random notes on my first week of school

I've already mentioned that a long-time wmtc reader, Lisa N, is in the same program as me. She's also going part-time and we're in one class together.

In addition to this, on the first day - in a combined introductory lecture for all four core courses - I saw someone else I recognized, but couldn't think of where I knew her from. The following day, she showed up in my "tutorial" section - the discussion and debate class that follows the lecture - and we must have both remembered the connection at the same time. During introductions, we turned to each other - she said, "I know you!" - and I said, "War resisters!" She is the partner of one of our war resisters!

In my other tutorial, I identified myself as a "writer, blogger and activist". The professor asked me what activism I was involved with, and after I explained, he said he recognized my name: he's a supporter and has housed a resister! Suddenly I realized why his name was familiar to me: from the Campaign mailing list. After class, I stayed to chat for a minute, and learned he and his wife housed a guy I'm friends with, who is also from New York.

Wow! I'm part of a community! I know people here! Very cool!

(When will I stop saying this? Probably never. I now accept that feeling like an outsider and a loner, and being positively joyous every time I realize I'm not, is part of my psyche. And really, it's not a bad thing, because it brings me so many occasions for joy, in situations that I might otherwise take for granted.)

* * * *

Just as there's a broad range of educational and professional backgrounds and goals among my classmates, there's also a very broad range of ethnic backgrounds, as you would expect to find in Toronto, and a decent age range. Although the majority of the students are either recent university graduates or have been working for only a few years, there's a good representation of older students, too.

But of all my various fears and anxieties about graduate school, age was not one of them. I've always been involved in multi-generational pursuits. In my pro-choice activism, I was once the youngest member of a group, then years later worked alongside women 15, 20 years younger than me. In the war resisters campaign, there's a spectrum from the older generation of Vietnam-era activists to guys just out of high school. I really enjoy that diversity.

* * * *

In this first week, I sorted some logistical issues, like where the accessible entrances are (for my ankle), whether I want to have my laptop with me (lectures yes, tutorials no), where to have lunch, where I can get work done between classes, and other boring but important things like that.

I commuted by car (I have a secret free parking space), but the traffic was hellish. Allan and I only drive into Toronto during non-peak hours. I'm not used to the stress and bother of constant traffic, and I don't want to be. However, if I take the bus or train, that creates a huge barrier to staying in town for war resisters meetings on Wednesdays. So I'll probably settle on some combination of transit (what I used to call "public transportation") and driving. The traffic won't be so brutal if I only do it once a week.

All the faculty and administrators at the iSchool are super friendly and helpful. And during lectures, I see that so far the professors are all coming from a left-progressive point of view. This is not surprising, but it is very welcome.

Also, non-school update: basement renovations begin next week, and I'm seeing my doctor about my ankle on Monday.

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