I got to go snowboarding for the first time in years yesterday. I didn’t fall too much, which is always a good sign, and I got most of my confidence back after only a few runs. They didn’t have any jumps or rails on the whole mountain except in a little terrain park at the bottom, so I didn’t have as many opportunities to crash spectacularly as usual. Bear Mountain back in CA is built to cater to snowboarders a lot more than Winterplace, apparently. There were far more people skiing than snowboarding there yesterday, anyway. It was an awesome day though; they had a ton of fresh snow, but it was sunny the whole time we were there. Sweet.
But that’s not what this post is about. I’m here today to finish recollecting the last three classes from my first semester at Fullerton College. A couple posts ago, I got through English 100, but that was it. And now…
Based on the weekly class schedule, this was the very first class I actually attended at Fullerton. This was taught by Bill Glassman, an older balding guy, kind of soft-spoken with an interesting speech pattern, very punctuated. He always enunciated very clearly though. Half the class was vocabulary and etymology, and the other half was about language as a tool. Connotation, pejoratives, non-verbal communication, all kinds of stuff that was really interesting. Probably one of the most memorable moments of the whole class was when he busted out a random “F*&@$ YOU!” in the middle of the class to illustrate just exactly what it means in certain contexts–in that case, an old soft-spoken guy teaching a college class to a bunch of sleepy post-lunchtime students. It woke everyone up, that’s for sure. There are a few words that I use occasionally that I remember as having learned in Glassman’s class, and smile inside at the thought.
This was a trigonometry class taught by John Roche. The placement test put me into it, so that’s where I started. John Roche was a generally nice guy with a gruff voice. He effectively taught the subject matter, and avoided making it boring, which is important for a math class. Of everything that he taught, I remember exactly two things clearly: “SOACAHTOA“, and that there is a white arrow on FedEx trucks. You should try to find it sometime, if you haven’t already. The white arrow thing was a lesson in paying attention to details that others often miss. Of course, I learned more than that, but those are the things I really remember.
Political Science 100
Taught by Naji Dahi, this Political Science class was one of the most interesting classes I ever took. The teacher was incredibly blunt about his views and whether he disagreed with you. He would regularly have discussions with students in his class–always related to the current topic–and had no qualms about shooting down any particular viewpoint or even laughing at your expense. He was kind of arrogant, but very informed and articulate, always ready to defend whatever he said. I didn’t always agree with him, but everything he said always made me think. He was an emigrant from Lebanon, and had a unique perspective on government and, in particular, war. Since I took the class about 9 months after the Shock and Awe campaign in Afghanistan started, Naji had a lot to say that made me reconsider buying the whole “rah-rah WMDs axis of evil Al-Qaeda” Republican line at the time.
He had an interesting habit of locking the door five minutes after class started to encourage people to come on time. A lot of people missed the class because of it, but very, very few people knocked on the door after it was locked. Apparently they understood his system at least. He also literally dictated every note he wanted you to take, and he spoke slowly enough that he made sure anyone putting in any kind of effort could keep up.
So, that’s a short summary of the remainder of my first semester. I got all A’s, which was a very encouraging start to my higher education. I made probably a dozen friends, all of whom I remember, but none of whom I keep up with. It gave me a feel for how college works, and eliminated that sense of “the unknown” that I had associated with college.
Next up: Fall 2004. Or maybe some totally unrelated post.