It’s been eight years since I graduated with my BA in English, and seven since I went back (and quickly dropped out of) my Masters, so it’s been a while since I’ve been in a classroom for formal schooling and lecturing. It’s been even longer since my last Science or Math class, and that’s pretty much all I have in front of me now, which makes it even more daunting. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thankfully, it has been not bad at all.
Since I’m taking general Science pre-requisites I need for the Nursing program, it means I am with mostly freshmen in class, which means my professors are, for the most part, taking the first few class sessions fairly easy. This isn’t the Fall semester, when the freshmen would’ve been right out of high school, so we’ve started digging into our classes proper by the second session, but even so, we’re going at a nice, easy pace. This has been wonderful for me, because it allowed me to get my bearings as well, and ease into University-mind once more.
The biggest difference so far has been getting used to the amount of symbiosis there is now with online components. All of my professors have websites for their classes, something that was an anomaly when I graduated in 2002: two of them are using Blackboard, a program that allows for rich-media education components, one is using Google Groups and one has her own site. Through these I can get my syllabuses, lecture notes, reviews, and even take quizzes. I’m a very online-savvy person, so I can deal with this, but it is surprising how far FIU has come in this respect. Heck, even most of the official stuff I have to do with the university I’ve done online, which is just fantastic!
Foundations of Human Physiology is my first hard-science class since 1997 or so, when I took (and failed) Biology in Puerto Rico. This is also my most important class this semester as far as I’m concerned, as it forms the start of my Biology foundations for Nursing. So far, so good. I’m remembering a lot from my 10th grade Biology lessons, surprisingly, though I’ve had to translate everything in my head, as my prior science classes were all in Spanish. The professor is nice and has an even teaching speed, which is great for taking notes and paying attention to the lecture.
The Human Physiology Lab is awesome. On the first session we got to use a microscope (something I have not used since 1990!) and get reacquainted with it and with basic cell structures. I got to see live human cells from a cheek swab I did on myself (apparently I have awesome cheek cells that could be seen super clear). I felt like a kid in a toy store. I want more of this; it is this practical application that I always loved, and would talk my Mom’s ear off about when I got back home from school. More like this, please.
Introduction to Ethics is my Philosophy requisite class, and the only one where I’m fairly sure I’ll be able to apply my critical thinking training from my English degree. My professor reminds me of Tom Cruise (before he went crazy and started jumping on couches); he’s easy-going and has successfully drawn in the class, not to mention winning it over by learning each of our names. Looking forward to discussing hard-choice themes.
Introduction to Psychology looks to be interesting. My professor must be around my same age (which is kind of weird), and she seems to have a fairly laissez-faire attitude. The topic is one I find interesting, so I’m also looking forward to exploring the basics of the mind.
Introduction to Statistics is my Math and I am fighting the urge to go bleh. I know I can do it, I just don’t like it. I am not letting pre-disposition rule my attitude, though, and I’m determined to do well. But I will not lie: the sooner I can be done with these math pre-reqs, the better. Ugh.
So, there you have it, my first week. I have long breaks in between classes each day which gives me time to read and do classwork while at FIU, so I’m off to make use of that time. More updates as the semester goes along.