Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer classes blow.

There, I said it.

I am currently taking Environmental Health and Health Systems Management, two classes required for my masters degree. Since these are summer classes, they are highly condensed. This means I have environmental health classes from 11 to 1:30 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, for the month of June. Health systems management is spread out over two months, so I only have that class Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 to 4:30. The condensed nature of these classes is not in and of itself, that bad. I have no problem going to class every day and being expected to learn quickly. The problem I am having with these classes is that they are alternately boring or infuriating.

Environmental health as a topic is cool, and the professor is adorable, but the pace of the class is killer. The professor has a tendency to tell stories in the middle of his lectures, so we never really finish the material we were supposed to get through for each class. Also, a whole bunch of people in the class want to ask every environmental health question that ever occurred to them, slowing the pace of learning even further. (Not that I am saying questions are bad, but these seem to be questions that are not quite on topic, or questions that are trying to provoke an in depth discussion.)

On the other hand health systems management is always interesting. This professor wants us to enter into discussion, but the other students seem to think that discussion is stating their opinion and not listening to anyone else's. Last class I thought we might come to blows over the topic of universal health care. Not that I am blameless in instigating violent discussion, whenever someone says something factually incorrect, or illogical, I have trouble not setting them straight. However since nobody actually wants a discussion, my attempts to clarify or dig deeper only get me dirty looks from my peers.

To solve both these problems, I have begun my "inch a day" program. One of my close college friends is pregnant and is due in July. This is my first friend who is expecting, and I have decided to knit a baby blanket for the University of Chicago futurebaby (not to be confused with the actual futurebaby.). Since the baby is due soon, to finish the blanket I would need to knit an inch a day. Luckily I have plenty of free time during my classes, so I am doing pretty well so far. The blanket needs to be 32 by 32 inches, and I so far have 32 by 7 inches. I had a temporary slow down because of a tangle in my yarn, but until that happened, I was nearly managing the required inch a day. I am hoping that by knitting I can keep myself from going insane with boredom and prevent myself from inciting riots.

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