Back to School, 2013
Really? Back to school already?
So it seems. And so we have things to talk about.
Thursday, 12 December 2013
Life, the universe, pies, hot-pink bunnies, world domination, and everything
Really? Back to school already?
So it seems. And so we have things to talk about.
Aw, man, one of these threads again?
Summer, as well as my internship, is drawing to an end. I have to write a paper, maybe? And present next week, which is going to require a lot of practice. But I’ll get there.
What’s most exciting is the prospect of getting to finally visit home! I’m very glad that this summer was/will not be the long boring slog that last summer was. I’m going to pack every day that I have at home full of awesomeness. Well, as soon as my parents leave for Scotland and I get the car, since it isn’t worth it to add my car back on the insurance when I can just use my parents’ for a majority of the time I’m home.
School starts the week after next. I’m pretty sure I don’t mind; I like just staying at home watching Star Trek, but there are things I miss, actually.
At the nature park I get to volunteer at on Fridays instead of having classes, I’m going to start leading tours! That’s exciting. We don’t even have nature tours now except for specific events (which I’ve helped with before but never led). I really need to do research soon, though, because if I’m not prepared by the time the school year starts, I won’t have time for both homework and sleep.
Some of the other volunteers from my school are also doing a water monitoring project. I’m in charge, so I’m supposed to be taking notes on what we need to do and learning how it works and what we’ll need, and I think I’m supposed to help teach everyone else, since I’m doing more research than the adult in charge and am probably going to end up knowing more. I agreed to this, of course. It’s definitely my sort of thing, but I am starting to realize how time-consuming it will be.
I’m kind of concerned about the homework thing, because last year, I didn’t really get it under control. I mean, it was fine the first semester, but after that, I got way behind and had to spend the semester catching up, and I didn’t do nearly as well as I would have liked gradewise because I was not used to that kind of workload and couldn’t really cope. Also, I wasn’t really doing any of the homework in geometry at all because I was really bored and would have tried to test out but didn’t have enough time due to the homework thing. I know the Algebra II teacher, and a couple of times I asked her questions that I’m pretty sure she knew had nothing to do with what we were learning (It was study hall, and no one else had questions.), and she took the time to answer them and did a really good job of explaining, and she’s in charge of a chapter of Mu Alpha Theta, and my friend who took her class mentioned doing a brochure for her once (I haven’t done anything except worksheets, lectures, and tests in math class since elementary school–no, that’s not true, we did one cool thing in Algebra 1 in eighth grade; I just happened to be sick that day.), so hopefully, it’ll be better. And yes, the fact that I didn’t do the homework is my fault, I didn’t deserve a better grade than I received, if I’d made any effort in the class the teacher probably would have been understanding, etc, but that’s over now, and I’m trying to forget the experience.
I’m still not sure if I’m getting an elective this year. I don’t think I am. I’m taking theater, though, so that’s cool. Also, economics. I probably need to take economics; it’s one of those things I just feel like I should know more about. There’s also kinesiology, which I’m not looking forward to at all, but on the plus side, I’ve had good enough Spanish teachers not to be bored but have felt I could take it twice as quickly and still get an A, and this year I’ll get to actually try that and take two classes two semester instead of two years.
Aaaaaand that ended up really long and probably uninteresting. I was trying to not make it too long; I cut out quite a bit, but there’s just so much that’s going to be going on.
I leave for Costa Rica in nine days and I do not feel like that is enough time to get everything done that I need to get done. Just today I got an email that asked us to bring snorkeling equipment with us. I don’t have snorkeling equipment. I have never snorkeled in my life. This is yet another thing I need to buy. It’s for an underwater research project, which sounds super cool, but it is yet another expense. I need to do more shopping and packing and preparation and I need to give my mother my email address so she can sign me up for classes spring semester and I need to see about housing next semester and there is a question about my health insurance…?!
I have the nagging feeling that there is paperwork I have left incomplete, and that there is no way for me to remember what it is.
Don’t worry about the snorkeling equipment, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. If you’ve got any questions/want any advice, I’m happy to help.
