First Semester in Review

This was good for me, so I’ll return the favor. A review of my first semester of college is better made now than never.


Engineering was pretty bad. Both teachers were clear, fair, and just nice guys, but the program and career do not appeal to me. That, and a couple specific problems.

A major part of the first semester engineering classes were two group assignments, which could have been quite rewarding had I not been in a group that I’m just not in the mood to rant about. If I wanted to rant, I could let a pretty huge one loose, but we ended on good terms, so I’ll just leave you guessing at the details. Of course, I can’t blame that stressful thoughts-of-murder–inducing experience on the engineering program, which is why I had to seriously think about changing course.

What I didn’t have to blink to realize was the inanity of about half of what we learned in first semester engineering, specifically the enormous focus on Microsoft Office. This is insulting for at least three reasons: (1) that we were tested on what a particular menu item or button does; that information is useless when Office 12 comes out, (2) that even if that information was lasting, they had nothing better to teach us, and (3) that I use I’m sure the more advanced courses are much better about this sort of bullshit, but it’s probably a bad idea to design a course that leaves students with a taste of “What the fuck was that?”.

In the end, i.e. yesterday, I switched over to CS.

Calc II was hard; I passed, but badly.

Cell Bio was fun. It was a challenge at some points, since I hadn’t taken biology since eigth grade, but there was no stressful work—just studying and labs, and I ended up doing well in the class. It is not really in line with my studies, so I am glad I had a chance to dive a little bit deeper into bio than I had in school.

Russian for Russians was my most practical class. The class was very relaxed, and the teacher obviously cared most about the students learning, with all of the other things teachers tend to bother about, like grades, a far second. According to my parents, my spoken Russian improved, and now I’m mostly literate, which can’t hurt.

Campus Life

Beats living at home, except that my friends are all over the place. Frisbee is prevalent, and I joined the competitive team, in addition to just playing random games.

I live right next to the nature preserve, which is good for sanity. My building is quiet—anti-social, really—but there’s enough to take a break from, even there.

Sorry for the bore, but the interesting stories were cut from this general review. I told the better ones to friends in my month of vacation, and besides, they are the type of anecdote better told in private, or beyond a statute of limitations.

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This was written on Saturday, January 21, 2006 by Lenny.


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