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So, After The First Session for Each Class...


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How do you feel, so far? Worried? Totally ready? A mix?


I felt very positive about two of my three graduate classes (I also have a foreign language). One will be fascinating and the professor is both knowledgeable and entertaining; the other will be good for re-learning and refining research and research writing skills, and the professor has a friendly, patient demeanor. The third is more about teaching than I expected, which I'm not horribly opposed to, but it threw me a bit. 


So far I feel okay. 

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I'm also taking three classes. One is a seminar that I was initially excited about. After the second class I realized that I need a serious review in the subject matter which I've been doing this weekend. My second class is my major focus area so I'm actually a little bored. I realize that a review is still helpful, but I find myself almost nodding off as I could probably teach the class. Also, he likes to switch around from PowerPoint to Internet sites to writing on the projector and/or writing on the whiteboard. All of the switching is frustrating and distracting. He's a recent phd graduate (as in he graduated two years ago) and this is the first time that he has taught this particular class. I feel like I should say something to him, but I don't know how he would take the advice.

My third class is an intro to a program that I will need for research. It's a beast of a class that meets three days a week along with a lab. The kicker is that we don't actually use the program during the lab. The lab is simply a lecture that sums up the other lectures. I find this to be idiotic, and I think they missed the point of having a lab. The best way to learn a program (or math or science) is by doing and asking questions. Instead, I'm at home doing and asking Google questions. I'm not having much trouble so far, but that could change as the programming gets more advanced.

The thing I'm not used to is being in classes with students who are knowledgeable and actively participate. The students at my UG didn't seem to care...not even in the graduate level classes that I took. I guess that's the difference between a state university and a research university. I really need to up my game.

Anyone else experiencing a culture shock?

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I'm taking 2 second year classes and I think I'll be good. The workload doesn't seem to be anything I can't handle and there aren't any major assignments due until after I'm done with the GREs. One class is my specialization and the other is a subject with which I have purposefully avoided but after the short assignments we did for the first day I'm feeling confident. Good luck everyone!

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I have a research course for learning how to write proposals, conference abstracts, etc. that seems straightforward and not too much work. My advisor teaches the course, so I already know what he expects and we already have proposals in revision from our personal meetings. My statistics course is for undergraduates, and I already took a similar course for my bachelors. Other than the homework, I don't see this being a big time requirement. I also have an online course for a certification I'm working on. It's also very straightforward and doesn't appear to have a large time requirement. I like that I can schedule the lectures and discussions in my own time. Finally, I am taking a 10 week short course for teaching in natural sciences. It is going to be more hands on and the majority of the work will be done in class, instead of at home. This minimizes time requirements as well.


All in all, I think that my course load is light, but I wanted it that way for my first semester. I'm fortunate enough to be on a fellowship, so I don't have to TA or be a research assistant this first year. That relieves a lot of stress and allows me to focus on research proposals to get things rolling. I'm also thinking about writing a literature review this first year, since I can't collect any data in the field until summer. It'll depend on other time requirements of course, but the first semester is looking great so far.


Edit: I didn't realize how different semester system is from quarter system. I took some semester courses at the community college, but forgot just how spread out they are. I get an extra month to learn what I was having to do in 10 weeks before!

Edited by Monochrome Spring
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Happy! My course load is lighter than I understood it to be when I registered-- my computing courses are so introductory that a lot of our work will be done within lab time. That's good because I may be able to get a second job on my boss' new project. I loved my first homework assignment, which was a disease outbreak. The content, difficulty, and focus (lots of health disparities examples in every class) are pretty much what I'd hoped they would be. I am usually pretty shy in a classroom setting but I'm seeing a lot of the same faces from orientation and other classes so I think that will pass.


I couldn't get a current syllabus for most of my classes until this week, so some of my books have yet to arrive. That's really my only problem so far.

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