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Friday, February 05, 2010

Go ahead. Be explosive.

Week three of classes is complete, but the studying must go on. The first three weeks of biology and chemistry were reminiscent of things I learned in high school, and as dim as that past is, I still found that I understood what we were talking about in these classes. Now, however, the realm of the really unknown is creeping in. For example, we're learning about electrons in much greater detail: their orbits, direction, spin, pathways, and all sorts of things like that.

We've covered the the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and some Einstein equations and quantum numbers, quantum angular momentum, and so on.

I'm probably making it sound more impressive than it is, because my chem professor has told us we are only seeing the results of some heart-stoppingly difficuly equations, and I believe him. I'm walking into a lot of this not knowing what the hell we are talking about, but after digesting it some, I seem to be asking the right questions. I also seem to be the only one asking questions. A couple of times the professor said I am thinking one class ahead - that the stuff I am trying to figure out - because it doesn't make direct sense - is more complex than what is covered in this class. But, he said he likes I am thinking that way, and the things I am figuring out on my own are very good. Even if I don't totally understand it, my thinking is right.

What's really been interesting is that these past 3 weeks have really highlighted how I learn. I never did a lot of great studying in high school and so rather than focus on that lack, I see it as an opportunity to learn how to study MY way. I'm finding that I have a 3-phased approach: read the chapter, listen to lecture, and read the chapter again. This leads to the 4th-phase: epiphany, where I totally get what we were reading and being taught. It's quite an "Aha!" moment each time.

What I've discovered also is that I have a terrible time with rote memorization of words. Just reading words or memorizing terms is almost impossible for me. I have to connect something to it and visualize it to really remember it.

This weekend is a challenging weekend: I have several social events happening while at the same time I need to study for two unit tests (Chapters 1-3 in Biology on Wednesday ad Chapters 1-3 in Chemistry on Thursday). Both will be tough. I'm told VERY tough. Good. Bring it. Let's see what I've learned. I also have to start studying chapter 4 for each class. Busy weekend.

So, I am off to go attend an information session at the school I am hoping to eventually attend: UT Southwestern Medical Center. My first social activity of the weekend. Catch ya next time!

P.S. First lab in chemistry yesterday. I did NOT blow up the lab, despite promises to the contrary.

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