05 September 2010

The Life of a Dorm Rat

I suppose many of you remember my little series from last semester in which I wrote a couple of blog posts about my daily life. I was recently thinking about how much my schedule as a sophomore commuter to a community college differs from being a junior English/history major at a residential college, so I decided to blog about it. I won't torment you with two posts about my schedule like last time. I'll just torment you by cramming it all in one post. ^^


7:30 am: My two alarm clocks go off, so I drag myself out of bed at some point shortly thereafter to get dressed and brush my hair. If I am good and have time, I check my e-mail. If not, I schlep out of my dorm and hurry to the cafeteria, calling my grandmother en route to say hello and assure her that I am still alive.

8:05am: I am at the cafeteria. My breakfast always ends up being one of three things: pancakes or French toast with chocolate milk, biscuit and gravy with eggs smothered in gravy because I can't eat the eggs without the gravy and chocolate milk, or biscuit and gravy and chocolate milk with some form of pastry when I can't bring myself to face the eggs.

8:30am: By this point, I have finished eating and am either back in my dorm checking my e-mail if I didn't do it earlier and grabbing my extremely heavy bag of books--Note to self: Being an English major means you get to carry an obscene number of heavy books--or I am on my way to my first class. I like to be early, and that gives me time to review our assignments.

9:00am: Introduction to Grammar: This is my grammar class. Those of you who know me well know I am a grammar nazi. As you can imagine, I adore this class. I'm not going to say it's an easy class, per se, because you have to learn a lot of terms and rules, but the daily homework assignments are often done in class and my professor is great. She explains things well and has a lively sense of humor, so it's always a fun time.

9:50am: I don't have any classes at this time, so sometimes I run errands, sometimes I go back to my dorm, and sometimes I just work on my homework for the next class while sitting in the hallway.

11am: Foundations of Literary Studies: This is a class required for all English majors at my school. I think of it as being English Comp 2 on steroids. We cover all of the basic and not-so basic literary terms and concepts that are needed to take higher-level English classes. I enjoy this class because we have read a lot of poetry that I either already loved or that I have never read before and enjoyed very much. The syllabus promises some of my favorite short stories and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Yayayay! I really like my professor in this class--she is also my academic advisor and the sponsor of Sigma Tau Delta. We also always have lively, if not heated, discussions in here. We don't have a murderous reading load, but there are a lot of projects in this class (3 essays, 3 exams, 1 presentation, and 1 list of about 70 literary terms) that keeps me busy.

12pm: Survey of American Lit. 2: I have to run like a maniac from my last class to this one in a neighboring building. As with all of my other English classes, I just love this one! We're currently reading Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We only have 13 students in here and the professor is hilarious. We always have a daily quiz on what we read, so we're all always shouting random questions at each other based on what we think our professor is going to ask before he comes in. The homework isn't brutal in here, either, but the quizzes are definitely an incentive to keep up with the reading.

1pm: Lunch. I walk up to the cafeteria and find something edible to eat.

At this point, my schedule depends on what day it is. On Monday and Friday, I have nothing scheduled whatsoever after this, so I usually work on homework, take a dinner break around 5:30pm, and then return to homework. So far, the campus clubs I am interested in joining have meetings on these days, so I attend those when they are scheduled, and go to bed around 10:30pm. On Friday, however, I am scheduled to work in the cafeteria. So . . . I get to work by 4pm and stay until 8pm, with a fifteen minute break at 4:30pm to eat. This is my jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none day. I work wherever I am needed, which means one day I'll be serving food, the next week, I'll be making pizzas. (Note to self: Cutting pizzas is more scientific than you'd believe.) Then I go home and play on my computer until the wee hours of the morning.


7:30pm: I wake up at the same time, but I'm usually lazier about getting out of bed at this time because my roommate is getting ready to leave for an early class. When I do get out of bed, my morning schedule is pretty much the same as the previous day as far as breakfast and pre-class activities.

