Thursday, September 27, 2012

Life as a Senior (in college)

As of the beginning of this semester, I am a senior at BYU. A senior! It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I guess that's because I'll end up being a super senior: I won't be graduating until this time next year, thus making me a senior+1 extra semester. But I'm okay with that. I have no idea what I'll be doing after graduation. In a perfect world, I'll find full-time work and support Ryan through the rest of his college years. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'm taking 5.5 classes. That .5 class is the credit I'll be receiving for the work I'll be doing on the capstone this year: I was asked to be the editor for this capstone:

I'm really stoked, but it will also be making my life a little crazier than it already is. Just how crazy is it? Well, let me describe the other 5 classes I'm taking!

Philosophy 110-Intro to Philosophy
This is one of my last general education classes. I wish it were my last, to be quite frank, but after this and the other genEd class I'm taking, I'll have two left. BLAH! This one had me very nervous at first because I had no idea what it was going to bring and I never thought I was that good at philosophy. Turns out that the material is really fun to read, but the classes are a little roundabout when it comes to discussing said material. The homework is frequent, but predictable: each Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday there is a reading/questions due. Because it's predictable, I can schedule out when I do these assignments ahead of time and stay on top of it. As of right now, in fact, I have all my Philosophy homework due until next Thursday. There are a couple of midterms and a final and a few medium-sized projects, but other than that, it's pretty standard and a lot of busy work.

Theatre & Media Arts (TMA) 291-History of Film, Part 1
This is one of the required basic classes that I have to take for my major. It's all about film from its genesis around 1895 to just after WWII, I believe. Currently, we're still in the silent film era so all the films we watch are 90ish minutes of fast-walking people, sleep-inducing music (because it's soothing, not because it's boring) over rough edits. Some of my favorites so far have been "Nosferatu", "The Last Laugh", and "Strike!", all for varying reasons. I'm excited to start watching "talkies" around mid-October. This class also has predictable homework: each Tuesday there is a write-up due for the reading that week. The write-up isn't supposed to be longer than 1 page, so it's not difficult. There is a midterm and a final, but I've heard it isn't as scary as it could be. There's also a research paper that you do with another person, but again, I'm not too concerned.

English 312-Persuasive Writing
Here is where things get a little messy. This class is all about writing a rather large research paper (12-15 pages, not including bibliography) and guides you through how to analyze writing on a methodological level instead of a content-driven way. Right now, we're learning how to synthesize ideas and eventually we'll use that technique to synthesize ideas to help develop and support our own, original idea. Though there aren't too many assignments in the class, I'll be writing the research paper while I'm writing two other research papers, editing a capstone, and editing my own 10-minute documentary. So these projects are piling up around the same time. This one I will have the most fun with since I get to choose the topic more freely than the others, though I'll probably end up writing about film anyways since that's what I know best. I'm a big fan of the instructor for this class: he makes references to Harry Potter and "Psych" and looks like a mormon version of Jason Schwartzman.

TMA 295-History of the Moving Image
This class was supposed to be easy. I didn't know quite what I was getting myself into until 4 weeks into the semester when an official syllabus was finally given to us. This class is also required for me to take in the Media Arts major, but had I known the work load, I would've waited to take this until a more lenient semester. There are 2+ page write-up journals due every Monday and Wednesday on readings that are around 20-pages a piece, and we have to read a 200+ page book about the modern Promethean myth and give a 15-minute presentation to the class as well as write a 12-15 page research paper on roughly the same topic. Sure, we'll be watching some fun films like "I, Robot" and "Ironman", but this class is the one stressing me out the most because of the unexpected workload. The professor, Sharon, is awesome despite all of it. This week she accidentally brought pictures of her colonoscopy instead of the class roll.

TMA 274-Non-Fiction Production 1
I actually have no idea what this class is called. I just know it's the biggest documentary production class they offer besides doing a doc capstone. I LOVE this class. Sure, it's a 4-hour long class every Tuesday night, but the professor, Ben, is very captivating. He knows his stuff, like the difference between 8-bit and 10-bit and what that even means, why certain formats are better than others, etc. He goes off on random tangents about unrelated things and he has an opinion on everything. I definitely wish he could teach every class I take from now on because I know I'll be interested in the content. In this class, we are divided into groups and we come up with, develop, and execute a doc idea during the span of the semester. Right now, we're still in pre-production, trying to get our idea off the ground and making sure our "story" is solid. I say "story" because in doc you can have a perfectly planned out storyline but it can all go down the drain based on how reality works. People aren't that predictable, but in documentary, we LIVE for those moments of unpredictability. Documentaries survive on crises. Anyways, there are a few assignments here and there prepping us for the BIG assignment AKA filming. In the end, we'll have a polished product that can be submitted to festivals (hopefully).

So. That's what I have to look forward to this semester. There are LOTS of little assignments due each week, and so I spend my days planning ahead and making sure I stay on top of it. This schedule, on top of work 8-noon each morning, has me at school until 7pm Monday-Wednesday. Those days I just stay as focused as possible and pray that Thursday comes swiftly, which it does. Thursdays and Fridays are the days I try and get as MUCH homework due the next week done so that I don't have to do as much on Mondays-Wednesdays since I have very little time to do homework those evenings. I try and keep my bedtime consistent (10pm) and I wake up each morning at 5:25am to have Jillian Michaels kick my butt. My schedule is tight, organized, and ruthless. But I find myself thankful each day for everything I have and the opportunities I'm given.

Tonight, I got my homework done early for today and I've awarded myself an evening of free-time. I don't get this very often, but when I do I try and make the best of it. So here I am, blogging. I think now I'm going to watch a documentary for fun! What a novel idea!

P.S. If you want to donate money to the capstone, click on the green "Mirror Portrait" link in the video when it's buffering. That will take you to the kickstarter page where monies can be given. Thanks!

1 comment:

Jeanne, the mom and grandmom said...

wow - that is a tough semester. But, so far, you seem to be handling it.

Should I donate?