Kwolz's Adventures in Saving the World

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Posted by kevinwolz on April 6, 2010

Yesterday was a big day here at UIUC: registration day! Okay, well I guess I get a bit more excited about it than most, but picking classes is no easy task for me and it’s a big deal when I finally settle on a schedule that works. So here’s what Fall 2010 looks like:

3 – TAM 251 – Intro Solid Mechanics

2 – CEE 430 – Ecological Quality Engineering

4 – ENG 598 – Creativity, Innovation & Vision

5 – IB 270 – Evolution of Molecules & Cells

3 – AIS 199 – Indigenous Governance

2 – IB 199 – Biomath

Disregard the last class for a second. “Only” 17 credit hours would be a nice relief from my ridiculous 20 this semester. I’m surviving now with 20, but there are plenty of downsides that I have gradually come to realize over the last few months: 1) I’m not as involved with the student groups I’m part of as I would like, 2) my training is suffering from insufficient sleep and lack of post-run maintenance, 3) I’m cutting some grades closer than I would like, and 4) I have no social life. The last one particularly stinks. I’ve bailed on my friends more times than I’d like to admit and I spend every weekend doing homework.

It’s hard to say which class I’m most looking forward to…IB 270 will be my first biology class at UIUC and is the first core biology class for my second degree. I’m really pumped to finally get started on that degree and can’t wait to meet my equally passionate classmates. ENG 598 is taught by one of my engineering advisors/mentors and is going to be amazing…just read the name…that says it all. CEE 430 is the more or less the base environmental engineering class that will feed into all of my future advanced engineering coursework, so that should be pretty cool. TAM 251….well it’s a TAM class…interesting, not so exciting, and yet necessary. And finally, AIS 199 is my honors class for the semester and my “non-western” GenEd. Honors classes are always a bit vague going into it, but they always turn out great, and I am thoroughly intrigued by the course description (click “AIS 199” at the top of the page). It sounds like just the class that a weirdo radical like me would enjoy!

So that was my plan…until I received a random email from my biology professor telling me about IB 199 – BioMath:  a “fun, collaborative seminar” in which biology and math students and professors work together on interdisciplinary biology/math problems. How awesome is that!? Per my argument above, I resisted and initially deleted the email…but then I sought more advice and basically decided that this was just too good to miss. I think that this class will turn out to be an incredible asset when starting my own research in the future; not many other biology classes really delve into the mathematics involved when trying to solve these research problems.

This Semester: Learn the Laws of Physics. Next Semester: Make them Crumble.

So what’s my rational for throwing away that great four-part argument above!? Credit Hours ≠ Class Hours. Do to extended lab and discussion time associated with some classes, students often end up spending much more time in class than credit hours would suggest. Here’s my experience:

Fall 2009: 24 class hours for 17 credit hours

Spring 2010: 27.5 (ouch) class hours for 20 credit hours

Fall 2010 (w/IB 199): 22 class hours for 19 credit hours

SO, in fact, even with this additional class, I will have the least amount of actual class hours next semester since I’ve started college! The catch? My advisor says “class time is not necessarily proportional to work load.” I know this is true, but 5.5 hours less class time next semester seems like it would add enough time for me to take on anything, let alone one less class hour. Even with this schedule, I’m still thinking that things should be better in the fall and will also allow me to adjust to my new living situation (an apartment with a bunch of friends where I will actually have to start cooking again). Waking up should be a bit better as well with only two 8am’s and the rest at 10am.

Too much? Illogical rationalization? Maybe. But there’s only one way to find out. I can always drop the class if time becomes a serious problem. Remind me of this logic in November…

But come one, did you actually think I could resist?


2 Responses to “Edumacation”

  1. Sarah said

    Hey Kevin, if you ever need some easy recipes, let me know!

  2. Joan said

    you always take classes that I have no idea what they are about! But you sound very happy in your selections so I wish you happy classes etc. You certainly are enjoying college and that’s SO
    important. Keep up the good work.

    Let me know if you need some recipes!! GB

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