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School has been something that's kicking my behind a bit this term.  It's basically all math and science courses.  At UNM I'm taking Geology and Pysics.  At CNM I'm taking Precalculus (again...) and Chemistry.  I'm also doing that last OSHA course I need for my certification at CNM.  That one's sort of a weird story just because I couldn't get into the first section in the Spring.  I took parts 2 and 3 last Spring and am taking part 1 this term (the class ends next week).  That'll get me my 10-hour certification and the cert. for the whole term worth of classes.  Considering the way that the instructor for that course runs her online classes it's been a breeze.  Basically she told us to Google all the answers to online worksheets that she's given us.  It amounts to looking up the codes for the regulations in a book, just somehow seems lazier. 

As far as difficulty Physics and Precalculus are at the top.  With Precalc. it's just the teacher really.  She's an awful teacher.  No doubt she knows what she's talking about, she's just inept at conveying her knowledge.  Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you know how to teach it to others.  A lot of my success in that class so far has been from retained material.  Physics is difficult because it asks for so much formula manipulation.  Each section so far has given us several equivalent expressions relating to different aspects of electricity.  We end up putting formulas into formulas into formulas and it's all a bit dizzying.  The concepts I understand decently, the problems are more difficult. 

I think so far Geology is the most interesting class of the term though.  I'm still out on how to think of the teacher (who seems childish at times and informative at others) but the material itself is what is proving to hold my attention pretty well.  A good deal of it so far has been reminder from what I learned in middle school and then elaborations on the ideas involved with them.  Anyone remember the difference between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks?  I didn't until this class.  Besides that it's kind of neat to give a bit more understanding to all of these things we see around us every day.  Living here in Albuquerque (and New Mexico in general) there are a lot of rock formations and such which draw quite a bit of attention.  Different kinds of rocks and formations are usually just appreciated in a visual asthetic (nothing wrong with that) but it's cool to know a bit of background about how and why.  Did you know that nearly every red rock is that way due to iron content?  Seems sort of obvious thinking about it after the fact but I never thought about it before the fact.

Putting things into an academic perspective I do need to make more of a point to study the classes I'm having difficulty in.  Today I'm going to spend a decent amount of time doing Chemistry.  Though it's an online course the exams are in-person at the CNM Testing Center.  I have an exam I need to do for that class tomorrow so I thought I'd make sure I'm up to snuff.  I've done really well with the in class tests and the discussions so far, but still.  With Physics and Geology it's a bit harder to motivate myself to study because all of the homework for those is online, and done at home.  I'll spend an hour or so doing homework for each class (a total of two hours, though not usually back to back) and after that I don't much feel like studying anymore.  To at least a small degree doing homework is a form of studying but it's not quite the same as doing practice problems or just reviewing concept information.  It's particularly easy to want to put off with Precalculus because the teacher doesn't mention what's on the exams coming up.  A good portion of the term grade is calculated from every day quizzes which reflect what we went over in the previous class.  Doesn't mean that doing the homework (not for a grade) wouldn't help a hell of a lot.

I look at these things from such a "grade" point of view instead of the experience as a whole.  In high school and earlier that was the goal anyway.  I've never been very social, even in an environment I feel comfortable in.  Unfortunately that still carries a bit today.  For me the big personal aspects of going to school are the trips between classes.  Walking across Central (66) to and from CNM and UNM, crossing campuses and just taking in the environment.  It also gives me time to think when I bother to apply myself.  In a kind of way I feel more confident going from class to class.  Like this college thing is what I'm supposed to be doing.  Of course considering the life I've chosen for myself and the people who rely on me it's important not to make that a priority over family.  I'm lucky enough that I'm generally good at studies and so don't have to give it my absolute attention just to pass.  It's a luxury and I'm thankful I have it.  It serves as a great reminder that I have even less reason not to spread it around. 

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December 2012

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