February 7, 2010

What I do when I'm not at the beach...

Here it is. The moment you’ve all been waiting for and the blog I’ve been avoiding writing - the entry about my classes. Honestly, classes are fine and I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to get around to writing this. But they’re a pretty crucial reason as to why I’m here and everyone keeps asking about them, so here goes…

For starters, the setup of classes is much different than in the states. Each class has a lecture of 30+ people, and a tutorial which has 10-15 people. The lectures are more flexible (but obviously, you should go), but the tutorials are compulsory. Compulsory - that’s a word used frequently over here. Things aren’t mandatory or required, they’re compulsory.

Film Analysis - Style & Genre: I have this lecture from 8-10AM on Monday mornings, so I definitely wasn’t able to ease into classes at Bond. I hate to say it, but I think this may be my least favorite class. Even though it’s the class where I have a good amount of Aussie friends, it’s very elementary. It’s annoying because if you read the chapter, you show up to class and the lecture is based off of a very strict Powerpoint that I could have written - it’s a play-by-play of the chapter you read the night before. It pretty much gives me no reason to want to read. I definitely enjoy the material, but it’s frustrating because it’s not really challenging… does that make sense? And we were given three weeks to write a 400 word essay (2 pages double spaced) and everyone was stressing over it… really? So many people were like, “What are you writing your essay on?” Dudes! It’s 2 pages! I wrote it on the lighting in Lost in Translation, but come on folks! Not too tough. Pick and element of film style from the movie and say what you want about it. Not quantum physics.

And also, the class consists of film people. You know. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. The film people who always tend to come across a bit pretentious and want to flaunt their knowledge about directors and producers and techniques. Blah. Gag me please. I also felt a bit weird in the beginning because they know so much more about American film then I do. They are rambling off the names of directors and have very strong opinions about their works and I’m like, “Uhhh, yeah I like Jim Carrey. He’s my favorite. Funny guy.” I don’t know much about the movie industry. However, I do redeem myself because I can analyze lighting, camera angles and editing with the big dogs. But I’m sorry that I didn’t know who Michael Bay was until the first class was over.

This lecture is also nothing like Gordon, because there are 53 people and maybe 14 of them are females. Wow! Yeah, caught me off guard. And these boys love to hear themselves talk. The girls just kind of sit back and chill. I participate when I can, but the tutorial is where I’m able to shine. Mine meets Mondays from 2-3PM and there’s about nine people in mine I think. One other American and four other girls, so I feel a lot more comfortable participating. I had plenty to say about the film from the 80’s we watched where a woman had an affair on her husband with an octopus. And I was one of the only people who knew who Zidane was when we watched that documentary. But I’m sorry, Lost in Translation is so not my type of movie. I liken it to Garden State - the “plotless wanderings” category. Ben Morrow, I think you’d enjoy it if you haven't already seen it.

Finally, on Monday evenings from 7-9PM, we meet in the theatre (like Barrington) to watch our next film. The first week was Lost in Translation and week two was Raging Bull, which kicked LiT’s butt. A Scorsese film featuring boxing and Robert DeNiro - I’m sold. And it was a tragedy of sorts, which made it more engaging to me. And week three was Citizen Kane. Professor Cobbey, if you’re reading, I’m sorry. I just couldn’t do it. A friend of mine from class and I decided to hire it out from the library (you don’t borrow/rent things here, you hire them) instead of watching it in the theatre, and we put it on three times and couldn’t get through it. Maybe I’ll be able to do it before the semester ends, but it took a lot to get through about forty minutes. It’s supposed to be one of the greatest films of all time so I genuinely want to invest in it, but it was somewhat painful. Now he and I just faintly whisper “rosebud” to each other from time to time and have a good laugh. That’s pretty much all we gathered from it.

