Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

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Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby Myliatronic » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:59 pm

Hello friends! :)

This year will be my 7th burn, but my first trying to balance a full-time school schedule with my week on the playa (this year Burning Man overlaps exactly with the first week of the fall semester at my school). My class load is likely to be fairly heavy (Integrative Physiology major), but the burn has been such an integral part of my life and my yearly ritual of renewal that I am determined to make it work somehow. Likewise, my roommate (a playa virgin) is in school for microbiology and will have a ridiculous class load of upper division courses but is searching for a way to make Burning Man a feasible part of his year. I know he would have a life-changing experience at the burn, but I don't want to push him to go if it is going to derail him. Many of my friends have worked out the details with their professors ahead of time and stayed on top of their classes, and I've even met med school students who managed to make it to the playa for some playtime, so I know it can be done.

Does anyone out there have any advice or have any insight based on your own experiences trying to balance school and Burning Man? What process would you/have you followed to take care of school before/after/while you are on the playa? Did you feel like it was a good decision or did it overwhelm your ability to excel in your classes? How did it affect your enjoyment of the burn (did you shorten your week to compensate?)? How did you do in school upon returning to the default world? Where would you draw the line and make the sacrifice of missing the burn to devote yourself fully to your education? All thoughts, observations, experience and opinions are welcome; I would really love to know what you all have to say on this subject, and I'm sure there are others who could benefit from this discussion.

Thank you!
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby JDCookMS » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:24 pm

Although I'm a birgin, I can only tell you what I'm planning on doing as a Social Work major, with an overload of courses this Fall:

1. I'm talking with all of my professors ahead of time, which I have known most of them for over a year now so they're pretty lenient
2. I am going to be studying and reading ahead in all of my classes
3. Although we have a 34 hour drive from Mississippi, due to it being on Labor day it allows us to only miss a week of school. We will leave on the Friday night before the burn, then as soon as the temple burns on Sunday we will immediately leave so that we can be back in time for class on Tuesday.

So....haven't tried it before, but it is the first week of classes for you so that is helpful.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby CornMan » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:29 pm

I'd contact your professors to see if it is a problem and/or what you can do to keep it from becoming a problem. I'd show that you already have your textbooks and are ready to get an early start on whatever the professor wants to start on first. Ask for the syllabus. I wouldn't count on actually doing any of the work at the festival.

[edit] JDCookMS beat me to the punch on most of what I had to say.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby danibel » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:52 am

I have been to burning man the past 3 times and each time enrolled in some capacity of classes (two years I was enrolled part time, one year full time). The full time year was by far the hardest. I contacted all of my teachers in advance and luckily knew 2 of them from past classes. I bought all my books well in advance and some teachers did supply me with syllabuses and reading assignments. I stayed ahead as best I could and it worked out OK for me. I should also note that most if not all, of my classes were one day a week, it would be a lot harder to miss two classes, even if they are the first week. Usually the first class is all about the syllabus and rules and blah blah blah.

You have a better idea of what kind of recovery you need after the burn. It takes me a few weeks to decompress. But we all do what we gotta do.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby gaminwench » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:01 am

My daughter missed the 1st week of her soph year, to make her first BM...

She contacted professors, got syllabus and worked out assignments in advance...

For her, the most difficult part was that she got on a plane in Reno without having time to eat a good meal, shower and nap beforehand...
Dusty, exhausted and hangry (hungry-angry) when she landed in Boston... it took her a good while to recover her momentum...

So...
I would recommend allowing time in Reno for a hotel check-in, food and sleep;
then, onward!
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:47 am

Definitely echoing the "talk to the profs" sentiment. Also, remember that some schools will drop your registration if you don't show up the first day of class (or the first two days), especially here in broke-broke-broke California. It's easier to make exceptions in smaller, higher-level courses than in huge 300+ student lectures; if you will be enrolled for Chem 101 or whathaveyou, make sure you contact the right person - sometimes the lab coordinator is who you want, not the professor. S'long as you approach ahead of time and are reasonable about it, I think your chances are pretty good. In the end, we're human too :) You may find even that some of your instructors are jealous.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:50 am

Maybe this goes without saying, but keep on track this semeseter so that the professors will trust you.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby inProgress » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:21 pm

post an ad in your local craigslist for a body double - maybe make up a sudden acute skin disorder?

either way - be sure to take some reno time, improper re-entry will mess you up more than anything else....
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby MyDearFriend » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:06 am

theCryptofishist wrote:Maybe this goes without saying, but keep on track this semeseter so that the professors will trust you.


+10000

I have advised the student I will be subsidizing, ha, paying for him to be in two very expensive places at once, I have advised him to speak with the Dean of his college first, and get her on board, so he can then go to each of his professors and say, "The Dean suggested that I (what she said); do you think that will be enough?"

