Saturday, September 01, 2007

Back at School

So I am finally back here at my beloved Thomas Aquinas College, having just started my sophomore year. I am *so* happy to be back here; this is pretty much the most awesome place on earth.

So far classes are going well. The things we've been reading about are pretty interesting. For philosophy we've been reading Aristotle and some of the pre-Socratic philosophers, pretty much finding out where they thought the world came from, and the principles that govern its operation. It's confusing, and some of the guys sound like complete nut-cases on the surface of it, but the things they say actually do make some inkling of sense.

In theology we're reading St. Augustine's On Christian Doctrine, which is basically a set of his rules on how to interpret Scripture. I hear for our theology paper in a few weeks we are going to be given a confusing quote from the Bible and told to interpret it using Augustine's rules. I'm really looking forward to that paper.

In lab we're reading Pascal's treatises On the Equilibrium of Fluids, and On the Weight of the Air. So far they're pretty interesting; some of the things Pascal talks about seem counter-intuitive at first glance, but he confirmed them all by experiment, and we're getting to perform some of his experiments ourselves in the lab, which I find to be really interesting.

For math we're doing astronomy, which I think is completely amazing. So far I *really* like my math class. We've been going out and observing the motion of the stars, and the times that some of them set, as well as the times of sunset and moonset. In addition, we're currently reading Ptolemy's Almagest; so far he's been laying out his arguments for the heavens and earth being spherical, the earth being really tiny in comparison to the heavens, and also the earth being in the center of the universe and not moving (hey, they used to believe that). I'm really enjoying that class; by the time we're done with Ptolemy he might have *me* convinced that the earth is in the center... :)

For language we're continuing to learn Latin from Wheelock's text. Nothing too exciting there yet, at any rate. My tutor is Mr. Berquist, and he is such a roar. He gets so into the class; it's really funny. He'll bring up Latin and German and Spanish and all these other languages and compare the same words in each of them to see what they have in common. It's really neat.

And for seminar we're reading Roman literature this year. So far we've read the Aeneid, which tells the story of Aeneis, who fled Troy as the Greeks burned it to the ground and travelled to Italy in accordance with the gods' will to found the Roman people. Now we're starting Lucretius' On the Nature of Things, which I haven't really gotten into yet, but I *think* it's going to be his view on how the world works and where it came from. So that should be interesting.

On the social scene, things are also going swimmingly. We've already had several informal dances this year, and I've been on a trip up to the Painter's Shack. And to town a couple of times with my friends, which is always fun. And this evening is the sophomore-freshman dance, hosted by my class (the sophomores) for the freshmen as a sort of welcoming party. Each of the three returning classes hosts one of these dances for the freshmen. I happened to be put in charge of the decorations, and our theme is Western/hoe-down, so I've been working on that all week. I think it's going to turn out really well (I hope, anyway!).

Well, it's just about time to go start setting up for the aforementioned dance, so I'd better run now.


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