Counting Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Undergrad, and now Grad School, today marked my 19th first day of school. I always love the first day of school, I find it exciting and for the most part teachers and professors are in a pretty good mood because they haven't yet had to deal with students or grade papers.
I had two of my four classes today. The first, literary aspects of journalism - taught by Deborah Blum (a working journalist and science writer whose latest book is The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Science in Jazz Age New York). The course is going to explore journalism as an art form, with an emphasis on story telling. I'm really excited about it, because while I'm pretty confident in my ability to write short news, I'd really like to develop my skill at writing feature stories.
We're going to be reading a lot in Blum's class but two books that I'm particularly excited to read are Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (I've fallen asleep during the movie starring Johnny Depp at least four times, but I am hopeful that the book will do far more for me), and Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. UW-Madison's Go Big Read initiative is featuring Skloot's book so she's going to be coming to campus this semester to give a large lecture at the Kohl Center, and a smaller lecture at the Journalism School. I'm excited about this book because my last article for BioTechniques before ending my internship was on cell line contamination, and was picked up by Skloot on her Twitter page. It was thrilling, so I am really looking forward to hearing another science writer, especially one so successful, speak.
The other class I had today was International Communication with Jo Ellen Fair. The class is focused on "Celebrity Culture, the Media, and International Humanitarian Interventions." I think focusing on the role celebrities play in generating interest about humanitarian issue will be a really interesting way to look at international reporting.
So far it looks like this is going to be a great semester, I really liked being back in class and I felt comfortable being back in the college atmosphere. I have one class tomorrow that is just a lecture with no work attached to it and then the three day weekend before seriously starting course work next week, I'm pretty excited about it.