William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

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back to school thoughts

Just took down some laundry off the line. I’m not particularly fond of this because since we live in the woods, the clothes tend to carry spiders the size of bocce balls. I like spiders, but not when I’m taking dry clothes off the line and see one suddenly crawl out of a sock. “Ey-AGGGH!” I’ll say, as my greeting to the friendly skeletal creature.

School is weird. Things have changed a lot in two years, and even a veteran such as myself got thrown off by the little annoyances like having to go online to opt-out of the health plan. Sorry, I’ve got better things to do than:

True or False? The SMUSA health plan offers prescription drug coverage including oral contraceptives and cheezies and can be used in every province except Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and the Yucatan.

Argh. It took me a few dozen tries to complete the quiz, and then the system had the audacity (beyond simply requiring that I use my Saint Mary’s e-mail, which is bad enough because it’s a piece of junk compared to the Gmail I am habituated with) to demand that I go into my student information account and change the e-mail address in my profile to my Saint Mary’s e-mail. WHAT?! Wouldn’t it be simpler just to require that the e-mail address I put in be the one in my profile – that would be just as secure as forcing me to use the campus mail, wouldn’t it?

Anyway, since the system was slow and I was offended by the principle of the thing, I just downloaded the old opt-out PDF, ran it off, and took it up to the health plan office myself.

I approached the international student working there apologetically and asked if I could trouble him to process my opt-out manually:

“Did you go online?”
“Yes, I did, but the system required I change my profile to indicate that my campus e-mail is my e-mail, and I don’t want to do that because the campus mail sucks.”
“Well, you should do this online – you will have to go online next year–”
“That’s fine, because I won’t be here next year.”
He grumpily glanced at the letter from my stepfather’s health plan and signed off on the form, and stuffed it into the bottom of his pile. “It will be four or five business days,” he said.

I didn’t expect to meet with so much resistance. It looks like they’ve been instructed to limit manual opt-outs at all costs. Well, bully for them. It was bad enough to be getting cheesed earlier that day when I waited 40 minutes in the “SMUSA services expo” line (I was really in the ID line, and I already had mine validated in July, but it was so poorly organized it looked like there was just one line for everything) just to be handed a slip with the instructions for opting-out online.

Anyway, let’s talk about my classes. They all look promising. I was thinking seriously of outlining my thoughts on each, but it’s probably not very professional of me to do so. One course, Contemporary Canadian Fiction, I registered for due to misprints in the English Handbook that necessitated me to look elsewhere for half of my Twentieth Century requirement. It wasn’t in the handbook, but the Chairperson sold me on its virtues, and I duly registered.

It looks like it will be a great course. I say this because the poor professor came in and told us that she didn’t know she’d be teaching the course until that afternoon. She let us know that we could all justifiably just drop the course and go elsewhere and cancel the whole thing, but she tested the waters for going forward, and we were all interested. She’d taught the course before, and all that was needed was a sudden massive book order and a bit of faith. Maybe next week we’ll even have a syllabus.

She had a great sense of humour about the whole thing, and the defining moment for me was when she dumped a bag full of photocopies on her table and declared, “Well, THIS is the course!”

British Novel: 1800-1855 will be the hardest course, but potentially the most rewarding.

Chaucer and the 14th Century will be great. It’s fun to see all the root words and bridge the connections between Middle English and the European languages of today.

I was late today for Special Subject: Literature of the fin de siècle because I thought it was in McNally Main 300, not Burke 218. I came to MM300 in plenty of time, picking a seemingly strategic seat and then noticing a really cute girl whom I should have sat in front of – soon that privilege was taken by a tall tween with a basketball cap and rap music blaring from his earbuds. Well, maybe I’ll sit in front of her tomorrow and see what he does in response.

Finally, the professor arrives, but instead of Dr. K--- it’s someone different. Okay. Then she says, “Welcome to Contemporary Sociological Theory. To be here, you need to have nine credits in Sociology-”

Wait, is this a joke? Hey, how come nobody is questioning this? I could have sworn this was the… where’s my schedule… Oh. Whoops, and I quietly left the room.

I joined both the Drama and Political Science societies today. I’ve taken Political Science exactly once, seven years ago. But the woman behind the table was a frosh leader with me and took that course with me, and they all said it didn’t really matter, so I signed up. They seem like fun.

Finally, on Tuesday, I’ll get a taste of this semester’s Honours Seminar: Post-humanism. But first there’s a pile of reading to do, and before that my supper, which is getting cold.
Tags: saint mary's, school

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