1.12.2010

First Day of School

School started Monday. In a very different way than at home. Last week we were given a booklet full of all the classes we could take. We had to choose the ones we were interested in and, on Monday, go around to all the different departments for those classes and pick up their individual timetables. This was hard to do when we didn’t know our way around campus yet. And then, if a class was scheduled for that day, you had to find your way to the lecture, as well.

I managed to make it to a political theory class, but between getting lost and trying to understand this scheduling system, a lot of people didn’t. (Who knows why they don’t just put the timetables online.) But that’s all over. Now, we go to lectures that interest us this week (a sort of test run), and if we decide we want to take them, we register next week.

The school is huge. And the classes are huge. I was shocked by how different it all is. In my first lecture, political theory, there were probably about 200 students there (and the lecture hall was still pretty empty). I counted only 2 people who brought computers. In my second lecture, there was only one, and she was an American.

We were warned about this at orientation, that the teaching style is very different, as well. The Irish lecturers are just that – lecturers. They won’t call on you, they don’t care if you’re present. You’re expected to sit there and be quiet. (That’s why Irish students have trouble studying in America – professors at home will drill and drill you to speak up and participate.) There are some small classes (called seminars) that begin next week, but for the most part the classes are lectures that, according to the Irish students, are rarely attended. All the lectures are online, as well, so there is little point in going (but I will out of habit, don’t worry Mom and Dad).

Another thing I found funny (sad?) was that my favorite professor thus far is the one American professor I have. I don’t know why, but he definitely kept the lecture more interesting. Maybe the Irish students just have a better attention span thanks to these boring Irish lecturers.

Pictures of the school are to come soon – it looks like Hogwarts!

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