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School is Fun

Well it has been over a month since the beginning of the Fall semester, and my academic life has completely taken over my social life and sleep schedule (for those who don’t know, I am referring to the academic triangle shown below).

Academic Triangle

But as a freshman, my courseload isn’t too terrible at the moment. I’m fairly satisfied with my progress in my classes. Here is my schedule:

Fall 2011 Schedule

M 408C – Differential and Integral Calculus

BME 303 – Introduction to Computing

BME 102L – Introduction to BME Design Principles

CH 318M – Organic Chemistry I

UGS 303 – Freedom: Philosophy, History, Law

GE 207C – Supplemental Instruction for M 408C

ENS 107S – University Orchestra

UGS 001 – First Year Interest Group

It’s not as bad as it looks, even though most other college students typically have only 3-5 hours of class a day. Keep in mind that these are introductory courses. My schedule looks easy now. But later on…well let’s not think about all the horrors just yet.

Of course, grades don’t just appear magically (at least not for me). They requiring lots of time devoted to scrutinizing confusing, boring textbooks and odd diagrams of complex circuits, much of which I have never been exposed to before. Have you heard of NAND gates, the significance of a kibi and a mibi, the (lack of a) precise definition of freedom, SN1/SN2 reactions? Help me study for my classes and find out!


Yes, everything is a NAND gate.

Back in high school, I never really considered group studying as a productive method of cramming for a test. I mean, what else would a group of sugar-high, rambunctious, rebellious college students do when they get together? I figured I would cave in to their temptations, finding card games or pranks or gossip more rewarding than diligently perusing my notes. After all, I don’t consider myself to be the most disciplined student in the world. But my inaugural study group proved to be far from that! My fellow biomedical engineers (BMEs) are some of the most motivated, intelligent, and helpful people I have ever met. Yes, during study session, we were able to sit next to each other and conquer all our assignments for two whole hours. We managed to strengthen our individual knowledge by pooling together our own resources and faculties, laying down for each other the missing puzzle pieces. Unlike in my past academic experiences, the environment here fosters collective progress and cooperative learning, not cutthroat competition. Never did GPA and rank seem to embody our prime motivations as much as our aggregate success on the test. We took many precautions to leave no one behind, patiently and graciously giving as much aid as needed. That night, I felt so much more prepared for my test and had much laughter along the way, much more than if I toiled alone in the confines of my room.

On that note, I have to wonder what makes all of us click together so perfectly? After all, we’ve only been acquainted with each other for a few weeks. And yet, a strong torrent of love and prosperity has already consumed us. We readily support each other academically and socially. We do not cling only to our old high school friends (not that their past company was anything bad). Instead, we free ourselves from previous social cliques and go to great lengths to strengthen our unity in these freshly formed bonds. Perhaps we owe ourselves to this one commonality: our inherent will to succeed academically, for ourselves and for others, that attracts us to one another so readily. Our individual diligence breeds community in great ways, collecting into an amalgam of amity and spirit. And to think, we are only at the foot of the mountains.  To my fellow BMEs, I wish us a miraculous, exceptional expedition to the peak together, earmarked by our many special moments, whether they be unconquerable tests or surprise birthday wishes that set precedence for many years to come.


Hard at work.


No need to worry; they were putting those dry-erase markers to good use.


I'm sure they're getting a lot done.


Isn't studying fun?

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October 18, 2011 | | Comments are closed for this post

1 Comment to School is Fun

Love this blog. You are being real about studying. It can be fun, but it’s tough sometimes. Glad to see you are doing well on your freshman year!

November 21, 2011
— Jelisa
photo of Khang