Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry

The first of many "tales from the Unispan" ...

... the "Unispan" is one of the three pedestrian walkways over Hempstead Turnpike; while the other two are freestanding bridges, it connects the main library and student center.

Classes have begun for the fall semester, and so far they're not too bad. I have one on statics (basically an applied version of mechanics), macroeconomics, engineering economy, and oral communication. I don't have to be on campus earlier than 10:10 on any day, which spares me having to navigate the brunt of Long Island traffic. Unfortunately, one of the four classes meets on Tuesday and Thursday nights, leaving me with several hours of downtime on those days. That's when I intend to get the majority of my work done. I like the classes and the teachers so far, and think I'm well positioned to put up the kind of big numbers necessary to justify the Hofstra admissions department's faith in me.

The biggest difference between here and Cornell is, without question, the size and structure of the courses. On the East Hill, each course has a lecture (led my the professor, at which everyone enrolled in the class attends), multiple sections (led by a teaching assistant), and in the case of science classes, labs. Hofstra keeps the various sections of a class independent of one another; courses with multiple sections could be taught by multiple professors, and the classes have only one meeting time. As a result, none of my classes has more than about 35 students, and one has only nineteen. That makes it a lot harder to go unnoticed. Also, Hofstra seems to be rather keen on enforcing attendance at classes. On principle, I share the opinion of a few friends who are alumni of the school - that students are adults, and should be treated as such. But I can't fully disregard the fact that failure to attend class was a main reason for the failure of college take one, so it's not a completely bad thing.

I'm still working through many of the other details of this transition. I had to have my mother fish out my immunization records. On Friday, I got the letter from the Veterans Administration approving my benefits claim; that moves me much closer to getting paid - and more importantly, getting Hofstra paid. And I had to switch anti-virus defenses, despite the fact that I'm still have four and a half months remaining on my Norton subscription. Hofstra mandates McAfee for connecting to its network, so I had to change it over. At least I could download McAfee free from Hofstra. The kicker to this was that it came two days after I'd reinstalled Norton following a hard drive format and clean installation of Windows Vista (which is entirely another story). I know I'm losing the subscription for which I've already paid, but I can live with that in order to be online on campus.

The most important thing revealed reiterated over the past week: the need for me to find a place of my own closer to campus. I'm fortunate to be able to make the trips, thirty miles each way, when I can. Like I said, I do not have to take to the roads when the congestion is at its worst. But I am usually left with a desire to flee campus with a quickness immediately upon the conclusion of my last class on any given day. This, along with the normal pull of my personality and the fact that I don't know ANYONE, prevents me from fully engaging myself in the non-academic life of the university. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of benefits to living here in Northport. It's a beautiful place, I'm not paying rent, I get fed maybe half the meals I eat. But I'm living under a set of non-self-imposed rules more restrictive than any I've experienced in the last decade. It's frustrating, and it might not be all that healthy. I signed myself up for Hofstra's off-campus housing registry, so I think some progress can be made on this front in the near future. And it's far better if I can make this happen soon, before I get too deep into the semester.

It starts back up again tomorrow, with this nice three-day weekend having concluded. I'm certainly thankful for that, coming off plenty of class-filled Labor Days at Cornell and underway and/or duty on the boat. Fortunately, this little adventure is just gearing up...
Tags: college take two, cornell, hofstra

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