All My Spare Time

With all this spare time I have I have decided to take up beginner Arabic. I’m taking it through Continuing Studies though so we don’t have tests and it doesn’t affect my GPA which is nice.

I had my first class last night and it was really cool even though I was the youngest person in the room so I was a bit nervous at first. Our teacher Nooshi is super welcoming though so I got over my nerves pretty fast.

I’ve got to get back to writing my short assignment for my European Politics class, but I figured I’d give y’all an update.

– Kali

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Busy Bee

I know I promised more posts, but I lied. I’ve been incredibly busy since school started again and I just haven’t had time. So, here goes, a whirlwind post of school life so far.

My classes rock. My European politics class with one of my favorite profs ever is fantastic (not that that should come as a surprise). I’m not a huge fan of our textbook though – the chapters are SO long and I had gotten used to having my textbooks point out the key terms and things which this one doesn’t do. Apparently there is only one text for this class, the bookstore screwed up and stated that there were two – unfortunately I bought the second text in ebook form so I can’t return it.

My political theory class is… well, political theory class. I really like my professor (Dr. T) because he explains things really well, but it’s still political theory. So far we’ve been reading Kant and discussing him and Rousseau (and every once in a while other people too).

My Intro to Asian Religions class is pretty cool too. I will honestly admit that I was not as excited for this class as I should have been. I definitely have less interest in ‘eastern’ religions than ‘western’ religions, but I’m actually finding it fascinating. Also, I didn’t think I would have a friend in this class, but the VP of Circle K who I know from a high school group we were both involved in is in it with me so that’s awesome. We have to do a religious sites assignment where we have to go to a site in Victoria of one of the religions we’re studying and neither of us wanted to go alone so she’s going to take me with her to the Sikh temple.

Last, but certainly not least is my Medieval Myths & Legends class. Ashley is in this class with me which is awesome. Not to mention our prof, Dr. A, is AMAZING! He’s quite possibly the most entertaining prof I’ve ever had – he’s one of those people who was just meant to be a prof (either that or a comedian). I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in a class before. I’m finding the class stupidly intimidating considering it’s a 200 level class (and since MEDI doesn’t have 100 level it’s the very beginning of the MEDI classes), but I think part of that might be having Ashley in class with me. It’s not her fault, not at all, but she just knows so much about it (MEDI being her major and all) that I feel kind of dumb in comparison. And then I worry that everyone else probably thinks I’m stupid – especially Dr. A – and it makes the class and assignments kind of nerve-wracking. I’m sure I’ll calm down though.

The past two days were also clubs days so I was running around trying to do things for Circle K. I managed to see some of my friends at the tables for their clubs too, and I even saw the woman who I knew in high school who got me involved in Free Tibet – she was at the Students for a Free Tibet table again. This time I was not there for hours though as I did not have much time – it was nice to see her though. Our first Circle K meeting is on Monday and I’m a bit nervous. I imagine having our exec meeting right beforehand will help though – and plus, the first meeting always has the most people because of the pizza!

In other news – I’M OFFICIALLY A CO-ML FOR THE VICTORIA REGION FOR NANOWRIMO!

I’m just a tad excited. Could you tell?

I’ve already started working with the other MLs and it looks like it’s going to be a fun year full of surprises even for our regular Victoria NaNo-ers/NaNites/WriMos.

I’m still working too – 32.5 hours a week. So yeah, I’m just a tad busy. That’s okay though, I do my best work when I’m busy. And besides, apparently our hours at work get cut after Halloween (just in time for NaNo) because this is the busy season and then we’re practically dead afterwards.

That’s all for now.

– Kali

Textbooks Textbooks Textbooks!

That’s right, the lists are up. As much as I love shopping for textbooks though, I hate the actual act of paying for textbooks. I’m pretty sure everyone does to be honest. I’ve considered just buying them on Amazon instead of paying the slightly ridiculous fees you have to pay at the bookstore on campus, but that would just take the joy of doing the actual shopping away. I wouldn’t get to wander the isles of the bookstore looking at all the other books for other classes (and trying to find higher price tags than my own in order to make myself feel better), and I wouldn’t get to take them home right away and crack them open or pick out the book in the best condition.

