Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Orientation Day 1 & 2 - Urban Shock, Registration, and TA Development

I think I'm going through what I've termed "urban shock." It's an interesting feeling. I didn't realize I would go through something like this in a city that's only three hours away from my own little suburban world. Quite honestly, I didn't think there would be such a difference in how the city would feel, on how the campus would feel. It's an interesting shock. Admittedly, working and going to school in Toronto for five years urbanized me more than I realized. I've gotten so used to the quiet, keep-to-yourself atmosphere of an academic world enshrined within a busy, urban metropolis.

Kingston and Queen's is... interesting. I've barely been here for three days and I'm already seeing a remarkable difference in the way of life, in the attitude, the culture. It's a good shock. Really, it is. Just a surprise and something to get used to. The smaller, more enclosed environment is something new to me, but I think I'll adapt to it eventually. I think I'll enjoy the intimate atmosphere once I store away the urbanite in me until the day I return home.

As for yesterday's Orientation Week activities, I spent most of my day in a professional development event for TAs. In a span of seven hours, I learned techniques on grading, assessment, student engagement. And thankfully, an entire plenary session was devoted to addressing fears of teaching, especially for first-time TAs. An interesting, yet tiring day. Today, Orientation Day 2 consisted of a welcome breakfast and fair for new graduate students. I must say that I'm very impressed with the wealth of resources that Queen's has to offer graduate students in terms of academic support. It's another shock to see such an intimate environment for academic support, which is something I rarely experienced at UofT. Another good shock, really.

Lastly, today, I had the pleasure of receiving the items that officially make me a TA and Masters candidate:
a) my office keys
b) my mailbox
c) official TA agreement documentation
d) official approval of my courses after a meeting with my Graduate Chair.

I think my office is cute. It just needs a some TLC. Next stop? Finding items to decorate my office desk with, obviously!

"Those who expect moments of change to be comfortable and free of conflict have not learned their history."
- Joan Wallach Scott


  1. We're both experiencing culture shock in our province & country... who would've thought?!

    As for your office desk, think pink! ;)

  2. Culture shock is on a whole other level here. I'm devoting an entire blog post to culture shock, I think. LOL.