Last semester, my first week of class was all about class syllabi and expectations. Here's what we're doing, here's how we're doing it, this is what you'll need, this is when it'll be due. I remember being a bit overwhelmed with the brand new experience. I also remember stumbling initially and fearing I'd be unable to do any of it. Yet, I overcame. I succeeded. I'm trying to keep that in mind.
This semester started completely differently. Yes, there were syllabi. Yes, there was the presentations of expectations, supplies, and due dates. What changed is in all my classes, we jumped right into the material on the first day. In a couple cases, that was what made it overwhelming.
Class started as usual with syllabus and expectations. Dr. S told us we'd need the textbook package available at the bookstore. I had picked mine up last week, before the lines became ridiculous. The package contained lecture notes, a lab manual, a body atlas, a computer code for online access, a body systems DVD, a lecture DVD, and of course, the textbook, which is huge. Huge! At seven pounds (yes, I weighed it), it reminds me of an oddly-shaped bowling ball.
As class went on, I quickly recognized that this class (and the co-requisite lab) would be taking over my life. Dr. S made it clear that this course would not be like high school anatomy. Rote memorization will not get us through. Learning and repeating the information from the book word-for-word will not work. We're expected to recognize and understand the material. Test questions won't come directly from the book. When completing our homework, we won't find answers word-for-word in the textbook. Understanding. Comprehending. It's actually a whole new way of learning.
Consider this the first class of your program would be a phrase I would hear repeatedly over the next couple of days.
|My A&P textbook package from the bookstore|
This became evident when Dr. S jumped right into the first chapter of material. She didn't fill in all the blanks from the lecture notes; we're expected to do that on our own. If it's in the lecture notes, we're expected to know it. If it's not in the lecture notes, we won't see it on a test. The department has posted study aids including flash cards and games, and it's strongly suggested we form study groups. ::gulp::
The lab coordinator showed us the models that were available to us, talked to us about Open Lab, and then told us that when she went through her program, she treated school like a job. She got up, got her kids off to school, then went to "work" and stayed there until it was time to meet her children's bus after school. While she was at "work," if she wasn't in class, she was in Open Lab or otherwise studying. Once she went home, though, work was done. I can definitely see the logic there, and I already anticipate spending a lot of time in Open Lab. Gotta learn those bones! And organ systems! And cell parts! Gotta learn it all!
After orientation in Lab, we sat at our lab tables and filled in the first chapter of our lab manual. Since the information coincided with the material from class that I had already prepared and been studying earnestly (like a good little girl!), I completed that without issue. I also managed to find a study group, get my first homework finished, and schedule group study time.
This weekend, I'll be reading for English; studying anatomical terms, organ systems, directional terms; and preparing for Monday's A&P chemistry lecture. Overwhelmed by the amount of material, terrified by the amount of work, and excited subject matter. And ready to go back on Monday.