It's in the Books...

The worst semester of my academic career is officially over as of today and I couldn't be happier! This has been the longest and most difficult semester yet and although I have so much more to go, I feel very accomplished today.

Final grades are not posted yet so I don't have any final tallies for you, so I thought I would look back to my post on January 21st, where I prophesied what the semester would be like. Won't you join me? The blue text is from January, the red text from today.

ANTH 235 - PRINCIPLES IN ARCHAEOLOGY
  • The teacher is hilarious and very well educated in his field. The tests are not cumulative which gives the students the advantage but there is a 12 page paper due by April 30th. I anticipate that I will enjoy this class tremendously.
  • This teacher wasn't just hilarious, he was absolutely brilliant! I mean literally brilliant, he graduated with his PhD before he was 21 years old. He changed my world when it comes to archaeology. Additionally, he is just an outstanding human being. The tests were difficult but fair and the paper was a true challenge.
MCB 182R - INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY II
  • Again, the teacher is hilarious and loves plants (a little too much if you ask me, plants just aren't that interesting). I have heard his tests are tricky but all the material comes from his Powerpoint presentations. This class focuses on biology at the macro scale rather than the micro scale like last semester. Thus, I anticipate that I will enjoy this class about 50% of the time (unlike last semester which I enjoyed the class 0% of the time).
  • I will be honest, I didn't like this class much more than I did the first biology class. Perhaps that is just another reason why switching my major was a good move. His tests were VERY tricky and difficult, which I think is not an accurate assessment of your knowledge of the material. Switching one word of a sentence tests your ability to MEMORIZE, not your ability to conceptualize the material.
MCB 182L - INTRO BIOLOGY II LAB
  • I have formed no opinion at this point as the class begins tomorrow and I haven't yet met my TA (teaching assistant).
  • I formed a very close friendship with my lab partner in this class, a friendship I hope to continue for a long time. Other than that, this class was a joke. The dissections were kind of cool, but ultimately I have a difficult time rationalizing the deliberate murder of harmless animals. English was not my TA's native language, so understanding her was an extreme challenge. She was nice, but not organized.
ANTH 395D - SPECIAL TOPICS IN BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
  • Oh dear God, I think I might die. This class is all about Charles Darwin's life and legacy. We are currently reading his first book, "The Voyage of the Beagle" of which I have read over 200 pages in the first week. The remainder of the book will be completed next week (supposedly). The three other books of Darwin will be completed by the end of the semester. In addition a 20 page paper is due at the end of the semester as well as an oral report. This class is crazy but the teacher knows Dr. Dobyns, so it can't be all bad. I anticipate this class kicking my butt!
  • Wow, I wasn't too far off on this one. This class did kick my butt, the lecture material was dry and boring a majority of the time, the books were a snooze, but the presentation/20 page paper was actually the highlight of the semester. We were allowed to choose our own topic, of which I picked forensic anthropology. I am fascinated by the subject which made the presentation and paper a breeze.
CHEM 241B - LECTURE ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
  • Would it be bad to say "oh dear God, I think I might die" again? The professor is witty and is always out to make fun of people, which pleases me. On the other hand, he is TOUGH to the extreme. I have been told his tests are ridiculous and the averages are very low. On the other hand, I have learned more in the first two days in his class than I did in O Chem all last semester. He claims we will learn over 300 reactions and the class will be all-consuming. I anticipate getting a 'C' in this class and that will be by the grace of God.
  • I will be retaking this class in the fall. The professor was witty and lectures were fun but his tests were impossible. I am not exaggerating, impossible! There was no good way to prepare them and every technique I used to try to study for them always failed miserably. I hope to have a different teacher in the fall.
CHEM 243B - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB
  • This class is taught by a TA who has dreadlocks and piercings in his face. I must admit, in my old age, that I was slightly taken-aback. However, once the initial shock wore off, he seems to be a nice guy. He stayed after class today to help a few of us with some questions and he likes to play music during the labs to break up the monotony. I anticipate this class will be difficult but laid back.
  • The class was difficult and laid back but the TA was a complete jerk. He is in his early twenties and already in the chemistry PhD program, so he thinks he is hot stuff. He deliberately singled me out and was difficult on me in terms of grading because he sensed my nervousness and uneasiness. He was kind of like the bully who picks on the smallest and weakest to make himself feel better. Towards the end of the semester I started being a real jerk back to him and he laid off. Just goes to show you that the school yard politics don't change just because you are in college.
Well that sums up my semester in a not very short post. I enjoyed this little experiment and may do it again next semester, we'll have to see!

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