New quarters bring opportunities for more lessons to be learned from them and to reflect on things that went wrong last quarter.
I can think of no more fitting place to start than to compare what I thought about the first day of last quarter to what I actually did on the first day of this quarter.
My advice on what to do for the first first day is here, and I’ll go through some of the highlights, along with whether or not I heeded them.
- Sleeping: I did quite a lot of this, but two things of note are worth mentioning. The first is that I had forgotten just how narrow these beds are, so at one point in the middle of the night I almost fell off. This would be unremarkable, except for the fact that I somehow knocked my shampoo over and awoke to seeing half of it on my floor. The other noteworthy anecdote is that my memory foam mattress arrived over break, and it is so amazing that it removed all desire I had to get up. Eventually, I did (after several alarms).
- 22 Jump Street attire: this was a success. I wore the same shirt that I did on the first day last quarter, except that this time it was hidden under three other layers of clothes since it was probably 40 degrees colder today than it was in September.
- Getting to class early: this originally was a success, until I walked into my math class and realized I didn’t recognize a soul. Apparently it had never crossed my mind to check the website and see if it was moved. Fortunately, another poor soul also was looking lost and we made it to class together. It was also fortunate that I wasn’t too late, because someone got there so late that they just sat on the floor until a seat was found for them. Don’t be that person.
- In Natural Hazards, I had the fortune of getting there early, but so did about 200 other people, but fortunately I was able to get a desk. There were easily 10 people who just sat in the back of the auditorium. Again, don’t be these people. Make a deal with one of your friends that whoever gets to class first will automatically claim two seats and you’ll be golden.
- Class was interminable (as they always will be when you’re coming back from break, so this is more of a reflection on the mentality everyone is in than one on the classes themselves), which made me wish I had a watch easily accessible.
Now there are other insights I have that don’t need referring to another post.
- Know when/where your classes are. The previous anecdote about my calc class wasn’t enough, I had assumed that my Natural Hazards (this aforementioned new class I’m taking this quarter) was at the time I wanted it to be, rather than the time that it actually was at. Fortunately I overheard someone talking about it, and realized that instead of being 10 minutes after my math class (which I had thought it was), it’s actually 70 minutes after.
- For once, I ensured that I had friends in a class before I took it. This turns out to be just about the only silver lining I can glean from having totally forgotten to do course signup at the end of last quarter.
- Both my Sosc (where I now also have a new instructor) and Hum also moved rooms. Fortunately, these met on the second day so by that point I had already realized that I should look up where they are in advance (the even better news is that although they are still only ten minutes apart, they are now down the hall from one another, as opposed to how I had had to run past several buildings to get to the other last quarter).
- Sort your clothes. There is a zero percent chance that any sane person will be wearing shorts for the next 7ish weeks so clear them out of your drawer and make space for longer sleeve clothing.
- Clean out your fridge. I have no idea how I’ve let this slide for so long, but when I opened my fridge to put the gallons of orange juice I just bought in, I noticed some clementines…from O Week that have gone pretty brown. First off, never leave fruit in a fridge for that long, but if you’re going to, please, for everyone’s sake, don’t leave it in there over break.
- Go work out. This way you can say you did it at least once in the quarter.
- That said, you should not do what I did, which was to wear khakis and snow boots since I hadn’t been planning on working out.
- If a candidate for Mayor is speaking on your campus, listen to them. It will be entertaining. We had Alderman Bob Fioretti speak at the IOP about his impossible task of attempting to unseat Rahm Emanuel. Let’s just say that I was reminded pretty vividly of one of my favorite exchanges in the 2013 New Jersey gubernatorial debates between Chris Christie and Barbara Buono (if you don’t remember her candidacy, you can’t exactly be blamed).
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, DRESS FOR THE WEATHER.
- On one of these days, Chicago public schools were closed (not because of snow, but because of the sheer cold [it felt like -21 degrees Fahrenheit]).
- Needless to say, this bothers me greatly. Back in the DC Metro Area, demands for school closings were actually trending on Twitter, and here I am, in the insufferable cold, walking to class when it’s definitely above the single digits on the East Coast.
Now, for some brief comments regarding the goings on of the first few days of the 114th Congress (and specifically, the House).
To begin with, the following tweet sums up what happened very well:
John Boehner did face the largest rebellion from within his caucus that any Speaker has faced in quite a long time (however, as I wrote about before, he was never actually going to lose his position). Unlike the last time around, he is actually serious about punishing the members who voted against him (last time, Congressman Tim Huelskamp was one of the few defectors [he was this time around as well] and his refusal to vote for Boehner was one of the reasons he faced an extremely close primary to an unknown opponent).
Some of the most conservative members (Trey Gowdy being one of them) of the Republican Caucus voted for Boehner, and much has been made of the members who voted against Boehner, so there probably isn’t too much new insight I can offer there.
The one exception is Congressman Chris Gibson (who, after just defeating Sean Eldridge by a massive margin, announced his retirement after this coming cycle, which no one was expecting) who voted for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Why did he do this? I have no idea. The only thing I can think of is that he viewed it as somehow being beneficial to him in the long run because there is now speculation that he will run for Governor of New York in 2018.
It’s been a busy couple of days in Chicago and around the world. Hopefully some of the sage advice will be useful for dealing with the weeks that come, whether you’re overnighting in the Reg or one of the new members of the 114th Congress (okay, I’m not presumptuous enough to assume that any of them will read this, but it’s a good note to end on).