This year’s schedule, courtesy of a two-hour wait in line:
AP English Language/Composition
Spanish 3 Honors
Human Physiology Honors
AP Calculus BC
AP US History
To be honest, the only class I’m really worried about is calculus. I’m not qualified to take it, I never took AP Calc AB, and the workload is going to be horrendous. Our summer homework was basically to learn Calc A, and there were 273 problems- 273!- which I only finished last week. WhatamIdoingwhatamIdoingwhatamIdoingohgodno.
For the first time, I’m dreading Journalism. I love the newspaper itself, and I love being an editor. However, this year we have three editors-in-chief instead of one- they’re supposed to be co-operating, but two of them hate the other, who happens to be Horatio and thus a total jerk. Horatio and I may or may not be involved in an all-out war (for the record, he’s incredibly rude and also doesn’t want my section, Opinion, to print anything controversial- dude. DUDE. It’s an opinion section. That’s the point). And now he’s in a position of power; I won’t let him tell me what I can print, but I’m trying to figure out a balance between my usual policy of silent resistance and my desire to loudly object to everything he says. I can’t really imagine class politics (of which there are far too much for a fifteen-person group) being anything but unpleasant this year.
So, all this is happening. On the bright side, I’m still in my lovely outside-of-school orchestra and I’ve quit the school one, which was a miserable daily experience. Also, Mock Trial will be starting up again soon. Horatio’s in that too. Yay?
Feel free to ask us for help with calculus!
At least at some schools – my impression is most – AP Calculus BC doesn’t have AB as a prerequisite. The class might really just cover A, B and C, at a faster pace than a Calc AB class. That would explain your summer homework. It might work differently at your school, but if most other students haven’t had AB either, you actually might be qualified to take BC with just a solid pre-calc background!
CPM- Thanks! So far, it’s not nearly as bad as I expected, though I predict that I’ll be in tears by the end of September.
Meow- Oh yes, that’s true at my school too: about half of the BC class haven’t taken AB. I still feel unqualified, because we didn’t learn anything about limits or derivatives in Precalc, and my teacher planned the class assuming that we had. But at least we in the confused half are in it together.
school starts tomorrow aaaaaaaaaaaa
the classes I have tomorrow are Geology and Discrete Math
I am still upset about having to retake a course that I got an A in
but geology should be interesting, rocks are cool
Tuesday I have Operating Systems and Object-Oriented Programming and I’m pretty excited for those
also in related news my school is going to have a lab with 3D printers and laser cutters and I’m excited and upset that nobody told me sooner and wondering how I can get access to them
First day of classes for me too tomorrow. Bio 109 (botany) and comp sci 101 look like they’ll be complete jokes, Greek 301 isn’t going to have more than, I don’t know, four people, and I have no idea what printmaking will be like other than expensive since we have to buy most of our own supplies. Well, choir will be fun, anyway, and I should enjoy having Tuesdays off. One of these days I really need to meet with an adviser to make sure that I did my math right and will actually be able to graduate on time.
So far everything is going just as expected. Botany looks almost insultingly easy and Greek has exactly four people. I just got an email from my comp sci professor that amounted to, “Lol whoops I told you to buy the wrong book, buy this one instead,” which is rather infuriating seeing as it’s about a month too late for me to return the old one for a refund, so that’s fifty bucks down the drain, plus whatever the price of the new book will be. Serves me right for planning ahead and being responsible. Whatever, it’s an online course, so I can blow it off for a while. All that’s left today is three hours(!) of printmaking, and then it’s dinnertime. And tomorrow I’ll have the whole day to myself. Thank goodness. All these academics are getting in the way of my education.
First day of my master’s program…. Taking music theory: twentieth century string quartets, music history: music of the renaissance, and orchestra repertoire (plus chamber music [hopefully will be able to be in the intensive quartet program again], orchestra, and lessons). New teacher, a lot of new people, and partially new quartet, so that’s both exciting and scary. At least I have Thursdays off. Definitely not used to getting up this early, though, I’ll probably need to take a nap later.
