Tag Archives: uni

First day of classes

Today went… OK. Not great, but not as bad as it looked to be turning out either. I didn’t have classes ’til 11 this morning, so I got up about half 8. I pottered around for a while, had a shower, dried off and starting getting ready, then remembered I’d forgotten to have breakfast – which is quite embarassing. As I’d run out of milk Saturday night, I couldn’t have any cereal, so I had 2 pain au chocolats and water (as I’d also run out of juice and ice tea). I noted down my timetable, and starting doing my hair.

I don’t currently wear a watch as I’m making a new strap, so I have to check my phone or other devices to get the time. My phone has an unfortunate tendency to display the time from the last time you checked it before it refreshes to show the current time. I unfortunately fell for this trap, but didn’t realise until it was nearly quarter to 11. I quickly threw my stuff into my bag, raced out the door, raced back in to get various things, and finally raced down to the tram where I found I’d just missed it and had to wait 5 minutes for the next one.

When I eventually got to the uni, I took some lucky guesses and managed to get to the classroom just as the others sat down. The teacher, a young and very pretty blonde woman, wasn’t the slightest but bothered and said as long as we were there within 5 to 10 minutes it was fine, especially as we were just starting and getting our bearings. The classroom was sweltering, and having practically run all the way from my room, I boiled for the next hour and twenty minutes. The time went quickly, luckily, the lesson being fairly interesting apart from the exercises, which were an introduction to Python and very simple. I have only a very basic grip of Python, but the exercises were very simple and I’d already read through them the night before.

When class ended, I walked up to the tram stop, hoping to go up to Roustaing and get some pieces at the Simply Market there. However, there were so many people waiting to get on the tram, and the tram was so packed, there wasn’t room or time for everyone to get on, me included. Instead of waiting 6 minutes for the next tram, I walked down to the Casino supermarché by Peixotto.

Whoever designed that store should be shot! Nothing is logically placed, and the all the food-y bits are on each end of the shop, with other products in the middle. After wandering round the store for ages and surely covering miles, I managed to get the basics of what I came for. Forgetting, of course, drain cleaner/unblocker stuff and even more importantly, anti-mozzy stuff – I shall therefore be eaten alive for yet another night. I have so many mosquito bites at the moment that I nearly look like I have chickenpox!

I got home at around one o clock, and made myself lunch. At half one I’d finished and was just starting to get ready to head out again. All our timetables are online, so as I was sending a link to Mum, I suddenly realised that mine had changed since this morning, the last time I’d checked. Now it said that there was a ‘réunion d’information’ for the students in the parcours international. Now that’s something else I’ve been trying to sort out – I found out about this the day I’d signed up here for uni, as I’d just found out about and been told there were a few places left and I could submit my dossier if I wanted. I did, but I’ve still never found out whether I was accepted. I’m pretty sure I was, as I’d met the professor in charge of one section, and he had been very enthuastic. I’ve also been placed in the only class in which there are other parcours international students. But every time I’d tried to find out, the offices were either closed or there was a queue a mile long. Anyway, seeing this I got pretty worried – I didn’t want to miss a class the same day I’d been late – so I checked various other pages and copies and noted that the timetable had been updated at 11:06 am that morning (when I checked this morning, it had been updated at 4 the previous morning. Armed with this information, I sent the pdf of the timetable to my tablet, got my stuff and headed out. Then went back to my room because I’d forgotten something. Then went back because I’d forgotten the tablet. And my pencil case broke.

Unfortunately, because of the whole timetable debacle, by the time I got to uni I didn’t have time to sort that out before class, and by the time I’d found the classroom (3rd floor, through 2 corridors and past the group of students who didn’t know where room 310 was either). I was late. Again. Only milliseconds late, and the teacher again didn’t mind, but I was pretty much never late at lycée, and here I was, late twice on my first day! I slumped in a seat at the back (while trying not to create a puddle of sweat around me as it was, again, boiling) and tried to convince myself it wasn’t all that bad. I’m not even going to mention the incident when I tried to answer something the teacher said only to have my voice completely die out on me, and after failing to communicate by squeaks/grunts, going to the board only to not demonstrate my genius. At all. Luckily, I regained a bit of dignity by finished an exercise in a few seconds that took the others several minutes (I know, I know. You may place the flowers over there by the wall with the other tributes to my incredible intellect), and a lady came by saying that there was a ‘réunion d’information’ for the students in the parcours international tomorrow, at 1. Crisis averted!

After class ended, I searched around downstairs for someone to ask about whether I had been accepted or not. The guichet unique was packed (the second years were signing up) and there was no-one free to talk to me and I couldn’t figure how to get into the sécretaire pédagogique‘s office. I finally went to the office where I had signed up in the first place, and talked to the secretary there. Apparently only the directrice or directeur of that section would know, so she should took my name and phone number. However, it’s currently nearly half past 9 and I still haven’t heard anything. My first class tomorrow is split between international students and the others, so I’ll just show up at the international class and see whether I get thrown out or not.

