It's rather amusing that despite the four years of working - and in that line of work having to meet and query strangers everyday - I get butterflies on the first day of class.
In the end, it turned out ok. The class is a pretty small one - eight of us. And it was a bit of relief to find out that I'm not the only one struggling to make sense of both the long reading list and the material.
The prof started off the first hour with a quick but very clear and logical rundown of the history of the British empire, which kind of answered some questions I'd been having about some of the readings. It makes me realise how ignorant I am of world history. In my first year at junior college, I took History but only learnt about SE Asia and modern world history. I'd heard of things like the Seven Years War but never really knew what it was about.
The second hour he opened it up to us, to talk about what we've read and any questions we had. I liked that he was rather casual and that he didn't talk down to us, as some lecturers are prone to doing.
After class, went to sit out in the sun with the rest of the classmates to chitchat and divide up the work for the seminars. They're a pretty nice bunch, with most of them being younger - having either just finished their undergrad degree or having just a year since school. The one who is older has quite a bit of experience related to this field, having worked for an NGO, so has an interesting point of view.
And at night, the RAs of this building (it's an off-campus international postgrad university residence) took about 50 of us on a pub crawl, to those dark, woody, small little places known as English pubs - well not as dark as I'd expected (I suppose I was imagining speakeasies). All were within five minutes walking distance to the flats (told you it's party central). Didn't want to drink much so just had a couple of half-pints, which cost about 1.5 pounds each.
It was interesting to meet people from the other floors. My floor seems to be mostly Asians, except for 1 Canadian, so meeting people from Turkey, South Africa, Mexico was great.