Monday, September 20, 2010

Mes Cours

Today I started my French language course.  I think I am going to like it.  My professor seems to be really interesting.  She is probably in her later fifties, which a quirky, yet comfortable feel about her.  I had my 8:00AM class today (which I'll talk about in a little bit) so I was able to make it to my 10:15AM language class a little early.  I met another American (she was from Georgia) and I introduced myself to the girl I was sitting next to (she was from Canada).

So when my professor got there, when she took role she had us guess the countries that everyone was from.  I already knew two people, one from the choir auditions and one from my orientation group, plus the two new people I just met.  So I knew four of the sixteen of us.  My professor made some joke about how I knew everyone, so as such, she nominated me as the delegate for the class.  It really doesn't mean anything, other than people can tell me when they aren't going to show up to class and I will let the prof know.  But it was pretty cool that she nominated me.

And thank god that the class is easy.  It is Niveau 2, meaning Level 2.  In our workbook it says level B1, which doesn't mean anything to most people, but that actually is important to me.  When I was in Nice, during the summer of 2007, I went to language school there.  They had us take a language placement test.  I was put into the group B1 my first week.  By the end of my 6 and a half weeks in Nice, I had made it to C1.  The C groups are for the people that are nearly fluent.  So I was really relieved that I am back in B1 here at SciencesPo.  I will have at least one easy class.  And boy do I need it.

This morning was the first real class in my Grands Systèmes du Droits Étranger course.  The first hour consisted of a girl presenting one of the articles we were supposed to read.  That is simple enough.  Except for the Prof uploaded them to our E-mail accounts.  And I don't have access to the group she uploaded them too.  And I have no idea how to get access.  So she showed us how to do that before class, saying that this week was ok if people didn't turn in our write ups on the "lectures."  Fair enough.  I mean now she showed me how to get to the group.  Nope.  Still not available.  I e-mailed the SciencesPo help desk and am waiting for their response.

Anyway, getting back to the class.  Everyone brings their computers with them.  Me, I hate taking notes on my comp.  I find that I never look at them when I do.  So I had my pen in my hand, poised to start taking notes.  Then the girl started speaking.  I found that I could understand what she was saying when she said it, but after she was finished I tried to reflect on what she said and I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.  This happened not only during her presentation but also the two exposés that went today.

Then my prof decided to lecture.  She seemed to be outlining some sort of "dissertation" that people were furiously writing.  Not me.  I could barely keep up.  Then she said something and everyone stopped.  You know those dreams where you have the final exams that determine your entire grade, but you haven't studied for it?  Yeah, that feeling fell into the pit of my stomach.  Saying simply that I freaked out doesn't give justice to the utter panic/horror that came over my entire body when I saw people start to get out a new sheet of paper and pencils.

THANK GOD what she actually said was that we were going to get ready to hear another exposé.  It was at that point that I realized that I really am in way over my head in that class.  I have no idea what is going on, I can't access the documents and the professor, so far, hasn't responded to my e-mails.

I hope the rest of the week goes better...

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