Amber and I drove down to Blacksburg this morning to attend Virginia Tech‘s transfer student orientation, an all-day event. Most of it was the just blah-blah BS that could be expected: make friends for the rest of your life, work hard, greatest years of your life, etc. (The speakers were strangely fixated on UVa, something UVa doesn’t reciprocate at similar events.) The whole affair involved a great deal of walking back and forth the length of the campus in the ninety-something-degree weather, and not a great deal of substance, unfortunately.

We did, in our travels, see a great deal of the campus. The architectural theme is perhaps best described as “prison chic.” Every single building, with very few exceptions, looks like this:

Virginia Tech campus.

It’s impossible to tell how old the buildings are, because they’re all constructed so as to look identical, Disneyland-style. Some buildings actually have turrets, and many have arrow slits, as if their occupants may suddenly need to defend themselves against attacks by Saxons. It’s all more than a little silly, and really very monotonous.

The process of signing up for class came in mid-afternoon. It was an extremely frustrating experience. About twenty students and their parents crammed into a computer lab in the political science department, and Charles Walcott (who I had met previously) spoke to us regarding the course selection process. In a nutshell, virtually no classes were available. From the required 1000-level courses all the way up to the graduate classes, nearly everything was full. I actually ended up raising my hand and asking if he could list the classes that were available, since it would presumably be a much shorter list than the other way around. Thankfully, I took the time to familiarize myself with VT’s web-based class registration system a week ago, so when we all turned to our computers to start registering, I was able to beat everybody else to the punch. That’s not to say that it went well — on the contrary, I simply grabbed the first few political science courses that were open. (For those playing at home, it’s Political Theory (PSCI 3016), World Politics and Economy (PSCI 2055), International Relations (PSCI 3615), Knowledge and Reality (PHIL 1204), Urbanization and Development (UAP 2014).) I’m going to see if I can worm my way into an Internet Law course, since it would fulfill a requirement and I’d find it entertaining. They run from Monday through Friday, none earlier than 9:30am and none later than 4:50pm, with all but one starting after noon. I’d like to make some changes in the first week of classes, but I guess this will more or less be my first semester course schedule.

While we were in town, Amber and I stopped by the post office and snapped a picture of my apartment building. It’s the crazy-looking one:

Apartment building.

The building is actually much larger than this, running all the way down to W. Roanoke Road and halfway back to Draper Street. I was very pleased to find out today that there is not just a twice-weekly Blacksburg Farmer’s Market, but it’s held right outside my bedroom window. This apartment just gets better and better.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »