Thursday, March 3, 2011

One down, 11 to go

So that countdown is referring to the number of weeks of classes here. I’ve successfully survived my first week of classes, and it’s a bit different. Firstly, there’s only 12 weeks! I was talking to my good friend Bekah today before Skype rudely dropped the call and she was asking me about how the classes were different. So I suppose I will write about that in this blog, since I never got to answer here.

Firstly, I will note that when I got here, during international student orientation, they constantly stressed how punctuality is a major Australian value, and I’m like ok, we share a value. Although I sometimes operate on CP time, I really do like to be on time to stuff, and I make an honest effort to be for the most part. It’s something I can say I have actually seen myself grow in since beginning college. So since my schedule said 9 am on Tuesday for the start of my biochemistry class, I show up at like 5 before 9, and there’s barely anyone there. People slowly trickle in, including the professor, and finally at like 9:15 class started. I’m thinking to myself, “this is interesting. Punctuality, huh?” Maybe starting on time is how they roll at the main campus, however at the Ag one, not so much. Second difference: (also exclusive to the ag campus) the lectures are in 3 hour time blocks, so I have one class each day. In the morning is the 3 hour lecture, and in the afternoon is 3 hours of lab, tutorial, or a combination or alteration of the two. I say alteration because in biochemistry, we have a lab one week, and the next week a tutorial (which is like a discussion based recitation). 3 hour lecture? That is a bit long, but it’s not so bad. The biochemists have worked it out so that we get a 10 min break after the first hour, and lunch after the second hour before the 3rd, because anyone could guess that 3 hours straight of biochem would be enough to cause someone’s brain to liquefy and just simply run out of their ears. However, these breaks seem to be at the prof’s disgression, but they do all seem to be in agreement that a break is necessary. My second day was in animal breeding and genetics, and the prof went for like an hour and a half, and was just randomly like, ok, let’s take a 25 minute break. Today, was animal reproduction, which so far, I find the most interesting. This is going to be a MAJOR nerd moment, but I was so engaged that I could’ve gone without the break. Or at least when she gave us one, I wasn’t necessarily ready for one yet, but in all honesty, I probably would have gotten restless if I had to sit for 3 straight hours.

The next difference is that the learning seems to be a lot more hands on. Today in repro I dissected the reproduction tract of a boar and goat. And then we got to design the stages of sperm development within the seminiferous tubule out of play-doh. Mine was done in pen though, cause it took until the end of the class period of the teacher explaining it to me until I understood it. However, I get it now (hopefully). Yesterday, my first day of breeding and genetics involved a trip to the cattle yards. And there are other similar things planned throughout the semester including trips to zoos, research centers, and my wildlife management course has a four day field trip.

Am I at number 4? Well, that’s what we’re going with. The professors generally go by their first names. And number 5, cause that’s a good number I think. When I was preparing to come here, everyone was like, it’s really hard to do well because your grade is only based off of the final exam and a paper. Fortunately, I’ve learned not to really listen to other people when their advice is even in the least bit discouraging. Even if something is difficult, I’m not going to go into with an attitude of defeat. I’m more than a conqueror!! (HS just gave that to me just now :]) I’m going to go into it expecting and working toward success! Anyhow, I got here, and maybe some classes are like that, but mine aren’t. The heaviest weighted exam is in my repro class and that’s 45%. The other two non-online classes have 2 exams and all of them have lab grades and other assessments. The learning style is still a bit more independent than at Purdue, and I’ll have to be sure to interact with each subject more than just that one day each week, but that should be a good growth experience, and hopefully it will help to improve my study skills. Well, that’s all I can think of for now.

Until next time…Be MORE than a CONQUEROR!! (Rom 8:37)


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