Review of my first semester at my second runthrough of college

Man, I thought I posted this a while ago, but looking at my entries, it seems to never have published. Very weird. Well, might as well post it here, I originally wrote it last month, on January 20.


Urgh…it’s just a little over one week until my second semester begins (classes start January 27, so in 7 days), so I figured it’d be wise to take stock of my situation. Specifically, go over each class, ruminate on what was easiest and hardest, and then review my experience as a whole and figure out what I did right and what I did wrong.

Alright, so lemme go over my classes from easiest to hardest.

EASIEST: Geo 101. This was an online class, so it was trifling, really. Just memorize the notes my prof put online and then put in the answers on easy-peasy multiple choice quizzes on the website. Nothing to say about this.

PRETTY NICE: Remedial pre-calculus. As I always say, I sucked at math throughout my youth, so I was astonished to have done so well in this course. It was pretty easy to take–showing up to class helped, and it was only twice a week at night, but really, all the notes were online, so as long as you showed up to the quizzes and tests and studied the notes you’d be fine. My prof also gave tons of free extra credit, like one extra credit question was literally just “draw a picture” and if you did well on a test he would give you free points on a test you didn’t do well on. I’m glad for that, but I wonder if I may be underprepared for true calculus. Guess I’ll just have to study harder…

HARD: Compsci 101. This was disappointing for me, because not only was the class very fun (I genuinely enjoy tinkering with programs much more than I thought I would), but I understood the material fine. I kept getting my ass kicked because of really dumb, stupid mistakes! I kept circling the wrong letters (B when I meant to circle A) and making elementary arithmetic errors on all the tests. Well, at least I managed to pull out with an A thanks to the curve, but still…

HARDEST: My evobio class, without a doubt. I got an A on this one, but there was so much material to memorize and the tests were so obtuse. The labs were also miserable, I utterly loathed them. However, thanks to a generous curve I managed to get an A. That should just about clear up my ‘outside major’ science requirements, so at least I won’t have to worry about taking anything like it again…for the foreseeable future, anyhow.

So, overall, what were things I did wrong–that I should keep wary of for next semester?

1: Sloppiness: That cost me SO MANY unnecessary points in compsci–as I mentioned above, circling the wrong answer, making completely unnecessary arithmetic errors, and so on, even when the material was easy. I really need to figure out a strategy to overcome it, but if my memory/mental energy has declined to the extent I fear, I wonder if that’s possible. I think I may have managed with my last compsci exam–I don’t think I could have bombed it if I ended up with an A, evem with a curve–but I’ll have to meet with my professor over break and ask about it in person, maybe he can give me advice.

2: Bad scheduling. I learned two very important things this semester: I am no longer capable of attending morning classes, and heading out to the same places *every weekday* takes a toll on my patience. Next time, I am definitely going avoid going to class before 1 or 2 PM, because traffic around my uni is terrible in the mornings but much more manageable in the afternoon and evenings. Also, having entire-day breaks is very appealing to me, I’d rather cram courses in on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in order to have Tuesdays and Thursdays entirely off. This is how it is for my next semester, from my schedule I think I have classes from 2 to 6 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but whole days off on Tuesday and Thursday. Granted, that’s easier as I only have 2 rather than 4 classes, and I won’t be so lucky as my career moves forward, but it’s definitely a goal to seek.

So, that was the bad. Here are things I did right:

1: Generally staying on top of things. While I suppose I might not have worked as hard as I should have, I *did* put in much more than the basic minimum. I went to office hours when I could, and though I didn’t cram for all my tests, I got started on them pretty well before their dates and thus did pretty well, aside from the aforementioned sloppiness. So while there’s room for improvement there, and probably necessary in order to do well on the tougher courses I’ll be taking, at least I still have my work ethic.

2: Not giving up or despairing, even when things were tough. As bad as Evo-bio was, I managed to chug through it without just throwing up my hands. And there were some tough spots in compsci, though math and geo were generally pretty easy. But despite it all, I never gave up and sallied through. This seems to have paid off very nicely, given that I got straight As!

And that pretty much sums up the previous semester as a whole. Now that I finally publish this–on Feb. 20–right now most of the above applies. Thankfully, I’m only taking 2 classes, so I’m not working as hard, but the classes I’m taking are a little more advanced than they were my first semester (true calculus and compsci), so I still gotta be careful, ESPECIALLY in regards to calculus. But overall, I’m keeping on top of things, my schedule is MUCH nicer, and at least this semester isn’t looking to be as stressful as my first. Here’s hoping things keep looking up…

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