Confessions of a 32-Year-Old Sophomore, Summer/Early Fall 2015 Edition

Confessions of a 32-Year-Old Sophomore, Summer/Early Fall 2015 Edition

While I slog through Fall Semester, I thought I’d keep everyone (and Future Me) updated on things.  Hi, everyone! Hi, Future Me!  Have the Avalanche won another cup?  Are the Braves threatening to move to a new stadium again?

Dr. Statistician

I can’t think of a clever name for my Stats professor, so I’m just gonna go with “Dr. Statistician”.  Dr. Statistician’s class was, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, an intro-level Statistics course.  And I enjoyed it!  I think that I was able to more readily apply concepts that I learned in that class to all of the stuff that I’ve done so far than any other class to date.  (Although I know that will change, but that comes later in this post.)  Of course, a few months out I don’t exactly remember everything– that’s the problem with summer classes.

Also, I was able to do things more quickly and intelligently with my newer, fancier calculator that never got the market share than the stupid TI-83/84 series ones that they’re still recommending.  SO THERE!  EAT A DICK, TI, FOR NOT PROPERLY MARKETING AND PIMPING THE n-SPIRE!

Colonel Geography

Col. Geography is, as I’m sure you can surmise, a retired army colonel who used to teach geography (among other things) at West Point.  (That’s how I found out he was a former colonel– looked for his name to be mentioned somewhere on West Point’s site.)  Even though a lot of the stuff in his class was old hat, I did learn a fair bit of new things from taking his class about why people live where they live.  Plus his class was an excuse for me to get some fry sauce from the Land ‘o Zion and serve it up as a Unique Ethnic Food™.  I had to use fries from Steak ‘n Shake so it wasn’t completely authentic, but CLOSE ENOUGH!

Both Dr. Statistician and Col. Geography liked me, which always helps classes go by faster.  It’s always good to have your work marked as “superlative” and to have your prof state to the class that a certain student who got their work turned in “really set the bar high” for everyone else.  Even though we didn’t have a curve in that class, it made me feel like a curve killer.

Oh, Pepe. You always know what to say.


Professor I’m An Expert In Teaching, But You’re Going To Have To Teach Yourself From The Book

This was Class Numero Uno for Fall Term.  Calculus-based physics.  I bought my book (International Edition, because it’s $175 cheaper to buy a book that’s printed and written in the US, shipped to the UK, purchased by a company in Singapore, shipped to Hong Kong, and then shipped back to the US than to buy the US release of the book), was mentally prepared for a semester of tough work, and then…

I get to class.  I am lectured to for a good hour and a half about educational theory and how lectures are bad and how this professor has a doctorate in quantum physics and a second in educational studies or something of the like and how he’s taught for soooo many years at other schools and knows exactly the best way to drill education into our heads and how we’re going to have to learn how to code in Python because you can do physics simulations in that language even though coding ≠ physics.  I’m excited at first, because yay, new means of pedagogy.  Then Professor Smartypants tells us how we’re going to have to teach ourselves everything from the book but use him as “a resource”, and how class will be all labs but we’re expected to know, verbatim, everything from the chapter.

Uh… guy… if I wanted to teach myself physics from a book, I WOULD HAVE DONE  THAT ALREADY.  I know that educators are decrying the commodification of college courses, but seriously… I’m paying good money to be taught.  Not to read and hope I understand and ask questions (but only during times that I’m working due to his limited availability) to a guy who’s setting himself up as some kind of wise man that you need to climb Mount Bullshit to talk to.  I’m more about using books as a resource to lecture material rather than vice-versa, and having open, in-class discussions.  Maybe Professor Too Good To Teach has found that his method works well with lots of students.  That’s fine!  More power to him!  I just know that I do best in a semi-traditional lecture setting.  I had bad vibes after this class.  I conveyed said bad vibes to KLynne, who said, basically, that I should drop the class like I’m holding contraband and the five-oh are in hot pursuit.  Rather than being wishy-washy about it (and having another Professor Harridan situation on my hands) I proceeded to hop online, bail on that class, and add another.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to get into another class that’s a prereq for Pharm School, but I did get something that is a degree prerequisite, if nothing else.  That’s gonna come later.

Dr. Kenya!

Dr. Kenya! gets an exclamation point after his name because he is so very, very enthusiastic about what he does and what he learns.  He’s a biochemist by trade (and was very excited when I said that my degree path is biology with a biochem emphasis, even if I am going toward Pharmacy) who spends his days working at the CDC but, as he put it, “got bored at night because his kids are older” and started teaching at my school for something to do.   He lectures in an entertaining manner, uses an antenna that he ripped off of a thrift store boom box as a pointer,

He lets us know that he is very aware of the fact that all of us have full-time jobs (it’s my first evening class) and that he’s tailoring the class to fit our limited time.  First test is Friday, we’ve had a few labs already that have gone well, and things are (knock on wood) going well so far.  Plus Dr. Kenya! has also taught genetics in the past, which means that if he’s doing that again, I might be able to take him again.

Dr. Wearable Technology

Honestly, I’ve only met Dr. WT once.  He was a nice guy when I met him, we talked about his Apple Watch, Google Glass, and what wearable to get.  The class is Intro to Computing— which I was, admittedly, too lazy to test out of— and is a hybrid, which means we meet “a limited number of times”.  In this case, it basically means that the class is online and we can go to lecture on Saturdays if we need extra help with any of the things that we’re discussing or MS Office products we’ll use.  I might be popping in to make appearances during some of the Excel and Access stuff, but right now we’re focusing on PowerPoint.

I will also be the first to admit that I’ve learned a few things in the class– Powerpoint (and I assume the other stuff in Office) has a decent background removal tool, and that paired with a circular crop and a background fade can make stock photography look decent.  Of course, if I actually knew Photoshop I could assuredly do better, but that’s a skill that I’ll just lean on KLynne to do for me I have yet to learn.

Updates on all this and more will follow at the end of the term… and looking ahead I’ve got Attempt #2 at Physics for Scientists (provided I can get the other professor who teaches the class), O-Chem if I can’t get into the class I want, and Bio 2.

Progress is slow, friends, but it is progress.  I just need to keep on telling myself that.



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