Finals have arrived

Last night, I had a dream I met Barack Obama.  I’m taking this as a sign that finals will go well.

After a wonderful weekend of hanging out with friends, studying, and praising Jesus, it’s time to tackle those tests.  The next couple days are going to be busy.  With extra library shifts, study sessions, exams, packing for break, and saying goodbye to friends who won’t be here next semester, I’m expecting the time to pass quickly.

What have I got in terms of tests?

Today I take my Visual Journalism final.  It shouldn’t be too bad.  It’s open book, open note because the professor never talked about any of the assigned readings in class.  Half the test will be on these readings and the other half will be activity-based.  We will be given a story prompt and will have to describe how we go out and capture it.  Studying for this involves organizing all the information available and knowing where to find things.

Tomorrow is the Grammar & Language final.  This is probably the hardest test I’ve had thus far in college.  We’ll be tested on the complete history of the English language, tracing the phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon from Old, Middle, Early Modern, Modern, to present day English.  It’s a LOT of information.  I started studying last Thursday and have been nosing my way into various study groups with classmates.  It’ll be challenging, but I think it will go well.

That’s it!  Two exams stand between me and a month off.  Let’s do this.

If you’re in the midst of finals right now, best of luck!  What are some of your coping mechanisms?

Visual Journalism angst

My Visual Journalism class is going to be the death of me.

The class is project based.  The professor barely lectures.  We are given a large assignment, then spend the rest of the week’s class time working on it.  Usually this involves organizing and conducting interviews, shooting video footage, and spending copious amounts of time in the lab editing.  After hours and hours of work, we turn in our news stories.

I’m an extremely organized person when it comes to large assignments.  I get my ducks in a row right away–I reserve my camera equipment before any of my classmates, I plan interviews, I have a mental vision that, if things go according to plan, will pan out beautifully.

The problem is that things NEVER go according to plan.

With the first video-based project, we couldn’t do our interviews until just before the assignment was due, leaving me to spend 9 hours in the lab in two days.

With the second project, I had three interviews lined up one afternoon.  The first went well, but there was a technical error and I had no sound.  The second interviewee never showed up.  The third actually went well.  But my overall assignment failed to capture two sides of an issue, something I know I’ll be docked points for.

Now I’m on my final project for the class.  I got all my ducks in a row.  I scheduled an interview, reserved the equipment, and had a day by day schedule of how I’d get the work done.  But then, the day of the interview, my subject called in sick.  We rescheduled for the next day.  She cancelled again last-minute, ’cause she lost her voice.  By this point, my equipment was due back at the media office, but I begged my way into keeping it for the weekend.  I then attempted another interview, but once again, my subject did not respond to texts in time, I missed my opportunity on the day she was free, and she is now unavailable the rest of the weekend.  I have to bring the equipment back in early tomorrow and am unable to check it out again.  Which means I have no video footage for my final project.  Which means I am absolutely screwed.

This class makes me so frustrated because I have absolutely no control over the circumstances.  It’s not anyone’s fault my interviewee got sick, and there’s nothing to be done about it.  But I hate being organized, doing what I need to do, and then things not falling together.  It is incredibly stressful.

What am I going to do now?

I’m going to talk to my professor tomorrow, explain the situation, and hope that she’s feeling merciful.

This is becoming so much more stressful than it needs to be.  Can the semester please be over now?

Back to the books

Much to our chagrin, classes have resumed at UMM!

Before delving into academic talk… I got new glasses!  It was about time.  The old ones called my face home for almost four years and were falling apart.

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All right, enough selfies.  Now to business.

Here’s what I’ve got lined up this semester:

Intro to Public Speaking:  Although I have extensive experience in the area (four years on the Speech team, competing at the state tournament, and giving chapel talks all summer), my communication minor requires I take Public Speaking.  Thankfully, I enjoy the subject and it’s only for the first half of the semester!

Visual Journalism: Again, this is for my communication minor.  In this class, we will be learning about communicating messages visually.  The first half of the semester will be focused on still images and photography, the second through video.  I have little to no experience in media production, so this class should be enlightening and will give me some useful skills.

Grammar and Language: This is the ultimate English major class where our natural inclination to correct people’s grammar becomes refined and sharpened.  The first half of the course focuses on grammar–sentence diagramming and understanding not only how the English language is constructed, but how it changes.  The second focuses more on history.  We will be learning the complete history of our language, which includes giving recitations in Old, Middle, and Early Modern English.  Basically, come December, we will all be fully inducted members of the Grammar Police.

Victorian Literature and Culture: Ever since I set foot on this campus four years ago, I have been dying to take this class.  I don’t need it for any requirements, but am taking it purely for fun.  We will be reading a handful of novels from England’s Victorian period of literature and learning about the culture of the people.  This semester, the professor is teaching the course from the angle of criminology and punishment.  We’ll be looking at how the rapidly changing world that the Victorians inhabited shaped what crime is and how it was punished.

Most of these are upper-level courses, so they’ll be challenging, but definitely intellectually stimulating.  I can’t wait for all the things I get to learn!