Campus Chronicles: Enjoying the first weeks of the semester to the fullest
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 22:01
Farewell, Syllabus Week. As always, it was a good run while it lasted.
Sometimes, Winter Break can be a bit too long. After weeks of raiding the family fridge, visiting friends and family, and watching countless DVR’d Jeopardy episodes (maybe that’s just me), it can start to feel like you actually want to get back in the classroom, have some reading to do, and, in general, feel like a productive person. Luckily, we have this one magical week to ease us back into the academic grind. A week of academic immunity. A week when responsibilities can, quite literally, be added and dropped at the click of a mouse.
For some reason, all general confusion during the add/drop period immediately exonerates any student for just about anything. Late arrivals, skipped classes, missed readings—all are swept under the rug under the guise of simply not knowing how the University basically functions. All of us—faculty, staff, and students alike—can never quite get back into the swing of things as quickly as we should.
Sadly, I just celebrated my last syllabus week. I don’t know much about the “real world,” but I’m pretty sure it’s a place where you don’t come back from vacation just to have another week of vacation. So, in honor of the most wonderful week of the year, here are my top five things to do while you add/drop:
1. Blame Blackboard. It’s an automatic get out of jail free card. Professors and students alike dread having to use Blackboard for just about anything. “An unexpected error” is actually pretty predictable. And during syllabus week, when professors themselves aren’t sure if they have uploaded everything correctly, it may as well just be a “don’t do the reading” card to carry in your wallet. When the class is asked, “did everyone get to the reading?” simply shrug your shoulders and mutter something about “Blackboard.” It doesn’t matter if the reading was actually from a textbook, a website, or was actually handed to you in the last class. Just mentioning “Blackboard” will immediately turn the conversation to any and every issue with the site.
2. Watch the BC Movie Channels. One of the underrated perks of life on the Heights is that good movies are cycled on our televisions for free every month. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched random scenes from The Town, Total Recall, and The Bourne Legacy in last few weeks, but I am sure that it has gotten to the point that all three sort of blend into one movie. Trouble With the Curve was exactly what I expected, which was fine, and I’m still waiting on the right time to watch Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Unfortunately, now that I actually have schoolwork, Jeff will have to wait.
3. Declare a class pass/fail. It’s a pretty epic feeling, actually. I’m a little disappointed that I waited until my last semester to do it. With one letter on UIS you’re basically declaring a class as 60 percent of your regular commitment. Why take a class pass/fail if you were going to exceed in it? Anything higher than that and you haven’t really gotten the full potential of the pass/fail declaration. I think a better system may be to just make that 60 percent mark official. You go to 60 percent of classes, do 60 percent of the work, and take 60 percent of the midterm and final. It makes sense to me.
4. Get lost in Stokes. Wait, there’s a north and a south side? Even as a senior I still get lost trying to get to buildings on campus. I’m the type of person who gives confusing and probably incorrect directions to families looking at the campus. So having a brand new building to figure out goes way beyond my navigating abilities. I only have one class in the building, but I somehow feel like I’ve spent hours wandering through the maze that is Stokes. I’ve walked across the bridge that connects the two sides more times than I can count. Eventually I’ll figure out a way to get to class and the English Department without circling the entire building. But that will probably happen right around graduation time.
5. Go to Mary Ann’s. You just have to. When I went on the Tuesday of syllabus week, the line was all the way down to Dunkin Donuts. I couldn’t believe there were that many seniors out on one night. Then I realized there is a new generation of Mary Ann’s patrons on campus now. The fact that someone could both be of legal age and have an Under Armor “Superfan” shirt was dismaying at first, but I’ve come to terms with how old I am. And while people who don’t go to BC might scoff at standing in line in less than ten degrees for broken glass and “Big Buck Hunter,” we know that it is clearly worth it.
Enjoy your syllabus, folks. Sooner than you know it, it will be your last one.