Love, Sex & Relationships: Yes, can you believe it? I am enrolled in this course. This is not a joke. It’s actually quite enjoyable. It’s the only class that I have on Tuesdays - the lecture is from 12-2PM and there’s about 250 of us. Maybe the size of an Old Testament class except the content is far racier. We’re starting with the anatomical details of sex, learning about scientific research in the field, famous sexologists, discussing gender studies, and then moving on the the topics of love and relationships after the midterm. Honestly, it’s extremely eye-opening. It’s so interesting to be learning about sex from a scientific stand point. We’ve watched so many fascinating documentaries, although they can be a little awkward at times. You know, with the nakedness and the sex. But hey, it’s all in the name of science, right? And it’s tasteful… mostly. Also, my professor is the Australian Cameron Diaz. It’s ironic and the similarities are uncanny - body type, facial structure, smile, hair. Sure Cameron, you would teach Love, Sex and Relationships. Of course.

My tutorial for this class is on Wednesday mornings 9-10 and it’s 15 females - thank heavens! I can’t even imagine if I was in one of the mixed-gender tutorials. God was really looking out for me, because this class is also when that’s like 90% Americans, and those guys are so immature so I’d wring my neck if they were in my tutorial. Two girls from my high school are in this lecture with me also - My Tran and Stephanie Pratti! Do these names ring any bells to my readers? Maybe. I didn’t know My very well in high school, but Steph and I were close because we had tons of classes together and were both in band. It’s so cool to sit with them and have someone to make jokes with and keep the mood light while we watch weird documentaries. And My is in my tutorial and we’ll be leading an activity on love together during week seven. Good times. It’s nice to have a little bit of Haverhill down under. And there are about six girls in my tutorial from Northeastern University, and one girl who wore a T-shirt that said Billerica. Makes me feel a little closer to Boston. I’ll keep you posted on this class - there are always interesting stories… maybe not all blog appropriate though. Just be comforted that it is academic in nature and I’m learning :)

Foundations of Broadcast Journalism: I have this lecture on Wednesdays 10-12PM, right after my LSR tutorial and I enjoy it. However, it’s different than I thought it would be. I was expecting it to be focused on what it’s like to be the broadcaster, with specific speech techniques and stuff, which it is, but I kind of overlooked the “journalism” part. With that incorporated, it actually becomes a lot like a course I’ve already taken - Writing for the Media. A huge part of it is going out and finding your stories, gathering the info, collecting the shots you want, and writing your scripts. We did a bit of this in Writing for the Media, so that’s a bit repetitive for me.

Then the tutorial is a combination of other skills I have as well - the class Digital Video Production and working at CET. The tutorial meets Thursdays 8-10AM only for the first seven weeks, and our lecture of 24 people is split into two sections, so it’s nice and small. But on day one, we spent a good long time learning all about the different camera shots (wide, close-up, long, medium, cut-ins etc..) learning about some lighting techniques (three point, the key light, what tungsten is), and everyone voraciously took notes on the rules of thirds and the 180 degree rule. I was bored during this hour, because I already knew these skills from my sophomore year at Gordon, but it got worse.

We spent the second hour learning how to set up and use video cameras and mics. I didn’t want to seem snobby at all, but when my group of three was working on setting up our camera, I told them that I have a ton of experience with equipment like this, so they could set it up to become more familiar. They were like, “Oh my gosh, you know how to do this already?” Um, yes. I don’t want to be rude, but I help people fix problems with cameras 10x as complicated over the phone, without even seeing the problem. I didn’t say that, but I certainly thought it. So as they spent five minutes trying to open and level out the tripod, I just hung back. Then they asked me for help with the wired lapel mic after struggling for a bit. I think the most that I’ll get out of the tutorial is learning more in-depth about Final Cut Pro. I’ve always wanted to be good with it, but I haven’t had a ton of exposure and as of right now, it’s over my head. I think the toughest part of this class will be finding a relevant story to capture in an environment that I’m so unfamiliar with. That’ll stretch me and push me outside of my comfort zone, so we’ll see!

Event Management: And finally, the class that robs me of the long weekend my roommates get to enjoy - Event Management, Fridays 11-2PM, always compulsory. Figures. The lecture is 11-12:30ish, then our adorable Greek professor gives us a half hour break for lunch and, we need to be back for tutorial 1-2PM. This class is actually not too bad, I really enjoy the subject matter. I feel like I’m learning a lot about Australian history and culture in this course. No joke, the 2000 Sydney Olympics literally breathed life back into this country and took them out of somewhat of a depression. It’s so cool to study how events and festivals can shape a society. I made a good friend in this class. Her name is Julia and she’s a very sweet German girl who kisses me on the cheek with she sees me. It makes me feel loved, even though she’s European and I shouldn’t be surprised. But everyone loves a hug from a new friend, right?

