Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Academia has begun

Well - if nothing else, yesterday was an interesting experience. I learnt pretty much nothing from my orientation course that was of any real use. We had a tour of a building that I will rarely if ever visit again.

The look in at an empty ceramics class allowed me to come up with a description of the smell, taste and texture of the air, plus the general atmosphere which could be useful. Same goes for the look in at an empty drama student rehearsal room. The corridors were straight out of Nightmare on Elm St - enclosed concrete tunnels with exposed metal pipes and air conditioning ducts. The whole complex is a labyrinth of tunnels encased in way too much concrete, metal and glass. A brick feature is stunning in its contrast as was the huge bark painting.

The library was disappointing as was the staff there. During a demonstration of how the databases worked, I had to step in to fix a frozen computer as no-one else knew what to do and the demo was about to be prematurely cut off. After fixing it, I was disappointed that there wasn't a lot more to see anyway. We could have had an early lunch! Instead we sat through another 20 minutes of inept examples and got to lunch late.

My classmates (As I'm an external student I use the word loosely) are an amazing group of the most unlikely sorts imaginable. We have a girl completing her final year of high school so she can only be 17 or so. Another who only finished last year so add a year. 90% are between 20 and 30. Most of those are below 25. 18 students turned up for the orientation out of an allocated 40. 20 internal students and 20 external students (I think). Only four externals turned up for the tour - perhaps they knew something I didn't.

An amazing mix of backgrounds were represented, high school students, university students, checkout chicks, pharmacists, English teachers (one retired and one not), psychologists (one practising, one not), a man recovering from a brain tumour, another IT person like myself and barmaids and waitresses. (I think - I forget every ones occupation but the range was incredible for a group so young).

I started to become worried when it came to expressing why we had chosen to do the course. Too many of the younger participants, who enjoyed writing creatively, were there without much idea of why - they were just there as they were offered a spot. I'm expecting a high drop out number as the course progresses. The fact that very few seem to have much life experience is also a warning sign. We incorporate what we experience into our writing to make it richer and fuller. If you haven't experienced a lot then wouldn't you tend to copy a little more. I realise that there are plenty of good young authors out there but the bunch I met yesterday concern me. Hopefully they will prove me wrong.

So I got into work early yesterday as I'd forgotten my paperwork. I then went straight into town - an horrendous drive of nearly an hour in peak hour traffic. Eventually found a car park near the admin building and paid my fees without hassle. I then had to find another, long term, car park closer to the Arts Academy building - almost a full hour before I had to be there. I should have known then that the day wasn't going to be the one of splendour and awakening I thought it was going to be right then and there :(

Now I sit and wait for the arrival of my books and the beginning of my external school year. Apparently there will be an assignment each week and it should take up around 10 - 14 hours of my time each week.

Let the fun begin!!!!!

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