires, although the olive oil in the skillet likes to hiss. I got my schedule finalized today, and it’s looking like a fun semester.
I’m taking Medieval Literature with Dr. K, and we’re currently reading all sorts of lovely old Anglo-Saxon things including “King Edwin’s Council” and “Caedmon’s Vision”. Also, I have finally learned to spell Medieval on the first go, a truly wonderful thing since I’m concentrating in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Then I have German with Herr Dr. E. The topic of this semester is German Culture and History from 1900 to 1918. Last fall, you might recall, I had a course about the Weimar period, which means I’m moving backwards in time at a rate of about 20 years per semester. If this continues, by the time I graduate I’ll have gotten to 1840-1860 which includes the first rounds of revolution, and major literary players like the Brothers Grimm. It also means that in order to study the Goethezeit, I’d have to stay on the six year plan. -_-; Hopefully the trend will be broken. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the German Lit Trads will be offered again next year. Herr and Frau Dr. E both seem nice, and after two days his class is still interesting, and I already have a number of quotes worth remembering.
Principles of American Politics with Dr. Mi seems like a breeze after taking so many higher division courses, but watch me eat those words come mid-term time.
Phil of Language, with Dr. S. sounds really interesting now that I’ve had one class and read the syllabus. I really want to take Linguistics now, hopefully it will be offered again soon. If it’s not, I may petition to have it offered before I graduate.
My fifth class was going to be a politics class about Machiavelli, which would have filled another requirement for Med and Renn. I went to the first class on Wednesday (it’s an hour and a half, MW) and I was there five minutes before the posted start time. I would like to stress that I was not late. Unfortunately, Braniff has these long skinny rooms with the doors at the front, which means that when someone walks in, everyone stares at you. The room was already full of graduate students with beards, none of whom made any noise as I shuffled in to a seat near the front. (All the good spots in the back and by the windows where already gone.) One guy did arrive after me, with the clean shave and the giant coffee mug identifying him as someone who has returned to school for a second degree, but is still working in a field where the grad student beard would not be appropriate. Then Dr. de A arrives, introduces himself and the course and calls roll. I am the only new face to him, and he messes up my name even after I say it for him. Then, he launches into the lecture, begging with “I assume you all have read The Prince” and “You should have read the Dedication, Preface, and first Chapter of Discourses on Livy.” He then proceeds to lecture in a fast, monotone voce about this reading, comparing and contrasting it to similar sections in The Prince, and making what would probably have been very pithy comments if I had any prior knowledge whatsoever on the subject.
I went home and tried to do the reading, and it started to make more sense. I thought about the rest of Wednesday evening. I thought about it all day Thursday. I thought about it most of the day Friday. Then I went to my advisor and talked about changing my schedule. When I pointed out that even though I was taking it on the 4000 level, the course was also listed with at the 7000 level, he conceded that I was probably in over my head. We came up with a couple of options for me, one of which required changing my whole schedule around, and another that required a signature from an instructor to get into an already over-full class. In other words, take either Music of the Western World or History and Theory of Gregorian Chant. I decided to try for Gregorian Chant before the other one. I went to the Registrar for the add/drop form, filled it out, ran over to the music department, and was told by the administrative assistant that Father Ralph would be in by 4:30. I thanked her, came back at 4:30 and talked to Father Ralph. He agreed to let me in the class, even though it was already three people over the class limit. So, I start Gregorian Chant on Monday, and I’m determined to do well, so I don’t make the saintly, 80 year old Hungarian monk regret his decision.