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21 April 2008

Term 2084 Finals

Okay, let's get this over with.

I know, it's been eons since I've blogged, and I have a ton to write about (not to mention the pictures to post!), but the fact of the matter is that it's a busy time of year here in Collegeland... namely, Finals Week. Here's what's on tap:

As you can clearly see, the reason this post is going to be so gosh-darn short is because I'm frantically trying to get together everything for my ENGCMP 0400 Portfolio, which is due at 12:00 EDT tomorrow.

After that, I have a few phone calls to make and errands to run before the fun studying starts Tuesday night, specifically for ChE 0200 (Thermodynamics). The week is rounded out with CHEM 0310 (Organic Chemistry) and it spills over into Saturday (ugh!) with ENGR 0020 (Statistics).

I don't know what to think about this, aside from the fact that such a back-ended schedule is less than desirable. Thermodynamics is generally regarded as the hardest of these courses by my peers, but I actually haven't been having too much trouble with the style of exams in that course. Statistics has been relatively straightforward... and to top it all off, it's a non-comprehensive exam. Again, the whole course has basically focused on applying principles that I've been using, in some form, since I was ten. Not that I was taught how to use them then... I was just that much of a nerd. See? It can pay off!

So, although I will of course be studying for both of those exams, I'm not very concerned about their outcome.

Organic Chemistry sticks out like a sore thumb. It's not quite the bane of my academic career, but admittedly, it feels like it sometimes. The curriculum is supposed to go through Chapter 13, so what do we do? After sloughing through Chapters 1-8, we covered Chapter 9 in two lectures, ahead of Exam 3 on 11 April. There were two questions on epoxide ring opening on that exam, material that was covered only in the last five minutes of the lecture immediately prior. I'm pretty sure I figured out what to do, but I genuinely feel bad for those who are taking this class the first time around. While that wasn't fair to anybody, it was much less fair to them.

Naturally, the topics of Chapters 10-13 were breezed by in the ensuing week, and we didn't get Exam 3 back in that time, so we don't know what we missed, and thus don't know what to focus more heavily on in studying for the Final. Normally, exam turnback has been within two lectures' time, with a period afterwards to challenge grading errors. This time, though, the idea is that our exams will be checked over so thoroughly that regrades will not be necessary. It's great in theory, but when the mantra all along has been "make sure the students know where they're not understanding things," even at the expense of keeping pace with the curriculum, it comes as a shock to have one-third of the material dumped on the students in the last week while they're kept in the dark about what they missed on the material before that.

I apologize for being so cynical, but on the academic front, my biggest peeve lately is probably how that class has been run.

Anywho, with a portfolio deadline closing in on 12 hours away, I've got lots more writing to do... just not here.

Random tangent: It is really, really hot in my room. Like 77° hot. I might trek to the lobby, or even Hillman Library tonight if this keeps up, because for me, warmth equals sleep, which I can't necessarily afford exactly now. (Don't worry; I'll get some sleep. Just not much.)


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