First of all, welcome to the Class of 2017 Early Decision Accepted Students! All your hard work has paid off; I know you’re going to love Hopkins! To those Regular Decision applicants: don’t worry, your time will come soon enough! I was regular decision so I know how hard the wait will be, but it will be worth it in the end!
With finals upon us current students, I figured it would be a good time to blog about the classes I’ve been taking for the past semester. As a Mechanical Engineer, most of my classes are already chosen for me, so my schedule is pretty standard for an engineering student. I’m taking 16 credits, all of which are at the introductory level.
My Fall Schedule! Having no class on Tuesday is awesome.
Studying for Chem in the library! This picture is from around the time of my first midterm, so by now it should look almost the same but with four times the notes and five times the mess.
Introduction to Materials Chemistry
I’ll start with Chem because not only is it arguably my hardest class, but it’s the final I’m taking a break from studying for right now! While this class has a fancy title, it’s almost the same as normal Chemistry I (or AP Chem), but with an emphasis on, you guessed it, materials. I consider it hard because chemistry is not my forte, but the professor is really nice and the workload is reasonable. One of the best parts of this class is our three midterms, all of which are weighted pretty heavily. While studying for three tests was a pain at the time, now that I’m preparing for the final I am glad to have the material from the midterms already mastered and the grades already down!
Introduction to Mechanics I
Just as Materials Chem is basically the same as Chem I, Mechanics is basically the same as Physics I, but split over two semesters (this means I’ll take Mechanics II next semester and Physics II in the Fall!). By lengthening the amount of time spent on the material we are able to go more in depth. The professor works in the Applied Physics Laboratory and always has a fun story to tell or a dynamic example for the concept we are studying. He’s also going to be our professor next semester, and has made a point to learn everyone’s name in the class of about seventy, which is pretty impressive.
Making America: Mastery and Freedom in British Mainland America, 1607-1789
Making America is my “fun” class of the semester! While I love all of the classes required by my major, I was able to choose this class completely on my own. I was drawn to this class because of its focus on Colonial America: living near Boston my whole life has made me into a slight Revolutionary War buff, and ever since watching Liberty’s Kids in elementary school it’s been my favorite time period to learn about. Sometimes studying for Making America becomes a little hard because there is no textbook, so you have to depend completely on your lecture notes. But it’s a small class so study groups form easily. Another perquisite of the class: it’s not writing intensive. While some history classes require you to write longer essays, this class only requires a one page “discussion starter” every other week!
This is your basic freshman lecture: it’s in a hall with over a hundred people. However, every week you also attend a section with just your TA and about fifteen other students, where you can ask more specific questions. Homework is challenging, but once you find a study group you’re all set.
Freshman Experiences in Mechanical Engineering
All of the freshmen MechEs and Engineering Mechanics majors take Experiences in the fall and the spring. Here we learn the basics of Mechanical Engineering, with an emphasis on engineering design and MATLAB. Most of our homeworks are a mix of drawing, reading, and programming. This class was my first introduction to programming, and I’ve really enjoyed working with MATLAB and can’t wait to learn Java (hopefully this summer!).
Working in the MechE lab!
Mechanical Engineering Freshman Lab I
This is the lab component of the Experiences class. It also lines up perfectly with the concepts we are learning in Mechanics: the labs we complete are a combination of a standard physics lab and working with MATLAB. For Experiences we had a final project in addition to a written final, and we did all of our work in the lab. For the last month of the term we were even given key-card access to the lab so we could work at any time. Instead of describing the final project here, it’s a lot easier to just show you the video describing it! My team’s machine is the first one in the video, to the left (with the purple duct tape!).
Freshman Experiences in Mechanical Engineering Final Project!
One of the earlier prototypes of our MechE project!
One of the great parts of being in the Mechanical Engineering department is the ability to bond with the other students in your major. Almost all of the MechE classes are different than the typical engineering lectures; they are tailored to the Mechanical Engineering curriculum. This means that the lectures are smaller more focused on the material that you need to know. With these specific classes and the interactive lab, you get to know your fellow MechEs pretty fast. This helps a lot when you need help on a homework problem or want to study together!
Registering for Spring classes, bright and early in the morning!
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my classes this semester. Next semester most of them will be continued at the next level, except I’ll be replacing Chem with Expository Writing and History with a Literature class. I’ll also be taking courses over Intersession, which I can’t wait for!
Well, back to studying that Chem..