Bwahahahahaha, I have played on both sides of this game, so, I know how this works.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby 5280MeV » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:16 am

Speaking as someone who has taught both high school and college:

I would recommend spending three weeks over the summer to nail down the first two weeks of all your classes. Be way over prepared. That way you have the first week back to decompress rather than stress.

Also be patient with your new professors - you will probably need to win them back over. They are human, and they (hopefully) have put in a good deal of effort into planning the first week of classes, and so are likely to be somewhat miffed by students who had "something better to do" than go to their lecture.

Even if they are not personally offended, experience shows that most students who miss substantial amounts of class to take special vacations are a headache - the academic equivalent of sparkleponies - and capable of generating tons of extra work for the professor or TA. That said, there are spectacular exceptions to this stereotype, but it may take some convincing.

If the professor is not familiar with burning man, they are going to think that you skipped a week because you just had to go party at some music festival in the desert. If you are attentive in class, contribute to discussions, and/or actually use the office hours to ask well informed questions that indicate that you have done the reading, most professors will likely have changed their opinion by mid-October.

Also be aware that some professors are just opinionated nitwits who will not mark your essay an A no matter how much work you put in because they hate you. Just ignore them and take a B. No one really cares about 0.05 differences in GPA, so put your additional effort elsewhere. If you are in a math or science class with a professor that unfairly hates you, you can actually have fun driving them nuts by being a model student and getting all test answers right so that he/she has to give you an A.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby Bob » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:39 am

Boulder? Nobody's going to care.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby incubus_pantomime » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:31 am

I'm a birgin as well, but I've taken off many days of class in a row as an undergraduate student to attend music festivals. Here's what I've learned so far:

1) I'm not sure if your university has the same option, but when I registered for the next semester's classes, I was able to see the name of the professor that would be teaching that section of the course. Take note of the names (if you are given that information), and find out where their office is located. Most universities hold their fall registration during the previous spring semester, which means that these professors should be available for a meeting. I would meet with these professors before the class was scheduled to begin, and explained to them that I would be missing two or three days of classes (depended if the class was MWF or Tu/Th). I then asked them what I could do to stay ahead of the courseload, and not once did I have a professor that was upset about my predetermined absence. I think asking ahead of time shows that you are prepared, and that you respect the professor as an educator and as an individual.

2) If the name of the professor isn't listed with the course when you register, visit that department's main office and ask to speak to the staff member that is responsible for assigning professors to class sections. I've been able to weasel out the professor's name this way in the past.

3) If you think that your major could have anything related to anything that is going to be on the playa, pitch the idea of turning in an extra assignment to your professors as a way of showing that your academic life comes first. I've done this a couple times, and it's actually turned out in my favor. I was a photography minor in my undergrad, and I told my professor that I could take photos of people at a music festival that would tie into my aesthetic, and he bought it. I'm a graduate student studying Counseling Psychology (research interest in sex therapy), and a few professors have expressed an interest in my gathering first-hand interviews of people on the playa about their opinions on various sexual issues.

Lastly, this is so important:
5280MeV wrote:I would recommend spending three weeks over the summer to nail down the first two weeks of all your classes. Be way over prepared. That way you have the first week back to decompress rather than stress.


Hope this helps!
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby ellenoche » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:41 pm

All of the above are good points. In addition, I would add that when you get back to class, find a nice/good classmate who takes really good notes, especially someone with a computer, and ask "can I pretty please, borrow your notes for the past week, I couldn't make it b/c _______________", or I lost all of my notes, can you send them to me :D ?" Also, when you get back, introduce yourself to the instructor so they know who you are, and don't forget to participate in class and earn brownie points. Super important to talk to the professors ahead of time (not during or when you've come back from your trip) and ask about make up work, for the syllabus and which books to get. I thought I would have time to read/study on the ride up/back and during - but the excitement was too great to really concentrate!!

Luckily its the first week for you, so no big tests/papers. If there are, with proper notice, they usually extend the time for you! (BM fell third week for me - I missed a test and two clinical days for nursing school - the instructors were understanding and I still passed, yay!!)
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby new_world_order » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:41 pm

Myliatronic wrote:Hello friends! :)

This year will be my 7th burn, but my first trying to balance a full-time school schedule with my week on the playa (this year Burning Man overlaps exactly with the first week of the fall semester at my school). My class load is likely to be fairly heavy (Integrative Physiology major), but the burn has been such an integral part of my life and my yearly ritual of renewal that I am determined to make it work somehow. Likewise, my roommate (a playa virgin) is in school for microbiology and will have a ridiculous class load of upper division courses but is searching for a way to make Burning Man a feasible part of his year. I know he would have a life-changing experience at the burn, but I don't want to push him to go if it is going to derail him. Many of my friends have worked out the details with their professors ahead of time and stayed on top of their classes, and I've even met med school students who managed to make it to the playa for some playtime, so I know it can be done.

