Monthly Archives: June 2011

Summer Qual Course

A week ago, I officially started my career at Notre Dame. I drove back from my little brother’s high school graduation ceremony (where he gave a great speech and won the top award for graduates!) straight to South Bend, tried to sleep that night but utterly failed, and woke up slightly groggy but excited all the same around 0830 Monday morning.

That first class was essentially what you’d expect any first class to be like. We all went around the room and said our names and something we liked doing (I think most were sports- or outdoor activity-related things…), then found out that the homework assignment had to be completed by that day, not for us to work on that assignment after class. So, ten minutes in and as a class we’re a day behind. Those first two days were rough getting caught back up, especially since the subject area (fluid statics and mechanics) will most likely be my rustiest, at least until I realize how much (or little) I remember of E&M and whatever else we learn next month.

Thankfully, the rest of the week went much easier, since we did waves and oscillations and had a whole weekend to do a relatively easy problem set on relativity. The ten of us that are in the class and work in the office got really close during those first five days. At first, everyone was a little hesitant, but after a few lunch trips and deciding that there was no point in not being comfortable around each other, but the bonding occurred eventually. A Friday-night trip to a few local bars definitely helped!

Like always, I worked on learning everyone’s names as quickly as I could. Having the list of names on the board was helpful at the beginning, but I have all twelve names down pat (“Who the fuck is Clark?” one of many inside jokes already) and, even more importantly, everyone is really nice. My favorite part about meeting new people is just the various personalities and watching how they react and interact with each other. Throwing ten strangers in a room for eight hours a day working on Physics problems would be a very interesting psychological study.

I’ve also been slowly learning the area better. My first trip down to South Bend caused me to get lost on back roads somewhere trying to find the next onramp to I-80/90, so I could only go up. I worked on finding my way to the grocery store and a few convenience stores (luckily which are all close together), then I slowly expanded outward. A big help in that regard has been my long-anticipated switch from AT&T and a half-working flip phone to Verizon and the Droid X2. After about thirty seconds, I was already in love with the phone, and aside from a minor problem that had my new phone replaced two days later, it has been nothing short of remarkable. Maybe my favorite piece of technology I own.

But back to the Physics course. It took a while to re-start my brain, especially since I had done almost nothing between graduation and starting the course academic-related (aside from some programming), which didn’t really help out the fact that the first two days were the hardest subject material. We all survived, some in better shape than others, but the first week is done! Just three more until the first exam, then four more, then the second exam, and then a break before fall classes start!

But who the fuck is Clark?

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