Archive for Chem II

So much to say; where, o where to begin.

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , , on 29 December, 08 by MastrN8

Good day to all of my illusory readers out there. I am, and have been a t a loss for words for many months now. For this, I apologize. If anyone actually reads this drivel and sits on tenterhooks for my next bit of rhetoric, then I doubly apologize to you and offer you my condolences. On top of this, I make a vow to you my imaginary constant reader: I promise to commit to writing more often. Note: I did not commit to writing better.
As the title suggests, there is a lot on my mind. I will be splitting this post up into many. I am unsure as of yet how many but as I always do with this blog, I am just going to wing it.

As Chris Penn penned in Reservoir Dogs, “First things fucking last”.

Well I guess he didn’t really pen it, Tarantino did, but he said it and that’s where I choose to begin. We could wax semantically on this all day but let us instead roll with it and move on, shall we? Thank you!

Okay, first of all the last time we spoke, I was in school. I guess I still am but the semester is finally over. Thank the lord! So here’s how the final month and half went down. I had just pulled off the most challenging week of my academic career. Menstrual Cycle! (period, for the unhip) I cannot tell you how good that felt to turn in a mid-term and journal critique that both garnered A’s; an annotated biblio that, although came up short a few sources (surprise, surprise), combined with a memorable and moving debate given by yours truly, also garnered me an A; the bio thing was a waste of my time; and I ended up relatively unscathed as far as chem went. Whew! Now for the rest of the story.

I made a promise to you in my last post, my friend, that I would stop this procrastination nonsense. I thought that maybe if I could do things as they came up, it would cause me less stress, and therefore allow me to live longer. Let’s face it though, I am a procrastinator. I would do you and the world an injustice if I were to not tell you that I put off ending my procrastinationism, until next semester! When my time comes I will also do the most reasonable thing, put death off as well, how hard could it be?

So, I survived the midterm. Onward into November! November came with a wave of papers to write. I decided that since I had two more journal critiques for Psych to write, I would just knock those out at once. Good thing to because I had a presentation in Bio to plan for on December 4th. Three more chem tests, including a comprehensive final that encompassed Chem I and Chem II. I had a stimulating speech to give on my favorite subject: Film!

Okay, so I’m getting sleepy. Here is the quick and dirty version. I wrote my speech the night before it was due. It was supposed to ten minutes, yet I practiced a thirty minute speech. Yikes! I ended up winging most of it by listing the top three films that I deemed to be the most under-appreciated.
They are: #3 Cube, a beautifully crafted sci-fi thriller focusing on bringing out the fears and insecurities of strangers thrust into, not only confinement but a stressful “being hunted” environment.
#2 Very Bad Things, this is the quintessential modern black comedy. Once you hop on this roller-coaster, regardless of how many times you puke, the mullet-sporting, pock-marked carny (small hands), refuses to stop the ride. At one point in the movie I had to pause to catch my breath. I never thought things could get worse, but sure enough, they went ten steps further.
#1 Harold and Maude from Bud Cort’s sardonic view of life to Ruth Gordon’s vivacious lust for it. This screwball comedy is moving almost to tears. A must see for the hopeless romantic that is a little off, or for the film buff that delights in original screenplays. 
So that outline hammered home the final coffin nail in ensuring my A in speech. If you disagree with the aforementioned list of under-appreciated movies, suck it, it got me an A, end of story.

I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t mean to jump down your throat like that. It’s getting late and I’m cranky. Let’s move on, I promise to be nice.

Psych, that was easy. We were given a take-home final, just like the mid-term. I calculated that even if I were to not turn it in, there was a mathematical impossibility of me not getting an A. Next class…

Bio. I told you  that I had a presentation to give. Here is the crux of it. Two weeks from semester end, I calculated that I was carrying an 89%. At the beginning of the semester, the Prof tells us that he refuses to round up and that those that receive 90% or higher going into the final will be exempt. Needless to say that I had a lot riding on the presentation and the final test. The presentation was on a lab we did on genetics. I had two partners who needed to take the final regardless of the presentation grade so that forced me to do the majority of the work. No matter, I prefer it that way since no one can do it better than I. Just kidding,kinda, my team performed magnificently and we received a 97% on the project. Combined with my 92% test grade, I had earned myself a one way ticket to A’s-ville.

holy shit that was lame. I have no excuse for that faux-pas only that it is just past one in the morning. Sorry, no more ‘villes. Ever! That’s a promise.

