17 November 2009

College gets busier, life gets harder...

My DVR is getting overcrowded like California prisons as I'm focusing so much more on work.

Class overviews:

Calculus III (MATH 32) - currently learning double integrals, test Monday on multivariable differentiation and integration.

Chemical Calculations and Concepts (CHEM 10) - learning gas laws. My teacher has this great online program (Online Web Learning, or OWL for short) that lets me self-learn from home in addition to the lecture. For my class, which is a remedial one I'll take before taking General Chem next semester, I take both activity and lecture sections. The lecture professor is a pretty humble person who just, well, either teaches from powerpoints or gives tests. She's very straightforward and helpful. On the other hand, right after my lecture sections I have my activity session where the teacher demonstrates problems on the board (in contrast, in lecture the professor just teaches us what the concepts are) and has question-and-answer sessions. Activity professor has a much louder and energetic personality than my lecture professor. He's a former Army captain who tells a lot of funny stories and jokes in between problems. But yes, he also gives us homework for each unit.

Introduction to Engineering (ENGR 10) - scrambling to get robot project done by next Tuesday for the test run. It's fun and overwhelming at the same time. Teams in my lab class were given kits to assemble a robot that would simulate a search-and-rescue operation, with beacons acting as a human and a hazard. It moves based on a programme written in C language. We've had all month to do it, and given that we meet 3 hours one session every week it ain't easy. Although we've built it we've suffered technical difficulties all along.

Meanwhile, the lectures are given in an auditorium. We've learned everything from wind turbines to circuits to Excel to C programming to solar cells to CAD. And right now to wrap up the course we're learning about ethics.

MUSE Class: Secrets of Success (PSYCH 96NQ) - a small, 15-person seminar that discusses the ideas of success that Stephen R. Covey put forward in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It's creatively structured, with many teacher/student interactions and flexible assigning and grading. I met some great people in this class!

Yoga: This is my last class every Monday, and although it's supposed to go from 3:30-5:20, my instructor always ends 30 mins. early. Great way to relax after a long day. Instructor is a Santa Claus-faced hippie who's had a lot of experience with yoga. In my first class he narrated about discovering yoga in the 1960s while growing up in San Francisco and how he got busted in the Grand Canyon back in 1968 for smoking pot. He also published a short yoga instructional book that we use in class!

On Sunday night, I signed up for the classes I'll take next semester:
- General Chemistry (CHEM 1A)
- Programming Concepts and Methodology (CMPE 30) (CMPE is short for Computer Engineering, my major)
- Discrete Mathematics (MATH 42)
- English Composition 2 (ENGL 1B) (Because I took AP English Literature in high school, I can skip English 1A in college)

At first I didn't really think I'd enjoy it too much at SJSU given that San Jose has been my hometown since 1998, and I wanted to go to a UC (I applied to Davis, Irvine, and San Diego, but because I slacked off too much during high school I got rejected). However, SJSU has been good to me despite all the hardships. It has a diverse student body; I see all types of people round here. Compare that with a UC, which I hear is dominated by nerdy Asians. I see people dressed in all sorts of styles. People from all over the world and of all ethnicities come here. When I walk down campus I can hear people conversing in Chinese, Hindi or any language of India, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, French, German, whatever!

The downsides, however, is that the campus is pretty small and gets a bit boring after a while, but at least i can navigate it. Its football team has been near-winless this season, so I've spent my weekends watching other schools (like USC, Michigan, Cal) instead. Haha, way to lack school spirit. But today the men's basketball team won its home opener. And our soccer teams have high standings in the Western Athletic Conference.

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