Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's the End of the World as We Know It...

…and I feel fine. No, really I do. The first week of the fall semester is over, and I’m happy to report that I am feeling very optimistic. In fact, I am hopeful that this semester will be more enjoyable than last spring, which is somewhat surprising. As any regular reader of my blog will know, I’ve long been predicting that fall 2007 would be the most grueling semester of my life. It may be a bit premature to say otherwise, but for the moment I’m feeling quite happy with the way things have been turning out. In my opinion, that’s saying a lot, because the last two to three weeks have been a mess of constant change and uncertainty. I won’t bore you with all the details, but needless to say, the fall semester was drawing increasingly near and I felt like I had absolutely no idea what classes I needed to take, what classes I wanted to take, how many classes I would be teaching and when I would be teaching them, etc. I was also busy reading an entire logic textbook within a five day period, hoping that I could familiarize myself with it well enough to pass an opt-out exam that would allow me to skip taking the otherwise required logic course.

To give you a quick summary of how things have turned out, here goes. I did NOT pass the logic opt-out exam. That means I am stuck taking the class for credit this semester, as it is the last time the class will be offered before I graduate (in May 2008, assuming all goes well). That probably sounds like a bad thing, but truth be known, I’m rather thrilled about it. I had to take something for credit this semester, and as insane as it may sound, I think logic will be a nice break from the full-on philosophy classes I normally take. I won’t have to write any papers, for starters. And it helps that I already took a logic course at my undergrad institution. That means this class will largely be a review, making it a whole lot easier on me than it could have been. In fact, I’m fairly certain that I barely missed testing out of the class (you had to score a “B” on the opt-out exam to test out). I was rusty and slow and not everything from the textbook was something I had learned as an undergrad. I ran out of time before I could even finish the exam. But I quickly tried to add up the sections I had completed and that I felt confident about, just to see if I even stood a chance, and I thought I would be right on the border. That was frustrating in and of itself, because I had hoped that after taking the opt-out exam, I’d pretty much know whether or not I’d have to take the class, based on how I felt about my performance. Instead, I felt more uncertain than ever. So, even though they didn’t give us back our tests, I assume I barely didn’t make it. At first I was a bit disappointed by this, but now I’m rather excited that logic is the only class I have to worry about taking for credit. It’s kind of nice to have that decision made for me. I was stewing over what class I would take for my final three elective credit hours. Now I know.

Also on my plate this semester: I’m auditing a class on the Scottish philosopher, David Hume. If you’re not into philosophy, you may not realize that he’s easily among the top five philosophers of all time, influentially speaking. I figured I would be doing myself a disservice not to take a Hume class when it’s being offered. Even though this means I should be doing a lot of reading (otherwise there’s no point in auditing the course), I won’t have to take tests or write papers. It should all count toward personal enrichment. Ain’t that a nifty concept, to do something purely for the intrinsic value of it? In addition to Hume, I’m teaching two 1010 classes. In a lot of ways, 1010 is just the rudimentary version of the logic class I myself am taking. I think that could be a perk, just because my logic class may inspire me in regard to how I present certain ideas to my 1010 class. Aside from these goings-on, I need to be working diligently on my thesis. It has to be fairly complete by February in order to graduate in May, and people expect to see some good progress on it before they start writing you letters of recommendation, which I will also need since I’ll be applying to Ph.D. programs. And finally, I’ll be spending this week cramming for yet another test, the GRE, which I take Saturday.

I don’t know how all of that sounds to the casual observer, but given that I already expected this semester to be overloaded, I think it all sounds quite manageable. Busy, but manageable. Again, I think the real lifesaver is that I’m not taking a class for credit that will require me to write papers. That’s a huge relief right there. And, as an added bonus, I once again do not have school on Fridays. No papers and no Fridays is enough to make me an officially giddy schoolboy. But we’ll have to see how giddy I feel come November. That’s assuming I’ll have a chance to post again by then. Ha ha.


  1. That's funny you ended your post that way because about half way through; that's what I started thinking, "No more Benny posts." The schedule sounds manageable. But I was in school and hospital clinicals at the same time (when Cedar was under three) so anything that involves school BUT not caths, IVs, liver disease, and med calculations sounds good and easy to me.

    But I hope it does really go easy for you. Have a good semester and I'll see you around December :)

  2. You are so awesome! I think your stuff sounds overwhelming, but you sound optimistic and in control so that's good. I'm glad things are working out for you. I don't really get it- you only have to take one class for credit? Are you required to have the other one you are auditing? Just curious about your requirements et al. And you're teaching the same class you taught over the summer right? Or is it different? Gosh, I guess I should just call you. Anyway...
    Good luck! Stay happy! You are awesome.

  3. I love reading about your pursuits in acedemics. Makes me want to go back for more! Good luck as the weeks go on, though I am guessing that you will do just fine.

  4. Look, I love reading about them so much that I misspelled maybe I really DO need to go back for more!