It’s hard to believe that we’re already in our fourth week of Spring Semester! It was easy to get into the swing of classes again with Intersession as an intermediary, and February has flown by.
Last semester, I posted a blog about all of my classes during Finals (you can find the blog here), but this semester I decided to write it a little earlier. I’m only taking 15 credits, which is a pretty light load for an engineer. A lot of my classes are similar to last semester, too, which makes for a relatively easy workload. (Key word: relatively. Don’t worry, I still have plenty going on!)
So, without further ado…
The Nineteenth Century British Novel
I chose to take this class because of the awesome reading list. So far we have read Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, and soon we’ll move on to Great Expectations, Tess D’Urbervilles, Middlemarch, and The Woman in White. I read the first three books in high school and was excited to read them again because I count them all among my favorites. The class is structured differently than any English class that I’ve taken before—it’s a lecture with about fifty people in it. We break into smaller sections once a week to discuss the books, though, which is more familiar to me. The class also has a final exam instead of a final paper, which is something that I really appreciate (essays are not my friend). I’m glad I chose to round out my schedule with this English class; I find myself using the reading as an enjoyable break from problem sets!
Calc III is very similar to Calc II; I even take it in the same exact lecture hall. Like last semester, there is a section each week to ask questions and review material, and my TA is really helpful. I’ve found the homework load for this class pretty manageable so far, with the hardest work being 3-D graphing. That being said, we’re just getting into the actual calculus (as opposed to graphing vectors, cross products, etc.), so we’ll see if that holds true!
This class is exactly the same as last semester: same professor, same students. It is essentially the second half of Physics I. It’s been nice to have something familiar to start the semester with!
Expository Writing: Fairy Tales
While I probably wouldn’t have chosen to take a writing class unless it was required by my major, Expos is really interesting. Hopkins has a great writing program, and a variety of introductory writing courses (you can learn about them here!). We have to write four papers over the semester, and the writing is broken up into different homework assignments so it is manageable. We started the semester interpreting Bluebeard, and we’re just beginning to work on Snow White. I love fairy tales, and it’s fun to revisit them and compare the written versions to what I’ve seen via Disney.
Experiences in Mechanical Engineering (w/ Lab)
Again, this is a class that is a continuation of last semester. All of the students are the same, but we do have a different professor. Our focus so far has been on the mechanisms in bicycles; our first four labs were devoted to the dissection of bikes. I love getting to pull apart all of the gears and chains—and great hands-on experience. For the first lab we even got to take the bikes outside for a spin to test them and to measure RPM. While I might have had to leap onto our bike from the curb because it was too big for me, what other lab has you playing outside for the experiment? (In retrospect, I should have realized how many years’ worth of freshmen MechEs had worked on these bikes. The fact that they didn’t fall apart underneath us is a testament to the quality of student here at Hopkins. Or luck.) In class, we’ve also continued our work in MATLAB. About every other week we have a guest speaker from a list which includes a representative from the Career Center, a professor to discuss ethics, and a lawyer to teach us about product liability and patent law. Experiences is a great overview of the different aspects of engineering and each class offers something different.
The semester seems to be shaping up pretty nicely, but midterms are around the corner, so the stress is sure to set in soon enough! Overall, though, I love all of my courses and my major. It’s hard to believe that Spring is almost here!