Monday, June 27, 2011

As Cruel As Schoolchildren

The second day at Columbia is coincidentally the first day of class. For me, I was introduced to American Presidential Powers: at Home and Abroad--a course that none of my floor mates knew existed until I happened to mention it.

The rigor of the class was explained quite elaborate during morning session, and we all had to narrow down our ideas into a final topic by the end of the afternoon session. We have four hours of class total split amongst two sessions.

And, when I say rigor, I imply impossible quotas to meet under normal college circumstances. To do this in three weeks is manageable, yet extremely intense. I can only imagine an addition of three to four more classes, given, the length would also improve considerably. Every time I concisely detail my class expectations to my my floor mates, they tend to feel significantly relieved in not attending the class. Of particular interest (and of great example of the unique rigor associated with Professor Martha Zebrowski's class), this is the only high school program (H.S.P.) course that features a university-level research paper assignment. While we have to write a twenty-page paper on the topic of our own choosing, our cohorts in Constitutional Law are required to submit a 5-7 page court argument (to the best of my knowledge). And, that is quite a gap in assignment difficulty. But, I am not denying rigor. After all, they are the first of our cohorts to have a due homework assignment tomorrow.

Anyway, the class size is about 12, but Dr. Z., as we are suggested to refer to our professor as, expects 2-3 drops and swaps between now and the end of the week. The class is predominantly male: there are three females. Yet, in the Constitutional Law class, it's about even. I'm not exactly sure why females are less attracted to Presidential Powers. I mean, it does have the appealing effect of sounding interesting on paper. And, when you experience the class itself, it is pretty cool. It's interesting, at the least.

In addition to our research paper, our reading list is quite lengthy. There are six books to buy. We will be reading only one of them front-to-back, and we will be selectively analyzing the other 5. Unfortunately for me, they ran out of Eyewitness to Power, by David Gergen, when I was purchasing my books. My other cohorts were satisfied having found their completed reading list. I guess I had a bad case of luck on that one. The next order should be in by Thursday, so I'm alright on that matter, in any case.

The majority of the afternoon session revolved around library tour and instruction, with the larger emphasis on the latter. Columbia's library system, affectionately referred to as C.L.I.O. (I do not know the abbreviation extension, but I would guess Columbia Library Index Online), is incredible. The refining search methods and accessibility to other great educational index's such as Proquest and Jstor provide the student with a seemingly endless amount of material, ensuring our success in the class should we attempt to pursue it necessarily. The library is amazing, especially the outside of it. Butler Library is my favorite building by far. But, one library policy for us H.S.P. students did tingle my nerves: we are not allowed to check books out of the library. Nevertheless, it is ably circumvented if of necessity.

Our class introduction today was really well-done, if you ask me. The level of detail and exact planning put into the class and prepared from the very first day presents a keener interest in the students of universities, as opposed to high schools. Although, as with all things, of course exceptions exist.

Our first day of class was good, but our second day is a definite to be better. I'll be anxiously awaiting round two, for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment