Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It's the beginning of my third week of college. So much has occurred in such a short period of time, I can't even begin to think of where to start with this entry.

Big people school hasn't been that hard as of yet, but at 2.5 weeks in I can feel the workload starting to intensify. I'm constantly developing my study habits since this concept of studying is foreign to me. I take notes because I'd be bored in class otherwise. After reading the book and listening to a lecture, reviewing notes seems really redundant. Passing off reading a powerpoint as teaching is annoying, fortunately most of my instructors provide some additional insight every now and then. Regardless, I copy everything in my notebook like everyone else like a good little scribe and digitize it that evening or the next day. I'm really enjoying the concept of being responsible for learning on my own without having jillions of BS worksheets and assignments shoved down my throat to "reinforce" the subject matter. With well-written textbooks, lectures, free tutors, office hours, and the blessing of the Internet, it's pretty hard not to understand something. But I may be eating my words later, so take that with two shakes of salt.

SYG2000, Principles of Sociology, MWF - I took this class not only because it was a Gen. Ed credit, but because it seemed interesting. Taking AP Psychology two years ago really got my ears perked up to a few new topics that I would've otherwise ignored. The course is taught by a really down to earth grad student. It's been interesting so far and will definitely be an easy A. The class isn't as big as I thought with only 40 students and she already knows most of our names.

ENC3254, Professional Writing and Communications for Engineers, MWF - Even though most Engineers dread English classes, I don't. Finally something relevant! This is our instructor's first year teaching, but she's coming straight from the industry, so even though she's not the best teacher she has excellent advice and commentary. There are about 20 in this class and I think I'll leave with a lot of valuable knowledge. We've already written an introductory memo and prepared a rough draft of a cover letter/resume/follow up. To come later are instruction manuals, technical definitions, a research report, and individual and group proposals. Oddly enough I'm looking forward to all of this.

MAC2311, Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1, M(T)WF - oh Calculus, how I missed thee. I'm really rusty at math since it's been over a year, but the gears are being re-oiled and it's coming back to me...slowly. I'm dreading this little segment we're having on Pre-Calculus, but the material ahead is exciting. Professor Edwards is amazing. He's darn funny and manages to teach the concepts well, though very quickly. This guy co-authored the Calculus textbook we used in high school. The lectures on MWF are huge with over 300 students. I didn't even notice the people sitting on the floor in the back until he said one day, "Welcome to Calculus, standing room only". It's one of those classes where if you're early, you're on time, and if you're on time, you're late. I have my discussion group with about 30 others on Tuesday where we go over homework and take quizzes. I adore the TAs accent, he sounds just like Fez from That 70s Show.

LIN3010, Introduction to Linguistics, MWF - Being the huge grammar/language/word nerd that I am, I expected nothing less than enjoyment from this class. The class is a bit larger than I expected with about 200 students. Even though the lecture is sometimes boring on Monday and Wednesday, the subject material is still incredibly interesting. The professor moves pretty quickly so we cover a lot in a short period of time and usually end up leaving early. I'm so glad this class evaluates langauage from a more sciency perspective than a liberal artsy one. Friday's are discussion groups and there are about 15 people in my group. So far it's been a simple reinforcement of some basic concepts, but the TA is cool.

EML2920, Department and Professional Orientation, R -This is the first engineering class in the mechanical engineering track. It's simply a 1-credit introduction to the major, career track, and resources available, with something at the end about Excel. Another huge lecture hall-packing class, and there really isn't much work at all.

CHM1025, Introduction to Chemistry, online - With my past history with online courses, I wouldn't have bet on me taking an online class ever again if I didn't have to. But I have to. Fortunately the interface is much nicer than what I was previously familiar with, even though I still think eBooks are annoying to navigate. I've heard horrible things about this course and the drop rate, but it's not too bad so far, so I just hope that I make it through the semester successfully.

The Living Quarters
I live in an apartment off campus about two miles away. It's a 4/4, so I have three roommates, yet I still have my own bedroom and bathroom. The roomies are cool, not buddies-for-life-amazing-instant-friends, but we'll get along. I moved in on 8/21 and have pretty much everything I need, but my Target wish list is still growing. I'm hating all of these little Walmart trips that I've been making for little necessities because I really can't stand the place, but it's convenient.

