Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Day in Paradise?

So classes started yesterday.. yes, I know, on a Sunday! This Sunday-Thursday work week is going to take some getting used to. But today was our second day of classes and everything is going about as well as can be expected. I like all of my teachers and the other students seem really nice as well. I started in Steel Design. I felt slightly intimidated because the teacher kept commenting on how many good students were in the class, so I know I'm going to have to work extra hard. The professor is also the advisor for their ASCE chapter, which I think they are going to make me an officer for; pretty cool. He told another student he is really excited for me to be here, but I haven't actually introduced myself yet.

After steel design, I had coffee with my new friend Dana. She is also a civil engineer and is very nice. Some of her friends stopped by, so I met them as well. She gave me a lot of tips and advice for teachers and classes that I hope will come in handy. Then came Thermo.. round 2. The guy seemed nice and all, but I can tell he has some power issues. He spent the first 5 minutes basically asking us to drop the class, and I can understand, because he normally has maybe 30 students in it, but this semester has around 60. Then later in the class he spent a bit of time talking about how stupid Americans are for using the English system rather than SI. Personally, for a lot of things, I much prefer the english system, but he is right, SI is just easier when it comes to engineering; I just don't think he knew I was in there just yet.

To finish off my classes, I had aerospace engineering. This class, I can already tell, is going to be fantastic! There were only 5 people that day, but I'm sure there will be more later. We even get to build hang gliders! And have an expert fly them with us! How cool is that?! I can just see it being such an awesome class, especially because it's only a minor course so it's not taken as heavily as a major course. We will see, though.

Today was completely different. I only had one class today at 2 (that quickly changed). Today was a "takin care of business" day. After much fighting with the ID people, I finally got my ID. After more fighting with the bookstore, I finally got my books. After many pleasant conversations with many computer nerds (and mac lovers!) I finally got my computer to connect to the wifi. I also got a mailbox.

The ID people.. it took me 4 trips and waiting in loooooong lines there to get it... not cool. The first time, I didn't have a passport size photo.. shame on me. The second time, they said my blood type wasn't in the computer, so to go back to the health clinic. The IXO director called them instead and they said it already was in the system. Third time, they took my info and told me to come back the next day. Fourth time (today), waited and waited behind this group of guys with something wrong with their accounts. Finally I looked at the pile of IDs and said "see that ID card on the top? It's mine. Can I just have it?" She handed it to me and I left.

The bookstore. I went this morning to get my textbooks. When I went to checkout (with my new ID card) they told me I was an inactive student and to go see the cashier. I was frustrated. I was clearly an active student because everything said I was. It turned out to be just a misunderstanding because I am an exchange student. So I got my books. 5 text books and 3 smaller books for under $450! All brand new! People kept asking me why I was so excited. Books in the US must just be ridiculously overpriced compared to the rest of the world.

My computer is your typical "my computer won't connect to the wifi" story. Apparently Marshall's certificate was messing with the AUS one and it wouldn't connect. But it took me all the way to the architecture IT people to get it to work. They are good with macs there because it's the only department that actually recommends it (being an engineer with a mac isn't very practical, that's why I also have a Dell desktop). So they got it to work and now I'm a happy camper. The architecture building is incredibly nice. There are so many computer labs full of macs and giant printers and such. We were overwhelmed when we got one plotter in the engineering department (their engr dept only has a few)! AUS also gives their students free software! At least the stuff used in their classes. As long as you can prove you are in the class and are going to use it in the class, they'll give it to you... free!

I had my first meeting with the music professor and piano player. They are both really nice and I'm excited to see how this semester turns out. I believe we'll have one recital open to the public but I'm not sure when that will be. We didn't play today, although I was hoping we would.

And that's where I am now. Content with a days full of getting stuff done. Here is my mailing address, in case you want to send me anything ;-)

Kristen Bobuk
American University of Sharjah
P.O. Box 26666
Box 239
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

And this is my shout out to Anna Ray! I sure hope you read this!!

The end :-)
For now!

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