Thursday, February 21, 2008

By way of an update

I've dropped geology. Too much work.

I got the class high on the last statistics test. Lemme tell you that came as a surprise. Furthermore, there was a fair amount of "group effort" going on during the exam. The instructor who allegedly proctored the exam just dropped them off and left. I don't know about the self esteem of the guys who took the test as a team and still landed in the low 70s. If you cheat and still can't win then... well... you're a fricking idiot.

I have a classmate, J, in two classes. He is way overloaded. We had a chemistry test last night which he's pretty sure he failed. He has lost his statistics book and he doesn't feel like buying another one. I see a train wreck in his immediate future. Can't say I haven't made similar mistakes myself and sadly it's one of those things you only learn by experience.

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's gonna be crisis management the whole semester

First statistics test was a disaster. Open book, open notes and I still couldn't answer one of the word problems.

I underestimated the workload for geology so that cost me some points.

I'm behind in algebra.

Chemistry prof is disorganized so there will be lots of last-minute assignments all semester.

Needless to say, it's going to be a busy weekend.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Classes Update

Algebra: imminently doable. Not without effort mind you, but very doable.

Stat: scary. Professor stands at the front of class and riffs on statistics. Very, very interesting but he has assigned one homework the whole course and most students couldn't do it. So instead of actually handing the homework in the Prof did it up on the board. We get a test next Friday which will be proctored as he has to be somewhere else. I am more than a little nervous about this one.

Geology: The book is high school level. The first couple of chapters are the usual scientific hazing of memorizing vocabulary and facts. Nonetheless, I need to pick up the pace to assure a good grade.

Chemistry: our professor is a nutter. First you print out the assignment and do it in pen, then you type the assignment and submit it over the internet. If you have a lot of problems on the assignment then you have to submit the handwritten copy. She hands out exercises in class that are due next class. Every class begins with students asking each other what assignments are due that class. It's a bit of a mess.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Still haven't hit a rythm yet

I have both Saturday and Sunday off this weekend and I'm planning on doing some quality time in the books. Sadly, I have the attention span of a ferret on crack so I generally need to go to the library in order to be able to focus.

Current status report:

Geology: idling. No assignments due this month.
Algebra: progress. The current stuff is warm up and I'm handling it.
Statistics: dunno. It's all been definitions so far. Friday is lab, so I'll know more then.
Chemistry: rusty but okay. All of the material is a repeat of material I've had before.

Chemistry is the most interesting course by way of class dynamics. We had a very simple lab tonight. We had to find the density of a block of wood. So we had to measure and weigh the block of wood and do some division. Not a big deal. We had students that took over an hour to measure and weigh a little block of wood. We had students who could not make conversions from one measuring unit to another. These folks weren't hollering questions, they were sitting at their lab benches with blank looks on their faces. Needless to say they're not all going to be there at the end of the semester.

Oh, and the "I'm a genius" guy hasn't been showing up to lectures. I'll bet even money he's still registered for the course and this is exactly how he failed it last semester.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Effective use of time...

My early math class canceled this morning so I've got a free hour.

Rather than dive into my neglected textbooks I've gotten a cup of coffee and registered for the campus emergency SMS program. Should we experience an emergency such as a shooter the school could theoretically notify us by SMS. Personally, I would prefer a campus-wide PA system but I guess that's the GI in me.

Chemistry is going to be a bear

I have already missed an assignment. During the first day of classes we got the usual blizzard of paperwork and one of them was an assignment. I overlooked it. Not a big deal, but annoying nonetheless.

Our instructor is not a native speaker of English. There are a few words she can't say and one of them is "measurement" which she probably had to say 50 times last night. Probably because I was already pissed at myself over missing the assignment, I let it get to me. It was a very long 1.75 hour lecture.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Not sure how things are going

Because of work and personal disorganization I've got a tough week ahead.

I know what I need to do for Chemistry and Algebra, it's just not done yet.

Stat and Geology are another matter entirely. Geology is off to a slow start so I can catch up pretty quickly. Statistics, on the other hand, is not giving me a warm fuzzy. We've had no assignments and all we've done for three classes is learn definitions and hear war stories about the application of statistics out in the world. It sounds silly, but I wish we had some homework or something so I'd have a barometer of my performance.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tally Ho!

Spring Semester for the Last Chance Cowboy College started on Wednesday and I've now seen (or been e-mailed by) each of my instructors once. My two math instructors (algebra and statistics) are intellectually vibrant folks. I will enjoy their classes. My geology course is online and I hate online courses. My instructor seems really engaged and has put time into her course shell so hopefully it won't suck too bad. My big beef with internet courses is that (at least at the Cowboy College) it's basically paying the school for the privilege of being my own teacher. My chemistry teacher is professional but seems nervous.

One of the folks I'm sitting next to in my chemistry lecture introduced himself as a genius. There are some phrases that are probably false simply because they were uttered. "I'm in charge" is one of them. If you have to say that you're in charge, the truth is you're probably not. "I'm a genius" would be another one. Genius boy is retaking the class because he failed it last semester. According to genius boy, this instructor got blasted in last semester's critiques. That would explain some of the nervousness.

Anyhow, it's obvious I will have my work cut out for me this semester. This is not going to be one of those semesters where I can do significant chunks of coursework at the last moment. This semester will take some planning and more than a little work.

Last semester wasn't too tough and gave me the opportunity to knock off a decade's worth of intellectual rust. This semester won't be as mistake tolerant as last semester was.

Today I was that guy

Somehow, I managed to enter both of my math classes into my organizer one hour early. So this morning I woke up too early, ate too fast and then sat in the wrong class for 10 minutes until it dawned on me that I was in wrong place. In my defense, it was before the instructor passed out the usual first day pile of paperwork.

For all of the classes that I've taken over the years, this is the first time that I've been the schmuck that asked "Is this... ?" and gathered his stuff and shuffled out of the classroom. Until today I've always been the one staring at the schmuck's back thinking "How could he not know where his classes are?"

Back when I was studying for my paramedic ticket we used to get real estate students in our lectures all the time. Our classes were taught in lecture halls used by a nursing school during the day. At night they would teach extension courses to include paramedics, real estate and a bunch of other stuff. Every semester we'd get at least one aspiring real estate agent in the big lecture hall. They were easy to pick out... no coffee cup... didn't smell faintly of hand sanitizer and smoke... and they were wearing more than $40 worth of clothes.


I retired last year after 26 years in the military and it's time to grow up and start my second career. I'm hoping to be a high school teacher when this is all done. By "this" I mean all of the schooling, refocusing and growing up that I have left until the last minute.