Wednesday, May 22, 2013

There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college.

The second in a four-part series

Things About and Around My College Transcript: 1993 - 1994

--Keep in mind: I was working at least 12 hours at a campus job this whole time, from my fourth day there in 1992 to the week of graduation in 1996; I didn't get a dime from my parents beyond the couple grand they (reluctantly and painfully) paid toward tuition. My grandmother sent me the occasional $20 bill in the mail, for which I was deeply grateful, but every other penny I spent (textbooks, food, beer, clothes, fees, etc.) was out of my own pocket. I added unpaid internships starting in summer '94, too. Tuff times in NYC, y'all!

--This is where I started taking classes for my eventual major, Film Studies. It started off pretty easy in the fall of 1993, with Masterpieces in American Film History (basically the "101" class), taught by the department chair (I got a B+), and World Cinema: The 1970s (which was an eye-opener in terms of 70s-style sexism, and was the first of three courses I took in which The Godfather was on the syllabus; grade: A-). Spring's Contemporary Italian Arts: Film class was fun and interesting too (and to it I owe the fact that I've seen such fun, bubbly flicks as The Bicycle Thief, Bitter Rice, and Open City, all in Italian with subtitles; grade: A).

--But oh holy Shatner was I out of my depth in Film Theory and Aesthetics, taught by James Schamus. He is a fantastic teacher, and hilarious, and it was great to take this with Mr. Gleemonex and with the guy who eventually wrote a book about alcohol and named us in its credits, and to have had the mandatory group TA sections with the TA who loved us all so much that he invited us to a party at the end of the semester and got all 10 of us shitcanned on the most awesome sangria in the history of ever. I could feel my brain expanding in this class. But all the good was nearly undone by the physical dread I felt each week, knowing how far below the bar I really was, and how hard the whole thing was going to be for me. Ugh. Miraculously, this ended up a B+. I think I wrote a couple kickass papers? Maybe the one about Rebecca?

--Hola, Espanol! Gracias para las notas de "A" en los dos semestres! I tested out of a year, so these were the third and fourth of four required semesters. I didn't realize I could test out of any of it, but the professor of the Beginning Spanish class I attended on the first day told me -- after I busted out a complete paragraph that included the word "guantes" in the "Hola, me llamo" portion of the meeting -- that I really really should. Heh.

--Contemporary Civilization (aka CC), with the densest reading list of any class I took, netted me an A- for both semesters -- which is weird because the classes were taught by two of the most different profs I  encountered in my entire four years. Fall '93 was a young, hip bisexual gal, shaven-headed and given to pre-class recountings of her motorcycle travelings of the weekend/night previous. She wouldn't put up with either dismissal of the "old dead white guy" authors or slavish devotion to same; she really wanted us to engage with the material, look at it critically (this is where I pretty much shed my lifelong Christianity ... oops), take different angles, see where the themes and works wove into other times, disciplines, theories -- and she was good at nudging us to go that extra step. But she bailed at the half to take a full professorship somewhere else, so Spring semester was with a nearly-dead old white guy who just kind of didn't fucking care at all. He had no idea who any of us were, so it was incredibly easy to skip out ... particularly on these lovely warm spring afternoons, when my friend Rich Hilary was in the habit of lying in wait on the lawn bordering the walkway between my dorm and this building, with a six-pack of Hamm's and an extremely persuasive argument about how "that guy doesn't even know your name, you said so yourself, and I have all this beer to drink, bitch! I'll give you my notes from last year, you'll be fine. Sit the fuck down! You're in college! People are supposed to do this, CHRIST."

--Raaawwwwrrrrrr! Dinosaurs and the History of Life! Sounds like an easy, ridonculous gut, right? No -- it was science, for real, taught by a semi-famous researcher and enthusiast. And it was FUCKING AWESOME -- one of my top three, easily. Chicxulub, Archaeopteryx, Glen Rose, cladograms, birds are tiny dinosaurs, Jurassic Park, etc. etc. etc.  Took this with Mr. Gleemonex as well. Grade: A-

--Once again: Dean's List! BOOOOOOSHHHH!

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