Tuesday, August 26, 2008

first day of classes!

Wow. It feels kind of weird to be getting up early and going to class again. It's almost as if summer never happened -- time flew by wayyy too fast this year.

I mentioned before that I'm going to be in the McIntire School of Commerce, today was my first day in what essentially was college all over again. I feel very privileged to be using the new building, the facilities are beyond amazing. Yesterday was an all day orientation in which we were introduced to our blocks, faculty, and technology. For those of you unfamiliar with our comm school and wish to know more, read ahead. If not skip my next paragraph.

The comm school is a two year program in which students begin in their third year, so you apply for admission the spring of your second year. The entering class of around 300 students are divided into eight blocks, with around 40 students a block. Each block has their own set of professors and fourth year mentors, and you spend all school year with the block and the professors. The third year experience is called ICE - integrated core experience. All the different areas that professors teach are interrelated, so they all flow into each other. There is a lot of emphasis on teamwork and groupwork. Each block is also sponsored by a corporate partner, and students will work on some projects and presentations for their corporation.

My block is sponsored by Rolls Royce, so during orientation we received an annual report to read and discuss. Right then I could tell that the style of learning would be different in the comm school. For me, it's rather similar to high school. Although there's 40 people in a class, the professors focus very heavily on student interaction. People raise their hands to answer a question or bounce off ideas off each other -- rather different from the lecture style teaching method for larger classes. I had to take a moment and recollect my high school self as it was very tempting to sit back and just scribble notes.

Other highlights of these two days was the technology orientation. The comm school... is awash in resources. For our stock market lab, each station has dual computer screens. There's a stock ticker running around the ceiling of the lab and a board on one wall with real time stock changes. There's LCD screens in the four corners of the room so you can see what the professor is doing based on your orientation, and there is a huge projection screen up front. Students have almost an entirely separate web system compared to the College of Arts and Sciences (where we all applied from). We have our own email servers, shared servers, and everything I've already forgotten.. it's quite amazing really.

Along with the high school theme is homework everyday! Hahaha. Because comm school classes meet everyday for three hours a day, there's quite a lot of reading to do. With that said, I'm going to do some of my reading.