With some anxiety, tomorrow I start the Advanced Methodologies class taught by Tom Jones and others. This is known as being a totally consumptive class. You are given the homework assignments at the end of each class. Each of which can take five or more hours of time outside of class (oh, and you still might not get the answer right). The next morning you come in 30 minutes before the class to review the answers and methodologies and then you attend the class (9:00 am to 3:00 pm). and…start all over again.
Of course, the “hazing” by those who have taken the course of the first timers begins immediately. When a newbie introduces herself to a graduate of the course, there is this long pause and then, “Oooooh. Good luck.” Usually this is accompanied with a look that assesses whether you are up for the task– or not. The newbie then asks whether the graduate has any tips or tricks for “survival”.
Here is what I have gathered.
Although the extra homework is optional, if you want to get the most out of the class, just do it. You paid for the course and now get the most out of it.
If you elect to do the home work, plan on spending 3-4+ hours in the Family History Library every night and/or on your computer.
You may not have time at lunch or dinner to eat, so stock some healthy supplementary food in your room. This will take care of some breakfasts and lunches. Our hotel food is not cheap (although the hotel room is quite a deal.) and by my calculations if I offset five meals I will be ahead on money expended and have saved all that time.
You get the syllabus the Sunday night before the classes start but you do not get the homework until the afternoon of the day before it is due.
Rumor has it that Tom Jones has added a homework assignment!
We are creatures of habit and so where you sit the first day is your “assigned seat” the rest of the week. Be aware that studies show  that students who sit in the middle and front of the class have better test scores I n the class. Guess where I will be sitting?
I am sure at the end of the week I will be able to report on how many dead bananas I have in my room, but until then I am on a steep learning curve!
What I have done since my last posting: this morning I attended the 30 minute presentation by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Absolutely lovely. (Did you know they can only be in the choir for a maximum of 20 years or age 60, whichever comes first?) Karen and I went to the grocery store and made arrangements to have “Dinner and Downton” after this evening’s reception for class attendees.
 “Classroom Seating Positions and College Grades,” extracted in whole from J. Cuseo, V.S. Fecas & A. Thompson, Thriving in College & Beyond: Research-based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hint, 2007); posted as SeatingPositionGrades.pdf at http://Altoona.psu.edu.