I’m on a normal, regular sleep schedule! I go to bed not long after midnight and wake up in the morning and it’s great.
Early on the Monday I made myself delicious chicken sammiches and rolled into uni, for what I hoped was my option. I say hoped, because I wasn’t sure; NOTHING of use was on WebCT, the History office apparently being unable to find their arse given an atlas and a Tomtom. My primary source of course and time information at the moment is Flash Glenwright. Who, as it happens, is extremely capable, just this ain’t the way things ought to be. The noticeboards said I was indeed in Rob Thompson’s Monday Vietnam module, in ERI G54. What the hell does that mean? Asked at the helpful reception office and they told me it was in the ghetto off by the Sociology department (is that now defunct? I’m not sure.) Met a pretty international student from South Korea at the ankle of Muirhead Tower and gave her directions to the Business centre, then found the dark red-brick building I was supposed to be in, big and modern and nearly empty. Then Rob Thompson told us lots of fun things about Vietnam and how much we were about to learn. I hadn’t realised how much the marines in Aliens (and their demise) were styled after the American experience in Vietnam. He has offered a prize for anyone who can find the original source of the line “how do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?”
I’d been exchanging messages with Samuel Lear, who has become editor of the student rag Redbrick apparently by sheer force of will, and arranged to come in that afternoon; wandering vaguely towards the Guild, I met fellow war-studier James along the way and discussed Socs (societies, not those blokes who beat up greasers). Found Redbrick offices in the basement and found Samuel doing his thing, his thing in this case being Editing And Running Everything, and looked at their stuff (Macs) and site (ugly) before I was called away to a brief but in-depth War Studies orientation thing from Rob and Toby McLeod, who is now apparently running the show and seems a great chap despite the very discouraging lecture I had with him last year. Back to Redbrick, discussing alterations to their site with their other techy/creative types, setting myself up user accounts and privileges everywhere. Visited Zoe in TC that evening, met her flatmates (who were great) and went to a pub quiz (which wasn’t) before wandering home to florp in my own bed.
(I wrote this at the end of the first day and realised there was no way I was going to have time to do a similarly in-depth account of all the rest, so here’s a much vaguer account of the main points of the rest of the week.)
For the societies fair on Wednesday, I went to the sci-fi and TTG joint thing to sign up, but it was exactly the same bunch of people as last year having exactly the same conversations with no apparent desire to be anything else. It’s not that any of them are anything but nice people, but it’s terribly cliquey, affirming of the worst nerd-cliches, and apparently determined to stay in its little neckbeard ghetto forever (this was borne out by people at Redbrick later talking about how utterly unwelcome they’d felt as newcomers). So I spurned their walkaround to see the Redbrick people do their presentation, and the Guild Council Chambers (the size of a decent lecture theatre) were utterly packed; response to Redbrick has been massive and overwhelming. That went very well, and I spent much of my spare time for the rest of the week hanging around the Redbrick office, getting to know the editorial folks and trying to winkle keycodes and necessary credentials out of the collapsed mine that their IT situation currently resembles. The Redbrickers are nice people, in control of what they’re doing, welcoming and generally seem a good crowd to hang with. I think I’m going to get to know a lot of new people this year. Flash is working hard to get Warsoc running, and while the Guild’s absurd nannyish movie-vetting system have confounded his attempts to get film nights going and the debate next week doesn’t really appeal to me, we had a great and very sociable Warsoc pub lunch today. All nine of us that showed up. Baby steps.
The total confusion I was in about my course at the start of the week has resolved itself into a (surprisingly small) set of certain hours a week all over campus, and a couple of appointments with special tutors for next week. I’ve sent a few emails to history higher-ups with a view to becoming a History student rep, simply because the existing system (of lectures, timetables, noticeboards, emails, WebCT and so on) is a total shambles and needs reform. If I can’t get that I can at least get catharsis from shouting at people.
Lectures have so far not given me any sinking feelings. Vietnam with Rob Thompson promises to be great fun, The Rise of Modern War relates strongly to the Military Revolution stuff I did well in last year, and the Critical Analysis module (read: book reviews are serious business) seems tolerable if not wacky fun. The overall tone of “more work, less help” isn’t getting me down. I know I can do anything here if I put my mind to it and give myself time.
I think I’m going to enjoy this year a lot.
Outgoings this week: