Wait, what’s week ten?

By Hayley Stauss

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We should be studying for finals, turning in papers and projects, preparing for presentations, and making plans for break. Instead, we’re crossing that ever so dreaded ten-week mark, with five more to go. Though I won’t be breaking out my presentation blazer and high heels anytime soon, the pressure of “week ten” seems to still be there, just in a smaller quantity.

Some professors gave tests last week, some will be this week, and for other classes, projects are due. Though there are still five weeks left, there is that awkward feeling of “well this would be finals week and I’m not totally sure what’s going to happen for the rest of the semester.”

As a transfer student, I have done semesters before. Though it never felt to me things were dragging on then, there is definitely a student buzz on campus surrounding the fact that we would practically be done with this round of classes already.

Not all of us have adjusted to the semester switch, I even had a business professor last week say “So I’m still in quarter mode, and your proposals won’t be due until next week, I don’t know what I was thinking.” Phew.

It’s definitely been a different kind of pressure during the semesters, maybe the biggest difference being that I haven’t even registered for my spring classes yet! Though it won’t be happening for a couple more weeks, I’m still trying to compile the perfect senior semester schedule.

I do feel like, in most of my classes, we are able to take more time on the denser topics, and learn a little bit more. There seems to be more time to review those items that aren’t totally clear, benefiting us in the long run.

With lengthier projects still lingering overhead, tests still to come and a senior schedule to make, I think I still might be reserving my week ten seat at Midnight Oil. Hopefully the “midnight nights” won’t be making an appearance any time soon.

Here’s to all of us, trying-to-adjust-to-new-semester-students, only five more weeks! Freshman, you don’t know how good you have it!

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Getting accustomed to semesters

At RIT we have passed the half-way point of our first semester, having made the transition from a quarter calendar this year.  I’ve been conducting an unscientific poll, which is to say asking around, about how the change is going.  The response has been mixed.

Students seem a bit overwhelmed right now, but that may be a result of going through mid-terms.  Those I’ve talked to feel that taking five classes instead of four tips the workload into critical mass.  They also point out that some faculty are struggling with the change, as well, which adds to the anxiety and occasional confusion.  That “Tuesday is Monday” in early October didn’t help.

My colleagues generally seem happy about the slower pace and shorter classes in the semester calendar.  Also attractive is the opportunity to space out long projects—a difficult undertaking in a 10-week quarter.  What’s especially nice is that now we aren’t in what seemed like a perpetual state of registration: two weeks into fall quarter we were preparing for winter.

But lecturers I spoke with recently tell a different story.  With four classes and perhaps over 100 students, they are feeling understandably overloaded.

Clearly, all of this will take some getting used to.  Students will have to juggle more subjects and be more attentive to long-term deadlines; faculty will have to space out the work and adjust to briefer classes—I’m teaching a 50-minute class for the first time in over 20 years.

However, it’s not as if we’re trying something new.  I suspect that before long we’ll only wonder why it took us so long to make the change.