Thoughts from the first week back

ORANGE RHYMES WITHThe first week of school is always unexpectedly hectic, which — now that I write that down — seems to create a bit of a paradox. Nevertheless, while I’d like to believe all of you have the free time to devote to reading one of my beautifully crafted epic tales of heroism, the truth is that all of us are too busy for that. Plus, the only heroic thing I’ve done recently is that I almost saved my phone from falling into a toilet.

So instead I thought I’d share a few bite-sized observations from my first week back that you can superficially skim during your horribly rerouted shuttle rides between classes.

First, I’ve noticed that every year here seems to consist of a series of trade-offs. For example, while my new MAC apartment has glorious new carpet and flooring, it completely lacks a desk, any semblance of hot water and a working thermostat.

I later coaxed a minute and a half of warm-ish water from the pipes by running all of the sinks in the apartment, wrenching on the showerhead and loudly praying to Poseidon, the demigod of lukewarm showers.

Other trade-offs involve my lack of attendance in any class on the first day of school, but a mysterious pile of brand new camping gear in my room that must have been purchased somewhere during that precious learning time.

Do I have a working knowledge of each syllabus and how they relate to my grade and performance in each course?

Probably not, but were I to have to survive indefinitely in the wilderness with only my wits and my camping gear, I would at least have the camping gear. Plus, I now have an excuse to wander around in the woods until something goes horribly wrong, giving me new material for next week’s column.

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Another thing I’ve noticed since returning to UAA: Someone (perhaps a crew of some sort) was busy as hell over the summer. I mean honestly, have you stopped to think about the sheer amount of construction that has sprouted up in the past few months?

To recap, we’re looking at an almost-completed sports arena, the start of a new engineering building, Main Apartment Complex renovations and enough general maintenance to keep a small nation employed for a year or two. Granted, precisely none of these projects will be completed in time for me to enjoy them before I graduate, which certainly makes me less likely to be understanding when construction makes me late for every single class. Still, it’s nice to see the school investing in new infrastructure for future students, even if it does reduce the value of my $250 parking pass to that of a soggy Wal-Mart sticker.

On a related note, did you know that the world allows just anyone to invest in things? As in, people with no prior knowledge of the financial system, with limited funds and sparse sources of income are free to go throwing their money around all willy-nilly. Apparently all you need is an Internet connection and the incredible ability to check “yes” without reading the terms and conditions.

What I’m getting at is that I’m currently very broke and depending on market conditions. It may be a long-term arrangement. Though on an optimistic note, I’m going to check to see if I can use this experience for extra credit in my experimental economics course.

Unlike my macroeconomics course, experimental is generally enjoyable and only rarely makes me want to claw out my eyes with the hardcover edition of “The Wealth of Nations.”

So that was my first week back: a collection of hurried thoughts nestled between the continuing effort to unpack my belongings and my worsening tendency to arrive late to every class of the day. Now I’m off to live in the woods for the long weekend in order to write you all a proper column with a healthier dose of heroism and “Lost” references for next week.