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11 January 2008

Term 2084 Schedule, Revised

I was finally able to register this afternoon. Based on the numbers, they were unable to justify adding more space to the section I needed, so I had to get the Chemistry Advisor's signature to enter a closed lecture and recitation.

I was the third one that he was able to get into this class. Since he is taking great care to not "over-enroll" any one of the four recitation sections, he must evenly distribute the students amongst them. By the time I got there, there was one extra person enrolled in both the Monday 14:00 and Monday 18:00 sessions. Since Thursday 09:00 wouldn't fit in my schedule, I took Wednesday 14:00. The next person would either have to take Thursday 09:00, wait for someone else to take it (opening up a new round), or not get in.

The TA for the Wednesday 14:00 session is the same one who teaches the Monday 14:00 session (which I attended this week), and he also happened to be my OChem Lab instructor (CHEM 0330) in the fall.

So here is my revised schedule:


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07 January 2008


As you may know, today was the first day back to classes here at Pitt. And that usually brings some sort of schedule with it on this blog. But you may also know that I usually talk about how my semester went once it's over, in terms of meeting expectations as well as grades.

Well, I put one off, and now it's time to do the other... and they're really a lot related, more so this time around then ever. Anyway, here's last fall's roundup:

Finals week started with OChem, and I'd made it no secret that I wasn't grasping the concepts as well as I'd have liked. On the other hand, I did feel confident that I had done better on my final than on some of the other recent exams. I got my exam grade back (a number) that Friday afternoon, but forgot that I had signed the exam allowing my professor to post my grade by ID number later that day. So he didn't have the exam or the signature, and my grade wasn't posted and I had to wait. And that was hard.

The Diff. Eq. final was a bit of a non-event. It was a departmental final, written by my professor and one other guy, so it was fairly predictable. The last of the ten problems was on material squeezed into the last week, though, and I put the wrong types of information on my "cheat sheet" that we were allowed to use. So, I had practically nothing for that one. But I did well on all of the others, and even caught myself in the process of making a reading mistake similar to one I'd made on an earlier exam.

The ChE 0100 exam was easy, but long. Not to mention it was open-book, so even if you got stuck, you were there for three whole hours. Really, that class was a breeze, but it's those basic concepts of various chemical properties, expanded to a more general sense, that will really lay the foundation for the future ChE courses. I'm already seeing that in ChE 0200. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, I'd been debating with myself over how to approach this next part: the summary. You see, as it turns out, though I passed OChem 1, my grade did not end up being satisfactory by my standards, especially considering that I'm going to have to take OChem 2. So, I'm retaking OChem 1 (and again, I'm jumping ahead), as there are a lot of important concepts that I must look over again.

So it is with some trepidation that I summarize my grades, although really, in the end, I decided that having a class like this is fairly normal, and that it really won't matter once my new grade replaces the old one. So, if I can quit talking about this term, here's the breakdown of last term:

ChE 0100 Foundations of Chemical Engineering 6 cr. A
ChE 0101 Foundations of Chemical Engineering Lab 1 cr. A
ChE 1085 Departmental Seminar 0 cr. S
CHEM 0310 Organic Chemistry 1 3 cr. D
CHEM 0330 Organic Chemistry Lab 1 1 cr. C+
MATH 0290 Differential Equations 3 cr. B-
MUSIC 0612 Heinz Chapel Choir 1 cr. A
MUSIC 0630 Marching Band 1 cr. A

As it stands, these grades represent a QPA of 3.094 on 16 credits, giving me a cumulative average of 3.365 on 52 credits. Obviously, I'm disappointed with the drop caused by OChem, but I'm glad it was only 0.12. And of course, the retake will replace the old grade in the QPA calculation, so barring a complete meltdown, it'll really be higher than that.

On the plus side of things, you can see that I actually have grades for my major now, and that it stands at a perfect 4.000 on 7 credits. Oh, how I'd love to keep that...

Now that I'm done with that, I'd ordinarily start talking about break thusfar; obviously, it's not only done, but it's already been blogged about. So now, it's onto the present. Here's my schedule for Term 2084:

Class Titles and Credit Values
ChE 0200 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 6 cr.
ChE 0201 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics Lab 1 cr.
ChE 1085 Departmental Seminar 0 cr.
CHEM 0310 Organic Chemistry 1 3 cr.
ENGCMP 0400 Written Professional Communication 3 cr.
ENGR 0020 Probability and Statistics for Engineers 1 4 cr.
MUSIC 0631 Concert Band 1 cr.
18 cr.

