Wednesday, July 2, 2014

And Now We Wait

Today I awoke much more promptly than usual due to test anxiety, and deciding against walking all the way up to RPCC for breakfast, I went down to the lecture hall a full hour early to cram and bought breakfast in the tiny building cafe. Eventually other students trickled in, and by nine Professor Kramnick was explaining how the prelim would go. We'd have one hour to answer one of the three essay questions and five of the eight quote questions, which involved explaining in short-answer form which philosopher had created each quote or concept, and what significance it held. After announcing the rules, Professor Kramnick left Kevin, the TA who belongs to the other discussion group, in charge and left the room. 

Although Kevin was supposed to write the time on the blackboard every ten minutes so that those of us without watches could pace ourselves, he evidently forgot to do so until someone asked him to put it up. By then, twenty-five minutes had gone by and my essay was too slowly paced. When we'd been writing forty minutes I reluctantly left it without a conclusion paragraph and moved on to the short answer questions. I'm confident that at least four of my answers were correct if not well-explained, but on the last one I think I may have misidentified a quote. 

When time was up I handed in my test booklet and went out to take the short break before Professor Kramnick's lecture. Many of my classmates seemed confident about their performance. 

At ten thirty we all flooded back into the lecture hall, this time to hear all about the first notions of equality, specifically feminism, in philosophy. Professor Kramnick argued that men were considered equals if they were rational and independent, and so women were not considered equals because of their forced dependence and the idea that they were not fundamentally rational creatures. 

After the lecture we went to lunch, where I picked at soggy spring rolls and dry brown rice while carrying on an interesting conversation with my cohort and a few classmates about the political presence of the LGBTQ community. It's really cool to talk about important issues with smart people at lunch, but I find that it can make for a long and exhausting intellectual day. 

After lunch we came to writing workshop, where we received our essay rough drafts with comments and went through an quiz exercise on plagiarism from a Cornell website. One example featured a passage from Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, and Vijay brought up the fact that Mary Shelly was the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote some of the feminist material we'll soon be analyzing. I remember talking excitedly about that very connection at three in the morning on the day we left for SFO. On the plagiarism quiz the majority selected the correct answer every single time, except on one where we'd been accidentally mislead by Vijay. 

Today the F&J cohort was scheduled to meet with the Associate Director of Summer College at four, so after writing workshop Vijay pointed me in the direction of that building and I walked over to make sure we could find it later. After returning to North Balch and trying to cool off for half an hour, I met Carla and we walked down for our appointment. There was a bit of trouble finding her office, which was two floors underground, but we were still early. Soon we were joined by Sue and Kevin, and Janna, the Associate Director, led us to a lovely air-conditioned conference room to chat about our experience at Summer College so far. She seemed anxious to hear even our most insignificant complaints, but we of course had mostly great things to tell her. We talked for perhaps an hour. I was grateful that she asked for our input. 

On my way home I realized that I had a while before dinner and was very hungry, having eaten only a donut and two spring rolls all day. So before I returned to North Balch I hiked up to Bear Necessities for a bag of pomegranate-chocolate snacks. 

There are cherries and chocolate in the ice
cream not pictured here. Are you jealous yet?
At about six-thirty I met Sue and Jun by accident and walked up to RPCC with them for dinner, which tonight was (surprise!) a bean salad and a bite of pasta with Alfredo sauce. On the way out the door, Jun and I scooped cones of chocolate-cherry ice cream, which were delicious. 

Back at North Balch I showered and joined June in a lounge to study and blog. Only the ground-level lounge is air-conditioned, but we found that one too crowded so we came upstairs to a smaller one. The little fan plugged into my laptop is working hard. Tonight I have a few short readings from the feminist authors, but I hope to be in bed by eleven-thirty. 

Tomorrow we have a usual Thursday, plus an extra lecture afterward to compensate for the lost day on Friday. I believe that tomorrow may be the day I eat lunch with Professor Kramnick as well. It'll be a long day, but not a stressful one. On Friday, it's off to Niagara Falls!

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