The second day of classes started out with a bang. Well, more a continuous and supremely obnoxious buzzing. Let's hear it for 7:30 am fire drills!
I was planning to audit "Climate Change: Physical Science Basis" this morning at 9 am. I didn't sleep at all well, though, and I hadn't heard back from the instructor on whether or not my auditing would be welcome. So I was somewhat skeptical about going.
I decided the fire alarm was the world telling me to get up and go.
So I did.
And it was quite wonderful. The convener of the course is really good. A lot of my friends from the social science courses in the development school are also auditing the course, so I wasn't all by myself. The course is actually in the School of Environmental Studies, which is one of the UK's premiere environmental studies centers. It's also a co-taught course with both grad and undergrad students in the same lectures, so it's really quite a great mix of folks in the room.
The instructor began class by giving us a list of statements made about climate change and asking us to tell him what was wrong with the statements. A climate change apologist these folks are not! This is not to say they don't believe in climate change. I think virtually all of them believe very firmly that emissions, etc. are affecting our globe. But they are really good about qualifying that with other factors influencing the world, an awareness of how little we can really say for sure in regards to climate fluctuations of the past, etc. Through the course, I'll be hearing from some of the world's leading researchers in the science behind climate change and/or variations...it'll definitely be a good background to have.
Lunchtime errands including signing up for a young person's railcard (1/3 off train tickets throughout the UK!) and registering with the Youth Hostel Association (cheap lodging all around the place!).
This afternoon's course was Research Techniques and Analysis. I am taking this course mostly to learn some statistical software, and I'm a bit nervous about some of the qualitative stuff being a bit basic for me. Our convener asked us to do an "experience conga" at the beginning of the session. We lined up from least to most experienced. Either folks are being incredibly modest, or they really come from institutions without much of an undergraduate research culture...I somehow was at the far end of the line.
However, at least one of the instructors is fantastic enough for it not to matter. An Italian economist who cites Bacon's "Essays" in the middle of a lecture on critical reading just can't be that miserable to listen to! :)
The only sad news of the day: The fridge froze my lettuce. :(
However, my luggage is "confirmed" as supposed to be arriving here on Friday. I am now just crossing my fingers to hear by this Friday about swapping a room and moving into Mary Chapman downtown...it would be quite lovely for those two things to happen concurrently so I don't feel the need to unpack my big trunks before I get to a new space!