I just realized how… less than sane that last little bit made me sound. So, onwards with notes on textbooks. For my political theory class I have 5 required texts (YUCK!). These are: Political Writings (by Immanuel Kant), Karl Marx: Selected Writings (by Karl Marx obviously), essential Writings (by Gandhi), On Liberty (by John Stuart Mill), and Mutual Aid (by Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin – can you say that 10 times fast?). The Gandhi sounds kind of cool and it was unexpected, and I’m kind of intrigued by the Marx even if it is the most expensive of the bunch. For my European government class there are two required books – Representative Government in Modern Europe (by Michael Gallagher), and European Democracies (by Markus Crepaz). And my Medieval Studies class also has a haul of books. These are: Saga of the Volsungs (translated by Jesse Byock), Arabian Nights (translated by Husain Haddawy), Beowulf (the Roy Liuzza translation), Celtic Heroic Age (John Toch), and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (W.S. Merwin). Fortunately it seems my religious studies course doesn’t have any textbooks because I already have quite the load.

My main annoyance is: HAVING TO READ THE LIUZZA TRANSLATION OF BEOWULF AGAIN! I HATE THE LIUZZA TRANSLATION!

I’m glad I got that out of my system. On the plus side though, at least I don’t have to buy it again because I already own it from when I had to read it for an English class I took in first year. Sigh. I don’t mind Beowulf, but I don’t like that translation. I’m going to try and go into it with an open mind though. Who knows, maybe I’ll like it better this time.

– Kali

PS: The August session of Camp NaNoWriMo is off to a start and I’m already enjoying it more than June.

Registration Trials

Well, registration is now complete for me. I did run into a little snag when doing so though. The sociology class I wanted to take (Sociology 310: Religion in Society) had prerequisites that it did not warn me about on the UVic website.Unfortunately I do not have time to take the prerequisites so it means I can’t take the class. It’s too bad too because I really wanted to take it. It sounded really interesting and Dr. W (who taught the inter-religious history class I took last semester) was teaching it and I was looking forward to having him as a prof again.

I did manage to find another class to take though. It’s an Art History class in Byzantine Art. It sounds like it should actually be pretty cool and according to Rate My Prof the prof is pretty awesome too. Also, it will be my first class in the Hickman Building. I’ve only been in there a couple of times – once for an exam prep session and once just this last semester for a talk that was going on about the Arab Spring.

Even if it’s not exactly what I had planned on I’m still looking forward to next year. It looks like they’ve switched around a few things though. First semester reading break is a Monday-Wednesday instead of a Wednesday-Friday. I’m not particularly fond of that, I preferred it the other way around even though it’s not a difference in days or anything. Also, second semester seems to start on a Thursday instead of a Wednesday which is just strange. I had finally gotten used to it starting on Wednesday instead of Tuesday like all my other schooling until that point and now they’re changing it. Not cool.

In other news though, I caught up in my Camp NaNoWriMo word count. I’m still not sure how it happened, but I’m even 1000 words ahead. The plan is to finish on Thursday. I still love my characters, but I’m getting tired of this story. It will be good to have the month off in between too. I already have the basics of an idea for my August NaNo too. Hopefully August will be better.

Now I just have to wait for textbook lists to be up on August 1st!

– Kali

The Worst Part of Class Registration Time

Well, class registration time is here. Don’t get me wrong, I love registering for classes (I’m sure it’s obvious if you’ve read many of our posts), but I hate the waiting. It’s stressful. I get decent grades, but not exactly straight A’s (I WISH!) so that means that my registration date isn’t usually terrible, but it’s hardy the first one. That means I get to spend the  days from when registration opens to when I finally get to register watching as the classes I want to get into slowly fill up.

So far I’ve never actually had to be on a waitlist, but I’m well aware that it’s only a matter of time as the class sizes get smaller. Today is only Day 2 of registration and the classes stand as follows:

First Semester

Modern Political Thought: 52 spots remaining (out of 60)

Government & Politics in Europe: 69 spots remaining (out of 70)

Introduction to Asian Religions: 67 spots remaining (out of 70)

Myths and Legends of the Middle Ages: 56 spots remaining (out of 70)

Second Semester

Introduction to Research Methods in Politics: 56 spots remaining (out of 58)

Indo-Tibetan Religious Traditions: 34 spots remaining (out of 35)

Methodists, Mormons, & Mystics: Religious Culture of the US from Colonial to 20th Century: 42 spots remaining (out of 45)

Religion in Society: 59 spots remaining (out of 60)

So far the only one I’m worried about filling up is the Myths and Legends class. It seems to be filling up pretty quickly (not that that’s at all surprising). My registration date is next Tuesday and I’m just hoping I don’t have to work at that time.

I really hope that class doesn’t fill up because it’s one I need for the Religious Studies degree and if I can’t get into it I’ll have to rearrange my first semester again which would mean I would have to get rid of the European politics class which I really want to take.

