Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ICU/University life: courses and whatever

So, I posted a picture of my handmade class schedule previously, but only because the official version hadn't been available then. Above is the official one (without timings, hence the need for a handmade one anyway) so you can see all the official names and codes of my courses whatnot.

Today marks my 5th school day since classes started, so I've completed a week of university. The initiation dances also began today, and mine is tomorrow. But that's not the point of this post- there's another dedicated to that. I'm gonna talk about my 4 different classes this term.

Firstly, what nearly no September student can escape (as worded by every other ICU student who has a blog): JLP. As I mentioned before, I was placed in J4 and to be honest I'm finding it a little too slow. I'm not learning anything I don't know yet, hence I'm not improving, and I need to improve ASAP so I can start taking courses in Japanese that I'm actually remotely interested in.

Sadly, they're really strict about moving up classes (less so for being demoted), and I've heard that the difficulty difference is really large so I don't know if I can cope if I even am able to upgrade to J5. Moving up to J5 would also mean that I finish JLP hell sooner, and conversely that I'd need to take more general education/foundation courses. D:

Moving on, we have my general education course: Economy and Economics. Those who know me, especially from JC, know how much I detest Economics despite being Economics representative (I did it for my testimonial). I got straight Us for my entire J2 year and miraculously scraped by 'A's with a C. Fortunately, this is a gen ed. course so they assume people don't know anything about Econs at all and I'm doing J1 work all over again. The course is also only 3 months, so we probably won't get anywhere hard before I finish the term. What we've done so far? Supply and demand.

We're supposed to buy a textbook for this class (optional) and I really don't wanna waste money on it since I'm only taking it for 3 months, but my neighbour in 3WD is also taking the course, so we were thinking of sharing a textbook. Maybe. Idk.

Thirdly, the dreaded gorochi. Gorochi is basically a Japanese abbreviation of go-roku-shichi, which means five-six-seven, referring to the 3 periods it takes up. Each period is 1 hour 10 minutes, so plus the 10 minute breaks in between, a gorochi is basically a hellish 4-hour class. I had this class for the first time yesterday, and when the professor (who prefers to be referred to as Ryan) found out I was a 16 Septen in my first term, he asked the class to explain what a gorochi was to me. Someone answered "death".

Unexpectedly, I actually know people taking this class. First is Miwa, who was my tour guide when my parents and I visited ICU the week I moved in. Second is Obi, a guy from 2MD who gave me a ride back to my dorm before because I couldn't bike in the dark. Lastly, there's Rei- the guy whose blog I've been stalking for months to find out more about ICU.

Anyway, about the class itself- Introduction to Religious Studies. I think I've accidentally signed myself up for the most confusing, controversial class ever. It's a foundation class under Philosophy, so of course there's gonna be unanswerable questions. First thing we had to answer- "what is religion?", followed by "what is spirituality?" and "what is belief?" Ryan (the professor) says it's his goal to make those with religions sad, and those without religions sad, and everyone sad to compensate for his own sadness. I don't know whether or not to take him seriously, but he's pretty entertaining, and managed to make the 4-hour class not feel that long (partially because he released us 30min early). This class really makes you think about everything you've believed in until now, break it down and makes you question yourself. さすがPhilosophy. I can think of so many people who would be insanely offended if they sat through 5 minutes of this class.

Sadly, most of yesterday's lesson was like introductions and discussion, which won't happen much from next week onwards, so I'm going back to dreading Tuesday gorochis.

Lastly, there's PE. I don't even. I couldn't escape PE when I went to JC, and I can't escape PE even as far as in uni. We have to run, and next week we have to swim. Can you believe that?! SWIM!!! I also have to take PE lectures in Japanese once I'm proficient enough, or I can't graduate (if I had placed in a lower JLP level I wouldn't have to take lectures). PE lessons are also in Japanese and I'm just stoning half the time. I vaguely get most of what's going on, but I don't wanna let the teacher know I do. Maybe if I pretend I don't understand anything at all, I could get away with not running? Have I mentioned I have to take PE for 2 years?! After the first two terms, I get to choose what I do, like yoga or dance etc., but until then I have to run. and. swim.

Besides classes, I've slowly gotten better at riding the bike. I can make turns now without stopping and getting off the bike, and I'm a little more stable already. I ride the bike to class nearly everyday, even though we're the nearest dorm to the honkan (main building), because biking is less tiring than walking. I also biked to Don Quijote and back on Monday (to buy nail polish because my gel nails fell off...), which is a total of about 4km!!! By myself!!! To be fair, it's basically a straight route all the way from ICU, so I can't really get lost, but STILL, IT'S ME.

That's about it for my AY12 courses and some bike news. I'll probably talk more about my courses once a few more weeks have passed, since we're still in the honeymoon first week now. I'm just really dreading PE. And gorochis.


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