Monday, June 29, 2009

Life in the Slow Lane

"Keep right except to pass." How many times have I seen that sign as I zoomed down the freeway in the left lane? Plenty. Now, however, I am in the right lane, the slow lane. And it feels great! Life in the fast lane is exhilarating - for a while. But it gets old.

Now I am enjoying a slower pace of life - but only because it's summer. I know once fall semester starts up, I'll have to jump back into hyperspace. But this fall semester is going to be different because I will be on campus during the day - all day. I haven't done that in quite some time.

I have been keeping busy by researching my senior thesis, hanging out with friends, and training a new puppy. Yes. We got a new puppy from the animal shelter over the weekend. His name is Riley and he's a Houndatian - hound/Dalmatian. He should get his spots sometime in the next six months. Jack (my other dog) is already teaching him some bad habits. (Sigh)

I can look out my office windows and see the library, the Joe Johnson Pedestrian Mall and the Humanities buildings. I'm within walking distance of the gym and The Strip (the main drag through campus with all the restaurants). Even though it is summer here at UT, there is still quite a bit of activity - summer school, freshman orientation, Governor's School, and cheerleading and sports camps. I never realized a college campus could be such a hub of activity. Which leads me to my next observation.

Are you a new on-campus nontrad? Have you registered for the fall semester yet? Has a heard of butterflies camped out in your stomach? Now is the time to familiarize yourself with your campus - when there are fewer people around. If you're already registered, or have not registered but know what classes you want to take, make a list of your (potential) classes. The list should include the building and room number of the class (should be available on the class or course listing).

Now, take your list and a map of campus and find out where your classes are going to be. Go on a "photographic scavenger hunt". Take a picture of each building and (if the building is open), each classroom that you will have a class in. Take a picture of the bookstore and the Student Center. This will familiarize you with where you need to go that first day of class. New students are nervous enough without having to worry about where their classes are and where the nearest bathroom is! Taking the time to familiarize yourself with your surroundings (if you haven't already), will be a great advantage to you. Have you visited your advisor? Chances are, he/she is out for the summer. But you can still find out where his/her office is.

Use summer to your advantage - to familiarize yourself with campus, to get supplies together, to save up for books (groan - that's a whole different subject!) and to scout out who has the best food and free wi fi for those non-library study sessions. I am all about making life easier when possible. Familiarization with your surroundings definitely makes life easier!

As I cruise along in the slow lane, I am thinking of things to share with other nontrads, making a list of questions for my advisor (who will also be mentoring my senior thesis), and enjoying a less stressful pace of life - for the time being. All is well. Stay tuned . . .

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