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3.5.1.14 York University

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York University is located in Metropolitan Toronto and offers both Applied Linguistics and Linguistics.

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Written by applelinguist

August 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm

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Weeks 1-2

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The last two weeks have been intense, but somehow they’ve gone quickly with numerous orientations, meetings, and various deadlines. I had a three-day weekend to prepare for the PhD experience. It may be the last three-day weekend I will have for a long time. To celebrate, I hosted a party of other newbies in the English department and the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching department to mask my own loneliness. It was a good idea. Since the party, I have become much more productive and I even got some extra leftover food.

In a few hours, I will jump on my bike for the five-minute ride to campus to take my first class in computational linguistics. I have already worked 6 hours this morning on getting the website ready for the class I’m going to be teaching and finishing some online classes in order to be able to conduct research. I’m getting the feeling that this day will not be unique.

My advice is to spend time making friends and make sure you enjoy being busy before you decide to begin a PhD.

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August 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm

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Day 5

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The long nap the day before caused by 100 + Tucson heat and a five-minute bike ride in the middle of that heat had made sleeping nearly impossible. My Dad also couldn’t sleep and he wanted to leave at 3am. At 2:55 he put his hand on my chest to wake me up. At 3am, I was waving good-bye to him as he had to me and his father had to him so many times.

I went back to bed and missed my 5:30 alarm. My plan to go for a bike ride would have to wait. Still, I got on my bike at 8:03. My door-to-door travel time was 6:23. Renee was there again. We are the early birds.

Most of the students returned to the spots they had found the day before. I got to chat with a few others; Tom from Long Beach and Jose from New Mexico. Another smooth day of orientations were under way.

At the end of the day we got to see our ‘offices.’ They are actually pod spaces that we share with a few others. I’m going to share with Brianna. I’ll meet students at E2.

With a new fisherman’s hat I purchased at Arizona Hats, I got on my bike with the back of my next protected and hydrated furiously as I pedaled in 105 heat.

Written by applelinguist

August 13, 2010 at 5:38 pm

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Day 4

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Day 4 – Thursday, August 12, 2010

Orientation Day. Today was my official start of my PhD program. I got up early. I could hardly sleep and even though I was ready to “go to school” on time as my Dad told me “to have a good day at school,” I felt myself getting nervous. When I jumped on my bike at 8:02 for the 9am orientation, I pedaled with a sense of premonition. This is a route I would get to know well. When I arrived on campus it was 8:06. I was early. Another girl, Renee, and I entered an empty room.

The first conversation I had that morning made me nervous. Then I was fine. But as others filed in, I could see that many were more nervous than I was. I didn’t have preconceived notions of what orientation was supposed to look like, but I found it smooth. Everything was explained professionally and with a sense of self-depreciating humor. We broke into a smaller group and then a smaller group still. I liked the people in my group and even found one of them more attractive than the others.

At 1pm, I jumped on my bike for the 5-minute sauna jaunt back to my casita (like a cottage). I was wiped out. My Dad and I went to Chili’s again for lunch. Then I came home and took a nap. I could barely wake up.

Note about my Dad: My Dad traveled from Texas to Tucson to help me unpack. We hung out as friends. I’ve never considered him a friend, but it dawned on me that he is actually one of my best friends despite our personality differences. He stayed an extra day to wait for the gas to be turned on and to wait for a replacement cell phone to arrive. He took off at 3am the next day.

Written by applelinguist

August 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm

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Day 3

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Day 3 – Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today I got my student ID card (CatCard) and did some shopping to get the apartment in shape. My Dad and I had lunch at Chili’s and went to University Ave. in the evening where we enjoyed good conversation and pizza.

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August 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

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Day 2

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Day 2 – Monday, August 10, 2010

I left at 10:52, an hour later than I wanted from Los Angeles. The first couple of hours on the 10 passed by quickly as I was slowly released from the grips of the freeways of Los Angeles. But it was a brief respite. The traffic leading to casinos, Palm Springs, and Indio are just as intense. Still the increased traffic kept me going toward Blythe.

As I was crossing the border from California to Arizona, a Border Patrol agent, seemingly on cue sidled up alongside me only to pull over a gray truck with tinted windows. What was border patrol doing between the California and Arizona state lines? Creepy. Law and Order may not be what it appears.

As I drove five hours without stopping, it was nearly 4am. I didn’t want to stop, but I thought it was necessary. I used a roller as a pillow and found a 20-minute nap position. I got back on the road. My Garmin GPS indicated my arrival time would be 7:30am — in time to beat the heat while unpacking the Penske truck I had rented.

But the smooth ride I had experienced suddenly. The steering became loose. I felt as if I was hydroplaning on dry pavement. When I slowed down, the experience changed little. I had to find the nearest truck stop. The customer service agent scheduled an examination. The truck drivers and mechanics at Tonopah surprised me. Far from being gruff types I expected, they were all some of the best professionals I ever came across. Each person listened and offered helpful advice. They showed legitimated concern for the truck’s issue. The diagnosis? The wheels were tight and the truck was within the recommended weight. The only theory banded about was that the contents shifted. They hadn’t. They were tightly in place.

At 7:30 am, I finally left the truck stop and my new arrival time was 10:30. When I arrived my Dad was waiting and we unloaded the truck in 42 minutes. We spend our first day in Tucson getting the place together.

Written by applelinguist

August 13, 2010 at 5:17 pm

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Day 1

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Day 1 – Monday, August 9, 2010

I don’t begin my classes formally for two weeks, but with my boxes packed all around me the time is near until I depart. I’ll spare the details from today’s plans, but it’s busy. After picking up the rental truck, a friend of mine is coming to help me load the truck. It’s then time to finish my final evening class before crossing the Mojave and Sonoran deserts at night. For those unfamiliar with the American Southwest, I’ll be traveling from Los Angeles to Tucson, Arizona to begin PhD studies in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching at the University of Arizona. For now, I’ll demur my musings about the Arizona political situation, but I certainly wonder what it is going to like near ground zero of some very incendiary politics.

Anyway, the PhD studies themselves should be enough to keep me occupied. For the next two weeks, I’ll move, unpack, get the micro infrastructure of my life established (utilities turned on, parking passes, routes to my grocery stories and bicycle shops set) and of course, attend countless orientations. They are a necessary evil. So I am told. And so, the PhD begins with a schlep in the city of angeles and hustle across a great expanse, a portend of life to come?

Zach

Written by applelinguist

August 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

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