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An Unprecedented Accomplishment

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:


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.


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. :)

  1. May 15, 2011 at 17:34

    If you want a calculus refresher, I highly recommend Prof. E. McSquared’s Original, Fantastic & Highly Edifying Calculus Primer. Don’t be put off by the comic-book format or the bad jokes or the 1970sness; I have never seen a better explanation of limits and continuity. Unfortunately, it takes two-thirds of the book before you get to derivatives, and it doesn’t cover integrals at all.

    I do not know how the Expanded Intergalactic Version compares to the original.

  2. Darker
    May 15, 2011 at 22:42


    Whatever the level, “better than one has ever done before” is cause for celebration — and straight As is not at all trivial, even with a light courseload!

    (And not just celebration, but approbation, because it’s been clear that you’ve worked hard at learning and doing the courses well. Such an excellent result is a real affirmation of that work! :)

  3. May 16, 2011 at 00:46

    Congratulations, man. Seriously.

    (See how much you can get done at college when you aren’t shanghaied to outer space? :)

  4. Andy
    May 18, 2011 at 00:18

    Congratulations, and don’t sell yourself short just because your semester wasn’t crammed full. Finishing in style is much better than overloading and flailing around. (I not only took an extra semester, but a super bonus semester, to graduate because I didn’t do well enough in some of my classes. If I had known I was going to take that long, I would have gotten better grades with a lighter load, and been better off all around)

    Has there been any change in the work-study arena, that might let you live on campus next year? From your earlier posts, that might free up some significant time from your commute to dedicate to other things, like more homework or even an extra class.

  5. Matt W.
    May 18, 2011 at 18:17

    Well done! :) Congratulations on rocking out the semester.

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