Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Semester Wrap-Up

It's over!
It was grueling in the end.
Just to note, eighteen credits is too many, even some of the professors said that it wasn't a good idea.
(The university only allows up to 21, and full-time is 12) Don't do it if you don't have to.
But we did it.
And we did it well. We wrote some really great papers (one still slated to be published here). Four of them got 100%, haven't gotten the grade on the fifth one yet (the one for political science on fracking) - but the entire grade for the class depended on that paper, and the final grade for the class was an 'A', so it probably got somewhere between a 90% and 100%.

Yeah, so, the final grades are in...which is the indication that it's officially over...

Another 4.0 GPA! (second in a row)
...sort of...

Media Law and Ethics - A
Forensic Science - B* (S)
Social Implications of the Information Society - A
Digital Communication Fundamentals (Graphic Design) - A
Problems in Political Science (Environmental Policy) - A
Popular Culture - A

The "sort of" comes from a decision made at midterm time.
*Having not done well on the Forensic Science midterm, we went and had the class changed to an S/U class. That means that it went from a graded class, to a pass/fail class which would not impact the semester GPA. A 'C' or better is passing, anything below would be a fail.
The decision was made because we didn't even need the class for anything. We have far too many level 100 and 200 credits already.
The class was taken just for fun, to learn something new, not for the degree; therefore knowing for certain that the final grade would be less than an 'A', we had two choices: drop the class, or switch it to a pass/fail and just keep at it and hope for a satisfactory grade and still keep getting to learn cool stuff.
Not particularly liking the idea of giving up, we went with the second option, despite the fact that it was a 9am class, and we could have had a later start date of 11am, had we dropped it. Still. Not wanting to be quitter...it wasn't worth it...we went with it.

Somehow the 4.0 still doesn't feel like the most honest thing. But a science class (Meteorology) in a previous semester had been the last culprit in ruining an otherwise perfect GPA. Damn you, science, why do you have to be so complex?!

The best part of the semester was by far when the professor from the political science department kept trying to persuade a change of major to his department, and all three of the communication professors urged the consideration of graduate school (actually considering it now) based on the papers written for their classes. One of the professors can never remember "my" name (he's pretty fucking old) - one time he introduced me to a prospective faculty candidate as "the undergraduate who writes graduate level papers".

It was a really busy, yet really good, semester. That the professors were so impressed with the level of engagement, participation, and work is something to be proud of. Many students don't do their reading, they wait until the day before it's due to start a paper, and they rarely have much to contribute to class discussions. They are generally horrible writers...which means, while the papers were great, they were probably only great in comparison to the other papers by other students. But who knows. Maybe we do write better than average.

If you want tips on how to be a student that professors respect, especially if you're looking for letters of recommendation, be a non-typical student. It pays off - as illustrated by the internship for next semester (more on that another time), and part-time job - both thanks to two of this semester's professors.

Anyway, with the semester over, it's nice to finally have time to relax. Next semester is right around the corner. Sixteen credits this time, instead of eighteen. The final semester before walking across the stage and adding University graduate to the (short) list of accomplishments. It's nice to be finally be finishing what was started over 10 years ago.


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