20thc quartets: Walk in, teacher hands us a 514 page packet, is like “get a binder.” Hey, at least no textbook! (And it’s mostly scores, since twentieth century stuff is still under copyright and therefore, sadly, not available on imslp)
Sounds great – enjoy/good luck!
I head out to Costa Rica todaaaay. I’m just typing this out really quickly before I head out to the airport.
…I have pre-travel jitters.
I’m taking Fundamentals of Tropical Biology, Field Methods in Tropical Biology, Spanish and Latin American Culture, and Conservation and Politics in Costa Rica.
Ahhhh!! Costa Rica was the other place I was seriously considering for study abroad, I fell in LOVE with it when my family visited my freshman year. Are you going to be in the Monteverde Cloud Rainforest at all? I never wanted to leave that place. But ahhhh have fun!! Tell us all about it!!!!
Yes, we’re going to be there for a couple weeks! We’re also going to Las Cruces, Palo Verde, La Selva, Cuerici, and dip down into Panama to see Bocas del Toro. I’m going to be traveling a lot.
I’m going to be busy, and I won’t always have Internet soem of hte places we’re going. Even if there is internet, it might not work. It took a while to get the wifi in the hotel to work on my computer, and this place actually has wifi. But I’ll try to keep you updated.
So far, it’s just been flying in at night, sleeping at the hotel, orientation and telling us what we’re going to be doing the next few months. We’re going out to dinner at a traditional Tico restaurant in half an hour. And tomorrow we drive down to Las Cruces and class starts in earnest.
I read Las Cruces and thought you meant the one in New Mexico where Spaceport America is. Whoops.
I’m sure you’ll have a GREAT time!! If you see any cool snakes or frogs, take pictures of them for me I only ever saw one snake (tiny, darted away before I could identify) in the wild and no frogs : / saw a lot in museum-y type nature places at least.
But anyway have fun!! I’m sure it’ll be a great experience
Jadestone–Really? That’s odd. Last night there was a frog or toad hopping up the stairs of the station we’re staying at. I don’t know about seeing snakes, but our professors’ said that if we had a choice between finishing a paper or going out to see a big snake, to see the snake because it’s such a rare event. Provided proper precaution against bites is taken, of course.
Robert–so far, the only birds that I’ve seen close up are hummingbirds, which I took pictures of. I’ve seen other birds, but they moved too quickly to identify them. I’ve also seen several agoutis, a white-faced monkey, and leafcutter ants that were actually in the process of cutting leaves. And, well, a lot more, too. Basically everything is interesting and every time you turn around there’s something else. A lot of the time when we ask questions our professors say, “Well, that’s a really good question. We don’t know the answer. It’d make a good dissertation topic, though.” Or if it’s something simpler, “That’d make a good topic for your research project in this course. Keep asking good questions!” It’s very nice.
I am in Berkeley for sophomore year! And unfortunately feeling pretty grim about it. I keep worrying about my classes and major and social life. Welcome Week’s endless meetings & paperwork aren’t helping.
I’m taking Intro. to Environmental Studies, Literature in English (B), Literature in American Cultures, and Colloquy on Political Science. Already got the syllabus for Environmental Studies (which despite the name is crosslisted in the English department, as it’s a literature course also) and it looks fascinating.
Aww, I hope once the stress of the first week fades away you’ll be feeling better about it!! Your classes sound interesting at least!
Thank you. I feel a lot better. Classes start Thursday and I’m visiting a friend on Wednesday. Also, one of the campus organizations I found is a SF/F short story workshop. (this is relevant to my interests)
Today was my first day trying to get back into studying. New classes don’t start until October, but I still have at least three exams before that. Gah not very motivated… But I’ve got some other stuff done (including a new haircut, yay) and most of my friends are coming back from their vacations
Junior year, a review one week in:
- AP English Language/Composition seems… less challenging than I’d hoped; there’s a lot of English Language in there and so far all the Composition has been in groups, which I really can’t stand. However, the teacher seems quite nice.
- Honors Spanish 3 is messed-up because not only is the class overcrowded, but our teacher injured her back and won’t be back until September, which means we’re being taught by a very nice man who doesn’t seem to speak a lot of Spanish.