So, drum roll please. Chemistry. The bane of my existence! Oh how I despise thee. My last post referred to my third test  take in that class. I scored a 77.8% with an overall sitting at 84r%. I had three more tests yet to take. My fourth test was going to be hard but I felt that after the nonsense surrounding mid-term, I would be better equipped to take it on. I was wrong. It got harder yet, but I had gleaned from the previous tests, what kind of test writer the prof was. This proved to be an invaluable insight… until the final. 
My fourth test was probably the hardest since the first, which I failed, however, I had learned a few key study strategies when pouring over previous tests. For instance, The prof made sure to ask at least two problems verbatim from the books set of practice problems; each equation was needed at least once every test; and Occam’s razor is a valuable tool indeed. If a problem looked overly complex, it probably wasn’t. Using these assumptions, I was able to pull out dual 85% grades on tests four and five. The final, however, was a comprehensive monster that was standardized. Crap.
The class before Thanksgiving break found me taking a practice final that covered only material from Chem I. half of this content would and could be found in the real final. I scored a 45 of 70. A 64% and the highest grade in the class. Don’t congratulate me though, I was the only one stupid enough to stay and finish the thing. I didn’t however do some rough calculating. Based on what the prof told us I roughly calculated my curved average to be 77%. If I could just repeat this performance for the real final I may be able to hold on to my fore-casted grade of 87%! With this strategy in mind, I set out to study that way. Minutes before the test, the teacher said that he would not only grant us grades based on the national curve but also curve them further to reflect the overall class performance! Whew! What a load off! That meant that to maintain my B, I had more leeway than I thought! I am pleased to relay to you my dear reader, that I MastrN8, accomplished my goal and did indeed repeat my performance given in the practice final. My final was scored at a 45 of 70, or 80%! I got my B.

I intend to take my three A’s and a B and run with them…and never look back!

Next time: The election and the bailouts, or “How I learned to accept living in a socialist society”.

‘Til next time kiddos, thanks for reading!


Wholly Crap!

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , , , on 23 October, 08 by MastrN8

What a week kiddies! This week has truly been wholly crap! This week will forever go down in my mind as one of the toughest weeks so far in my school career. Worse even than that one time in kindergarten when I  wet myself from laughing too hard. That was rough, but this was infinitely more stressful. Although, I have to say that there was definitely less ridicule. Anyway, let me take you on a tour through this shit-storm, shall I?

First of all, and this is extremely important to keep in mind as it will explain so much in the end, I am an awful, awful, procrastinator. Or am I a good procrastinator because I put things off so well? In any case, I put too many things off until the last minute. Furthermore, this gets compounded due to the fact that I never get that nervous, “Oh my God, I only have x amount of time to get this done” feeling until it is too late to do anything even halfway decent. So, keep this in mind as I take you through the week. One more thing, here is a list of what I have due, and how much I have yet to complete. Mind that this list was made late Sunday night 10/19.

Bio: Pre-lab due on Wednesday 10/22, no worries, it’s only Monday.
Psych: A journal critique due on 10/21, have yet to start, but known about it for three weeks.
Psych: Take-home mid-term due on 10/21, halfway complete, I have had it for 6 weeks.
Psych: study guide homework due on 10/21, not yet started, I have known about it for two weeks.
Speech: Debate on 10/23, not yet started. Need an outline and an annotated biblio. citing 20 sources. I have had 3 weeks to work on this but something else was always more important.
Chem: I have an exam on 10/21 to study for and a lab report (not started) due after the test.

That just about covers it. With the thought in my mind that I should complete the thing that is due first, I set out to finish my psych homework first. I thought that it would go a lot quicker than it did but I did mange to complete the midterm and B.S.’d my way through the critique. total time spent on Psych: about six hours total. Crap. I still have a test to cram for.

After my  impressive display on the last test, scoring one of only two A’s in the class, I felt confident that this test would be similar. Wrong! Monday night and all day Tuesday I devoted to chem, my test was at 5 p.m. I went into the test over-confident and gave a poor performance. Final score? 77.8%…curved! crap. my forecasted final grade is an 84%. I really need to pick it up!

I whipped through the bio pre-lab only to find out that he did not want to collect it, and he did not give us a quiz, as he usually does, on the previous lab. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.

That leaves me with speech. Oh speech. I have set you on the back burner too many times, my friend. I have had a LOT of time to do this and as of 3 p.m. on the day before it is due, I begrudgingly start to look up sources. crap. The bibliography, and I don’t say this because I put it off so long, was nonsense. 20 sources for a 10 minute debate? Are you kidding me? I was an expert on the subject after reading through source five. I think the biblio. was excessive and unnecessary and although I got it done just before beginning this blog entry, I think I did a hell of a good job on it. Not “good job considering how late I began”, I mean good job, period. The outline practically wrote itself thankfully and I feel that considering that this has been my worst academic week ever, I might actually pull this week off relatively unscathed.

