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Things I should be studying for

It’s come to my attention that this space has had disappointingly little to say about my current institution of higher learning, where I’m getting learnt good.

This is, I believe, because it’s become normal to me. I try to let little faze me, and by and large I would like to think I’ve been successful in that.

Clocking in at a Big Kids Meal size of 13 hours, this semester is pretty light in terms of classes, as I’ve mentioned before. There’s been an emerging disproportionality between the various classes in terms of workload, which is to be expected, as well as welcomed. For example, CH102, my Chemistry lab, requires very little out of class work. Just a pre-lab once a week, the night before class, and a few follow-up questions after class.

In all, I’d like to think I’m doing pretty well, but the truth is that I am having a bit of trouble. Having teachers obliquely mention assignments a week before their due date and saying nothing else until it comes time to turn them in has tripped me up already. Also, adjusting to college tests tripped me up. I got Ds on the first tests in each of Chemistry 101 (CH101) and Calculus III (MA242) . But taking each grade as constructive criticism, as it were. For Calculus III, I knew the processes in and out, as I should, but I hadn’t memorized each minute formula. When I forgot the formulas for two of the six questions, and these two questions each counted 20 points out of the 100 available, my grade sunk. Lesson learned.

Chemistry is a much more inscrutable problem. Since all I got was a number grade on the test, without so much as markings on my returned scantron to alert me to which questions I missed, I have no idea what I need to study and improve. I’m sure if I asked the Professor, she’d just say to study it all. Helpful, eh?

But probably the most bothersome class of them all is this pesky E101, which is billed as Introduction to the College of Engineering. It’s a 2-hour per week class for which we’re getting 1 credit hour, which consists of sitting in an auditorium and hearing speeches about stuff like internships, co-ops, and the various engineering majors. It feels almost like a sales pitch every time. But the real killer is the homework. For this class, we have to design and construct one of a list of contraptions, such as a concrete canoe (small scale) or a bubble-blowing machine.

And just today, the teacher decided to change the assignment from “get up and give a five-minute presentation” to “create a five-minute video” on a topic in Engineering. This is clearly the first time he’s modified the assignment, and I’m not sure he’s quite thought it all through. For example, when someone asked where we are supposed to get video cameras from, he said that we could just use the cameras on our cell phones to record the video.  Clearly, this man wants quality product.

Outside of class, though, things are going well. I’m not finding a lot of trouble coming up with time for classwork, even with my job at SAS. This is partly due to the fact that I ended up giving up World of Warcraft after the group of players I had been playing with ejected me because of some lingering grudges. I’m not complaining though, because this actually comes at a rather convenient time for me. With a flotilla of new games coming around this season, I’d have been surprised if I remained faithful to WoW anyways.

Categories: College
  1. Grandma
    September 26, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    The first semester of college is obviously a time of adjustment, and one of the things most noticeable is that assignments are made and then not mentioned again until they are due. It is so easy to put them on the back burner and forget them until it is panic-button-time. I know, because I did plenty of that as recently as graduate school, although I did it less and less as I caught on that all-nighters aren’t fun.

    But to address specifically the Chemistry matter: the professor is required to maintain office hours, and to let the students know when those office hours are. So you should be able to make an appointment, take your scantron, and let her tell you which questions were missed. The scantron should have little red marks in the margin, but they don’t help if you don’t have the set of questions, and those were no doubt taken up and kept. Don’t assume that she’ll tell you to study it all; that really would not be helpful. I would think that she will be pleased that you asked. In any case, it would be worth a try.

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