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Taking Care of Business

May 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I just remembered one of the other things I’m doing this fall: an online class exploring the annual Pop!Tech conference in Camden.  I got permission to take this slightly early (it requires junior status, and according to however the online course registration system calculates that, I don’t have it yet) because it’s run by the same prof I had for CLA 102, who figures, based on my performance there, that I can keep up with the older kids. :)  I took this class because it ticks the remaining two boxes on my “you have to have credits in the following areas if you expect any kind of degree at all” requisite list (also known as the University’s “general education requirements”), and was by far the least dire-looking of the offerings in the Population & the Environment category.

The conference does look a bit on the touchy-feely/granola side (last year’s had talks on sustainable construction materials and “using mobile computing to stem violence”), which is kind of not my scene, but I’m not entirely devoid of concern for such matters, and it’s certainly a lot more palatable than taking, for example, an entire semester on sustainable forestry practices.

On the down side, once I’ve knocked off all the gen-ed requirements, there’ll no longer be any official, technical reason for me to take any class not directly relating to my major, which means I can expect a lot of harrumphing from my advisor should I choose to take any more.  He’s very big on efficiency; he spent our entire session planning for Fall 2011 trying to figure out how I could be done in three years, despite my assuring him repeatedly that I’m not particularly bothered about that.

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An Unprecedented Accomplishment

May 15, 2011 5 comments

Some of you may know, from prior posts or just having already known a few things about my personal history, that I have never actually completed a full year of college before.  In 1992, I did stay at WPI until chucking-out time because the room was paid for, but I pretty much stopped going to classes midway through D-term, owing to a general feeling of hopelessness, and I received no grades whatever for that term (because that’s how WPI rolls).  In 1994, I got a job offer from Leading Edge and withdrew from the University of Maine in mid-April, before the withdrawal-equals-failure deadline, which is why all my spring-1994 grades are Ws (which don’t affect cumulative GPA) and not Fs (which do).

(As an aside, I did somehow manage to not just finish ENG 101 Introduction to College Composition that semester, but in fact pull an A in it.  I don’t remember now how I did that, since the other grades being Ws confirm that I did withdraw long before the end of the semester.)

So finishing {four terms|two semesters} in a row is something I have never before managed to do at the college level.  Still less have I ever in my life been a straight-A student; gym class, laziness, and (after fifth grade) a general lack of engagement in mathematical topics saw to that all through public school and, as we have already covered, college takes 1 and 2 were frankly pretty much disastrous.

As such, and despite my childhood-ingrained aversion to being too much of a showoff, I am pleased to report:

20110514-spr11grades

Now.  In all fairness I have to note that this is far from the most burdensome course load ever carried by an undergraduate at the University of Maine.  As you can see, those are all 100-level courses (one of which is an introduction to the easiest programming language on Earth), there’s no math class on the list at all, and it’s the absolute minimum credit count for full-time student status, 12 credits (the sample curriculum for the MET program recommends 15-17 per semester).  So this is not, in absolute terms, an achievement with which to set the academic world alight.

However.

It’s still a semester 4.0, it’s still a Dean’s List performance by the Office of Student Records’ standards (I think; it’ll be published in June), it’s still the first time I’ve ever actually finished a full year of college, and it’s still the first time I’ve ever passed a computer programming course of any kind.

So I’m pretty pleased with it.

(Also, while I’m bragging, I kicked ass in CLA 102.  My final numeric score was 615 points out of a possible 600, or 102.5 percent.)

I can’t afford summer classes this year, so now it’s back onto the shelf until August, when I tackle Physics for Engineers I (a prerequisite for a whole raft of stuff in the MET curriculum and thus a major bottleneck), possibly differential equations (which should be interesting, since I can’t remember my 1991 exposure to calculus at all), and… some other stuff, I forget exactly what.  It’ll probably all get rearranged in the first week of the semester anyway.  According to the curriculum calendar I should have Chemistry I as well, but I’m really dubious about taking two lab sciences in the same semester.

As you see, I’m reminding myself not to be too impressed with my modest accomplishments here, but at the same time, what the hell, it’s just this once: go me. :)