Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Experiencing Undergrad Class Again

Classes just started up again, and although I am officially done with all course credits for my MS and PhD, I am sitting in on a class. This is not just any class though; it's an undergrad biology class! I know, I know...shocking.

The first class meeting was yesterday morning, in an auditorium. It wasn't a huge auditorium though, probably only about 100 people can sit in there (at least if you are limiting people to sitting on chairs). Of course, my first impression was "oh my goodness, they are all so little and young!" but after that all I could think was "shush!"

Sure, sure, I might not be able to say anything about looking young (I can still be mistaken as an undergrad by people over the age of 30!), but I definitely have no qualms talking about the noise level. It was quieter during class than before or after, but the chatter never completely stopped! I can see people thinking they could get away with it in a 200 or 300 person class, but 100? Maybe it was just because I was in the 3rd to last row that I heard it all, as maybe the first 10 rows know how to be quiet, but I doubt it. There was a girl sitting 2 seats away from me who was only quiet when the professor was explaining how the class would be graded. Otherwise she was chattering away with the people around her the entire time!

On top of the general noise, 5 minutes before class was supposed to end it got very noisy. I was very confused for about 20 seconds, and then the professor said "By my watch it is only 12:00, and class ends at 12:05 unless we end early." Apparently everyone was packing up and chatting and getting ready to go! 5 minutes early! I still can't believe it. We knew better than that in high school, and I'm really not THAT much older than these kids. To be fair, where we were at in the slides at 12 easily could have been mistaken for a stopping point, but the professor hadn't stopped. At least they quieted down rather quickly, we had 5 more minutes of class, and then we left.

I do feel sorry for the kids in the class though. They have FOUR exams this semester, quizzes, and the class is going to be taught differently than normal. Usually it is on 2 topics, half and half, but this semester it is primarily only 1 of those topics. It should be interesting to see how much that affects their later classes. Not to mention that those seats are hard, close together, and not very comfortable! There was lots of dried gum under the pull-out writing desk for my seat as well. Gross!

I have to say that I do not miss taking this type of class, and I think it will definitely be interesting to be teaching one in a few years!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New niece!

My sister gave birth to my second niece last night, at 1:28AM! What a night! I had really hoped to be down in VA when the new one came into the world, but I had two conference papers due last night at 3AM! The original due date for the baby was New Year's Day, which I would have been there for, but such is life!

Well, I don't really have classes to worry about right now so maybe I'll get a chance to see the baby some time in the next month or two. That's one of the worst parts about being in MA, I'm far enough away that I miss out on things like this! Of course, having conference submission deadlines in January doesn't really help much in general either. The best part about being a graduate student though is I might actually be able to take off enough time to go down and visit!

I hope everyone's new year is starting off with great events like this as well!