Monday, August 30, 2004

College Memories

A nice progression from the last "college memories" post is a post about the class I mentioned last time: Scandinavian Mythology and Folklore. I took the class in the spring term of my sophomore year, 2001. It was taught by my teacher in Norwegian class, Linda. As soon as I heard about it, and learned that Linda would be teaching it, I knew I wanted to take it. She encouraged me to take it, and so I signed up for it when the time came.

The class was held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 P.M.-1:50 P.M. Because my Norwegian class was held from 11:00-11:50 A.M., I had a very short time to each lunch (as detailed in the previous post). So each Tuesday and Thursday I'd come into class with my smoothie, sipping away as Linda talked to us about the day's lesson.

On the first day, our class got a rude surprise. We all gathered room we were first assigned to, only to discover that people from another class were coming in that room too. The room was a bit too big for us anyway, but apparently there was some mix-up in room scheduling. After that, we tried to get assigned to the correct room, only to discover then that on one of the days class was held, our new room was assigned a different class in the last half of our class period!! So on one of the days we has class in the room the entire time, and on the other day we had to move to yet another room for the last half of the class. All of these classrooms were in the same building, by the way. What craziness!!

After we got the room scheduling figured out, we set to the business of learning about Scandinavian myths and folk tales. There were only about 15 people in the class, I'd say. The class was divided into four units, based on which textbook we'd be reading. The first book was about ancient Nordic mythology - Thor, Odin, Ragnarok and all that. It was highly interesting! And the textbook was fun and easy to understand. The second book was about Scandinavian superstitions and folk beliefs. HIGHLY interesting stuff!! Basically, we learned about the little rituals and beliefs that people hundreds of years ago had in the Scandinavian countries. The book for that was very informative.

The third book we read was a little compilation of Nordic ballads and songs. That unit interested me a lot, because some of the modern Scandinavian music I listen to is based on old ballads. I set up a day with Linda where I would bring in some of my Scandinavian CDs and play some of the ballads that have been modernized for my classmates. I even printed out translations of the lyrics for them and gave each student a copy. That was a fun day!! I love sharing my music.

The fourth book was about Norwegian folk tales collected by Asbjornsen and Moe. Three Billy Goats Gruff is one tale you would all recognize. I read Billy Goats Gruff in Norwegian for the class one day, and that was kind of nerve-wracking!

The final project for the class was something that each student could select. We each had to write a paper and present it in some way to the class. I chose to research the Finnish national folk tale known as the "Kalevala." I figured that I'd done so much research on Norwegian things that I ought to give Finland a try too.

I ended up getting an A in the class!! It was a blast, and I'm so very glad I took it.

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