06 October, 2008

First Day of "Classes", Sorted.

I just got in from my first day at Uni (which is what they call university here, by the way), where I had my first class! Well, it wasn't really a class. I'm not quite sure what today was honestly. An introduction class, I guess. And I'm not quite sure what sort of "classes" I have either.... or if they are classes. They certainly aren't referred to as "classes" on my schedule. My schedule looks like I have one class a week, followed by an odd series of tutor-led open labs. But I think the open labs are mandatory? I'm not sure. If they are, I have classes every day of the week. Which is unusual, as every other student I live with has class no more than three days a week. I guess I'll just go with the flow and see what happens.

Today I showed up at 10am and received a packet of paperwork with my course schedule. I sat around talking to these two really cool girls from China and South Korea, and I met a really cool girl from London too. She is as tall as me (I'm 5'11"), also a Virgo, and has what seems to be a good head on her shoulders. She and I got along immediately.

The room full of fashion students suddenly went quiet when the heads of our departments gathered us into a group to introduce themselves. The three people who are in charge of my program seem REALLY cool. We were then split up into our programs (my program has about 25 people or so) and we got a quick tour of the rooms we'll be using.

The CSM building that I'll be centered in is perfect. It's old, full of stairways and odd back alleys, and made of brick and painted wood. All over there are huge dirty windows, and hallways with bright white walls and heavy doors, and it is incredibly confusing to get around in. It looks and feels exactly the way an art school should. I love it.

The tour over, we were told come back to get our first group project briefing at 4:15. It wasn't even 11am yet. I asked my new tall friend if she wanted to get a cup of coffee, and we ended up spending the next 5 hours together wandering around Soho so she could show me some of her favorite clubs while we talked about art, schooling, boyfriends, fashion, religion, our families, and what we want to get out of our time at university.

At 4:15 all 25 of us were shuffled into a little room where we were arranged into groups of five and given a briefing on our first group research project. It is a pretty simple project. Really it's just an excuse to meet new people, use the school library, and get us all back up to speed on what student life is going to be like. I have some nice girls in my group, we all exchanged info and plan to meet tomorrow after a stupid 10am "safety and rules" lecture. (One of the girls asked me if I was American. I said yes, and that I was from San Francisco, which seemed to surprise her. Then she said, "you don't seem to be American. You don't have a terrible American accent or anything. You sound very international to me." I was flattered, and told her so.)

As we were getting our project brief, the guy who is one of the head tutors in my department talked about projects. He told us something about how we are graded and then said, "it's not like your marks really matter though. But, you do want to make sure you get the mark you deserve, right? This course is more about being graded on your own progress anyhow..." Shock! And relief! And more shock! A TEACHER just said that our grades aren't the most important thing!?!? What the....??? Wow.

To have the freedom to try crazy things, safe in the knowledge that is okay if your ideas don't turn out... I have always wanted that. It is both terrifying and exhilarating. It sounds like CSM is the type of place that encourages you to reach incredibly high, even if you are going to fail miserably, because your grades are largely based upon your own personal progress. They seem to want to ask you how far you are willing to step outside of what is comfortable and easy for you.

This could be an amazing school for me...

So all in all I think it was a successful first day! I met some new people and got a sense of what my next ten weeks are going to be like. Still not sure about "classes", but I sort of don't care right now because I am incredibly excited! I am nervous as well. But mostly I am excited!

I also need to finish this summer homework project tonight since it's due on Wednesday and someone waited until the last minute to do it....*ahem*

So off I go to draw skinny women in unrealistic clothing....

Ta ra!

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