It’s been a week since Spring Break, and I have almost forgot how relaxing my week of doing nothing was. For the most part, Spring Break was pretty average; I went home to Minnesota and stayed with my parents. I lugged about 50 lbs worth of textbooks home, with intentions of studying over break. They sat in my suitcase for 7-days untouched, but I am pretty proud of that, plus now I have huge biceps. I even didn’t really use my laptop, which was another plus. I was so busy for a week that I only had time for minimal facebook-ing, which is probably good because that website consumes way too much of my time. Clearly I also lacked on the blogging also, sorry ‘bout that…
I was reunited with Pantaloons, and, boy, was he as odd as ever...
I made a bucket-list of all the things I wanted to do at home, and I think I succeeded in my endeavors of all the things to do in Minneapolis if I only had 7 days. My favorite spring adventure was visiting the Minnesota Science Museum to see the exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was really miraculous to learn all about these amazing historical artifacts, and even though I am not a deeply religious individual I still really appreciated all the beauty within these ancient texts. Definitely went down as a once in a lifetime opportunity to actually first hand view these texts, so I think that completely beats some Mexican spring break vacation.
The second of my favorite endeavors included visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to view the Foot in The Door Exhibition. This exhibition only happens once every 10 years, and includes 1,000’s of pieces of art that local artists submit in hopes of “getting a foot in the door” of the art community. My extremely talented sister, who is a senior in college, had a featured piece (shown below.) She is an amazing artists, who is incredibly talented and equally as intelligent (she is a triple major in art, art history, and Spanish, as well as graduating summa cum laude!)
It's so much more amazing in person, and under a square foot!!
My last favorite voyage included a trek into the deep heart of South Minneapolis to The Holy Land restaurant, which exhibits middle-eastern food at it’s finest. Num, num, num.
It feels good to be back at Hopkins. Even though this week and next mark the time for midterms round two, I am feeling better about things this time. Spring break was a much-needed break. I have never really mentioned exactly what courses I am taking this semester, so I think it might be about time to divulge my secret academic activity. It’s not a very typical freshmen course-load, nor is it typical engineering. For about the first month of this semester I shopped around about 23 credits, including attending class for all of them (which was completely scheduling insanity!) After much debate, I settled on these 19 credits , and I am very happy with my decision.
This course is pretty straightforward. At the moment we are learning about introductory quantum mechanics, a subject I personally find quite interesting. However, out of all my courses, this is the one I am mostly likely to skip. It meets at 9 am MWF, which at times my altered early morning-mental state convinces me is just not worth attending. I wish I were more of a morning person.
Chemistry 2 Lab-
A lot of people at Hopkins is going to tell you that intro chem. lab is a terrible course. Personally, it goes down as my second favorite course this semester. I really enjoy working in the lab, and I think I am pretty good at it (probably better at it than the classroom material.) The course is a good amount of work considering it is only worth one credit, but if you work hard a good grade is definitely attainable. This class is a great opportunity to learn a lot! I think I will venture into more lab courses outside of my major after taking this course.
If you are looking for a fun elective, I would definitely recommend Animal Behavior. It’s like story time in kindergarten except you can bring coffee to class. My only beef with the class is that it is 75 minutes long, and my attention span is about 15 minutes. In short, I have a difficult time paying attention. The course doesn’t seem terribly difficult, but textbook and supplemental readings are assigned. We have an exam coming up in a week, so I guess I’ll see how that goes. I must admit I am a bit worried since my attention span has been particularly short-lived the past couple of weeks.
Chemical and Biological Process Analysis-
I’ll be straight up and say this is my least favorite class. My only reason is that the material is just not very interesting, but I am fully aware it is like the essential tool kit of knowledge and skills for a chemical engineer. The course covers topics like mass and energy balances of chemical processes and phases in processes. My attention span is also very short in this class. I would much rather spend 5 hours in a laboratory than 50 minutes in a classroom. I guess not everything involves flames, pretty colors, and possible danger(bummer.)
I am a bit on the fence for this class. Currently, I am about a chapter behind in the textbook (which I am actually reading!) I have never read a math textbook, so this is a new experience for me. The textbook material seems straightforward, the professor’s lectures are straightforward, but then when I go to do the homework and it results in complete mental blockage and confusion between the lectures and textbook. My only issue with the course is that the professor doesn’t do enough concrete examples, and she doesn’t assign enough homework (yes, I actually just said that…) Unlike my previous math courses (single and multivariable calculus), this one is really abstract and definitely requires a deeper sense of mathematical maturity. Topics include row operations, linear transformations, subspaces, linear spaces, and later in the course we learn about Eigen values and differential equations. This is definitely a class I need to put more time into, but I feel like I am learning a lot, and, dare I say out of fear of failing the next midterm, I enjoy it.
Elementary Number Theory-
There is nothing elementary or theoretical about this class. It isn’t philosophizing about where numbers come from, if that is what you’re thinking. Number theory is a branch of pure mathematics dealing with properties of integers, and more specially prime numbers. I know you’re probably thinking, “What is so special about prime number?” Well, they are pretty darn special. I mean incredibly awe-inspiringly special. This subject is actually very eloquent and beautiful. The course also surveys a lot of open questions in mathematics, so even though some of the topics, like the Chinese Remainder Theorem, have existed for 2,000 years there is still so much that is unknown. Even though it is by far the most challenging of my courses, it is also my favorite. The course is a 300-level meaning that is a upper-level. In fact, I am one of two freshmen in course, while the other students are mostly seniors with the occasional junior. Even though the course has no prerequisites, I would highly recommend taking a course like discrete mathematics beforehand, since being well read in how to prove something is really helpful. Sometimes I finish a homework problem, and I’ll look a page long proof, and say to myself, “Wow… I would have not been able to do that two months ago.” I think that is a pretty good sign that you are learning a lot. This class is also very small, only about 25 students in total, which is a huge plus. The course meets twice a week for 75 minutes, and shockingly my attention span can span the whole period.
A Homework Problem
After a good two-hour conversation with my dad, I have been convinced to slow down. So the mid-semester resolution is to relax and have fun. I have always taken pride in my ability to be academically driven and crazy fun loving, and school can’t make me forget that. So the past couple of weeks I have made more time for me and less time for academics. People have told me if I don’t want to work “that hard” I shouldn’t have come to Hopkins, but what do they know? I work very hard, even when I am not working “that hard.” What did I really come to Hopkins for? I certainly didn’t come to lock myself up in the basement of MSE. We’ve all got to live a little, and these next three years are no exception. So on that note I’ve abandoned C-level for the day, and I am sitting in my bed eating a banana (my latest obsession, ask anyone that knows me) and listening to some good music and watching the daffodils sprout from my window.
A Very Pretty View from Krieger