So now it's really begun. I'm trying not to freak out.
First things first. I've been here for a whole week now (well, including the weekend away). It feels like much longer, partly because being "home" is so lonely. It makes me sad to be so quiet in the evenings. Television is only so interesting. Not having a computer is really tough right now; for school there's all this homework and downloading we're supposed to be able to do. My boxes are in New York but I'm not at home to get the delivery. I suppose it will have to wait til Friday or Saturday.
Monday afternoon the welcoming event was at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. Pretty impressive. There are two thousand Fellows this year, chosen from over 17,000 applicants! (This is the time when you say to yourself, 'boy, that Julie, she must be pretty good!' Heh.) There were a series of speakers, including past Fellows and their students, and some performances too. It was a nice event. After that we met in our small advisory groups. I really like my advisor, she's really no-nonsense but has a great sense of humor too. My group is mostly people older than me (not by too much, but altogether varies pretty widely; most of them are what I'd call real grown-ups) who come from completely different backgrounds--a lot from law and finance. They are all interesting and friendly. Whew!
Yesterday was an orientation-type day at Queens College, where I was assigned. Those of you in AmeriCorps know what it was like--a lot of boring talk about important things that still somehow didn't satisfy the need for real details. Paperwork. Lots of new faces, staff from the Fellows program and staff from Queens College. I'm not really sure exactly who belongs to what institution, but I'm trying to be patient. Not sure if it's working. I find myself getting frustrated when I don't get enough information. That seems to be all the freaking time lately.
Today was the first real day. We bought our textbooks for the two courses we're taking this summer. For the next two weeks, I have a literacy class all morning, an hour for lunch, a child development class all afternoon, a half-hour break, then the Advisor session for an hour and a half. Nine to six. The commute is just over an hour from my apartment in Williamsburg (which I am now saying with a New York accent)--two trains and a bus. There is a ton of reading. There are a few papers and projects scattered pretty well. Mostly it's reading. I really like the literacy class so far, it's very hands-on and fun, and interesting. This morning we sat and the teacher read us a story. Later we paired up and read stories to partners. I love it, and am excited to get more familiar with children's books. The child-development class is just like a traditional college course--lecture and note-taking off power point-type overheads. Boring! But the teacher does try to have us participate.
So anyway, back to the freaking out. There's no time for anything! Commuting, going to class all day long, going home, not having any real food in the house and no time to go buy any, who knows how I'll find time to get everything done. I'm still too intimidated by my neighborhood to walk at night, so I hope to get home by 9 each night. I'm going to be so boring this summer. And so tired. It's hard not to sleep with all my blankets and stuffed animals! It sounds juvenile, but it's true. At least the weather has calmed some, it's not sticky and disgusting like it was last week. It's still warm and a little humid, but much more 'acceptable' than last week.
And now I better get to work. There is a paper due in the morning, one to two pages reflecting on how I learned to read, write and talk. I hardly remember anything, and I only talked briefly to the parents, who don't have too many details either. I hope I can do okay on it. I think at this point I just want to get through it. I should be able to get some reading done on the long-ass ride home. I don't know what I'll do for dinner. Money is going ridiculously fast, even worse than I anticipated, I can't believe it.
Must get to work.