- Honors Human Physiology is pretty fun- I like memorizing things- but the teacher is kind of stern and scary, and also there aren’t enough desks so I sit at a lab table and my feet don’t reach the floor.
- Theater is a fun break from all my other classes, but there doesn’t seem to be much going on. It’s a mixed-level class with a lot of freshmen, so we spend a lot of time on basic acting exercises.
- AP Calc BC is surprisingly okay so far. I’ve been learning the material at home, though- not because my exceptionally energetic teacher doesn’t teach, but because the room is so cold and dark that I keep falling asleep during class. Yesterday my friends propped my head up with a ruler and started sticking mechanical pencils into my hair.
- AP US History is amazing; I have one of the best teachers I’ve ever met, the subject matter is fascinating, and the class is really lively. Also, turns out that unlike the other APUSH teacher, mine doesn’t check our notes and is really nice to those of us who are in Mock Trial, because she’s the adviser. Our first assignment was to analyze bias in our textbook and discuss its treatment of Native American history and its glorification of Columbus in comparison with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History. What an excellent class.
- Journalism is worse than I feared, but on the upside, it turns out that everyone else in the class is as horrified by the abrasive combination of our three editors-in-chief as I am. If I survive junior year with my soul intact, I’m planning to run for editor-in-chief and see if I can’t sort the class out, but my hopes aren’t high. It’s really, really messed-up.
In conclusion (I’m sure you were all riveted), I’m really busy and growing steadily more stressed-out, APUSH is cool, and no one can figure out the new thermostats, which means that all of the classrooms are unbelievably cold.
Ahh, you’re taking AP Lang+Comp too? I hate it so far because it’s so racist DX
I’m sorry to hear that. What do you find racist about your class?
APUSH was one of the best classes I took in high school, not only because of its interesting subject matter, but because it trained me to write analytical essays in 45 minutes or less.
Oh, yes! I wish I’d had more experience in that before last year’s AP Euro exam, and this class is shaping up to a timed essay per week.
You sound like most of the people in my dorm. *squids* You can get through this.
My tutor needs to see a draft of my personal statement(s) for uni/colleges by Saturday?!
Never mind that we did have all summer to work on them…
Oops. It seems even the most important and life-determining stuff is not immune to the procrastination treatment. I have had a lovely summer holiday, though.
WOW I AM SO BUSY ALL THE TIME WHOOPS
Anyway, schedule for the semester is finally finalized!
- Cell and Molecular Biology, plus Lab
- Plant Ecology, plus lab
- Paleobiology (half-class evening seminar)
- Renaissance and Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts
- Introduction to Digital Photography
- that thing where I’m doing research for a professor, though I’ll probably only do a little this semester and much more next semester it looks like based on my schedule right now x_x
- on the ice hockey team/unofficially helping to teach the exco
- friendude went and made me in charge of bare bow/recurve of the archery club he’s starting since I”m the only person who’s shot either before oh god I don’t even know I remember either well enough
…well I’m once more at the credit limit, but, I am tentatively happy about this schedule. Got into photography for the first time since freshman year and I am so glad for that, it’s rare that my labs line up in a way I can take afternoon classes. It’s with a professor who seems really cool/I admired when I was in the film class with another prof, so that will be a good experience. I also have some ideas for projects that I’ve wanted to do for a while but never really had the time/immediate motivation, so I’m looking forward to being able to work on that.
Plant Ecology has field trips from 11-4:30 almost every friday (that is, until it is snowing and there are no more plants for us to easily visit), last friday we went out into the field and basically hiked all around and ate a picnic and looked at jewelweed and despite walking through like 30 patches of it I did not get poison ivy. I also made a friend in the class I think!! So that is good.
Cell and Molec is already the death of me It is hard and scary and a lot more work than I have time for and I’m already kind of panicing about it. But I know two people in my section of the class at least.
Paleobio looks really cool!! It’s a lot of what I’m interested in and mollifies me a tiny bit for not being able to take paleontology. No actually that’s a lie I will always be upset about not getting to take paleontology, I was looking forward to it so hard and I’m still really disappointed.
