Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

First Day of Class

Monday was my first day of class at UNSW! The morning was spent preparing for this milestone. I figured out how to print things (10 cents a page!), mapped out the fastest way to get to my classroom, and chose an adequate “first-day-of-school” outfit. The debate consisted of “grey shirt or blue shirt?” My closet overfloweth.

When I finally got to class, I was so excited I could barely sit still. Also, I wasn’t 100% sure I was in the right place, so I had to make it look natural if I suddenly realized I was in the wrong place. That’s the actual reason I was slowly wandering around outside the classroom. At 2:01 when the professor hadn’t shown up yet for my 2:00 class, I was devastated! They were going to cancel my first class? I had prepared all morning! Silly Anna. Classes here typically start 5 minutes after they’re marked to start, to allow for walking time. And they end 5 minutes early as well. So, not long after I started to panic, the professor showed up and let us all into the lecture hall.

A lecture hall is new for me, especially for a third year chemical engineering class. At Bucknell, I’ll graduate with 20 other chemical engineers. I walked into a lecture hall big enough to seat all of the chemical engineers (all 4 years) at Bucknell. And their extended families.


I took a seat on the end of a row near the front so that I didn’t interrupt anyone’s unspoken group seating plans. There were 2 open seats next to me when another student walked up to my row. And then he looked at the empty seats and me and spoke these words:

“Do you have any friends?” 

What an honest man. Tells it like it is. Not knowing whether he was genuinely interested in my apparent lack of social life or if I was misunderstanding, I laughed and went along with it with a resounding:

“Nope, no friends.” 

He realized what an awkward exchange we were having and rephrased it to

“Friends coming to sit here?”

Phew! Okay there’s hope. Long story short, I started the class with no friends, and ended up with two: the boy who sat next to me, Bob (I tried really hard to pronounce his name correctly but he insisted I call him Bob instead. Must have butchered it pretty badly), and his friend.

And so begins my semester of thermodynamics! No matter who’s sitting next to you (although I do miss my pal Kev), or how the word “equilibrium” is being pronounced (the professor likes to say “eh-quilibrium” instead of “ee-quilibrium”), a phase diagram is the same. And once you start taking notes, it’s like playing a soccer game – you just tune everything else out except for what you need to focus on. Yea, there were 2 big projector screens instead of one, and the professor had to use a microphone, but I knew this stuff. Well, I knew where I was. And it felt good to be home.


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