Anyways, this was just a little stress vent. Soon to come will be some posts about the trip Rachel and I took to the museum. And, as a sneak preview I give you this:

– Kali

They Teach You the Capital of Prince Edward Island, but Not What Sikhism Is

I went to talk to the acting Religious Studies director today. It was… nerve-wracking, but what else is new for me. His office is in the Sedgewick Building – a building on campus that I’ve never been to, and in fact I don’t think it’s a building where classes are ever held. So, naturally, I got lost trying to find his office.

Finding the building – easy. Finding the correct wing – easy. Finding his office – not so easy.

I let myself into the right space, but everyone seemed to be in a meeting so I had to look around for myself. Walking down the hallway where the offices seemed to be I found that where the room number he was supposed to be in should have been was a whole different number. Oh, and it was also an electrical closet. I continued to wander down the hallway and was fortunate enough to come across someone leaving her office who led me in the right direction. Apparently his office was beside where the meeting was going on. A peek inside told me he wasn’t actually in there, but a kind woman from the office next door told me to take a seat and that he was expecting me.

I took a seat and checked out a bunch of books they had sitting out. They seemed to have been written by the staff of the program which I thought was pretty neat (not to mention some of them sounded really interesting). After a few minutes he came out and we shook hands before he led me to his office. I noticed as I passed the door that his office number was not the same one as on the UVic website. It probably wouldn’t have changed things, but still, it would be nice if it were reliable.

Impressively, he made me feel right at ease immediately. We talked about why I wanted to pursue a course in religious studies and he answered the questions I had about the program. He also said something I found really interesting about the education system today – that religion, even though it is a major force in society, is pretty much a dead zone when it comes to education.

Even when I was in elementary school it was a known fact that our teachers couldn’t talk about religion. If they did, they could get in trouble for doing so. As a kid I never really questioned it, we didn’t talk about religion at home either after all. As I got older I realized it was like the American separation of Church and State, and my classmates and I still didn’t really think anything of it.

Now that I’m in university though, it seems odd. Since the two things I’m pursuing are things you’re explicitly not allowed to talk about before university (politics and religion) I basically had to go in blind. The only reason I took political science, and even considered taking a religious studies course is because of one of my high school teachers who suggested that I would like Political Science, and told us all that we should take at least one Religious Studies class in university.

If it weren’t for that one teacher I wonder what I would be doing now? Maybe English or History I suppose, since I always enjoyed those things in high school. Dr. B mentioned that they see it as important to teach us the capital of Prince Edward Island (which is on the other side of the country), but not even the basics of world religions (in his example Sikhism). Considering religion has more of an impact on the world than the capital of PEI, it seems odd that in 13 years of pre-university schooling religion is basically ignored.

When I did ask about why teachers weren’t allowed to talk about religion (or politics) I was told that it was because they would inevitably favor their own views and possibly taint ours. It seems disturbing to me that the people we trust to educate our next generation can’t be trusted to teach about these two world shaping subjects in an unbiased way. Is there something you learn when you get your PhD that makes teaching university students completely different? Sure I can understand not teaching it to elementary school children, but graduating high school with an educational void about these things seems like we’re doing them a disservice.

I know here in BC at least, the Ministry of Education has been changing our graduation program around again and again – especially in regards to mandatory physical exercise. Admittedly I hated this in high school, but while they’re changing everything up, maybe they should think about creating not only physically fit graduates, but socially aware ones too.

– Kali

 

Button, oh Button

Yesterday at the Students for a Free Tibet meeting we had a button making party. None of us had ever made buttons before and we were excited because, well, who doesn’t like buttons? The machine seemed pretty complicated, but once reading the instructions we figured it out. Fortunately only 4 of us were there though since there was only one machine and any more people would not have had anything to do.

One girl worked the machine, two people cut out the designs, and I was in charge of quality control. We made a lot of buttons, but there were also a few buttons that just didn’t work. They had to be added to the button graveyard that seemed to be accumulating in a bag under the machine.

All in all though it was a lot of fun – and now I have more buttons!

My New Buttons

These are the buttons I took. The story behind the blank one is that we wanted to do a tester to make sure we had it all figured out, and there were a bunch of blank pieces of paper that were perfect button making size. We used them and this was the result – I’m calling it my Doctor Who themed button. It’s psychic paper – yeah, because I’m so cool.

We also have a vigil to go to this afternoon. It’s from 3:00-6:30. I’m definitely going to go for a bit, but probably not for all 3.5 hours – I really need to get writing my historiography paper. I’ve done all the research, now I just have to do the actual writing. We also discovered that UVic’s Student Union Building (SUB) has a second floor which none of us knew. It’s not that big, but it’s actually pretty cool.

Some of Our Buttons

Also, points if you get the reference in the post title.

– Kali