Does anyone out there have any advice or have any insight based on your own experiences trying to balance school and Burning Man? What process would you/have you followed to take care of school before/after/while you are on the playa? Did you feel like it was a good decision or did it overwhelm your ability to excel in your classes? How did it affect your enjoyment of the burn (did you shorten your week to compensate?)? How did you do in school upon returning to the default world? Where would you draw the line and make the sacrifice of missing the burn to devote yourself fully to your education? All thoughts, observations, experience and opinions are welcome; I would really love to know what you all have to say on this subject, and I'm sure there are others who could benefit from this discussion.

Thank you!
Love and light <3
Mylia


I am going through the same damn thing right now!!! I am an Ecology major and my upper division classes involved Microbiology, Evolutionary biology, O chem, and the rest begin with bio and end with ology... I am gonna volunteer my virgin year (2012) though, so maybe when I email my professors they will understand if I include the "volunteer" aspect. Maybe try that?
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby incubus_pantomime » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:59 pm

new_world_order wrote:I am going through the same damn thing right now!!! I am an Ecology major and my upper division classes involved Microbiology, Evolutionary biology, O chem, and the rest begin with bio and end with ology... I am gonna volunteer my virgin year (2012) though, so maybe when I email my professors they will understand if I include the "volunteer" aspect. Maybe try that?


I've never thought of the volunteer aspect! My brother and I are already set to volunteer at Lamplighters camp, so we could definitely use that angle in our sit-down meetings with our professors. Thanks for the awesome idea!
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby glitteranddust » Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:44 am

I've missed the first week or the last week of classes every year for Burning Man. I just contact my professors in advance and let them know and ask them not to drop me and to let me take the test at another time (most will, especially since I'm disabled so they can stick the student disability center with the job of proctoring it). Granted, it's probably easier for me since I'm on the mental health team with ESD and my major is Social Work. They're like, oh, that's different... well, have fun and you better not flunk my class. It depends on where you go to school/your teacher/ your major but if you're at a public college or university and you're an undergrad there's not too much to worry about if your classes are only once or twice weekly.

I've honestly gotten less prepared each year I do this. Missing the first week of class is pretty darn easy for me. If you intend to be there the rest of the time and study and work hard there's likely no reason you can't still get an A. Missing finals week on the other hand is a pain in the arse but can be done. The year I did it I was so worn down by the time I got to the playa that I was a total grouch more days than not. On top of that I was stuck taking a timed online exam in essay format at 12pm on a netbook that had the tiniest keys in the dark in a tent with the sound system blaring at me.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby Savannah » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:33 pm

glitteranddust wrote:On top of that I was stuck taking a timed online exam in essay format at 12pm on a netbook that had the tiniest keys in the dark in a tent with the sound system blaring at me.


What a mental image! :lol: That's amazing.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby JulzQ1 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:12 pm

I tried contacting as many of my professors as possible a couple of weeks before the burn. I went to a small liberal arts college so getting a hold of most of them wasn't a problem. The others I just left voicemails for and also made sure to contact my school to let them know I'd be missing the 1st week, and not to drop me from classes. I tried getting assignments ahead of time but wished I had planned better and actually did more of the work ahead of time.

It went alright, however had I prepared better, it wouldn't have been too big of a deal. I did feel pretty behind in two of my classes because I missed a lot of reading, and catching up was a bitch. I chose not to go to Burning Man the next year because I was taking all upper-division and knew it'd be too much. I wouldn't have taken back the experience by any means, but this was 11 years ago and I was only 20 years old at the time. Had I been going into it as an older adult and/or with better study habits and time management skills, I wouldn't have felt as overwhelmed. The key is just trying to get in touch with your professors, getting a syllabus, books, doing your reading and any assignments you may know you'll have.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby haolegolucky » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:19 pm

Whatever you do, do NOT skip notifying your professors. My school DROPS students who miss the first week without notice. Although BM is amazing, its not worth losing an entire semester for.

Good luck! My partner starts her first year of Law school the week before BM, and I'll be solo this year. :(
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby bluesbob » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:36 pm

I've missed the second week of school the last few years.

1. ALWAYS talk to your profs BEFORE the week in question. You might be dropped if you aren't there.
2. Find out who's in your class. Ask someone if you can copy their notes.
3. Get a syllabus. Find out what you're doing that first week.
4. Bring textbooks with you. I've spent hours reading my textbooks in Center Camp. Always a lot of fun.
5. Be prepared to feel like you're months behind everyone when you return. It's only been a week, but you also have to deal with playa withdrawals.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby Savannah » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:59 pm

Two thoughts (from one whose college years and Burn did not overlap, mind you):

* When you ask to borrow someone's notes, be sure to offer them the same future service, should they need it in a few weeks. Offer this right when you ask for theirs. It shows that you respect that they were actually there in class while you were out getting your Burn on.

* Lay out your clothes and pack a bag (with a note pinned to it reminding you to add wallet and phone, etc), if you plan on getting back from the Burn the night before you go back to school. You may not have time to do laundry or find . . . anything . . . the night you return. If you're like me when you get back from a Burn, you'll be tired, & your house may be (just a tad!) in disarray. But you don't want to show up to school or work the next day looking discombobulated and disorganized, making them wonder why they let you go in the first place. :lol:
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby C187 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:39 pm

A word of warning for art majors. You might have a professor wanting you to do a project related to your time at the burn. If you happen to have a professor like that here are some projects that could make them happy and take little time.
Glass - You can put playa dust into glass, just bag a lot of it.
Sketch- Charcoal sketches of people while sitting around center camp, just fill the pad
Print - Use flar collected as a springboard to etch an image of the flar into stone.
Photography - Just don't take pictures of nakie people
Mix - Overalls with flux fur edging dap'ed to death on plywood with glow-sticks and cucumbers in the pockets. Sprinkle on photos of the event around it.
Paint - Spend an evening with an easel. I would recommend on top of the pier this year.
Video - Same as photo just with more bass and acid flashbacks.
Design - A better map.
Cloth - Whatever you made for the playa.
Whatever else... These are just some of the things people I know, and myself have done to satisfy art professors in the past.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby brittknee555 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:09 pm

Most professors are fairly understanding, especially as long as you let them know in advance. Use travel time for getting reading done, if you work as well maybe try to take a few extra days off for when you get back so that you can focus on getting caught up with school work. Most undergrad classes don't have much in the form of assignments the first week, at least at my school.
This thread also has me curious about teachers... What do you do when you want to go to the burn? Is it fairly easy to get a substitute for the first week of school?
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:14 pm

There are constant mutterings of disatisatisfaction from and about teachers not going.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby 5280MeV » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:18 pm

brittknee555 wrote:Is it fairly easy to get a substitute for the first week of school?


Unfortunately, not in my experience. My contract was only two personal days, and never any before or after a long weekend, so at my school this would have been a no-go. While two personal days per year sounds draconian, we got the summer off, as well as two weeks around Christmas, so there was actually a ton of vacation time.

The first week of school is pretty critical for setting the tone of the course, establishing a rapport with the students, and establishing a system of classroom management. I imagine that most administrators would not be very enthused with the prospect of a teacher taking the first week off, especially a new teacher. I would look for a school that does not start the week of Burning man. Another option is to take Thursday and Friday off, which you might be able to get away with, and just go to as much of the burn as you can. It will be a rough Tuesday when you get back to school.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:21 pm

5280MeV wrote:Another option is to take Thursday and Friday off, which you might be able to get away with, and just go to as much of the burn as you can.

But...
....but...

what...if....

they...don't allow people to...

enter on Thursday or later...

Tragic!
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby brittknee555 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:50 pm

5280MeV wrote:I would look for a school that does not start the week of Burning man. Another option is to take Thursday and Friday off, which you might be able to get away with, and just go to as much of the burn as you can. It will be a rough Tuesday when you get back to school.


I have honestly not pursued a teaching career... yet, but that is sound advice. I often wondered why burning man always interferes with the first week of most schools. The labor day holiday makes sense but perhaps it's to keep the frat party vibe from taking over lol. :mrgreen:
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:17 pm

I doubt it. Or if it does have that effect it's not the intended one.
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:32 pm

Picking a college based on the opening date of Fall semester so you can make sure to go to Burning Man.

Think about that for a second.

If you actually need to, then we're done here. Why go to college in the first place?



EDIT: I see now that it was from a professors view, not student. Makes much more sense now. :D
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Re: Survival Guide for College Students Missing First Week?

Postby ranger biteme » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:41 am

I'm a college instructor. Lots of good advice here:

-Work three weeks ahead.
-Get notes from a fellow student.
-Inform the teacher and get all the assignments - you will probably be able to get them before the semester starts. I have all of mine typed up before the semester begins, most do. My syllabus and all of the homework is online. I have most of my handouts copied and ready a month in advance. The earlier you contact your teacher, the better.

If you can demonstrate that you are on top of things and working ahead most teachers are going to be cool with it.

If any of my fall students are going, they are in luck. My class will be cancelled for the whole week :wink:
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ranger biteme
 
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