Thursday, December 03, 2009

Reflections on the First Semester

As quickly as it came, the first semester is nearly over. Today I had my logic final exam. I remember the first day of university- running blocks because the bus had a construction detour and nearly being late for my class (I walked in as the professor was introducing himself). I remember my first Calculus class, being near tears as the professor did what was supposed to be a quick "review" of what we should know so that he can move on to the new content, and not recognizing any of it. I remember meeting new friends and my first midterm... and today, my first final. I think out of all of it, a couple things have stood out.
First, we're not as smart as we think. Even if you graduated at the top of your class, there is someone, actually a whole lot of people, who are smarter than you. Deep down, we all know this (I hope), but the reality hits when you fail assignments that you spent hours on, while the person sitting in front of you gets A's. Or when you listen to different conversations going on at the school coffee shop. Or when you peruse midterm answers posted on bulletin boards in the math building, and see fourth derivatives. There's a whole lot out there to learn. It's humbling, which is good. Apparently I needed that.
Second, water can grow things. Not water and soil. Just water. In a glass, that sits on your desk for a couple weeks. First it gets hazy near the top. Then it sort of gels up. Next, there's a white fuzz layer. All this to say, if you know me, you know I'm not the cleanest person on the planet. I have greatly improved. Because one day, you have to deal with that glass and the three next to it, and it's just not a fun day. Plus, if your door is kept closed throughout the day, and there's no air circulation, things start to smell funky.
Third, subjects are incredibly interrelated. I remember one day, very early on in my year, when all of my math classes used vector cross products in the same day for three different things. The truth tables for my logic course were used in the if statements of Java programming. And when helping a friend with her Life Science calculus, I discovered the relation between carrying capacity and limits. Neat stuff going on in the world.
All that to say, I'm enjoying university. I'm looking forward to my classes next semester, as I think they will be equally challenging, but I feel a lot more prepared now that I know what to expect and have released the stress of perfection. It's almost less stressful than high school, because in high school, you are always trying to get the marks to get to university. Now that I'm here, it's nice to just sit back and learn.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

I'm linking to this post. I hope you don't mind. If you do, please let me know and I will remove it. :)