9:30pm: History of Africa: This is an upper-division history elective I am taking. I have little knowledge of African history and my professor is very good and is just an all-around nice person who also double majored in history and English, so I look forward to this one. There are also only 6 of us in this class. Please don't cancel us. We have to do a presentation on an African country of our choice in November, so I'll be doing research for that soon. Until then, I just have reading assignments, so the homework load is reasonable.

11am: I wander back to my dorm to check my email and wait for the cafeteria to open at 11:15 pm, in which I walk over to eat lunch. I spend the next couple of hours doing homework or research in the library for my next class.

1pm: Introduction to Historical Research: This is a required course for all history majors and is one I just relish, though it is very time-consuming. Basically, we're learning the ins and outs of conducting historical research with the library as our laboratory. (My professor's own words.) This professor has a wonderful sense of humor and a biting sense of sarcasm, so his lectures are always amusing. But there is a ton of homework, including maintaining a daily journal of assignments, extensive reading, and a semester-long research project. Mine is on the Russian Revolution, which is one of favorite historical periods. So . . . I enjoy this class very much, but it sure does take up a lot of my time.

2:20pm: What happens after I get out of my last class depends on what is day it is. On Tuesday, I have some time to do homework or crash in my dorm until I go to work at 4pm. On that day, I am a cook's help, which means I get to take very hot stuff out of its pan and take it to the serving line and clean the kitchen. On Thursday, I have to run like a crazy woman from my class all the way across campus to the cafeteria because my shift starts at 2:30pm. I work on salads on those days, so I usually spend an hour chopping up vegetables before setting up the salad bar and running it and putting all of it away solo. It's not too bad of a job, but I don't eat salad and there is a ton of stuff to set up and put up. Woe is me.

7:30pm: I am finished with work on both days, so I go home to take a shower to get rid of the grease or ranch dressing that is covering me and my uniform. (I must say, if my roommate were not in the room, I would so lick my uniform when it has ranch dressing on it. Ahem.) I am usually too tired to do much homework, so I usually just review my assignments for the next day and call it a night at 10pm. (Though one time I was so exhausted I came home, collapsed on my bed, and woke up two hours later to find that I was asleep at the foot of my bed. I changed positions and promptly fell back asleep until the next morning. Talking to my coworkers, I have learned that we "caf kids," as the cafeteria workers are called, are quite prone to this. My next-door neighbor and coworker and newly acquired friend told me she crashed for eighteen hours last weekend.

So . . . there's my weekly schedule. I have to work every other weekend, like this one, so I spend those days chilling out or doing homework and work from 4:00-7:30pm both days as a cashier for the cafeteria. (The great part of this is I get to open the cafeteria doors with a fascinating tool that looks like a cat burglar's tool and an instrument to perform a lobotomy. I rambled about this on Twitter yesterday. Anyway, as soon as I saw it, those are the two things that ran through my head. Unfortunately, since I am insane, I immediately blurted out those thoughts to my boss who was showing me the tools. Fortunately, my boss is slightly insane, too, so instead of glaring at me, he started nodding his head and agreed. Yay for meeting like-minded people! Erm, yeah.) On the other weekends, I usually go home for a day or two to say hello to my family and apologize to my Chihuahua for abandoning him.

And that's that.


  1. Ohhhh, a week-in-the-life-of-Zella post! Yay! I'm glad you've settled into a schedule now and have time to crash every so often. :D
    This schedule also sounds rather confusing, changing every other week and switching on MWF/TuTh, I think I am going to have to bring along a planner and some colored pencils so I can figure out and block out my schedule once I start. xD

  2. Sounds like a very hectic week although a lot of your professors sound pretty cool and your boss sounds awesome :)

    I hope you're having fun!!

  3. @Feathery: Thanks! :) The schedule is a bit hard to get used to at first, but it becomes routine after the first week or so. Definitely bring a planner! They are absolutely invaluable for keeping up with due dates. Mine is my best friend. Hehe I made myself a color-coded schedule on my computer and have a copy in each of my binders, in case I have to peek. :D

    @Bruce: Thanks! Yeah, it is a bit hectic, but my professors and boss are all awesome, so it's totally worh it. So far, I am having a lot of fun! :)

    Thanks to both of you for commenting. :)