Today, finally, I’ve made one of my first steps in my actual academic mission here in Japan; I attended the school’s orientation class. The session was pretty much what you’d expect, basic rules for how to behave, how tests are graded, how your overall grades will be determined, general school rules, and other random facts.
The most surprising thing about this was that my final grade is determined during a conference between my teachers. The way it was explained (and there was a lot of room for misunderstanding), was that although I will be given test scores, the final grade is to be determined during this meeting. For me it’s a sad goodbye to the relatively objective grading of technical classes, and a welcome back to the subjective, fickle, and suspiciously whimsical grading in the humanities. I suppose I’d feel better if I was the kind of student who thrives in this kind of environment, but I have always felt better when I know exactly how my grade is computed.
This is not to say I’m really worried about it, just that I’d like to minimize ambiguity.
Other than that, the rules are pretty much what you’d expect of any school. I guess another surprise was that it’s actually a school rule that we cannot seek a driver’s license. Their stance is that it takes a lot of time to attain one which would take away from time spent studying, and, as our guaranteer, they would be faced with a lot of paperwork should we get into an accident.
Anyway, tomorrow is the Commencement Ceremony, and then, finally, classes will start on Thursday. It seems like an odd day to start classes. If I ran this thing, orientation would have been last Friday, the commencement ceremony would have started on Monday, and Today would have been the first day of class. I’m sure they have a reason for spacing it out like this, but I just don’t know what it is.