Sorry, every first day of school I think of Finding Nemo, and it just so happens to be extra applicable since I’m in Australia.
So classes here are a lot different from American classes. First, the vocabulary is different (for example, a class is called a subject). You go to university (college). You live in a college (dorm or “res hall” if you’re Mizzou). Humanities and Social Sciences is my faculty (we usually call these colleges too…). Journalism is my course (major). To study this I have to go to my subjects (classes). Subjects can be lectures, seminars (like an interactive lecture) or tutorials (like a lab or a discussion).
Once you get that mess figured out, the next thing to tackle is your schedule.
At Mizzou (and I think commonly other American Universities) each class is worth a certain number of credits which is usually the same amount as the hours you see your professor. Here things are numbered (usually) in 15s, which I think corresponds with the amount of hours you are expected to put into the class. The Australian “uni” subculture (which I will address momentarily) seems to suggest that number might be inflated. But divide that by 5 and you have your contact hours. BUT, your contact hours can be any combination of those hours.
My schedule is two seminars Monday (10-1 and 3-5), one tutorial Thursday (9-10 to supplement the 3-5 Monday class), and two lectures Friday (10-1 and 1-4). So, it’s kind of dreadful if you get antsy at all. I won’t be caffeinating prior to class.
Australians also only attend university (that’s how they say it, sans article) for three years, compared to our four. So, saying I’m a senior really confuses them; mostly because they don’t have those labels and they call everyone a #-year (first, second, third).
My two (three?) classes that I’ve attended so far have been a mix of third years (that’s what I count as here) and second years. So, imagine like, second semester sophomores and juniors. Take that image and then give it “senioritis” times about 15. The students here genuinely don’t seem to care…about anything besides drinking, that is. The drinking age is 18 here. This could be a facade, but it’s a very ingrained one if that’s the case.
A few of the kids in my journalism class seem like they might care a little. Enough to have been published here and there. There is something similar to The Maneater, but no one seems to have a role there until later on in school. There are certainly no David Teegman’s that I’m aware of, nor is there a Missourian. Or a KOMU. Or a KBIA. Or Newsy. Am I being redundant?
Basically I’ve come to realize that Mizzou makes me a well-rounded, spoiled journalism student. I think that’s pretty key to why we’re valued so highly. I used to think that was kind of just all talk.
Even our major “print and digital” would be somewhat revolutionary here. Everyone has interest areas, kind of, but they’re not part of their active schooling.
I picked well stateside. :)