My room is getting to be very comfy and I can finally call it home. I'm considering getting a task chair, lamp, and some more wall decorations and then it should feel complete. I got an awesome and cheap Bumble Bee Transformers poster from the Reitz Poster Sale and I have a Wall-E poster on the way. (pictures on Facebook)

This past summer I paid close attention to my mother's cooking and practiced a bit myself in anticipation for having to cook alone and what not. I have a decently stocked kitched and pretty much everything I need to cook anything I would want. Problem: I'm still as shy as ever and the selfish only child in me still hates sharing. I skeptically agreed to share cookware, but I didn't really want to; I did it because it would be incredibly weird if I didn't. I get really upset internally when I see my stuff being used constantly, stuff that I haven't even used yet, but I wouldn't dare bring it up. It's seemingly a non-issue, but really irks me. In the back of my mind I know it's irrational, though I really can't help but to feel this way. I felt that it was necessary for me to be well-prepared, what a coincidence and convenience for everyone else that Noelle has brought cookware and utensils and plates and bowls and a cookie sheet and what not. If I bring a service for two, does it seem like it would be used by four? No. Maybe I wouldn't have as big of a problem if I were sharing with friends and not complete strangers. Maybe I still have some serious issues to work out internally. I understand no one is at fault except for possibly me for not being open about my lack of ability to share with pleasure, so no blame is being placed. I'm really just arguing with myself.

With that said, I've cooked once -- and it's only been rice. I'm not in the mood for conversation or shyly greeting new people everytime I leave my room, so I've been avoiding cooking. I need to get over this because I miss real food.

Perhaps the worst part of the beginning of the semester is buying textbooks. I have spent a grand total of $447.78 on textbooks/course codes/lecture notes this semester and it was not fun to part with. I was smart with my shopping, and didn't buy a single book from the UF Bookstore. Two came used from local bookstores and the rest were purchased online. I bought the international edition of Technical Communications for $35 new, opposed to $116 new/$85 used for the US version -- saving on that was a great feeling. I was skeptical of the quality and content at first, but it turned out to be the same exact book, same page numbers, diagrams, everything, except the cover said "India Edition" and the pages weren't glossy.

The bus system is great on the weekdays, as 3 different bus routes pass my apartment complex heading towards campus, so I rarely have to wait more than 5 minutes for a bus. I learned the hard way that 7:50-8:30am is peak time and about 8 or so full buses will pass before one will at least stop at my complex. I've learned to leave around 7:40-7:45, so even though I may get there super early for my 8:30 class, it's better than being late. It's quite inconvenient that the buses have such limited hours on the weekend, only running hourly 7am - 5pm on Saturday and then 10am - 4pm on Sunday.

So with my issues with weekend bus service and hatred towards walking miles upon miles daily, I bought a bike on Sunday. I've become envious of the cyclists, whizzing around campus so quickly, with their own less crowded lanes, with rights similar to pedestrians and vehicles. I've gone out for a short ride every evening since I've had the bike, but my first pedal leaving the store made me realize how out of shape I am. It's been about 8 years since I've been on a bike, so I need to build up some endurance to be able to ride ~3 miles to school. I've roughly calculated going 2 miles up and down the street I live on, so I should be ready to skip the bus in a few days.

I've been a bit of a loner for the past few weeks, and I don't find it strange at all. Living off campus might have a bit to do with it, but I'm not much of a social being or small-talk kinda person, so I'll let the friendships come naturally. I see so many people forcing friendships with those that they live near or see on a daily basis; it's simply not my kinda thing to be friends just because, there has to be some sort of common interest, or personality click at least. In spite of my natural introvertedness, I have been to a few social events and such. I joined NSBE and look forward to being an active member in that and I am going to an event tomorrow for the Freshman Leadership Engineering Group (FLEG), so I'm trying to make myself busier outside of pure academics.

I think my year is off to a great start so far. Gainesville is growing on me, being more southern than I thought, but I'm really liking UF as a whole more and more each day. I've finally embarked upon the journey that I've been anticipating for so long, can't wait for what the future holds...