> jumping into life.

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first day of school: biology and fiction writing. in bio, we started talking about symbiosis, which led to a discussion of lichen, which led to a viewing of lichen under a dissection microscope, which led to everyone running outside and finding things to look at under the scope. we had some leaves, more lichen, a rock, bark, a cicada shell and a run-over snake. in fiction writing, we each came up with a handful of questions that we would ask someone if our lives depended on getting to know them very well in five minutes. then we partnered up and asked them, and then shared with the class. "these are the questions you should ask your character," said the professor. "nobody cares where they grew up if that doesn't affect the one thing they want most to do in life, or their definition of love, or the most important thing they've lost."

my bio class has nine people in it, including me. my writing class has six. my bio professor told us that when we're doing our weekly labs and can't have food in the classroom, we'll take a coffee break and go to the cafe across the street; my writing prof swore twice in the first hour. we're going to have two quizzes in bio, and one is actually a board game designed by a former student. acceptable final portfolio formats include lab notebook, ongoing notation, or interpretive paintings. when the college president gave a speech at the end of orientation, he did it in hiking shorts and a baseball cap, and told us that he had a few openings available for "best friend" position; we were all welcome to stop by his office any time and apply. corny, yes, but i see it as an improvement over my previous experience.