Starting classes, and other stuff


Sorry I’ve been slacking on the travel blogs! I guess it was bound to happen; a post a day gets to be a little much. There also hasn’t been as much exciting stuff going on, and I haven’t been taking as many pictures. And I haven’t really been in a blogging mood. But now I am in a blogging mood, so this post will probably be excessively long with very few pictures. Fair warning.

So last Monday, I finally started classes. It felt bizarre, since I’m still in summer/vacation/traveling mode, but I think it’s going to be a really chill and enjoyable semester. The first class I’m taking is World Religions, which I think will be interesting, but I can’t say I’m super excited about it. I’m mainly taking it because it fulfills one of my UNC gen-ed requirements. One of the guys in my class was a Buddhist monk in India for ten years though, which is pretty cool. I’m hoping he’ll share some of his experiences with us!

The second class I’m taking is Photography, which I’m definitely excited about! It also fulfills a gen-ed requirement, and since it’s sort of impossible for non-majors to get into photography classes at UNC, being able to take a photography class here and get credit for it is pretty awesome. Also, my professor let me borrow one of his cameras for the semester, so I have a snazzy Canon to shoot with whenever I want! And I can borrow lenses and tripods and everything from the school if I need to.

Every week we have a new assignment designed to get us familiar with different aspects of the camera, and last week it was shutter speed. Slow shutter speeds give you image blur, while fast shutter speeds give you a freeze-frame effect. Both help you see things that you can’t see with the naked eye, which is pretty awesome. Here are a couple of the pictures I took for slow shutter speed:


I love my macbook


Shutter was open for 5-10 seconds on these, and I just moved the camera around…pretty cool

And here are some of the pictures I took for fast shutter speed. Basically I spent the afternoon chucking things into water, because I think freeze-frame water photography is the coolest thing ever.


This was the very first picture I took, and it’s one of my favorites!

IMG_1434 IMG_1439 IMG_1489 IMG_1479 IMG_1498

I also made Lydia jump into the pool so I could take pictures of the splash. She gets major props for actually doing it, since the water was probably about 60 degrees, if that.


We have to choose a theme/concept for our final portfolio at the end of the semester, and I think I want to do something with water. Water has always fascinated me from an artistic standpoint, and I chose water as my theme for my final visual art portfolio in high school, so I think this will be a nice little continuation. Plus, since I’m right by the coast, I have the ocean to work with, too! What better opportunity to take cool water pictures?

I’m also pretty excited about my third class, which is called Introduction to Research Methodology and Evidence-Based Practice (quite a mouthful, eh?). It’s designed for chiropractic students, which is awesome because I like chiropractic medicine a lot, and I think it’s pretty unusual in the US to have an undergraduate chiropractic program, so I feel like this class is a unique Australian experience.

Basically, the class is trying to teach us how to find/read/understand scientific literature, how to assess its quality, and how to make clinical decisions based on the available research. This is essentially what I do both independently and for my job, so it’s kind of awesome to get to take a class about it! I also think it’ll be pretty easy for me, which is a bonus. On the first day of class, my professor asked us who was familiar with PubMed, and I was the only one who raised my hand. Saying I’m “familiar” with PubMed is a bit of an understatement.

Other noteworthy moments since the last time I blogged include:

-Going to Freo specifically to get Mexican food, the Mexican place closing just as we walk up to the door, and finding an awesome burger place instead that serves grass-fed meat and has gluten-free buns. I was the only one from our group that got a burger, because everyone else decided to wait the two hours until the Mexican place opened back up, but I was starving and the burger was awesome. And it was only a little awkward having seven people watch me wolf it down (very gracefully, of course) while they nibbled on fries.

-Going to the Freo markets again, and finally finding loose leaf lemongrass-ginger tea.

-Still not going to Perth. Gah.

-Having an entire email conversation with the owner of the only ice cream company in Australia that doesn’t add gums or thickeners to their ice cream, in which he apologizes that the ice cream is temporarily unavailable in Western Australia and offers to give me a tour of their Auckland cafe and give me an ice cream tasting when I’m there in November.

-Subsequently giving up on the search for quality ice cream (since it apparently doesn’t exist in WA) and buying two half gallons of additive-y ice cream, along with three gluten-free Dominoes pizzas. (It was necessary. Really. Rough day, y’know?)

-Finally playing guitar again, at a friend’s flat where they have a couple guitars. I went over there again today, after my plans to rent a guitar for the semester were thwarted by stupid rules like “minimum rental period of 12 months” and “no renting to non-Australian residents.” Hrmph.

-Coles (the grocery store) playing N Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye.”

-Finding salsa in Coles. I think this actually happened simultaneously with the previous item, which makes it even better.

I don’t have class on Wednesdays or Thursdays, so tomorrow I might finally go into Perth and explore! Hopefully it doesn’t rain.

4 Thoughts on “Starting classes, and other stuff

  1. Anne luck on July 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm said:

    The lemon photo is my favorite too Alyssa. Funny, I just took a bunch of shots this am in the garden, and I was trying to get some that looked more like YOUR style. I just know you will love that class, and take some phenomenal photos! What a perfect class for studying abroad .I miss you Sweetie!

    Love, Mom

    • When I get home, I can teach you how to adjust the manual settings on your camera! It’s fun 🙂 It really is a perfect class for while I’m here! Miss you too!!

  2. karen on July 31, 2014 at 8:34 am said:

    The pic’s are great. Hope your having fun too…oh and don’t forget to

  3. Grass-fed beef with gluten-free buns? They must have gotten the word you were coming and set up the restaurant just in time! When’s the last time you had an actual burger on a bun?? I’m starting to play with the manual settings on Mom’s camera to get good flower shots…I think I’ll try the shutter speed to see if it will take similar water shots as yours.


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