Going to school? What a novel idea.

12 10 2011

So I’ve been here for almost two weeks and I am just starting to get into schoolwork.  This is partially due to the fact that I was here a week before classes started, and my supervisions (and therefore when my work is due) happens next week.

I’m getting ahead of myself.  In keeping with the explanation of British things, I will explain how classes work in Cambridge.  At Cambridge, one learns through two ways.  The first way is the lecture.  I do not need to explain what a lecture is, unless you, my dear reader, have run into a serious bout of Amnesia, in which case you should probably go to the About Me page to remind yourself why you’re reading this.  We have one lecture per week.

The second part, and what is considered the core part, of the curriculum here is the supervision.  In a supervision, one student or a small group of students less than five meet with the professor to talk about their work.  In the supervision, essays are read, ideas are stated and argued, and the student gets a chance to ask the professor questions about the subject at hand with personal input.  Supervision work is done on your own, and by its very nature, supervisions are more flexible than your average class.  While there does exist a syllabus of things that are going to be covered, the student is encouraged to seek out information on his or her own and present it during the supervision.

While in a supervision, you need to be able to defend your findings or your arguments, and not end up sounding like this (Either the wordpress video embedder thingie isn’t working, or I’m a moron).  To be honest, it wouldn’t be stupid if she had kept on the ‘Americans might not own maps’ track, but then she brought South Africa into it and couldn’t dig herself out.  Also…why did they ask that question in the first place?  Its a pageant show, for crying out loud.

Here’s a funny picture.

Jamie Hyneman, ladies and gentlemen

Ok, so, back to reality.

Now, I play the french horn.  It actually is called the ‘horn’ but non-musical people want clarification, so I always say french horn when introducing it.  Ahem.  At Jewell I am the only horn player.  It is really sad and depressing.  The only respite I get is when I played with the Liberty Symphony, but that was only like 2 rehearsals and a concert.  For the most time, I was alone.  So, coming to Cambridge, a university in which the student population is almost 20,000, I rightly assumed there would be more horn players.  There are.  It is shocking.

Furthermore, there are two University-wide orchestras and a band (there are other ensembles within the various colleges too).  It is audition-only.  So I auditioned.  I hadn’t auditioned for anything for a long time.  I wanted to get into one of the ensembles.  I wasn’t picky about seating.  Just wanted to play with other horn players who had been playing as long as I had.

My audition went well.  My callback audition went well (although I had to practically jog for 40 minutes to get there–don’t worry I’m getting my bike tomorrow).  Then, they offered me the position of principal horn in the first orchestra.  I did not expect this.  The weird thing is that I didn’t want to be principal.  I’ve never been principal in an orchestra, and being first horn when the orchestra is playing such heavy things like Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky is a big deal with a lot of pressure.  Lately I’ve gone through a period of an odd amount of nervousness, and I didn’t want the stress.  So I gave the position up, and am playing second.  Then they asked me to do first in the band…excuse me, ‘wind symphony.’  I wasn’t going to turn another 1st position down (besides, less stress for band).  So I’m playing 2nd horn in the flagship orchestra and 1st horn in the University’s best band.  I’m definitely excited…and I’m thankful that I have the talents that I do.  God’s pretty cool like that.

I'd vote Luke Skywalker

These pictures are there to break up the monotony of words.  I find it helps with concentration.  Wall of text = bad.

Tonight, I believe I am going out to a Polish restaurant with fellow Jewell-ite Kasia (whose blog you can find via my Blog Links page at the top).  Probably get a pierogi.

Also, just for fun, I’ve decided to add another page to the top of my blog.  It will be called ‘Lamar’s Lists’ or something of that sort.  I like lists, and you apparently like reading my blog.  So I’m going to write a list a month.  The fun part will be that I won’t tell you when the new one is there.  So it will be like a game; you will have to check on your own!.  Think Pong, only completely different.






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