Classes begin 7 January 2008; final exams are 21-26 April 2008. No classes 21 January for Martin Luther King's Birthday Observance, or 9-16 March for Spring Recess.

The first and most important thing to notice is that the OChem 1 classes are in a different color. It's not actually that color on my calendar, but I did that while taking the screenshot to illustrate that I'm not technically registered for it... yet.

You see, there are two sections of OChem 1 offered this term: the one shown above, and one that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 09:30. Obviously, that one won't work with my ChE 0200/0201 complex that clogs up the top of my schedule and allows me to progress through my major. So it's pretty important that I get into the 10:00 sessions.

Only problem: it's filled to capacity... and as of this morning, there were 48 seats open in the other section.

If the students were distributed more evenly, even if one was closed, I could probably get in easily, just with a few extra forms. But the "capacity size" of each section is linked to its corresponding recitation sections (mine is shown Monday at 14:00). Each of the two lectures as four corresponding recitations, or review sessions, that hold 30 students each. Hence, capacity for the lectures has a fixed cap at 120. The Chemistry Department could add more recitation sections to accommodate a popular course, but they can't do that until the other one gets closer to filling up.

So after running around from building to building, department to department, I found out that I'm not the only one in the same boat, where ChE 0200 precludes taking the more open section. And since I happen to already have an established rapport with the Chemistry Department's Undergraduate Advisor (my original OChem prof, as well as through ACS-SA), he greeted me with open arms (literally), and said that we'd have to wait to see some movement from one section to the other. But he also assured me that if the add/drop deadline of 18 January was to sneak up and no such movement occurred, he would gladly sign the necessary papers and help me jump through the proper hoops to get registered in time.

In the meantime, I'm still technically registered for OChem 2, and I'm going to attend the lectures until things are finalized, and maybe even occasionally throughout the term as my duties will allow, just so that I can get used to seeing that type of material before I'll need it. And after one day of add/drop, there are only 16 seats left in that other OChem 1 section. So things are looking good.

ChE 0200 today was uneventful. Being a two-hour class, we actually started on material — review material — but that was to be expected. I've heard that the class is quite challenging, but very rewarding, and is also curved to account for the challenge. It's thermodynamics, so that should be very interesting.

CHEM 0310 was... CHEM 0310. My professor is a very nice lady, although it's her first time teaching OChem 1. She did take about 40 of the 50 minutes going over the one-page syllabus, though, because she kept thinking of things she forgot or "words of wisdom" and advice for the course. She also helped me in my quest for registration, though there really wasn't anything she could do.

ENGR 0020 is fun. It's common knowledge that statistics can be manipulated to "demonstrate" nearly anything. So as an exercise, each day this class will start with a brief discussion about a "statistical lie," a scenario in which the truth is hidden by the way the numbers are presented. Some important parts of being a free-thinking and honest engineer are to detect such tactics when employed against you as well as to prevent accidentally doing it yourself.

And that's all I have for now. I'll talk about how weird ChE 0201 works this semester in a later post... even though it's listed as Thursday above, I have it tomorrow instead of the ChE 0200 recitation. Very confusing. At least there's no OChem lab.

That and English Comp. tomorrow, as well as sitting in on an OChem 2 lecture. Band and choir start up Thursday. And I still haven't unpacked since I've been running around all day.

Random tangent: How about that nice weather we've been having? I'll take 63°. But warn me next time; I went out in the morning with a coat because it was cold, and then I had to run around all day with it.


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04 January 2008


Well, today is the vigentennial anniversary of my birth. That's right, in case you haven't yet heard, I'm 20. I've gotten about twice as many Facebook wall posts as last year, either because I know more people, because the people I know care more, or because 20 is more of a milestone than 19.

There are obviously some who would argue that 20 is not nearly as much of a milestone as 21, but I respectfully disagree. Teenagerhood, whether we like it or not, is something that becomes a part of us. Although it never really leaves, it's sad to say that it technically is no longer there. Is this making sense? or am I already going senile?

Twenty-one, although special, has no such significance. It seems that 18 and 19 are the "last hurrah" of adolescence that mesh into college life. And although, even after reaching this age, some continue to act as though they are about four years old, sooner or later, the expectations of adulthood arrive. The number 20 is indicative of that change in my eyes. It comes with the "2," I suppose.

Of course, I'm not bitter or mopey. Rather, I'm excited for what my third decade has in store for me. All of you who are older, and I'm sure many who aren't, know that there's a lot which typically happens between 20 and 30. I eagerly await the challenges ahead, as well as that which will come as a result of finally overcoming them.

