I had the intention of writing something earlier this week, but for some reason or another I got busy ad never got around to doing so. It seems like time has been going by really quickly here, especially when I stop and realize that by the time this Monday rolls around, I will have been at college for one month. It just doesn’t seem like I’ve been living in Grand Forks for that long, but, of course, the calendar never lies.
Now that I have had all of my classes for a month, I suppose it’d be a good time to discuss them in a little bit more detail that I have in the past.
First off, I’ve discovered that my honors “inquiry into the humanities” class can basically be considered a clone of the AP English Language class I had last year. Not only is the professor of this course a lot like Brainerd High School’s Mrs. Niemi, but the homework required in this class is also very similar to that which is required in AP English Language in Brainerd. The only difference is that my honors class only meats twice a week and we do not write any in-class essays or take any multiple choice tests. Other than that, a lot of things are alike. In fact, one of the articles I had to read and write a response in my “journal” to last week seemed very familiar to me. I’m pretty sure that I read it sometime in AP Lang, either in an excerpted form on a multiple choice test or as a passage to respond to in my journal.
Besides The Things They Carried, my honors class has also read – and discussed – a very short (100 page) book on philosophy that turned out to be rather boring and uninteresting and Maus, a very good story about one person’s experience surviving the Holocaust. It’s definitely not your normal survivor story though, particularly considering that the author, Art Spiegelman, decided to tell his father’s heartbreaking story in a comic book fashion.
Along with reading, I’ve also written one “small” essay and a few more short responses to passages from books or essays we’ve read out of class as well as things that have come up in classroom discussions. In addition, everyone in the class is also required to post, about every week, two messages of significance on a private, online discussion board. So far, I’ve posted six different times.
German 201 is also going well, although it is really easy for me. Aside from slight variations in the teachers’ teaching styles, there really isn’t that much difference between this class and all of the German classes I took in high school, particularly AP German. The biggest difference, I suppose, would be that my university German class places less emphasis on learning grammar, but I guess that’s to be expected, since there really isn’t any “new” grammar to learn after taking a first-year language class. It’s just a matter of reinforcing everything you’ve already learned.
I still really enjoy German, and I still intend to get a minor in the language. It doesn’t really require too many credits to get a minor, plus it’s highly recommended that chemistry majors get one anyway. And what better language is there than German for a chemistry major to learn?
One neat thing I discovered in the language lab here is that they have a satellite or something equipped to receive live television from Germany. I’m not sure just what channels they get – it may even be the made-for-North-America German TV service – but, in any case, it is television completely in German.
Let’s see, the next class I can discuss is Calc II. So far, this class has been pretty easy and really boring. The professor comes nowhere close to being a Mr. Blong, whom I had become quite accustomed to learning math from, and just spends an entire hour lecturing in front of the chalkboard. There are only about 25 people in this class, plus it’s in a traditional classroom environment, so that has prevented me from not attending regularly or filling in The Dakota Student’s crossword puzzle.
I still really enjoy my chemistry class. The professor is actually quite entertaining in his thrice-weekly lectures, plus it doesn’t hurt that I do naturally enjoy learning about chemistry. Right now, we’ve started learning some advanced topics that deal with the atom, such as atomic spectra and energy levels, quantum numbers, electron orbitals, and so forth.
There’s also, of course, a weekly lab component that goes with my chemistry class, and so far I have had two labs. I really like all of the neat equipment and everything they have in the labs here, plus the fact that everybody gets his or her own individual drawer that holds a lot of the glassware and other tools that are needed to successfully complete many of the experiments.
Let’s see, the first lab we did involved determining empirical formulas for products that were formed by both mixing and burning different reactants. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds, but I did pretty well on it, since I was able to get a 97% yield for one of the reactions. The second lab dealt with spectrometry and identifying elements and compounds by looking into a spectroscope to see what colors were being let off. This lab was a lot more interesting and enjoyable.
Other notes I thought I’d share:
- This last week was the 40th annual Potato Bowl Week in Grand Forks. Basically, the week is designed to celebrate Grand Forks’ connection to the growing and processing of world renowned Red River of the North potatoes. Although there are numerous potato cook-outs and feeds during the entire week, the biggest was on Thursday, when Simplot – the largest potato processing plant in the area – doled out a world record 4,518 pounds of French fries to over 10,000 people at one of Grand Forks’ city parks. This French fry feed was followed by fireworks at the old football stadium at UND. On Saturday, meanwhile, there was a large Potato Bowl parade that wound its way through Grand Forks followed by the highlight of the week: UND’s Potato Bowl football game against Western Washington University. The game turned out to be fairly unexciting, though, as UND won by 47-7. Personally, my favorite part of Potato Bowl week was the fact that every dining center on campus participated in the festivities by serving different kinds of potatoes and potato products for lunch and dinner each day.
- I realized I haven’t posted any pictures of my room or anything yet, so I need to get around to doing that. I took some photos about a week ago, so right now it’s just a matter of getting them uploaded and shared.
- On Tuesday, I walked over to the western end of campus – where the aerospace science buildings are located – and I now realize why so many people come to UND for something related to aviation and why UND has been described as being “to aviation what Harvard is to law.” The aerospace science buildings are absolutely stunning both inside and out. I brought my camera along when I toured the buildings, so those are some more photos that I’ll have to put up here when I get the chance.
- I can’t believe I never thought of doing so before, but earlier on Saturday, I decided to go to network connections and local area networks on my computer. Needless to say, I discovered 27 other computers on the same network as I, with quite a few of those computers sharing files and folders off of their hard drives. Let’s just say I was able to not only find, but also download a lot of music and video files from the other computers onto my own. I’m kicking myself for not previously thinking about the amount of files – including good music – that would exist on some the other computers on my LAN.