February 19, 2017
by Jack G.
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“I’ve returned to where I belong” for those of you not currently studying a language that has been dead for over a millennium.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed last semester. However, my brief foray into the History department, while successful, was a bit more work and writing than I would prefer. This spring semester, I wanted a workload balance that would allow me to get ahead on problem sets, rather than having to do them the day before they were due. I wanted Tuesday not to be perpetually a stressful day due to Cold War journals and papers. This semester, I’ve achieved all these wishes.
Freshman Spring Schedule Review
my spring schedule
Mondays can obviously be a bit of a marathon, what with having all five classes. Nevertheless, I don’t have to do any work on Mondays, since I have all of Tuesday off. I’ve found that I prefer stacking 3+ classes on M-W-F, though this is something that definitely varies from person to person. After your first semester, you should have some sort of idea what you prefer.
Taking two math classes and a physics class
maybe certainly isn’t most people’s idea of a perfect schedule, but as a math and physics major, I couldn’t ask for a better class combination.
AS.171.106 – Electricity and Magnetism I
Prof. Charles Bennett / 4 credits (+ 1-credit lab) / Areas: EN
E/M is the second course in the introductory physics track. It’s analogous to AP Physics C E/M, so my experience with that class will surely help as I move through the course. Prof. Bennett has an extremely impressive resume; it’s an interesting experience to learn such basic concepts as charge and current from one of the world’s leading experts on mapping the cosmos. As someone who has taken AP Physics 1, 2, and C in high school, the first half of this course dealing with electrostatics doesn’t come across as too challenging, but I’m sure that will change once we introduce magnetism. Truly understanding all of Maxwell’s Equations will be exciting progress.
AS.110.302 – Differential Equations
Prof. Richard Brown / 4 credits / Area: Q
Another class with the best professor here at Hopkins. Along with Linear Algebra, DiffEq is one of the last courses in the introductory math sequence. Prof. Brown has described it as “Calculus 2.5”, a comparison I’ve found is certainly apt to describe the types of problems we deal with. DiffEq is all about studying situations where you know the rate at which something is changing, but perhaps you don’t know the original function. There are a ton of different methods to solving the differential equations that can be solved, and even some for making sense of the ones which cannot. In this way, it is somewhat similar to AP Calculus BC, in that you’re primarily learning methods to solve tricky problems, rather than learning a whole new, 3-dimensional language like in Calculus III.
AS.110.212 – Honors Linear Algebra
Prof. Caterina Consani / 4 credits / Area: Q
Honors Lin Alg is, in my opinion, the first true math course I’ve taken. Linear Algebra is an abstract course to begin with, and the Honors version even more so. Everyone, even if they don’t know it, has used a small part of linear algebra before. Those short, linear systems of equations you solved in high school Algebra I? The underlying structure of those problems requires linear algebra to understand in its full beauty. Honors Lin Alg is my first proof-based class; proof-writing, while daunting, is an important skill to learn for higher level mathematics. All in all, Honors Lin Alg is definitely my toughest class this semester, but the challenge is worth it.
AS.040.108 – Elementary Latin
Prof. Ryan Franklin / 3.5 credits / Area: H
This class is pretty much exactly the same as last semester. Same professor, same textbook, same classmates, I’m ready to continue to delve deeper into Latin literature. Even in the three weeks so far elapsed, I’ve noticed that my Latin translating skills are already much improved from last semester, a welcome development. We’re finally getting to the point where we can look at writing by the great authors of antiquity, like Virgil and Caesar, and comprehend the gist of the sentences. That’s a very fulfilling feeling.