Tuesday, January 10, 2006

One time, back in college…

(Another installment of the 30 drafts)


A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I stumbled across this MSN Encarta article about unusual courses offered by some U.S. colleges…. There are some veeeery eeeentereeesting courses out there…. Gee, I don’t consider myself a Trekker, but even so, I’d be one of the first to sign up for a course like Philosophy and Star Trek!

Unusual courses I *did* take during my college years:

Icelandic Literature
    Descriptions so sparse that your mind fills in the blanks for you, leading to a surprisingly vibrant and vivid read. And these tales are based on real people and real events, so while some tales are really fantastical in nature, many in fact are histories of families still existing in Iceland today!

    Also, did you know that the term “to egg someone on” comes from Icelandic? There was peculir code of honor among these menThere were so many tales of revenge instigated by wives or mothers who “egged on” their sons/husbands to redeem the family honor somehow.

    Indeed, such a land of fire and ice – of volcanoes and glaciers – certainly spawned tales as gritty as the land itself. It opened a whole new world to me, such that Iceland is on the list of places I want to visit - and I mean a proper visit, no whistlestop type thing - before I die.


Norse Mythology
    While most people took the huge class that dealt with Greek & Roman mythology, I of course chose the path less-traveled and opted for a teeny class on the Norse equivalent. Not only did we learn about Thor, Loki and many others, but this allowed us a peek into the psyche of the Norsemen. Seeing as I already got a good dose of this in the Icelandic Literature class, I probably enjoyed the class even more than the average person. I remember my term paper concerned Loki: but what exactly I wrote, I don’t remember. Bummer.

    One take-away from the class was learning about common symbols, especially those fertility symbols like rabbits, and eggs… it got me thinking about the now less common practice of distributing hard-boiled eggs to wedding guests in Malay weddings – can you say “fertility”?


Arthurian Literature
    This was actually a graduate class, but I challenged myself to take it, seeing as the previous two classes had already provided me with the proof that I “get” literature – so long it appeals to me. Ah, and how I “got” this topic too… prior to taking this class, all I had read of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table was from a children’s edition book plus some comics…. And my oh my, what an abundance of literature exists out there!! It was during this class that I picked up and read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon – in addition to all the *other readings we had for this class – and my appreciation for her book was heightened by all the other tales we read and discussed in class.

    I was particularly struck by the recurring theme of forbidden love: Lancelot & Guinevere; Tristan & Isolde, and the Icelandic version of Erec & Enide. Laying a sword between them as they shared the same bed, as a symbol of “no hanky panky”, is really amusing! Oh, and I saw a trailer for a movie of Tristan & Isolde, coming out in May? That will be interesting… I’ll wait for the reviews before I decide to catch it or not (unlike that horrendous King Arthur movie, ugh!!)

NOTE: all three classes were taught by the same professor! :-)

Bowling
    Teeheehee! It was just one credit hour, but I got useful essons in the fundamentals, which I still use to this day (not that I’ve bowled more than once in the past year, sob sob!!)


Basic weight training
    During the one summer I took classes, decided up mix a useful class along with the horrid Chem class I was taking. And like most females, I was intimidated by all the equipment in the gym – how to use, mah? So this class provided excellent overview of principles of weight training: techniques, the whole reps & sets difference for toning vs building, which exercises target which muscles, etc etc. Very useful stuff to know, even if I’m hardly ever utilizing free weights of machines right now


Tennis
    This was the other fun class I took that one summer. I was kinda over-qualified for it tho, cos the class turned out to be for total beginners; oh well :p (The next semester, I signed up for the next level of tennis, but it was a totally different standard! I ended up dropping it after the first day, tho, due to scheduling conflicts… oh well!)


The rest of my classes? Apart from the required Chem & Physics, I took 2 years of French, 1 semester of Italian, Abnormal Psych... oh, and ovevr-achieved in terms of taking grad-level classes in organic chem (i *so* quickly changed that to pass/fail, LOL!!) and Quantum Chemistry (I surprisingly did pretty well in that, especially considering I was competing against grad students!)

Maaaaan, I miss being in college....

Gonna be looking into getting back into academia... maybe in a year's time? We'll see.....

Until then, i'll continue to bum aroun, blogging, LOL!

4 comments:

  1. thanks for the visit your blogs prity two cool c u later ill be back

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  2. Wow, I would want to know more about Loki. And you actually studied it then.

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  3. Gee, I wish we had those literature courses here when I was in college. All that I know of the Norse mythology and the Arthurian legend I learned from reading books about them.

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  4. guy: juat reading, vs reading followed by discussion with fellow students AND a great professor is so different - i wish everyone could have had that opportunity :-)

    beer brat : u like trickster gods? Loki may be the most "famous", but there's also anansi the spider (African, I think), then in Malaysia there's the Sang Kancil, or mousedeer - not a "god" but definitely a trickster too.

    ReplyDelete

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