Happy Valentines Day!I just arrived back in my room, drenched in sweat, and slightly frustrated. But then it dawned on me – I have officially made it through my first “week” of classes since all of my classes scheduled for tomorrow have been cancelled. It has been an overwhelming week filled of flustered attempts to arrive in the right place at the right time, and finding frustration after the seemingly simple directions only further confuse you. Everything here is seemingly simple.
As I wrote earlier this week, my first day of classes was spent running around campus frantically seeking help from strangers since this is such a huge campus and most class venues are not labeled. My second day was just as exhilarating but I found myself feeling accomplished and strong as I walked more confidently around campus now knowing where my classes would meet. I enjoyed the lectures but found myself feeling very foreign as I experienced the academic setting of UKZN. Most lectures are only 45 minutes long (or short, I guess!) which makes for a quick intellectual engagement with the subject material. The Professors often use a powerpoint or slides to reference what they are lecturing.. yet there is often little coordination as students wait to take notes until the next slide pops up. I have also found that even when a professor asks for student participation, there rarely is any.. Hoping I haven’t alienated myself by beginning to raise my hand! The other Canadians and Americans have been settling into their respective classes as well. However, Bisola, Tahmina and I are now faced with one of our classes actually being cancelled and now having to find a new one that fits our schedule and meets the expectations of our home universities. I’m debating between a Culture and History class that deals specifically with the history of KwaZulu Natal (the province of South Africa that I am in) or an Honors level Anthropology class on Local Knowledge and Sustainable Development. Hmm.. Decisions, decisions.. Of course, having to add a new course means more running around campus to collect signatures..Luckily I have tomorrow off so I can do it then.
All in all, everything is good here. Things may be deceiving in terms of accountability but I’m learning to just float. This is not a place where you can attempt to change what has been set in stone.. and it is not my place to do so! So I’m doing away from the frustration and accepting that things here are just seemingly simple… not actually simple! Having pizza with the girls tonight and then a Skype meeting with HWS at 11:00pm my time. Hope everyone is having a happy valentines day and celebrating those you have come to love and hold dear in your hearts.