September 7, 2008

Classes set tone for semester

Classes set tone for semester

College 301 column

The Palestine Herald

Everybody’s gone back to school now, and I’ve started the Fall 2008 semester here at UT. I figured I might as well continue the habit of filling you lovely folks in on the great (and not so great) classes I’m taking during my time here. Once again I’m enrolled in the minimum of 12 hours, not because I’m lazy, but because I’ve had enough transfer credits from dual-credit courses in high school as well as courses I’ve taken at TVCC to hold me over and make it okay to not take a full load. Plus, with a couple of the classes I’m in, any more than 12 would probably be torture. This is of course coming from a journalism major, an area of study that most people in the university dismiss as ridiculously easy, but I don’t see them doing any writing. But I digress, so without further ado, let’s get to the lovely academic adventures I am preparing to embark on this semester.

The History of Journalism — I know I know, it seems a bit cliché or inconsequential to take a class that will more than likely discuss a number of issues I’ve already learned time and time again during my days at UT, but it’s a required class, so I’m taking it. One good thing about the course is that there’s no required textbook, so that saves me the hassle of buying a $75 book and then never reading it. I have yet to take an exam in the course, and I’m very anxious to do so to learn how exactly the class is set up, seeing as how the professor can tend to ramble, and without a book that makes it difficult to know just what we’re supposed to remember for tests.

The Modern American City - I enrolled in this course because I still need plenty of electives to fulfill my degree requirements and a couple of my friends decided to take it as well. I cannot convey to you how surreally awesome this class is. The title of the course is fairly self-explanatory, as it deals with the critical issues and obstacles that plague modern cities, including illegal immigration, waste management, and more. But the best part about the class is without a doubt the professor, a British dude who is more overly dramatic than a soap opera. On our very first day, he talked about the illegal immigration problem and the various ways aliens enter the country, including a man who disguised himself as a car seat. “YOU stop the ‘seat man,’ if you’re so smart, if you’re so clever,” the professor said. He is without a doubt a brilliant man and definitely knows his stuff when it comes to problems in American cities, but the drama just adds an aura of ridiculous brilliance to the class. This could quite possibly become my favorite course this semester.

Intermediate Reporting aka J320 — This is the most dreaded class at UT’s School of Journalism. Every single student that comes into the College of Communication automatically hears about the course, which is comprised of an insane amount of work. This is the most intense writing class that undergraduate journalism students will have to take, with lengthy stories due nearly every week. That doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but it adds up, considering I already write for The Daily Texan. Plus, it’s hard to get motivated to write stories simply for a class and a grade when you’re already getting published every week in one of the most award-winning student newspapers in the country, as well as here in the Herald-Press. This class won’t be so much trying not to drown in the workload as it will be trying to find the energy to actually do said work.

Second Year Spanish I — Oh yeah, you knew this one was coming. I won’t say too much in this spot because I think you all know about the difficulty I have with foreign languages and my affinity for telling everyone I know about that difficulty. Nevertheless, at least the professor is nice (something that isn’t always true, believe me), and considering that she’s a native Texan and former student at Texas Tech University, it’s humorous to hear her speaking with a perfect Spanish accent at one moment and then immediately switch to a typical Texan drawl in the next.

So there you have it. That’s my life for the next few months, trying to learn Spanish and doing a ridiculous amount of writing for the Texan, the Herald-Press and my class. Wish me luck.


Robert Rich is a junior journalism major at the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated from Westwood High School in 2006. He can be reached via e-mail at

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