Today was a rather ordinary day. I got that haircut that I mentioned yesterday, but not after going to the grocery store with my mother. We got some much-needed foodstuffs, then she sent me off to get milk and said she'd meet me by the cake mixes. After waiting there for quite some time, I went and found her buying my birthday card. Silly mother.

After having stayed up for most of the night doing what seemed to be an inexorable amount of homework, my brother basically crashed and slept until it was time for dinner, which was celebrated by my immediate family as well as my local grandparents at Outback Steak House.

I suppose that's been a sort of tradition for my birthday (compared with Barb's family's Christmas Eve tradition). But it really isn't. I just like their food, and seems I either pick there or the Olive Garden for my birthday dinner. I distinctly remember that three of my last seven birthday dinners (including tonight) were held there, two at the Olive Garden, one at Mike 'n D'Angelo's Italian Restaurant, and one (last year) at the Schenley Café in the William Pitt Union.

I'm glad to be with family this time around.

Afterwards, we all went to my house, where I opened cards, and we attempted, with varying degrees of success, to stuff in some cake and ice cream. "Happy Birthday" was sung to me in the key of B, which was rather high, as my family didn't take the pitch I suggested in quite the way I'd expected.

Now, my mother is sitting downstairs, half-asleep, watching my Christmas present, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), which she has implored me to let her watch almost nightly since I've opened it. Apparently she wasn't with us when I saw it.

All in all, my twentieth year has been a good one. And I thank from the bottom of my heart all those who have wished me well in ushering in my twenty-first. I think there are about 49 of you who've wished me a Happy Birthday in some form or another. Thank you. I really appreciate it, and feel quite loved.

Random tangent: My brother felt the need to point out the beer section of the menu at dinner tonight, making fun of me for not being able to have any. I then pointed out that he's 15. Silly David.


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03 January 2008

Last Day as a Teenager

My day started with my sleeping in rather late, which I mustn't do tomorrow, because that's a teenager-ish thing to do. Although it really has more to do with me returning to school this weekend.

No one was home, which was a bit unexpected, but not necessarily unwelcome. I showered, tidied my room a bit, and ate a little.

After enjoying much of the day, when my brother got home, I helped him with his studies a little. We then ate dinner, after which I primarily distracted my brother from his studies. Oh, well. Then I looked up information on the Iowa Caucuses as it became available.

And now I sit here. A rather uneventful day, actually. My mother took tomorrow off, not specifically for my birthday, I'm sure, but she's scheduled haircut appointments for 15:00, and we still have a bit more work to do in tidying my room for some guests they're housing in March (Region Choir folk).

I'd said there was little point in trying to squeeze lots of things into the last moments of teenagerhood. And I epitomized that statement today by having what was really an ordinary Winter Break day.

Birthday post tomorrow, and some combination of third semester results and 2008 resolutions over the weekend.

Random tangent: I've also got a small programming project that needs to be done within the next week. With my luck, the code and database structures will just come flowing through my brain tomorrow when my mother needs me to be doing other things.

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01 January 2008


527,040 minutes: How do you measure a leap year?

No Photoshop doodle this year. Instead, I'm letting my creative juices flow in another way. Can you tell Mom, David, and I played Uno the other day?

There's just something about 2008 that seems neat and orderly. Unlike a year with a "sloppy" seven on the end. Yes, I know I said seven was a great number, but eight rhymes with "great." Beat that!

School starts back up on Monday 7 January, and we still haven't decided when during this coming weekend I'm going back down. Probably Sunday, though. My birthday is on Friday, in case you've been forgetting, so I'll be home this year to celebrate.

David goes back tomorrow, as we've been reminding him throughout his break, though despite this he insisted this afternoon that he wasn't to go back until 3 January. We had a hard time convincing him otherwise, but eventually proved it to him. He's sleeping now.

Speaking of which, I'd better get back to normal sleeping hours soon. Another 08:00 class this coming term... yay...

Of course, a big thank you to those of you who keep coming back here because you'll read what I have to say no matter what it is. Through thick and thin, I blog to preserve memories. Any subset of my memories, good or bad, would not suffice to summarize the whole thing. Alas, I can't blog everything, but I continue to do what I can because you care enough to keep me going.

A thank you to those who came here through my campus celebrations video, giving me an unexpected boost on 2 and 3 December, as well as to Robert, who made my day on 17 September.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and fun-filled new year!

Random tangent: The first commercials aired on ABC in 2005 and 2006 were for Vytorin. In 2007, it was for Zetia, which is half of Vytorin. Apparently, we all needed to resolve to manage our cholesterol. This year, however, the first commercial was for Gardasil, which means lots of resolutions against cervical cancer. Just thought you ought to know.


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