Most normal people would look at my schedule and pity me. Most of them do, but if I do say so myself, my schedule is pretty awesome. It’s about as good as it gets for a second semester ChemBE freshman, anyway. I have 9AM classes every day, and I know a large part of the student body is highly opposed to 9AMs (it seems almost like an allergy), but it’s pretty great. It means that I’m virtually finished with classes for the day at 11AM or 11:45AM, with the exception of lab and the occasional section. On multiple days of the week I have giant gaps to do work and relax, and it makes it extraordinarily easy to pace myself.
This semester, I’m taking General Physics II, Applied Chemical Equilibrium and Reactivity, Introduction to Chemical and Biological Process Analysis, Expository Writing, and Chemical Laboratory Safety. Of course, physics and chemistry also come with labs, but I think the classes I’m most excited about are Introduction to Chemical and Biological Process Analysis and Expository Writing.
Introduction to Chemical and Biological Process Analysis: This class is the first in the sequence of classes in the school of engineering for a Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering major. It’s only been one week, but for the first time, we’re really learning about what a chemical engineer can do and what we can make of this degree. It has already started to combine the skills we’ve learned in introductory chemistry and calculus to determine what processes work, how we develop efficient mechanisms, and why some work better than others. We’re learning how to work in groups to achieve a common goal, and for the first time, I’m starting to see a tangible future in one of my classes. It’s no longer prerequisite work; this is the real deal.
Expository Writing: A Strange New Place: Having a schedule with three science classes means problem sets — lots of problem sets. So I decided it might be cool to take a writing class this semester to get my brain working in a different way. We’re focusing on surrealism, with the main assignments being targeted at our reading of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. We get to workshop our writing with our classmates, and it makes the writing process very hands-on. Even though I’m an engineer, I find writing pretty therapeutic (also one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much) and I’m looking forward to reading a few good books during the semester.
So now for the surprises, of which there are two.
- I’m participating in sorority recruitment. I never thought that I would want to join a sorority, much less go through recruitment, but I’m already so happy that I made the decision to do so. If you had asked me last semester, I would have said no without a second thought, but living at Homewood has given me a different perspective. I want to get involved with a group of friends with whom I can do community service, study, do homework, and have fun. The groups at Hopkins aren’t stereotypical, they’re all-inclusive, and every group seems to be filled with intelligent girls with goals. Yesterday was the first day, so I still don’t know what’s in store, but I’m looking forward to the rest of this week and hopefully ending up in the right sorority for me!
- I might be pre-med. When you go to Hopkins, the first thing people ask is “Are you pre-med?” And for the longest time, my answer has been no, but now I’m not so sure. I still don’t have a pre-professional advisor, and I’m still not declared, but with so much overlap between ChemBE and pre-med requirements, I figured I might try to stay on a rough track of my own to see where I want to take it. Maybe I’ll go for an MD-PhD program, or maybe I’ll decide to go in to research without the MD (my original plan), but for now I’m trying to keep my options open.
Since I’ve moved to this campus, I’m saying yes a lot more, so you might say that I’m “embracing the yes”, but I’m excited for all of the opportunities that this semester has to offer, and I’m looking forward to getting more involved now that I’m really settling in to the Hopkins community.