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Syllabi & Nightmares

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I have two really short questions

Question: I have registered for my courses-is it too early to request a copy of the syllabus from the instructors?

2nd Question: Is anyone else having recurring nightmares about f*cking up their first days of coursework? Mine are seriously troubling me.

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1. I think it is too early. :) I like getting a head start on my reading too, but I just search online for sillabi for previous years. Core readings are the same.

2. You will be fine. I'm sure.

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Haha... I haven't had grad school nightmares (yet!) but I occasionally have nightmares that I'm doing a program for my current job and I'm unprepared. The worst though are the dreams that I'm back teaching high school and completely unprepared, then I wonder why on earth I decided to go back to that when it was so horrible the first time around. So work/school related dreams are pretty standard, I'd say.

And as for the syllabi: I agree getting last year's syllabi would be best at this point. If you wanted to establish contact with profs, you could ask them to email you last years syllabi if they don't anticipate big changes, just so you can start to get a sense of things. Or just email them asking recommendations for a book or two to read before the fall? I just did that with a prof I'm hoping to work with, and he even let me borrow his copy of a book he recommended!

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I am going into my third year and I often have nightmares...most of them consist of me having to take highschool courses because I didn't have the recommended pre-reqs for some strange out of my area course...or that I am just about to graduate and I find out I have to take 2 more years of courses.....nightmares are pretty common, and will probably still happen once you're in the program! Yay!! :) :)

As for the syllabus...I have asked professors for a course syllabus during the semester before. I don't see the harm in it, especially if you say that you're just curious to see the readings and start preparing (and like others have said, ask for a previous year). I find at this level profs are pretty. When I was picking my courses I would email profs and ask for the syllabus so I could see the content of the course. No one ever had a problem with it, and was often happy to discuss the course content with me!

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Syllabi may be easily available in courses where lots of reading is required (it says your program is English, so I will assume that is your case), but for others who may read this general forum, organization of graduate courses may be very informal, especially in the physical sciences.

The prof may not have prepared our syllabus until the first day of class (other than an email possibly to say what textbook we will be using) and most of the time, we won't have time to cover everything on the syllabus. Also, most profs I know are not in "2012-2013 mode" yet, that is, they probably have not prepared/decided on the material in the courses (and in some cases, the courses to be offered this fall aren't even decided yet).

When I was in courses, I had recurring nightmares about my instructor! It's funny now though. One example nightmare was that all the students in the course were put into one big house (reality show style) owned by the instructor and each day, he would introduce challenges or other rules that were designed to make our lives harder.

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When I was in courses, I had recurring nightmares about my instructor! It's funny now though. One example nightmare was that all the students in the course were put into one big house (reality show style) owned by the instructor and each day, he would introduce challenges or other rules that were designed to make our lives harder.

Sounds like you have a background in behavioral psych.

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Is anyone else having recurring nightmares about f*cking up their first days of coursework?

Let me put your mind at ease. Well, sort of. :P It is highly likely that you will jump on your crank while wearing spikes at least once as you get used to the tempo of graduate school. (Indeed, you might be better off if you make a mistake earlier in the term rather than later--so you will have enough time to recover. I'm thinking of a classmate who wrote a paper on American films during the Cold War without knowing that Alfred Hitchcock was British until the day we handed in our papers and discussed them as a group. :blink: )

The challenge will be what you do afterwards. If (when) it happens, stay cool, don't freak out. Understand that making mistakes is part of the process of learning. Draw what you can from the experience, make the adjustments you need to make, and move on. B) (A lot of these kinds of issues can be worked out best by talking to a professor during office hours rather than wringing hands, comparing notes, and reading tea leaves with one's classmates.)

Unless a professors is a hard ass, he or she will likely let you off the hook (maybe after using you as a chew toy for a few minutes). And if there's a classmate who is a bit too snarky at your expense, just make a mental note and decide if (and how) you want to even the score down the line. ;)

HTH.

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Before any new school year, I dream that I get lost trying to find my classes. It doesn't matter how many years I've been at the school or how many classes I have in the building, it's always the same dream and it's always unpleasant! This time, it may actually be legit. My new building is ridiculously confusing! It's like Hogwarts, for Harry Potter fans. I swear those staircases move.

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