Day 20 (Sept. 23): First grade of the year

Today I only had one class: journalism. Usually I don’t mind that class, but today it just wouldn’t end! I felt like it was actually six hours long instead of three. We covered Ottawa’s mayoral election issues for almost an hour and let me tell you, it is not that interesting here in Ottawa.

I’m sure there are a multitude of reasons to love local politics. It’s the level of government where people have the most say . . . and yet it’s unbelievably dry! It seems like every minute, insignificant detail is blown way out of proportion. Today, one of the major stories in the Ottawa Citizen was whether the Gatineau council should give the okay to rename Amherst St. (Apparently Amherst was a British general from the 18th century who attacked Quebec and killed aboriginals.) But alas, these are probably the types of stories we’ll be covering as brand new journalists.

I suppose the highlight of the class was getting a chance to talk to my prof about my feature idea (the feature is the major project of the semester – a 1200-word piece on any topic we want, so long as it’s significant, interesting and new. No pressure.) I’m thinking of exploring small businesses selling eco-friendly goods and/or services. The question so far is: How practical is the green industry? I have a lot of work to do still, but I think I’ll leave that for Future Veronica to handle.

I also got my first assignment back today. Our prof typed up a sheet of comments for everyone, followed by a letter grade. I flipped to comment sheet. Right at the end where it said “Grade:” I found nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Where was my grade? It turns out my prof forgot to write it down, but he did tell me what he thinks it was. I really hope he got it right, because it’s a pretty decent grade. I don’t want to have my hopes crushed when he checks the actual grade on the computer and realizes I should have gotten a D or something.

The main problem for me (and for most of the class, apparently) was a lack of focus. Our prof likes to call it “kitchen sink” writing. Basically novice journalists like to throw everything into the story and hope something sticks with the audience. He wants us to find a focus and incorporate more people into the story to add some life to it. It sounds great in theory, but in practice, it’s an absolute nightmare. Besides, after doing  all that hard work gathering information, we all want to shove it all in the article and make someone read and appreciate it. Unfortunately, we’re writing news, not boring documentaries to put people to sleep. Well, at least it’s a specific comment that I can actually work on. I hate when profs just give out marks without telling you what you did wrong.

Slight Disappointments:

  • I’ve been trying to get some of my reading out the way, but the list doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter. All my classes seem to have at least three or four different readings to be done for next class! I really think professors forget sometimes that we have other classes.
  • I tried to sell one of my textbooks for Chinese class. Laoshi said it was optional and I kept hoping she’d make us use it some time, but no luck. Only problem was the deadline for refunding textbooks was yesterday. It would have been a lot less frustrating if I hadn’t walked all the way to the bookstore to find that out. They should put that on the receipt in big bold letters! So now I’m stuck with a book I don’t need. I put it up on the unofficial textbook exchange website. Hopefully someone wants to buy it.

Big Hoorah Moments:

  • I cooked! It was definitely a milestone in my university career. Before today, the only cooking I did was the kind that took place in a toaster oven. But today I decided to get fancy. I pulled out my hot plate and . . . made soup! Thank you, Campbells!
  • I went swimming and had a lane all to myself! I don’t know what great event is going on in Ottawa that I wasn’t invited to, but there were only about 10 people at Whitecaps today. Oh well, more pool for me! We did a lot frontcrawl today, and now my legs feel like giant pillars of lead.
  • The new “Big Bang Theory” season starts today! I’m finally all caught up on my shows and I plan to keep up with them (assuming of course that I’m still alive and functioning when schoolwork starts to pile up. Believe it or not, September is supposed to be “easing” us back into the school routine. Easing my foot.)

Strange Observation:

  • The door next to our apartment leads to a really small storage room. For some reason, I hear someone playing guitar every night at 12:30. The only rational explanation is that it’s the guys who live on the other side of the storage room, but you’d think an extra wall would have drowned them out. Now they’ve added shrill singing girls. Lucky me.

I can’t believe it’s almost the weekend again! Where does my life go? Before you know it, September’s going to be over, I’ll be home for Thanksgiving, and then I’ll implode from all the midterms and big projects that every prof conveniently decides to schedule on the same week of November. Whoever said university is supposed to be the best years of your life, I’d like to see.

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