New Student Orientation

Last week was New Student Orientation at Eastman.  It feels a little surreal - I am so, so grateful to be back.

Orientation Week generally includes advising sessions, placement exams, meet-and-greet events, tours, and a few special events for all the new students.  For me, the week looked like this:

  • Day 1: a meeting with my advisor to discuss course options, an appointment to get my new ID card, and an info fair on local organizations
  • Day 2: breakfast with the deans and a TA meeting
  • Days 3 and 4: placement exams (and three more meetings)
  • Day 5: registration day

Amidst the flurry of excitement, there were a few stressful moments.  First, those dreaded placement exams. 

A little back story: I've been studying Renaissance music history (in great detail) and counterpoint (Renaissance through Early Classical) for a month now.  (You see, when I started my masters at Eastman a few years ago, I passed both the music history and the theory placement exams.  Now, as a returning student, I was only required to take certain portions of each test.)  I was ready for the tests but it's still a lot of pressure.  If you don't pass these tests, you're required to take extra (remedial) courses before graduating.  Not only does that add hours to your schedule but it also costs more than a pretty penny. 

Anyway, I walked into the history exam on Wednesday and got a copy of the test.  Because I had taken it before, they included a copy of my previous scores in the packet but I realized right away I was looking at someone else's scores.  Come to find out (after taking the test anyway), I passed everything the first time and didn't need to take this test at all.  They had the wrong placement exam on file the whole time.  Seriously.

Naturally, I treated myself to a lemon cookie from my favorite bakery on the way home.

The second most stressful part of the week - course scheduling.  I walked into my first advising meeting of the week bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with a 3-page list of courses I wanted to take with credits, days/times, and teachers already written out.  Yes, I'm that girl.  The problem was not my level of preparedness; the problem was that most of the courses on my list were already full.

I won't tell you how many times I rewrote my schedule in five days.

By Thursday, I finally had four classes that were still open and did not conflict with my TA schedule and I had approval from the dean to add an additional credit to this semester.  Then, I went to register.  One of the courses I had chosen was only open to theory majors and another course had waaaay too many projects and assignments.

After a small meltdown, Steve and I looked through the list one more time and found a course that was still open.  Thank goodness.  In the end, it's an eclectic mix: theories of human development, sacred music, studio teaching, and 19th century music history.  It's a perfect sampler of everything I am hoping to incorporate into my program of study.

Year 1 starts today!