Semester-ly Review

As always, right on time. πŸ˜‰ Well… close enough right?

I took four classes, all technical: Chem 3B, E45, BioE 10, and Physics 7B.

This semester was tough. I mean it was crazy. Immediately the semester starts and I run into relationship trouble with Vicki and depression due to lack of research experience. So I try for URAP, and get three interviews offered, but no positions in the end. Others who get only one interview snatch the job. I need to work on my interviewing skills… fml. But unrelated, I got a position as a yearbook photographer!

Things with Vicki got better but then I was struck with a sick illness on the day of the Grignard lab. This incapacitated me, and the coughing persisted for a month afterward.

Then the workload began. Work, work, work, work, work. I’m estimating that for every hour of a non-physics lab, I worked 1.5 hours on the associated lab report during the following week. On the worst weeks I would have a 3 hour E45 lab and a 4 hour chem lab = 14 hours of lab writeups. The E45 labs were the worst and a struggle for a mediocre grade; NMR in chem labs can just go die. On top of that, I had Mastering Physics, which took 2-3 hours a week (sometimes more depending on the amount of evil contained in an assignment), and BioE HW, which required me to stay up to 4 AM every other week.

So at this time I’m beginning to be thankful I didn’t get a URAP spot because I decided to start SPA work for minimum wage pay. Oh well, I need the money. And it was my first REAL job experience. But man getting up for work on Fridays at 8 AM – which was followed by lecture, lab, and Kairos Bible Study, reduced me to rubble. Especially after rough lab report weeks. Saturdays regularly featured 2 PM wake ups.

Subsequently I started failing the midterms (as in, below average scores) because I started taking shortcuts, i.e. neglecting physics, relaxing at Sierra Lodge and NOT studying the day prior to an E45 MT…

My social life was dead. I had no energy to talk and no time to hang out. My exciting weekends went away as I couldn’t muster a waking up prior to lunchtime.

But I wasn’t depressed anymore; I just didn’t have time for that. For that I owe thanks to my classes, as bone-breaking as they were.

I am also thankful for Pastor Ed’s “Thank You'” series of messages which for now have turned my life around.

November came and my workload died down a bit. I had time to relax for two weeks. But then it was crunch time. The last week of classes pinched me tighter than ever before. And then, FINALS. I studied like hell for them. It’s a beautiful thing how a few bad midterm scores can motivate you like nothing else. I tend to do best in those scenarios – like the Chargers. On the other hand, whenever I have A’s on my midterms, I let my guard down, and I get owned (MATH 54 GRRRR). The net result is an A-/B+ net average. Whatever.

So of course, I ended up neglecting one class I felt good with – chem, after starting out strong in studying and switching my mindset completely to physics. That was a mistake. I haven’t checked my grades for that class, but I don’t think they will be pleasing to me.

The pace of this piece feels fast, as it was a fast semester. But I certainly learned a lot. I learned how to allocate my time efficiently. Compared to prior semesters, I feel like mastered finals (maybe not grade-wise, but in other ways)… with the exception of chem. I learned to be thankful of treasures and not to be bitter about the misfortunes, and I learned how to coexist with roommates. πŸ˜€ I sank to rock bottom, picked myself up, and received forgiveness. And in the process, found myself. And surprisingly on the last day I was surprised with another gift, which I will not divulge for now, but I can owe it all to Nina’s drunkenness (if she even reads this blog).

So as usual, I conclude with notable quotes from professors:

VOLLHARDT (CHEM 3B): “The whole melange”; “it’s like the Battle of Hastings”; “x reagent is HOT”

ZETTL (PHYSICS 7B): “They told me not to do this but” … subsequently does it

GRONSKY (E45): “For all you engineers…”; “you might want to consider x in your engineering profession” (alas, I am not an engineer though)

KUMAR (BIOE 10): I fell asleep in this class.

Future posts: traffic lights (?), probability, studying equation pt. 2, jack of all trades


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