Mid-Semester Update

Well, with half of October gone and my first season of midterms complete, I figured it would be good to take a step back and see where I am on all fronts, not just school work. There’s been a lot on my plate recently, and I really just need to organize my thoughts and get ready for the rest of the semester.

PHY 422 – Classical Mechanics II
I’ve been doing pretty well on the homeworks, and I’ve been understanding all of the information fine as well, but I am worried about this class. I had my first exam in it this morning, worth 15% of my grade, and it did not go well… The second problem was a complete mess, with me fervently erasing my work on it three or four times before time was called. I have no idea exactly how many points I’ll get from it, and if a curve will be placed, but those may determine how much more time I need to put into the class.

MTH 310 – Abstract Algebra and Number Theory I
Remember when I said that this class was the bane of my existence? Well, not so much any more. After a 2/10 on a homework assignment and a talk with the professor, I kicked things into high gear, got a 10/10 on the next homework and a 93% on the exam. The two most recent homeworks have been fine as well, and I am enjoying the class much more as well. Bonus points: the professor knows my name! I’ll chalk this one up as a 4.0 unless something bad starts to happen again.

PHY 471 – Quantum Mechanics I
One of two Honors classes I’m taking (this one via an Option), this class has been going well. I rushed through the exam, so I didn’t get as high of a score as I had hoped, but my homework assignments have been much better recently. I’ve also started the process of working on the H-Option paper, which means I’ve looked at the provided topics and started thinking about which ones I may want to research and write about. Of course, I am on the professor’s radar since I asked for the topics a few weeks before he was going to send them out, and he also knows my name! This should be a 4.0, but a 3.5 may occur if the subsequent exams aren’t up to snuff.

AST 308 – Galaxies and Cosmology
This class isn’t hard, at least it hasn’t been, but in the last few days we’ve completely switched gears on what we’re learning and everything else, meaning that I’ve had to spend a little more time preparing for class. Homework assignments for this one are on the back-burner, but at the same time I never worry about completing them in time. It’s just an Astrophysics course, and I like telling people that I’m working on Cosmology. I also got a 91% on the last exam, even with guessing on quite a few answers…

LB 330H – Social Aspects of Climate Change
This class has been almost no work so far, except for one small thing: discussion leader. My date for leading discussion is tomorrow, meaning that I will be teaching the class on glacial, oceanic, and storm system changes due to climate change. I will also be leading discussion on a few select topics within that, but that just takes up more time that I need to fill. That presentation will be 15% of my grade, but at the same time I won’t have more work until some papers are due and I have another small presentation. Not worried about this one either.

LB 119 – Calculus II
This is my third semester as an LA, and it does get easier the more you do it. I have a year of material that I can cross reference when I need to, such as this past week with sequences and series. I’m glad that I’m working for Bell again, since I enjoyed having him as a professor, plus I’ll be asking him about writing/editing a reference letter for some internships for the summer.

Speaking of internships, here’s a quick run-down on what I’m applying to:

NASA USRP: I’d be going to either JPL, Marshall, or Goddard and doing some Physics or Astrophysics research for ten weeks. Should be a great experience if I get it, plus I’d be working for NASA!
UC-Davis: Again, Physics or Astrophysics research on the left coast. It would be sweet seeing another college, plus leaving the state would be perfect for me.
Notre Dame: Closer to home, but the experience should still be great. Plus, I know a few people who may be down there, so it would be easier to relax on the weekends.
DAAD-RISE: Currently, the application process is closed, so I can’t even begin researching potential universities and projects, but I’ll probably be applying to this one again this year. I’ll decide in winter if I really want to, but if I get one of these I may pick it over any other internship.
MDRS: A quirky two-week program in Nevada during spring semester, but I’d actually get to see what an astronaut would be doing in the future. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to take the opportunity if given, but since I probably won’t get the job either, no worries!

I have basically everything done for these (minus DAAD-RISE), or have already sent out the application (MDRS), but the applications won’t be finalized until December or January when I can send out a transcript with my fall semester grades. So, for now, these are just sitting on my computer while I tick off days on the calendar.

A couple quick facts. I’m running a 5K on Sunday, and I have been training for it. I should be fine, although a sub-19:00 probably won’t sprout from my feet. Apartment has been fine, with all three of us resigned for next year, and I am still enjoying it. 40k is completely dead due to lack of time. Guitar is progressing amazingly, with soloing and recording playing a major role now. I’m watching The Office every Thursday, plus my DVDs whenever I want. SO is non-existant, and I don’t think my attempts are doing anything to change that, which sucks. I was just sick for a few days. My 21st birthday is in 97 days.


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