First Month Back and Oh Golly

I hope that everyone has had a great return to the academic grind in whatever way you are returning! It has definitely been interesting adapting to this new model of learning in a way that is safe for everyone.

The intensity and rigor of my classes has really picked up from what it was my first year, so I almost appreciate not having as many social distractions so I can take the time to study rather than having to choose between my friends and school. This semester, I’m taking Organic Chemistry 1, Physics 2, Transport Processes, and Power and Influence. I could spend a whole post going over all that’s gone on in each of these classes, but I will limit each to one maybe two paragraphs.

Everyone knows that Organic Chemistry is one of the hardest classes anyone could take ever, and it really lives up to its reputation. Never before have I read a textbook for a class, but in OChem it’s basically a guaranteed fail if you don’t. I think the main thing about it is that there is so much material to go through, and the best way to absorb it is through maximum exposure. In terms of actual class dynamics, it is certainly interesting to be on a Zoom call with about 170 classmates. I’ll just say that the chat is very active which can be distracting at times but also sometimes comforting to know that other people are also confused about what’s going on. There’s not enough time in class to answer everyone’s questions, so this is why I love to take advantage of office hours and recitation sessions where I can ask questions after processing the information for a couple of days and reading the textbook as well.

Physics 2 is another hard-hitting class mostly because it involves a lot of problem solving and a deep understanding of the topics to navigate the different questions. This class also has a lab every other week and a recitation with a weekly quiz. I really enjoy the class sessions because this is one of my classes that is fully online, so my professor is exclusively talking to people on the screen. This is also the same professor that I took Physics 1 with, so we already know each other and makes me a lot more willing to participate in class. My professor also sends us into breakout rooms which very much helps to process the concepts by talking it out aloud with my classmates.

Transport Processes (which is basically fluid dynamics) is the second chemical engineering specific class I have taken. So far, it has helped me realize more about what chemical engineering is, but I also don’t know if I’ve wrapped my head around the fact that as an engineer, I will be doing math all day. For some reason I thought that at some point I’d move past math, but I don’t know if that will ever happen. I’m not mad about it because I enjoy math, but it seems so surreal that I’ll be applying it for the rest of my life.

Rounding out my schedule is my business class for my Consulting minor, Power and Influence. I was a little bit nervous going into the class because it was my first business class, so I wasn’t positive what to expect. It has turned out to be a really interesting class despite being 3 hours long on a Thursday night. It is my first discussion-based class and probably the most regular social interaction I get all week. I appreciate the new insights I get from discussing topics with people from a different major.

Overall, I do have a really tough schedule (and I think I will for the rest of college), but these are all topics that interest me, so I enjoy putting in the work even though it takes a lot of energy to get through. I’m also glad that this isn’t agony for me to go though because then I would know that I chose the wrong major. Despite the pandemic not being an optimal situation for most things, my professors have worked so hard to make this semester work, and I cannot talk about this semester without also expressing my gratitude to them. Knowing how accessible they’ve made themselves and how smoothly classes run most of the time lets me know how much they care about making the most of this situation and encourages me to come to class with the same energy.

I’m not saying that I’m a pro at anything, but I wanted to add my 10 “Pro Tips” from this past month of what I’ve learned taking classes at home.

Pro Tip #1: Vlogging absolutely everything you do on your Snapchat story is a great way to stay in touch with friends.

Pro Tip #2: Listening to “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” is an instant mood boost.

Pro Tip #3: Dying the ends of your hair does make you feel ~quirky~ and totally worth it.

Pro Tip #4: According to a TikTok I saw, professors can see whose video you pin and all private messages after class. (you’re welcome)

Pro Tip #5: If you have no resources to offer in your networking simulation, typed out stick figures are a great alternative to offer for loyalty.

Pro Tip #6: Don’t say “the beaker” in your OChem lab report because Turn It In will flag it.

Pro Tip #7: If you refrigerate an onion, you won’t cry when cutting it.

Pro Tip #8: Eating pineapples from the can and grocery store cake after midnight prevent mental breakdowns. (Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional)

Pro Tip #9: Cool kids do homework on Friday nights.

Pro Tip #10: When all else fails, it’s okay to lie down, stare at the ceiling, and listen to “Redbone” on loop until you feel better.

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