I haven’t really written much about school lately, but there were many happenings last semester. Where did we leave off? Professor Harridan berating the class and the school administration doing jack shit about it? I think so. In fact, I don’t think I covered a thing about last Fall. So here goes:
Dr. Eastern European Guy
Attempt number two at getting a professor for PreCal was significantly better than attempt number one. Instead of a shrieking, terrible ex-lawyer, I instead got a mild-tempered, friendly if sometimes difficult to understand gentleman from Bulgaria as my professor. Dr. Eastern European Guy (EEG for short) did a pretty good job of teaching and was always willing to help with concepts that I didn’t understand. Dr. EEG did totally fit the mold of the Eastern European Guy, though… gold necklace, open polo shirt with copious amounts of chest hair flowing out… I did not ask him if he was a Wild and Craaaazy Guy, but he could have fit the part. Hell, he even wore a track suit into class one day. I had OK classmates (although there was one dick asked to “borrow” my calculator during a test and didn’t give it back until I got mad at him) and there was really nothing of major note to report. I’m still not the biggest math fan but at least I kinda-sorta understand what Trig concepts are all about. I do wish that I would’ve had more time to get help studying, though. Final grade in that class was my first B. The streak had to end at some point, right?
The real trial of Fall semester was Anatomy and Physiology with Dr. Crazypants. Dr. Crazypants was fresh out of Grad school. Dr. Crazypants made me feel old as hell when Rhianna’s “Umbrella” started playing on Pandora and she said “Oh, this song reminds me of undergrad!” Dr. Crazypants had (and presumably still has) Big! Ideas! about pedagogy. Let’s integrate social media into the class! There will be things that you’ll need to do on Twitter! Let’s put a bunch of interactive quizzes in the middle of our studies! Let’s ignore the $200 lab book that was a requirement and free-form things! Let’s have “real” assignments and “optional” assignments, but you’ll get a C at best if you ace everything that isn’t “optional”! Don’t get me wrong, I did learn a decent amount in that class… but not as much as I feel I could. Y’see, although the class was mainly three hours of lecture twice a week, Dr. Crazypants’ tests were BRUTAL. Her rationale for this was that “since we’re all future health professionals, one mistake could KILL YOUR PATIENT!” I wanted to say “All I plan on doing is slinging pills, I don’t think that not remembering where minute fossas of the cranium lie is gonna kill someone”. I didn’t. The first test that we took nearly drove me to tears. The average score between both of the sections of A&P that took it was a 46. Out of 100. We even saw a graph and realized that it wasn’t a case of a few major outliers jacking up the average, the mean was just that damn low. Of course, this didn’t make Dr. Crazypants happy. We got lectured at about how we JUST WEREN’T TRYING HARD ENOUGH. Uh… I’m sorry, Dr. Crazypants. It’s not us. It’s you. Further tests kept up the brutality (although I did do better on some of them). I don’t think that I got above a C on anything but the final. Still, with the massive amount of “optional” busywork piled on me, I somehow pulled an A out of the class. I’m not going to question how even if I don’t understand it. I’m gonna take that grade and run like a sonofabitch. And don’t ask me about the structure of the brain… I STILL don’t get that shit.
And just to get it out of the way now that we’re more than halfway through Spring term, let’s look at…
Dr. Medical Miracle
Dr. MM has had damn near everything that could go wrong with her medically go wrong with her. You know that childhood was rough when stories begin, “When I got back to Grade Four after that first round of chemo…” Oh, and yeah. That Grade Four thing. Dr. MM lived in deepest darkest Canadia for a while— Winnipeg. While my spittin’ rage at Winnipeg has faded a little bit (you can change the logo on the sweaters, but they’re still the Thrashers and I hope like hell that they keep on missing the playoffs… go Avs, but if not the Avs go whoever knocks them out of the 8 spot), she’s also from Wisconsin. Yeah. What is tempering that is that she also got her Masters at the same university that I’m hoping to get into for Pharmacy school and she has given insight about the city to me. So, torn. What I can definitely say is that Dr. MM’s A&P class is a completely different animal than A&P was with Dr. Crazypants. We have a pretty set structure– Lecture for the first two hours, lab for the last hour (or so). Dr. MM is pretty quiet but I’m near the front of the room so I’m OK. My classmates aren’t bad, although I’m one of the younger ones. Lab work is from the lab book, needs to be handwritten in a comp book, and 3/4 of the labs seem to be busywork. The labs that haven’t been have are either very interesting or involve dissections, which I hate. So far I’ve had to dissect a sheep’s heart, a pig kidney, and I’ve got a big, horrible dissection waiting at the end of the semester… full pig. I don’t want to cut up a pig, goddamn it. I’d probably be more comfortable taking a scalpel to a cadaver. The pig undoubtedly didn’t have a choice in the dissection decision. Tests have been so-so– I did worse on Test 1 than I would have liked, but I knocked the first lab exam out of the park. If I can maintain my progress (or better still, do well on the remaining tests + research paper + lab exam) I’m going to end up with an A or B. Still, A&P has been hard as hell.
DD is my calculus professor. DD is from Haiti (as confirmed last week), is a wiseass, and… really rushes through things. He’s smart, but the entire class is “Here’s a question from the homework, do this this and this and bango, right answer”. No “Let’s have you guys do one, nothing else. I blame the fact that I took the class as a hybrid (allegedly, hybrid classes have an online instruction component, this is just “you’re smart enough to figure out how to do calculus with one three hour period a week”) on that. I have a passable understanding of limits. Basic derivatives are fine, but when we get into chain rule and stuff like that I’m still lost. Despite this, I managed to get results in the high eighties on the first two tests an an A on the third. I still have two more tests to go PLUS a comprehensive final. Tests and the final comprise 80% of the class grade, so I’m not out of the woods yet. Still, if I can get past this I can get past anything. I’m just… nervous. And I know that things are going to keep on steaming forward whether or not I can handle ’em or not.
On tap for Summer is the last liberal arts class that I need as a prerequisite (Human Geography, which sounds very anthropology-ish) plus another class to keep the ol’ federal loan humming along. Fall brings ABSOLUTELY NO FUN WHATSOEVER. Calculus-based physics (Let’s get that out of the way while my calculus knowledge is still somewhat fresh) and Statistics (the final math prereq). From there on out, it’s ALL SCIENCE CLASSES, ALL THE TIME. Bio 1 and 2. Cell Bio. O-Chem 1 and 2. Microbiology. Yikestown. Then making sure that I do well on the PCAT, and then making sure that I charm the pants off of the people at the pharm school I want to go to, and then I feel completely overwhelmed. Wait. I currently feel completely overwhelmed. And that’s just for the prereqs to get into that pharm school! If I wanted to stick around and get my degree (which is required for a lot of the other pharmacy schools and “preferred” for my school of choice), it’d be a mere 35-36 more credit hours. Two Phys Ed Classes. Another history (yay!). The second Calc-based Physics course. Threeve billion more Bio classes in the 3000 and 4000 levels.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to find a wall to beat my head against.