Anyway, for tutorial, we split into two groups - one who strictly wanted to host a sports-related event and one who was more flexible. I chose the sports group, but I’m so impressed and excited about the event that we chose! We narrowed it down to either a backyard cricket match/cookout/social, a mock summer olympics tournament (since our university or “uni” is so diverse, teams would represent their respective countries) or a fancy James Bond/Casino Royale-like poker tournament. And the winner is…. Poker! I bet you didn’t think that’d be the one that I voted for, but it actually makes the most sense to me. Here’s my logic: Instead of watching the NFL playoffs a few weeks back, I spent my Sunday afternoon eating lunch and watching cricket. I was studying this sport and asking Kat tons of questions, because heads up - it’s nothing like baseball. But I like it! Mostly because it’s still a pretty slow-paced sport to watch like baseball and that doesn’t bore me. But the truth it, a lot of people are bored by cricket. While I didn’t think the backyard cricket game was a bad idea, I also didn’t think that it’d get the largest demographic group involved. Some people might want to play, some people would just grab some food and peace out, and others might hang and watch. But overall, not a huge crowd would stay for hours on end. Cricket is a terribly long game.

Secondly, the summer olympics idea was great, but I think you couldn’t really have many more than 8-10 people on a team, so that’s really limiting. Would that mean only 8-10 Americans, Aussies, Japanese etc... can participate? That’s not what we want. And would people come and gather to be spectators? I wasn’t entirely convinced. However, poker’s got it all. Not only would we get the jock/athlete people to play, but smart, nerdy, less athletic people play cards as well. I feel like it’s a universal tongue of sorts, especially at our diverse uni. And then, make it a dress up event that serves alcohol and finger snacks kind of like cocktail party? BOOM - females. Done. Women will come out to an event where boys are dressed up playing cards, if they get to dress up, be their dates and work the room. Widest demographic reached, tickets are only like $10, prizes are donated from local sponsors, it’s held at the classy bar behind uni that everyone goes to already anyway, money raised goes to charity, and the 15 of us planning the event become hugely popular celebs on campus because everyone loves it and thinks we’re awesome. Perfect.

So it’s a lengthy entry and it’s long overdue, but there’s the much anticipated update on my classes! Hope you enjoyed! More to come later this week. Like, at least four more entries… buckle up, folks.

PS: I’m skipping my film lecture in the morning to watch the Superbowl at Varsity Lakes Tavern at 9:30AM with a bunch of friends. Awesome. Something’s gotta give, right? My mom said, “Is she skipping class to watch football?” and my dad’s response was, “Of course she is. I’d be disappointed if she didn’t.” Father’s orders :) I’m introducing some Aussies so their first Superbowl event. Boy, do I wish the Pats were playing. That’d be legendary. Oh well. Go Saints!

1 comment:

  1. I have several comments:

    1. i love the organization of this post. i feel like my knowledge of your academic experience has become so much more structured. its wonderful.

    2. 400 words? cry me a river. i'm in the midst of writing a 8 pager...granted its about sex...but STILL

    3. i hope yesterday went ok...i was praying.

    4. oh i have a request...more on the topic of the aforementioned paper. dont worry i will be satisfied with a detailed email until able to discuss in person..how about you just send me all your notes. but i still want the stoooories :)

    5. also i didnt get a chance to fill you in on some big stuff, so talking should occur sometime in the next week or so (on your mass line...so i dont give my tuition to gordon and verizon). amazing god stuff...which im so excited about but also kinda freakin out. totally vague i know but dont want to spoil the story!

    6. i wish you were here for friday and the globes. i just made some last minute thrifty purchases and girl you will be so impressed. ill send you pictures...tagline: smokin' :)

    7. Finally, I'm all buckled up...bring on the mini-novelettes! WAIT...thats actually a good idea! you should make this into a book! :)

    ok i think thats all...i really should stop dominating your comments...maybe i'll just start writing posts on my blog in response to you...or email. :) hmmmmmm......


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