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07 January 2008

January 7: A Hectic Start to the Semester

Busy day today. It was the first day of classes for the semester, which meant I had to frantically scramble from department to department to confirm/drop classes and to figure out where the classes meet.
That itself isn't too bad, but add on top of that the fact that I am recovering from a bout of illness (a strong cold, maybe even the flu?!), and that I had 2 (!!!) essays due today. These essays counted for the majority of my grade in the two classes they were for. In total, I wrote over 5500 words in these essays. I poured all my energy this weekend into them (though my illness took most of my energy before I could use it).

But things just didn't seem to be going smoothly today either. I woke up groggy, sick, and tired, having stayed up until 3 to finish my papers. I forced myself to eat and shower, triple-checked I had everything essential in my backpack and headed off to get the registration form from Harry Gibney. He wasn't in his office, but I luckily tracked him down upstairs. I got my form, then went to the Econ department (up 3 flights of stairs! remember, I'm sick and weak), but there were no advisers there. I then went to the Arts building, where I changed my German classes and attempted to find the timetable for History. Turns out there is no timetable; I had to ask a departmental adviser. I was wandering the halls of the Arts building for probably 15 minutes, looking completely lost.

I then went to my first scheduled class, German (Austrian) Literature. I went to the classroom, but no one was there. I waited for another minute or so, double-checked the assigned room, then noticed a bulletin board saying that this class would not be meeting the first week. Doh! So I left and attempted to print out my essays.

I say "attempted" primarily because of my linguistics essay, which has caused me almost as many heartaches over the past week as its word count of 4098. First, I had to make a recording of American English and burn it onto a CD. Then there were these forms that I had to sign because the recording involved outside participants, etc. Then, the paper itself was really long! 4000 words--it turned out to be around 14 pages! That qualifies it as the longest paper I have ever written. But the problems didn't stop when I completed the essay late last night. I had to find a way to accurately display linguistic symbols, which required changing the font of the symbols to Lucidia Sans or whatever. Anyway, the computers in the library (where I went to print out my paper) didn't have this font installed, so none of my symbols showed up! It wouldn't work to change them to Times New Roman. So, I went back to my room, with about 5 hours left before the submission deadline, and tried to see if my flatmate with a printer was in so I could use it. She wasn't there. So I began to re-edit my paper, changing the linguistic symbols. But then I got the idea of converting it to pdf. After finding a site that converts files to pdf for free, it worked! I was able to print out the pdf of my paper and submit it with the CD of my recordings.

So my two big papers are done. Huge burden off my back. And suddenly I don't feel so sick anymore! It's amazing how stress really can affect your health.

I had another class today that actually met: The history of Architecture in London, from the Victorian era to the present. It seems like an interesting class, and it definitely will help me immerse more into the culture of London. The teacher warned us, though, that some of the readings are really dull and dense. But every other week, the class takes a field trip to analyze buildings firsthand! I'm excited. Next week we'll be looking at the Houses of Parliament (from the outside only; I already got to go inside, though :P)

After my hectic day of class scheduling (I went to the Econ department a second time, and they referred me to a certain professor's room, but she wasn't in... strike 2!) and paper-submitting, I was perfectly fine just wasting the rest of my evening, mostly on the web. For some reason, I was craving tomatoes today: I had tomato soup for lunch and I made some spaghetti for dinner. I also ended up spicing things up with some Cholula sauce. I really love the sourness and pungentness of it all.

I don't think I have any classes tomorrow... yay! Well, actually, not so yay, because I don't have a 4-day weekend anymore.

But I'm tired (as I often have been over the past few days, since I've arrived back in London), so I can sleep in! Good nite!

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