Pacifica (autumnwinds) wrote,

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Academic Decathalon

It's come to my attention that while I've been inserting a few witty remarks and links, I actually haven't talked much about what's going on in my life. Being that this IS a journal, I think I'm going to do that.

As usual, I'm taking a heavy courseload. Graduation seems a lot nearer now (December 2004), so I feel a lot more aware of the time and classes I have left here, rather than some nebulous future-time.

My schedule last semester was one of the best I've ever had because I wound up with 2 and a half days completely off every week. Pretty phenomenal. This semester is somewhat the opposite...I have early classes and late classes with a lot of empty time in between, so I spend a lot of time on campus.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are essentially the same. I have my Wildlife and Population Ecology class at 8:30. This is my toughest class, and a nasty, grad-level mix of math, general information, specific studies, and all sorts of stuff. It's really hard, and I've got to get going on the class project soon.

After that class, I always have three hours free. I live two miles from campus and the bike ride is really unpleasant, so I don't go home. I usually stay on campus and spend all three hours doing readings, studying for quizzes, and doing lab assignments...particularly GIS, which can only be done on campus because I don't have ArcView on my computer.

Anatomy and Physiology is at 12:30. That's a pretty easy class for me, but it's started to get really technical...not in a difficult way, but in a boring way. The professor is awesome, but he spends so much time accenting every single sentence and repeating himself over and over that it's really hard to concentrate.

GIS Primer is immediately after that at 1:30. This class is just about learning how to operate global information systems. It's a technical class, so the lab assignments we do (like population ecology) actually have a lot more relavance to the topic, and the lecture itself just seems like philosophizing.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are all like that. On Monday, I have my Mammalogy lab from 2:30-5:30 (practical identification of skulls and skins...a LOT of them), while my Anatomy lab is at 2:30-4:30 on Wednesday (practical identification of internal organs and musculature of dissected cats, mostly), and I have nothing after GIS on Friday.

Tuesday and Thursday are roughly the same. On both days I have Honors History 101 at 8:00. This is really cool for me, because it's actually the first history class I've ever taken in my life. It's a comprehensive history of civilization up until about the 1400's, and I'm learning a lot. The professor is great.

9:30 is my Mammalogy class. This class is really hard because it involves a huge amount of memorization...not just orders and families, but a lot of representative genuses and species. It would be pretty unbearable if I wasn't so interested in the topic; this is a class I've wanted to take since elementary school, so it's really satisfying in that respect.

After Mammalogy I have a few hours to study. On Thursday, my Population Ecology lab goes from 1:30-3:30. On Tuesday, my Interdisciplinary class starts at 12:30. This is really a BS colloquium class that consists of someone different coming in every week and giving a speech that somehow relates to "A Sense of Place: Time, Memory, and Imagination in the Pacific Northwest." All I do is keep a journal, mostly. The only reason I'm taking it was because I'm almost done with my Honors certificate and I needed a 1-credit Honors class. This was it. It's not bad.

So that's pretty much the academic schedule. A lot of my assignments are routine. Every Monday I have a lab quiz in Mammalogy, which generally involves being able to identify (to species, scientific name) the skins and skulls of about 30 different species. Some labs include multiple orders. Rodentia is so huge that it covers two labs, so tomorrow I need to know the porcupine, the nutria, the mountain beaver, 2 marmots, 9 ground squirrels, a prairie dog, 6 chipmunks, and 5 squirrels. That includes their ranges, massateric and jaw conditions, other skull characteristics, subfamilies, families, scientific, and common names. That's about par.

Tuesday I have to write in my journal.

Wednesday I always have an Anatomy lab quiz. This is usually pointing to stuff in the dissestions, like parts of the eyeball or brain. This Wednesday is the lab midterm, along with a GIS midterm to boot.

Thursday I always have a Population Ecology lab assignment due. These are always pretty opaque and involve me going in to get help from the TA's at least once during the week.

Friday I always have a GIS assignment due, and an Anatomy lecture quiz on the lectures from that week.

So those are the things I have to do as a matter of routine. Other exams, quizzes, or assignments are just icing on the cake.

I get up at 6:15 every morning (I actually wake up on my own). I go downstairs, eat my cereal, read the comics, and banter with Doc when he gets up while I make lunch. I study a little for class and then bike to school. After school I run any errands I need to do (I installed some baskets around the rear wheel of my bike so I can carry groceries) and bike home. I take a little break after I get back to the house, work on homework, fix dinner, do more homework, study in bed until about 9:00, then do a little fun reading before bed. Lights usually go out at 9:45.

Thus far, that's been my life for the past 7 weeks.
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