September 3, 2008


I'm pretty well settled in the new apartment now. My roommate (whose name is Katie, which may confuse some readers) is pretty great. This is, of course, a major plus. The apartment's really nice. I've met a few of the people in our section of the building. They're all pretty nice. And fairly quiet.

The people I've met so far are generally pleasant, albeit fairly normal and not very funny. These people were met at one of the following places: the one church I've visited, TA training, events for my PhD program. On said program: starting with me are 11 other people. 2 (maybe 3, there's one person I haven't met yet) of these 11 are male. One appears to be a tool. We'll see how accurate 1st impressions are.

On the science front, my advisor just came back to the country, so I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing to start out. Probably just learning new techniques. I'm teaching neurophysiology lab starting week after next, since Monday's Labor Day and having one section behind the others on the first week would be bad. I'm sure this will yield some lovely tales.TA training had made me terrified of people coming to my office an crying. But I think I'll be OK because an engineering doctoral candidate explained how to deal with this: "I just kinda...handed them a box of Kleenex...and them out of my office and told them to come back later." Inspirational. Since TA is in the college of chemical and life sciences, I'm required to take a course for half the semester on teaching biology. It's taught my 3 profs who have probably 80 or 100 years at UMD among them. And they are insane (in a good way). I have a feeling that this will be a good source of ridiculous stories. Also, "experienced" TAs did skits during training.

List of things that are different in MD/DC:
-Street "grid," wait, I didn't know that 3 roads could intersect
- BBQ sauce selection, or lack thereof. One word: Gross.
-Girl gangs: There's a listserve for our neighborhood. Apparently, some guy sent an email across the list warning of a group of middle school girls who accosted him and then chased him. It appears that he was actually scared.

I guess that's all right now. After classes actually start, I can actually say something interesting.

In case you wonder how I'm doing:
It's kind of hard right now. I go back and forth between being really happy I'm here (mostly when I'm on campus) and really wanting to go back to Norman (mostly when I think about you all). But I'm here for the next 5+ years. I think I'll feel better when I starting making friends and find a church.