Manuscripts: this is a class I am taking only because I want to. The prof seems really cool, it’s a neat subject, and I really do love illuminated manuscripts. Maybe it’s cliché but I’ve had a huge thing for the Book of Kells for ages (I mean. I’ve been pretty into Ireland for a very long time. So it’s only natural I guess) and was so happy I got to actually see it last semester, and yeah this class looks cool! And the prof seems willing to be accommodating if things get too stressful which, looking at the rest of my schedule, they very will during the semester. Also, purplefinch (anyone remember her?) is in this class as wells so that’s neat! I haven’t gotten to see her too much here.
I did the thing where I wrote all that last night and never actually posted it whoops! So here is it now.
So I talked to my professor and he said the books are going to get easier and all….but it’s still just SO MUCH READING.
If I’m going to withdraw it needs to be by Friday. I don’t know. I feel like I’d be giving up if I was just taking 13 credits (what I’d have if I dropped this), but at the same time maybe it would be nice to get through a semester without pushing myself to the edge of breakdown.
I just hate this feeling that I should be able to handle more.
I guess the way I see it is this: would you rather just barely manage to scrape by with 16 credits or whatever it is, or take 13 credits and do work you’re proud of?
So… I’ve been in school for a while now, but I never got around to talking about it because homework. Anyway, things are mostly going pretty well: I like all my classes, even if they’re time-consuming and I’m having procrastination issues. I’m enjoying math class for probably the first time ever; my teacher is interesting enough that I don’t get bored even when I know the material, and she’s really good at explaining why stuff is true, and she’s really patient. And we actually do stuff other than notes and worksheets and tests! She gives us projects where we can explain stuff! She shows us videos that are actually entertaining!
In chemistry, one of the first things we learned was how some of the stuff we learned in 8th grade science has been known to be false for over 80 years. That bothered me, a lot. I get the impression that if my teacher required to teach us stuff that isn’t actually true, though, she’ll tell us.
The unfortunate thing–because my school is awesome, instead of having classes on Fridays, we go volunteer. Since last year, I’ve been helping at a nearby nature park; it was a wonderful experience. I learned a lot of really interesting and useful things, and I loved every minute of it. The person who was in charge of it–who is awesome; she gave me a whole bunch of awesome books and a stuffed tribble that really purrs, and since she lives near my, she stayed with me an hour late each day so I could do extra work and took me home, and whenever I wanted to do anything else there that she was also going to–which was almost everything I wanted to do–she would take me (she would take anyone who lived close enough, but it was generally me because I wanted to do so much) there and back, and she also had this thing there on Sunday mornings where we came and helped take care of the carnivorous plants in the greenhouse, and it was wonderful as well, and she was such a good teacher–anyway, there’s a new person now, and she just… lectures us. I love learning about nature, but she tells us things I already know, and so far, we’ve hardly done anything hands-on, and the people on the team don’t get time to talk to each other until she’s done, and–sometimes I feel like she’s talking down to us somewhat, and apparently, I’m far from alone in that sentiment. The person who was in charge last year has left, partly because of her and partly because of some other changes at the park that don’t affect me very much. And… half the people have transferred to the historical reenactment group or elsewhere, because pretty much everyone is unhappy with the changes or at least neutral. Most are unhappy. I’m not even sure I’m staying until the end of the year, and I loved this. I’m not leaving now, certainly; I want to give it a chance. I’m extremely disappointed, though.
On the plus side (and completely unrelated), I have a friend! Well, I’ve been sitting with her on the bus since last year, but she wants me to actually come and visit her now, and that makes me really happy not just on principle because I haven’t done that since I-don’t-even-want-to-think-about-when but also because I really enjoy talking to her. She’s into musicals and TOS/reboot Star Trek, and she’s funny and smart and hard-working and I can talk so easily with her, and I’ve just been wanting a friend like this for so long.
…Of course, she’s a senior, and she’s planning on going to college out of state next year. But right now I don’t care because I have a real friend!