Having done what I could there, I ran over to the bibliothèque universitaire where I guessed the rather cryptic ‘Recherche Documentaire’ was taking place, only to arrive just as the librarian appeared to show my class around. I filed in behind the others, and pretended I had been there all along. We then had a guided tour of the library, which was quite impressive and new, and had a brief lesson on how to use the online catalogue and databases. At twenty past four I finally headed home, where I collapsed on my bed and slept until 6, when my grumbling stomach finally roused me.

I now plan on repeating exactly that, except not getting up ever until tomorrow morning, so goodnight!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

First day of Uni

I didn’t post anything yesterday, because I didn’t do anything! I stayed in that morning unpacking, then in the afternoon walked a few kilometers to the nearest E.Leclerc (a supermarket) to pick up some things. Sadly, the peanut butter was also too expensive. What does a student have to do to get some cheap peanut butter? I may head out on a peanut butter quest tomorrow… any ideas where to look? Oh, and there was some excitement last night when we had a powercut! Not entirely sure what happened but last night at 11-ish as I was going to bed, the light suddenly went off. I could hear people pottering out into the corridor and trying to figure out what happened. Looking out the window, it looked like the other floors lost power too – but the stairwell was still lit up, strangely. The electricity came back on about 20 minutes later, and business continued as usual. None of the other buildings in the ares seemed affected, so I guess it was just ours.

So, first day of uni! We had an amphithéâtre de présentation this morning at 9:30. I got up at 8, meaning to head out at quarter to 9, but ended up leaving at 10 past… I still got there in plenty of time, despite having to wait 5 minutes for the tram. When I got there, there was a lot of people milling or standing around, all equally clueless as to what to do. After a few minutes waiting, everyone headed into the ‘amphi’, where the professor was setting up his microphone. There must have been a deaf or hearing-impaired student in the room as there was a sign language interpreter, who was fascinating to watch! I sat with a girl who I had briefly met while signing up back in July, so it was nice to have at least one person I vaguely recognised!

The presentation lasted just over an hour, and I learned some interesting stuff. One interesting, or rather annoying, thing is that we’re only allowed Casio FX-92 calculators – very basic collège level ones during exams. Using any other would be considered as cheating and the punishments include exclusion from the university. This costs €15,90 at the FNAC, so that’s another annoying expense, if I do get one.

While this is rather annoying, it is understandable.  I think I remember my physics teacher from last year saying something about this. During the bac, depending on the sujet (meaning ‘exam papers’ – not to be confused with matière, meaning’ subject’) we were or were not allowed calculators, but until nearly the last minute we weren’t sure if we’d be allowed calculators at all, as it’s easy, and common practice, to download or program either the entire year’s lessons, or just various formulas on to them. I did this, as it helped to be able to check an equation or unit without having to dig out the specific lesson mentioning it. The downside (or upside, depending on how you look at it) is that this made it even easier to cheat during tests when calculators allowed. Some professors got round this by not allowing calculators – although this penalised the students who wouldn’t have cheated anyway, and made any long calculations (such as those often used in the Transformation nucléaires part of the curriculum) or – or by supplying the formulas or equations needed, so as to level the playing field between those who used the formulas on their calculators, and those who did not – although this meant students were less likely to learn the equations properly. Some teachers and students also argued that programming and using the calculators wasn’t cheating, just making use of new technology.

Whereas calculators are allowed during the bac (again, depending on the exact sujets distributed), any device capable of containing notes were forbidden, so no-one was sure what would happen. Calculators were definitely the bac organisers archnemesis this year, as mobile phones had been last year. This year, during the school year and for the bac, there had been a right crackdown on phones, so I imagine there’ll be stricter regulations, such as maybe allowing only one type of calculator as this uni does.

Also interestingly, any absences during the end of term exams are penalised by a zero in that subject, even if the absence is justified with a justificatif médicale. So if you’ve got the flu, broken your neck, or had any other unpleasant accident befall you – too bad! This does seem a bit strange, as even for the bac they were catch-up sessions de ratrappage.

The class division was quite complicated: I’m in MI100B31. The MI stands for MISMI (‘Mathématiques, Informatique, Sciences de la matière et Ingenierie’), which is my série. There’s about 120 students in each série, the other being SVTE (‘Sciences de la Vie, de la Terre, et de l’Environnement’). The ‘100’ represents my semester – S1, the B my série – but I thought that’s what MISMI was? I’m lost!  Anyway, the 3 stands for my groupe (there’s four or five) and the last 1 stands for my demi-groupe, which is for the TPs (Travaux Pratiques).

For this semester, I don’t need any books! Instead we’re asked to buy polycopiés, for €7.50. Of course, as soon as we left the lecture hall, everyone rushed either to the boards to find out which class they’re in, or to line up to buy the polycopiés. I waited in line with my new friend for a while, but seeing as the queue was massive and we wouldn’t be through for at least half an hour or longer, I went to check what class I was in and then headed home. I came back and got the papers an hour later. I had a quick look through but I’ll read through them properly this weekend,  although they’re mainly just exercises.

It was quite hot today – easily in the 30s, and I may have accidentally slept all afternoon, so I didn’t get much else done today. Mum’s currently nagging (well, not really!) to post this before they go to bed, so I’ll write the rest tomorrow.

P.S. Anyone feel like sending this poor student some peanut butter? Or a fridge? Or a microwave? 😉

Tagged , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: