This kind of compliments Lisa's recent post since we're in the same journalism class. I also got my first assignment back, and I was not entirely happy with my piece so far. I could write better, but I didn't. Don't get me wrong, the prof thought it was good and really liked some sections, but I didn't get the exuberant response I'm accustomed to when I get back work from profs. Oh, well. Although Lisa really deserves the credit here - her piece was topical, well-written and courageous.
However, I did get my props later in the day. In my Sociology of Sexuality class, we write short essays in every class, based on the readings and class discussion. Usually our prof (a sociologist who specializes in human sexuality, and is incredibly intelligent and personable - he's one of the few quantitative researchers I've met) assigns us the topic, but today our topic was freestyle - anything we wanted. We had half an hour. I furiously scribbled down my thoughts for half an hour and wrote a piece called Symbolic Interactionism and the Male Erection. You can imagine my hesitation when he asked me to present my paper to the rest of class. I took a deep breath and talked for ten minutes. He listened to me, then pondered for a second, then told me my topic was very good and considered it thesis-worthy. I was pleased.
Although I find classes in Slovenia more relaxed than the ones back in Canada, the object in the university here is not to rely on the prof. The classes are run like graduate seminars, where students discuss, read and write at a much more intensive level. Also, grad school is a time for academic exploration, where you can dive into the literature without a net, so to speak. I found myself doing that a lot here - going to the library, reading articles online, and bridging different theorists together in my papers. Yeah, there are lectures, but students are encouraged more to synthesize their knowledge. Is this the result of the Barcelona system?
Anyway, back to work.