I meant to update this blog monthly and keep a sort of online journal on how each of my blocks went, but I guess adjusting to life as a college freshman in another country proved to be too much too soon. In short, I decided to summarize the important happenings of each block in this blog post, and hopefully go back to my scheduled monthly posts.
Block 1-2: FYE Course
Every freshman chooses a First Year Experience (FYE) course over the summer, and said course is usually a two-block class. This freshman-only class serves as an introduction to CC’s Block Plan, and lets the freshmen interact with one another in order to make new friends and ‘get the hang of’ college. For my FYE Course I chose to take a science FYE.
My first block was General Chemistry, or “Gen. Chem. 107” with Ted Lindeman. Ted was an awesome professor, but since I didn’t take HL chemistry in IB the 3rd and 4th week topics went in one ear and out the other – I did enjoy his sourdough pancakes though! I think the highlight of the block was sleeping over in the Chemistry classroom, studying for the finals – we were caught by the guard in our pyjamas at 11:30pm after he told us that people weren’t allowed to say overnight. I guess we did look funny being woken up at 8:45 the next day by our kind classmates who refused to sleep over (they did bring us coffee and bagels though!)…or maybe when we went out in our pyjamas to brush our teeth and were seen by the upperclassmen…
My second block was Forensic Science, or “Criminalistics“, an FYE course offered once every 2-3 years. Murphy Brasuel taught us how to make realistic ‘fake blood’, how to dust for and collect fingerprints, how to identify the different types of splatter, whether droplets were blood or other liquids, how to tell a skull’s gender, age, and ethnicity, and many more. Our final exam was a crime scene he created, with the help of seniors who took this course as their FYE. If there was one thing I learned from this class, it was that the CSI we all see on tv is very different from what you actually do in labs (the lab papers gave me nightmares for weeks!). I’m definitely NOT cut out to be a Crime Scene Investigator, sadly.
This was my schedule for my freshman year at Colorado College (color-coordinated and all).
…I DO have to cut in and say that we experienced our first day of snow in October…during my first Softball game of the season! Talk about bad luck, I was freezing my but off on the pitcher’s mound. Curse CC’s sleeveless softball uniforms – thank god for the long pants, I don’t think I would have survived in shorts!
Block 3: Critical Queer Studies
Taught by new professor Ronak Kapadia, this class focused on LGBT readings and movies. One of my favorite films was Paris Is Burning, simply because we learned a lot of new gay lingo. This class was what got me excited about the Drag Ball, only to find out that it wasn’t pushing through that year because people used it as an excuse to make fun of LGBTs through parodies or not taking the event seriously. Lesson learnt? while CC is an open and accepting community, until it can throw a REAL Drag Ball loud and proud, we still have some work to do.
Block 4: Women, Literature and Murder
Co-taught by Lisa Hughes and Adrienne Seward, I had a great time in this class. True there was a lot of heavy reading (The Murderess by Alexander Papadiamantis, or Medea for example), but that was balanced by the number of interesting movies shown in class. I do admit, I don’t understand why Legally Blonde was included, but it provided comic relief after the thriller that was Fatal Attraction. Lesson learnt? Never come to class unprepared (i.e. do the readings), or Lisa WILL pick on you.
Block 5: Athenian Democracy
Taught by the amazing Owen Cramer, this was my first Classics class at CC…what an introduction! Not to mention the fact that the head of the Classics Department was the professor! We had so much fun in this class. Since it was winter, it was amazing to have a class in Cossitt (literally right beside Worner). Class started at 9:30 and we had a 10-minute coffee break at 10:35-10:45 every day – heaven when hot chocolate is all that keeps you warm in class! Owen didn’t even mind me eating breakfast from my green tupperware in the mornings! Lesson learnt? When your professor is easily distracted, don’t ask him about his time in countries that have classical history – he WILL speak to you in Greek…or Latin…or German…or some other language unknown to all but himself.
Block 6: Intro to Archaeology
Taught by archaeologist Esteban Gomez, we learned how to put together bits and pieces of pots from different time periods. We learned more about carbon dating and visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science…more like ‘acted like kids and tried all the interactive games’ actually. Lesson learnt? I do not have it in me to be an archaeologist: I’d miss the internet (and clean, hot water) too much.
Block 7: Gender & Sexuality in the Ancient World
Taught by the hilarious Sanjaya ‘call me Sanjay’ Thakur, this class cemented my decision to pursue a Classics major…and I learned way more about ancient Greek and Roman sexuality than I would have liked to. From dwarfs and penis wind chimes, to ancient vases depicting both heterosexual and homosexual intercourse…yeah, that pretty much sums up the phrase “TMI”. Nevertheless, it was interesting reading classics such as The Aeneid and The Odyssey from a woman’s point of view. I did enjoy reading Ars Amatoria, an ancient guide on “how to pick up girls”…I can see why it might have been popular back in the day. Lesson learnt? ancient Greece and ancient Rome were not at ALL ashamed of sexuality, considering their acceptance of homosexuality and incest…
Block 8: Gender Inequality
Taught by visiting professor Jan Thomas, this block was a good choice for a year-ender. I know a lot of people prefer to end the year with an easy A class, especially if they had taken difficult blocks throughout the school year, but I really enjoyed the class discussions, especially after watching documentary films (half of which were about the Philippines!). The field trip to Focus on the Family was…weird. They totally side-stepped our questions about gay marriage and abortion (as predicted), but they DID let us go down the 3-floor kiddie slide, so all was forgiven. Lesson learnt? although the guys chose to test gender inequality by using the Tiger Pit, not even an A on the project would get them to use the elliptical.
…So that was my first year, summarizing each block into a paragraph!