Tomorrow is the start of my fourth semester at UT Austin. I am registered for six classes and one pass/fail seminar right now.
- BME 113L: Intro to Numerical Methods (MATLAB)
- BME 335: Engineering Probability & Statistics
- BME 344: Biomechanics
- CS 363D: Intro to Data Mining
- CS 371P: Object-Oriented Programming
- JPN 601D: Japanese I
- NSC 110H: Natural Sciences Honors Seminar
I hesitate to say that I am looking forward to going back to school because of a couple reasons.
- Waking up at 8 am. I probably ruined my sleep schedule over the break because I always turned off the alarm that I set at 8 am and continued to sleep until 11 am.
- Dealing with the stress of school. Unavoidable.
Overall though, I am excited to learn a lot in my classes this semester. I am mainly excited about the following classes.
- BME 335. I took SDS 321 (Introduction to Probability & Statistics) to satisfy a requirement for my CS degree, and I was initially hoping to get credit for BME 335 through that class. However, the professor, who is actually the PI of the lab in which I work, advised me to still take the class. At first I was somewhat irritated because I have to handle six classes instead of five, but now I am actually glad for this because I will finally be able to properly learn the content. (My SDS 321 professor was not the best.)
- CS 363D & CS 371P. My first two CS electives!
- JPN 601D. I enrolled in a Japanese class at my community college in the summer before my junior year of high school, but it was canceled. I have had the workbook/lab manual tucked in a small space between my desk and bed ever since then, and now I get to finally use it!
And here are my goals for this semester. (This is not an exhaustive list.)
- Don’t skip class. Ever. I know some people who can strategically figure out which lectures and discussion sections are beneficial to them, but for me, skipping class is just a slippery slope. Once I accidentally skip one, I end up thinking that it is fine to skip more. Terrible, I know.
- Go to office hours. During my first two semester, I avoided my professors when I was not doing as well as I wanted to in their classes. Last semester I just simply did not interact with them. Hopefully this semester I can use the brains of my professors and TAs to my advantage.
- Use my planner. Last semester I just kept all due dates in my head, and I scheduled when I would start things in my head. This mostly worked except for the few times when I forgot things. Hopefully this super cute planner that I picked up at Barnes & Noble for a little less than $4 (50% off all planners, 10% membership discount, and 20% coupon) will encourage me to achieve this goal.
- Start all computer science projects the day that I find out about them. I have procrastinated on almost all of my computer science projects throughout the past three semesters, and it made them all incredibly stressful and unenjoyable.
- Make it back to my apartment by midnight. Not only is it not exactly safe to be walking back to my apartment alone at ungodly hours, but I also have a new computer monitor at my apartment that will be nice to use!
- Know where I stand in my classes. Although slightly more stressful than just keeping on thinking that I can make an A in a class, knowing where I stand in my classes really helps me focus on what I need to do to get to an attainable place that I want to be. This isn’t to say that I need to pester my professors and TAs about grades all the time – just use what is available to me to know how I am doing.
- Make time for research. You get what you put in; I feel like I have not been making any significant progress on my research because I do not dedicate enough time to it.
- Allow myself to take breaks from work. (At this point, this basically means watch shows.) Don’t get me wrong; I did not spend every waking hour working on schoolwork in the past three semesters. In fact, it was probably quite the opposite during my first semester, when I chose watching shows instead of studying for finals. This past semester, I basically cut out all shows. I ended up feeling caught in an endless cycle of work, work, and more work, and I would often end up getting frustrated and spending hours until bedtime randomly surfing the Internet. The current goal is about a 45-minute episode per day with obvious exceptions when it’s crunch time.
- Don’t add any more shows to my list. I am going to keep watching the shows that are still on-going, but once those shows eventually get canceled, I am going to turn my attention to other more rewarding activities – to be revealed.
- Spend time with friends. (More milk tea?) I kind of disappeared off the face of the earth last semester, oops.
- Eat healthier. Home-cooked meals are probably a good idea for this goal as well as for my wallet.
- Exercise. I love running, not that I’m particularly good at it or anything. I hope to one day be able to run a marathon in a decent amount of time. It is going to take a while to get to that level….
Obviously I really like lists. Also, I promise that not all of my posts will be about school; I am not that boring, I think.