So there you have it, I am 2 hours away from performing my rushed debate and 8 hours from the end of my week. I do not blame anybody for this reprehensible and irresponsible behavior except for myself. I have had plenty of time to avoid this ridiculousness but something else always took precedence. Well no more! As of now, I am swearing to you loyal, yet wholly imaginary reader that I will never again have a week that is wholly crap!

Playin’ Hooky

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , on 7 October, 08 by MastrN8

I’m not feeling so hot today. Last night my wife and I met some friends for dinner and got home pretty late. I didn’t sleep at all last night and today I feel crappy. This sucks because it puts me way behind. I have a take-home midterm exam due next week for Psych, not to mention a presentation on states of consciousness. I also have a debate in a couple of weeks that I need to research for speech. Luckily, I’m coming off of a week of great success in my science classes.

I got a B on my Bio exam last week. Normally I would be somewhat disappointed in that kind of showing due to the performances I’ve had on previous tests, however, I also had a chem test to study for. If you’ve read previous posts of this blog (Chem II is the bane of my existence) then you’ll know that I failed my first chem exam of the semester. That is why I focused twice as much energy into the last test.

I took it a week ago today. The test was difficult yet I felt good about it afterward, which was rare and exciting. I went to see if the prof had posted the grades on-line, like he said he would, the next day. Much to my dismay, they were not. Nor were they posted the next day. My hopes of a good grade were falling. As I entered chem class last Thursday evening, the teacher made the announcement that two people in the class scored 28/30 on the test, the rest, however, failed. My hopes had crashed. For the next hour of class, the prof explained that not all hope was to be abandoned. He would allow us to take the test home, not knowing what we got wrong of course, retake it using open book and notes, and bring it back in today so that we could potentially obtain a higher score. I felt conflicted at this point because who wants to waste their weekend taking a test that they have already unsuccessfully prepared for and failed? Not this guy! Like I said, the prof went into excruciatingly long detail about the guidelines that we were to follow concerning this retake. He then sent us to break. Mind you, he still had not given out scores, so the 2 A-students were still anonymous.

When I returned form the cafeteria, hot cup of strong black coffee in hand, the prof was finally enlightening the class on the test scores. Disheartened and nervous, I took my seat. As he approached, he pulled out the test, leaned over and said, “Oh, wait, I can’t give yours back”. What? Why? No way! Those were my thoughts, verbatim. I looked at my score with immediate elation, however, I couldn’t just jump up and scream in front of nine people that failed; that would just be rude. I instead sighed heavily, dropped my head, and quietly left the room. I nearly wet myself as I performed the happy dance outside away from those that didn’t do as well.

Now to focus on the rest of my course-load. The rest is easy but time-consuming. I hate my assignments. My debate is supposed to be about the separation of church and state. I am debating in the affirmative, which is nice considering that I am an advocate of such policies. However, it is a very broad topic and I need to narrow it down. Part of the assignment’s stipulations is that I share all of my research with my opponent and she with me, but I have yet to get a response from any of the three emails that I’ve sent. Oh well, if she is not prepared, then that makes my job easier right? Hopefully, we’re debating the same issue though. Without a response from her, I don’t know if we’re on the same page. Oh well, for now I need to get some rest so that I can finish out the week.

Chem II is the bane of my existence.

Posted in Scattershot with tags , , , on 23 September, 08 by MastrN8

Approximately 6 weeks ago I entered this semester with optimism and bright shining hope. Being the relatively clever, and relatively young, man (also relative) that I am, I thought that there would be no reason that I wouldn’t repeat the success I had in chemistry last semester. I, however, was horribly mistaken. I scored a 58% on my last curved test and hold little hope for the one coming up next Tuesday. I admit that I haven’t been studying as hard as I should but still devote on average an hour a day to the subject. I get so frustrated that this one subject does not come as naturally to me as others do. I have always been a student that requires minimal study time as long as I do the homework. Tests have always been a strength for me. And yet just two weeks ago I failed my first test ever. Needless to say, I have stepped it up a little and have really tried to study harder, yet try as I might the subject matter still eludes me. The text make no sense to me at all; the teacher’s explanations, even those given in one-on-one tutor sessions, seem to make sense until I go home; and I have yet to complete a problem without referring to either an example in my notes, or one in the text. Hence the miserable showing on the test. I believe my problem lies with grasping concepts. I understand the algebra behind the calculations, but i fail to understand which equation to use at any given time. I’m doomed. I’ve looked for the free tutors that are constantly advertised around campus yet since I am in Chem II, those that have already taken it have either graduated or moved onto another school. I went to B&N in the hopes of finding a dummy book or a study guide that will put the concepts in plainer terms, but alas, my search was fruitless. It seems that there is a market for such books. Perhaps, if one day I can understand the V’ant Hoff factor, or the calculations behind crystal lattices, I will write such a book. until that day comes, if it ever will, please wish me luck, o’ non-existent reader!