Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First day of classes

First of all, American paper is fatter and shorter than Korean paper. I'm annoyed because when I put papers in my notebook's folders, they stick out the top. =(

The first day of class is usually a "let's go over the syllabus and introduce ourselves" day. Yesterday was just that.

I went to my first class at 11am (last semester I had class at 8am so I was relieved to have this schedule). It was Korean-American History, an extremely narrow course. The professor was great and we started watching the movie The Grace Lee Project after he had shared with us some statistics about Koreans and Korean-Americans. The class seemed great, but I was already lost. He was throwing around vocabulary (probably commonly used in historical discourse) that I was unfamiliar with. I haven't taken a history class since the summer before junior year in high school (Government doesn't count) so...I'm a little rusty on history. There was already a ton of reading to do and essays to write. Not my kind of class unfortunately.

On the way to my next class, I got lost. I was with Jason, but we got lost. We found the building pretty quickly (the map made the walk look huge) but once inside it was too confusing. In our confusion, we found Justin, who, it turns out, was heading to the same class as me. We followed the signs pointing to our room numbers, but those weren't our rooms. Turns out, there are two sides of the building and the room numbers listed were actually offices and not classrooms.

Anyways, I made it with plenty of time to spare before my next class. The professor started the class a little early, which made attendance really hectic as people showed up late and he was halfway down the list and wasn't sure how to go about accounting for everyone.

He didn't go over any material in the course, but rather, talked about himself. Here he was, this white dude, talking about his experiences in Korea and it was like he was Korean, just white on the outside. I think he was trying to legitimize himself before attempting to teach us. He warned that the class would be depressing, but that he'd take us out for dinner and drinks (what!). And then he let us out early.

Because we were let out early, we decided to find books. Mao, Justin, Diane (who I had just met in class) and I decided to wander around to find the copy center to get our book. It was then we ran into Maggie and Irene, who were also trying to find books and got lost. We wandered around until we finally decided to go to the teaching support center to find someone who knew the way.

When we got to the copy center, we found our book. Yay! It was only 20,000 KRW? It was around there and I don't remember the price exactly. But, it was a book that looked like it would cost about $100 in the US. If only all my textbooks could be this cheap!

We were all headed to the placement test that was scheduled to take place a little after class was supposed to let out so we headed over. When we walked into the auditorium, we found a random girl practicing her drumming. She insisted that we stay and wait while she practices so we did only to find out that her drumming would make our conversations hard.

For the placement test, we were randomly split up into different classrooms. And there, I felt like I was taking a Korean Mandelbrot test. I realize that's a bad example as not many people have taken the Mandelbrot...but it felt like it was designed to make you feel stupid. The first couple of pages were easy and I thought to myself, "I can do this!" And then as I went on, I didn't feel that anymore.

There was also an oral part of the exam. I walked in and suddenly forgot how to speak, it felt. After speaking English all day, it was hard for me to revert back. Had I taken it while I was in "full Korean mode" (which was probably around Saturday as I couldn't form English sentences with correct grammar) I may have been less embarrassed. Oh well. I'd rather test into an easier class than a harder one where I'm completely lost.

I rested after that for about an hour and a half and went out to dinner with Justin and Maggie and Ian. Maggie brought along Sara and Eileen. And from there, our group only got larger. Eileen had met a local Korean, Hunjae, on the bus on the way to Yonsei because she got lost, so she invited him to eat with us. That was great because all the ordering was assigned to him this time and he was good at finding a place to eat. Alex and Daniel, two friends of Maggie? Eileen? Asked if they could join us to eat, and of course, we said yes. So all nine of us went on down to eat. Eating is a good time to get to know each other.

I learned that Maggie is an international business major from Canada, Eileen is also studying business and from Canada too (!), Sara is studying philosophy in Seattle, Justin is from a liberal arts school in Washington where he gets no grades (-_-), Hunjae is an electrical engineering graduate student at Yonsei (so he's super smart and super old, haha), Alex is studying biology and is pre-med and is in a 7-year medical program (LIKE ME! WHAT?), and Daniel is a rising college freshman (I found someone younger than me!).

We all ate 삼겹살 (a Korean version of bacon, essentially) and had a blast eating it. No pictures, unfortunately...but you'll have to just trust me when I say it was amazing.

Afterwards, we decided to go to 노래방 (which literally translating to song room), which is a room where you sing karaoke (frequently abbreviated NRB). We met up with Daniel and Alex's friends (Danny, James, and Rita) and we all packed into one room where we sang for an hour. That's at least what we thought until they kept adding free time for us! It's a ploy to get us to buy more drinks...which we didn't. So we just got free time, haha.

 Here's a picture of the room. The karaoke program had songs from the US and all over the world. It was surprisingly up to date: it had the "Lazy Song."

Me, Maggie, and Eileen in NRB. I took this one surprisingly well. I usually chop off people's heads in pictures that I have to take myself.

We headed back to the dorms because it was already 11pm. People had homework to do and it was only the first day of school. Don't screw up now. We'll see how everyone's feeling when midterms roll around.

This morning I dropped my Korean-American History class because I'm a wimp and don't think I can handle it. A class with mandatory reading...doesn't sit well with me. I'm a science major. Our reading is never mandatory. ^^ I'm going with two classes and I get to find out my placement test results today. Stay tuned.

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