Monday, June 21, 2010

UChicago for Dummies

This summer, my horizon-broadening method of choice is studying intensive Arabic at the University of Chicago for six weeks. Classes start today and end on June 30 (for me). I’m staying in a dorm with 244 other high school students from around the country (and the world) who are also taking various college courses.

First day of classes! Beginning at 8:30 A.M! The weather is muggy and cloudy.

I was nervous so I only ate a spoonful of yogurt and a couple bites of apple for breakfast. Neither bookstore had the textbook I need, so that sucked.

The professor is cool, though – he’s from Iraq and he told us that if we don’t participate the class will be really boring (and we’ll fail the class because participation and attendance is 25% of our grade).

I was actually really surprised at how much we covered on the first day. We went through the first seven letters of the Alif-Baa and learned how to say “hello” two different ways, “My name is Samara,” “What’s your name?” “Welcome” “I’m sorry” and “thank you.”

Actually, we only learned “I’m sorry” because of me. We were introducing ourselves to the person next to us and I was concentrating so much on saying the right thing that I didn’t look up from my paper at all. I started to turn to the next person and ask them their name and the professor was like, “Samara, you didn’t even look at him.”

So I asked him how to say “I’m sorry” and now we’re all good. I think.

In any case, we don’t need our textbook until Thursday. I ordered it on Amazon.

I’m sitting in the lounge on the first floor with kids from New York City; Memphis, TN and Istanbul, Turkey. Two kids are doing their CompSci homework and dishing about this guy in their class who is hella annoying and really stupid to boot. And he’s an actual University of Chicago undergrad student.

The others are discussing how Stephen Hawking communicates and speculating about his sex life. But in all fairness, three of them are trying to get the fourth guy to stop talking about it.

Direct quote: “Do you ever get sad thinking about how many things you will never be able to understand?”

“No, I get sad because other people are stupid.”

The two kids who are going to be here for 10 weeks are also buying a minifridge from some random guy named Young Choi or something. Our RA said she’d go pick it up from him and bring it back to the dorm.

She’s cool.

Anyhow, signing off now. Tonight we can go to the top of Sears Tower or go see some hipster band in Millenium Park. Our RA group is planning to go to Europe instead. Ciao!