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Blackboard was, unintentionally, the bane of my existence as an undergrad - particularly in regard to French classes. All the assignments were online and if the internet went out or my computer was screwy, I was dead meat. Blackboard has resurfaced in my life, and I am actually feeling rather pleased about it.

At orientation yesterday they entioned that Blackboard was a system highly favored by AU professors. So this morning I checked it out. I got to read the syllabus for one of my courses and will even be able to do the appropriate reading before classes begin. Yes, this is graduate school, I have homework and I don't start class for three days. But this really made me feel good. One, because I will now be prepared, and two because after spending a year on another continent, I am significantly more at ease with using the internet as my means of communication.

For the class that already had its documents posted, I was able to discern that I have exactly four assignments due the entire class long. Three of them are related and one is the final exam. Write a paper about the topic you intend to choose. Write an annotated bibliography for the subject you intend to write about. Write a review/synthesis of the subject you have chosen. Now I still have plenty of journal articles to read and questions to answer before classes, but I am thrilled by the discussion-like outline of the course.

I can't wait for school to start. Really, I am mad with excitement about it. I love the idea of my assistantship. I am going to try my darndest to work school like a 9-5 job (with a little variety in the hours since I have two evening classes). I have really seriously been considering getting another job or internship or something to keep me busy, but now feel like I came to DC for a reason. Most people come because they can find excellent job/internship opportunities outside of school. As an undergrad, I would have probably taken advantage of that. Now as a graduate student, I am looking at a different level of involvement.

I am seriously considering taking the time I would have spent at another occupation sitting in on oral arguments, interviewing Representatives and Senators, touring all of the government agencies that will let me, and then really delving into making myself an expert on something. This is something that really interests me. I am incredibly unsure how to work it out - what I want to be an expert in that is.

Feminist issues are obviously something that interests me, but I fear that I will paint myself into a corner on that one. Science issues are great, and since I already have the background I can understand it, however I am left only with the political backwash of that one since I am not actually a scientist. Politics is an obvious choice, but I feel like familiarity is more important than expert status here because politicians, issues, and parties change dynamics all of the time. Whatever I choose, I don't want it to be inflexible and I want to be able to grow with it. I want to be able to bring something to my employer's table that not a single other person can offer.

For this afternoon though, I am going to start work on a data analyzation project I am doing for HOBY. I am hoping that my work with them on this project will lead to a long distance internship through the VA Commonwealth office. I'll also try to find some local volleyball clubs (at school maybe?) that I can participate in for my physical well-being. My work is cut out for me. And I love it.

Love you too, ~Heather

P.S. - It is less than a week to USC Gamecock kick-off!!!!!