Friday, September 02, 2005

Let the games begin

First day of class was, in short, the first day of class. What would have been two-hour long classes on a normal day were actually about an hour long, given the nature of first-day introductory business. We received syllabi, got general information from the professors, met one another as students in the class, and moved on. We have reading assignments and a week to tackle them in... nothing particularly incredible about any of that.

I did, however, make an unexpected discovery during my first class meeting of Research Methods. As we were taking turns telling the professor what our research interests were, one young man from the clinical division spoke up (rather loudly) about his research history being the sort involving hermeneutics and qualitative, phenomenological work. These were words I hadn't heard spoken by another person since leaving Texas, so I was definitely curious. At long last! Another phenomenological weirdo like me! And to think that I assumed I'd be the only one... but NO! There was at least one other! I was elated, almost giddy. At the end of class, I stopped him on the way out of the door. He went to school at the University of Miami in Ohio, and it turns out that we were sitting next to eachother at graduate student orientation and didn't even realize it. He asked me where I'd gone to school to pick up existential phenomenology, and I told him. "You were at Dallas? Wow!" Yeah, this sort of reaction after telling someone I got my masters from UD was definitely a first.

Apparently, UD is pretty well known in existential phenomenological circles of academia for the work they do. This guy was actually jealous of me. Oh, yeah. I said it. Jealous. He then started pelting me enthusiastically with questions about the program, the people we covered, the texts I'd read... and all of my responses were answered with a sort of "wow" or "oh, man, that's great," etc. Seriously, I never expected anything like this from ANYONE, let alone someone from the Fordham department. We had lunch together, after which he told me I was crazy for not having gone in and spoken to Dr. Wertz yet (he's the head of the department, and a pretty big name in existential phenomenological psychology... I even used some of his work in my thesis), and that I should set up a time with him immediately or I'd be missing out. This mystery find of a guy, whose name was Miraj, had already spoken with Dr. Wertz and had a great time of it, so yes, I have to admit a little jealousy. So there we were, both jealous of each other for something. Then, to make matters even creepier, he lives about a block away from me, and his roommate was almost Jane's roommate... apparently, he was on the verge of closing the deal with Jane, but then I came along and looked like a better fit, so he ended up finding Miraj on the same website where I found Jane, and there you have it. Bizzare. So yeah, Miraj and his roommate (named Scott... for those who know my undergraduate history at all, you know why this is just too ridiculous) both know Jane, because she's gone over to their place for a visit a couple of times, just days before I moved in. Oh, and Scott is also a continental philosophy major, and Miraj chose to live with him for the same reason I chose to live with Jane... so someone would know what the hell we were talking about. Anyway, weird. Cool, mind you, but weird as hell, almost creepy weird.

Later that night, in following with Miraj's advice, I composed an email to Dr. Wertz, introducing myself and explaining where I'd come from and what I'd like to do with that background now that I'm at Fordham. I didn't expect a response very soon, but I hoped for one anyway. Sure enough, it came early the next morning... this morning, in fact. Not only was he very happy to hear from me and welcomed me to come by his office any time, but he also mentioned that he didn't know about me until going to the APA convention over the summer, where he ran into my UD professors. Apparently, they said nice enough things about me, because now Dr. Wertz is really pumped about talking to me about research. I'm just hoping the UD profs didn't build me up too much, because I'd hate to turn out to be a let-down for Dr. Wertz... wouldn't be a good way to start things off, I imagine. Anyway, I'll stop by to chat with him next week, and I'll see him in my Qualitative class on Wednesday, so that's that. I'm definitely nervous about the meeting, but it doesn't matter, because it's happening, no matter how I feel about it.

Speaking of nerve-wracking meetings, I met with the prof I'm TA-ing for at Lincoln Center, Dr. Malcolm. Very nice man... even nicer in person than on the phone. We spoke quite congenially in his office for a good while, and then he gave me a quick tour of the rooms I'd be utilizing, including the lab and the larger classroom next door. I also received a mailbox assignment in the psychology office down the hall, and was given a software package for "Sniffy" the cyber rat, which we'll be using for experiments in the lab. It's nice to have the meeting over and done with, but now I have the teaching to be nervous about, which begins next Friday. Funny how the nervousness never seems to end... you either have to thrive on that sort of thing, or fall flat under the weight of it and let it beat you. As for me, I'll just have to fake it until I get my bearings.

I'm writing new music; that'll calm me down. Besides, it might be nice to do something brand new for the CBGB gig. As if there isn't enough new in my life, let's throw in a new song to perform at a new gig, in front of new friends (so far, at least eight are coming, ranging from philosophy and psychology people to family members nearby) from my new school and my new home. Jeezey Chreezey, do I need a drink. And a backrub. Let's add a backrub to that order.


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