Mmhmn, that is correct, the title says Part one. To be dead honest that is almost not even enough to cover everything that has gone on in the last seven days, and seriously I will not even be going into full details about everything that happened because I will already be here all night and I would prefer some sleep before class tomorrow morning, so I will be breaking this weeks activities and events into three specific sections. Now only two will be showing up in my weekly updates, but do be aware a third piece will be placed in my thoughts section due to a brain teaser posed by my Journalism Professor Mrs. Vivian Smith about stress and its relationship to first year and in reality all students. But most specifically I will comment there about the challenges facing freshmen/women because I look for it first hand, to my own guilt as a little bit of relief for myself (I do feel a touch guilty yes) but also as a reflection of my first year, and indeed this year starting at a new facility away from home. That being said, these updates that I will cover in part one will be a reflection that is mostly reflective of the academic importance’s in the past week, or as best as I could divide them equally, while the second issue, (which may have to wait till tomorrow) will mostly follow the recreational experiences of the seven day kick off to semester. So without further ado, the fifteenth week of my little Victoria journey.

With three hours till my midnight deadline I feel like diving straight into the meat of this issue, my courses. However I think it is acceptable to start with the first day points I just have to make, so that will come second. But anyways, first day. It truly is something you have to experience, and not something that could be imitated. Perhaps it could in theory be reflected by the final day of classes, but I think the feelings although similar would be directed differently. Our atmosphere has a simple composition, mostly nitrogen, some oxygen, many other small concentrations of particles, but pure energy is not something usual described with these facts. However it is the only real word which properly describes what it really feels like when you first step onto campus. Surrounded by thousands of your peers, everybody curious, excited, nervous, sick, overjoyed, basically bursting at the seams with an overflow of emotion, passion, creativity, and especially a desire for bettering themselves through education. To explain it to an average high school student would truly be explaining color to a blind person, while their desires simply want the year to end as soon as it begins, each moment you spend surrounded by these people is empowering, and encouraging. It is your job to learn, and at that moment the concept of overtime just doesn’t cut it. That first class is one of many cups and into each you pour yourself whole heartedly and yet still there is some to spare, and that overflow you splash on the people around you while they do the same, so really it is like a giant water fight of chaotic excitement. That is just the first thought…. yea, I know right.

I’m going to let that sink in for a moment while I go over a short review of each one of my courses, and then add the afterthoughts of them collectively. This way I can limit the work through condensing material, and yet still maximizing the amount of important content. So lets start in the order I attended these new doors to enlightenment, Biology. To be precise, this is no longer just general biology, but Micro Biology, and while this pertains less to my focus of Large Marine Animal studies, it is imperative to understand the environment in which they live, and considering the worlds Oceans host at least two thirds of life on our little blue marble, that’s a lot to learn. My professor is quite an interesting character, and although while he can take his points to the level where the entire lecture hall is ready to burst with laughter, he is at the same time direct, and wastes no time in demonstrating the pertaining point and making sure we are all at an agreement in our understanding of that point. So while it is a relaxed class with a soft environment, the knowledge is thick in the air and you always walk aware with the important details. (As my one small side to Bio, I had two class the first week unlike the other two, which is why I have a second point, but it turns out I was a bit ahead of myself in my pre-reading and am now a good two classes ahead, oh well I guess) Secondly I have Writing 102, also known as Non-fictional writing/ Journalism. My new Professor is no Tim Marshal, but in her field she holds a candle with him: and for me, this can only benefit me in perfecting my writing style and professionalism. Her keyword: Focus, which for the time I am in her class will be my new motto. Journalism is something new to me and I intend to make it into my own special talent in which other try to outdo my work. How is that for a goal, couple that with a Masters in Marine Biology and I think I will be guaranteed an interesting career. (The keynote for this section: I was in fact waitlisted for this course, however of one hundred students, number twelve is not a very high number and so I decided to stick it out while other began to drop, more on that later) Finally I have Organic Chemistry (Hisssss) or at least that was the original perception I had based on the opinion of other I knew who had attempted this course. Bear in mind I am one week into it and may in fact change my mind to align with that thought, but for now it is probably the class I am most excited about, based on the premise that my Prof has mentioned that this course he teaches is sixty percent visualization. For a dreamer like myself, visualization coupled with my free and large thought space this should equal a very entertaining and productive semester indeed. (my final side note to Organic chemistry happens to be that it is the only course in which we started actual work on day one. The good news: while my prof was introducing the process of the activity we were executing, I was already finishing the exercise, and I was right on. Yep, still Razor sharp, Oww). To round off my analysis of the start of semester and my new “Focus” points I will start with this thought. Those of you who constantly read my work know that I was a little disappointed with the end of the summer months on the basis that I felt I had missed so much, however after exploring the tip of each of my new endeavours I have gotten more excited than I was for the beginning of summer, and if this level of enthusiasm keeps up I feel like I will not want classes to end anytime soon. I was originally planning to have my classes rated from highest to lowest in all areas and then use specific detail on the top and bottom one, However I cannot choose a clear winner which I suppose also means there are no losers. Kind of a lucky break for these already tired fingers, considering I probably saved myself about five more lines of print.

Unfortunately there is a downside to all this epic learning. This stuff isn’t free, but to be fair, with the level of class, professionalism, and quality of the learning that can be done at Uvic it actually makes sense to be paying this time, and as a huge surprise the rate at which I am paying is actually lower then the rates I was paying back home at our small community college. Fairness? Karma coming back? Subsidisation from the government? or just pure style from Uvic? I think a little bit of each. There is even a bonus in that your registration fees go towards your outstanding tuition so they gave me some money back…. Impossible. But even with all that good news I still have a small snag, Opting out of Health and Dental is taking a couple days, but once that is done, money saved and tuition paid.

I did mention before that I was on a waitlist right…. Yep Just checked, (two paragraphs up, right before the Hissss), Well get this, every waitlisted student isn’t stuck for the first several weeks waiting for space. Class sizes are usually estimated at greater then registered levels to accommodate waitlisted students and drop ins. Meaning plenty of space for number 3 on the waitlist. Oh yea, I forgot to mention. Being number twelve was determined two weeks before school started, by the time I got to class I knew I was down to three. What I did not know but was quick to find out, was that during that first class while I was sitting in lecture at eight thirty in the morning, several students dropped the class, meaning that by the time I left that morning I was actually accepted and on the class roster. Yep, they do not mess around at Uvic, things get done. With that finally established in stone, I now have all three of my courses set up, and a space reserved in my only lab this semester. Things have clicks, now I just have to keep “Focused”.

I have to interject a little fun fact here, to take a small siesta from the serious scripture. (Ha, see what I did there, how’s that consonance taste) Anyways the point I was making was going to be about the buses out to Uvic. As a central hub in Victoria and as the largest bus exchange in Victoria the buses there can get quite cramped. By this I mean I literally had to sit on the floor next to the fare box by the driver so she could see her mirrors. On top of that I stated that having to get back off the bus because it is too full has to be the worst feeling ever, but then I retracted that statement when we stopped to let people off and yet kept the doors shut for those wanting to get on. We cannot run double deckers everywhere people. One stop closer could be the difference between getting on or not, and if you really need to use a bus, go for one earlier then the one you absolutely need. Because missing class or work is fun for no one. Just a little stop in the long route my mind is on. (Ha, Bus humour!)

The next thing I have to add ties in nicely with my article on the Stress of First years. The point I am addressing here is friendships. Seriously one of the top five things you can do to help yourself avoid stress in first year is have a solid group of friend. Five is a nice number off the bat, because this way you do not have to commit all your time to a social life as I have discovered, but you still have enough variety to not irritate each other and keep things at a respectable relaxed level. This is especially true if you share different interest with different friends, that way there is not too much overlap. But anyways, I am getting onto my article and not onto my personal point, so back to “Focus”. The first day is a strange day, because although everyone is running around and doing their best to get everything figured out right aware there is a surprising amount of collisions with random people, and even more surprising some of these people I actually know. For example, while working Triathlons I met a fellow lifeguard named Hannah. She lives a ways out of Victoria and yet the very first day of class I run into her almost immediately, not surprising considering we knew each other would be at Uvic, but seriously considering the number of people at the university and the proximity of the University the chances are small, and yet, within five minutes off the bus. Of course I have a few friends from Salmon Arm. Primarily Josh and Brandi, whom I grew up with and have been around all summer with Charmaine and I as well, but imagine finding Amanda here as well. Nathan-less, but I assume that is for a reason and yet it was still a nice calm moment thrown into the craziness of the first day. Along with her I met an old skater friend from SA. Although missing his old partner in crime James, and sporting a swag beard Riley changed a lot from his days of hitting the skate park in SA. I think the only right word would be matured. His theory, and this coming from a Psych and Philosophy Major, was that leaving Salmon Arm allows you to grow, and not only do I trust his theory, but I actually came to that exact conclusion myself. Whether or not it is true is debatable, but I think the results speak for themselves. Biology was a funny class due to the ease with which I settled in, however it is my field so I guess it is no surprise. However there was a small wrench in the machine of that course, and he was sitting two rows down from my seat. My landlord Andrew is in my bio class. Although it is in fact hilarious it is also ironically dangerous. Now I have to keep good notes, or else rent may see an increase (joking). But at least that though will encourage me to push even harder then before for great grades; who knows, rent may even go down. Finally there is one of my work associates from the summer. Yea, who knew that would come back at me right as class started. And yet, there was Sydney, day one of Biology, sitting three seats away and just as surprised to see me in class as well. Of course it is nice to have a friend in class, it helps build a foundation for a support structure in studies, but to have that person be someone you already know quite well, just makes everything that much easier. I am not quite done with the people of this week, however that sums up all I knew before I started class, and the others will have to wait until part two. So on we go with the next topic.

THUNDERFEST! That’s right folks. Second day of classes is the official kick off to Thunderfest. Which is essentially a giant careers and events fair, and while it may sound big, next week’s club days are even bigger. But not nearly as big as the giant beach ball we spent an hour playing volleyball with. Imagine some two thousand students and just students all crammed into an events fair, covered in foam, water guns, signing up for events, contests, and getting to know their fellow student body. I must admit though, my favourite part of Thunderfest had to be Charmaine and I’s EPIC game of Jenga. and by epic I mean we set a Uvic record and attracted a crowd of some twenty people to gather around our table while her and I consumed RockStar energy drinks courtesy of Club 9-one-9 and assessed all the angles. To tally our final scored I will say that the tower toppled on Charmaine, however with the huge amount of wind we had, it really could have been anyone’s game. But speed was the main focus to get the other player back on the tower a.s.a.p. and see if the wind would take them down. Still, we achieved twice Charmaine’s height off the table surface and literally were stretching to reach the top of the stack. We made several days for the surrounding crowd, and received numerous pats on the back and hand shakes for our achievement. And just what did it look like you ask, well have no fear, for I shot pictures of the beast.

2012-09-07 16.41.432012-09-07 16.45.23-22012-09-07 16.50.14

My final closing note for this post will mirror my post on the non-academic events of this week to a degree. However staying with the theme this will focus on a good all around retreat from anything negative that school might bring. This amazing thing, is in fact a place, and this place is called Felicitas. What is it, well it is a Bar, on Campus, With the cheapest beer in town, and it opens in the afternoon. For anything that you need to get away from it is amazing, and situated right near the SUB (Student Union Building) it is the perfect location to meet up with those friends I suggested you get yourself and kick back from the mind filling and or cracking you have been doing. Truly it was an inspired idea, and only one hundred paces from the bus exchange which runs routes all weekend late to get those drunk students home to their beds safely, Uvic truly is a home away from home. To add to that there is a massive number of support facilities inside the SUB including a full movie theatre and to top it all off, Multi Gender Washrooms…. That’s right, Co-ed washrooms. That could be really weird. There is no male female signs, you either guess it, or share it with the opposite sex. Which I do not believe any of us have done since we were six. Oh well that’s University for you.

Typically I’d add my tag line here, but seeing as I have a second part to do tomorrow I will close tonight with a simple Stay Tuned for tomorrow’s second update. Along with my first week survival guide which will go up at some point this week.

L8r

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