Friday, May 13, 2011

The Numbers Are In...

I was really expecting a B in French
Well, that wasn't at all like having teeth pulled!

Now that I've completed my first semester at NC State, I have to say that in some ways it was harder and in some ways easier than I had originally expected. As you can no doubt tell by the semester grades, the two biggest struggles for me were French and Psych Research. I was really disappointed with my French grade. While I can only really blame myself, I did explain in detail during my course evaluation a couple of weeks ago that I don't think the course should have required as much homework as was expected of us. That was my major downfall, as I usually made 85-96 on the tests. The course is on one hand sold as a refresher or review of French, and students are required to take a placement test to stay in the class. But, on the other hand, the course crams all of the material from French I and II into the span of one semester. As I commented in my course evaluation, the main reason students take this course is because they don't feel confident in their speaking abilities and want extra prep time before entering the 200-level French course which is taught almost exclusively in French. Students, such as myself, want French 110 to give us greater confidence with our speaking and oral comprehension, which I don't feel like the course actually provided. Granted, my French writing and reading has improved slightly, but I feel as though my speaking and conversational skills actually regressed a bit over the semester because so little time was focused on actual conversation skill. And, after all of that, I have a C on my transcript!

The exams themselves were all relatively easy undertakings, however. Despite having three hours allotted for each exam, I found that none of mine took longer than two hours, and my Biology final exam only took about an hour at most! One would hope that my exams in the future will be similarly short and simple. Even though I don't know the actual grades for any of my exams, I didn't find any of them to be more challenging than prior tests, and I honestly thought that the final in Psych Research was less challenging than prior tests, simply because it relied more on short answer/essay questions than the previous tests. While I do prefer multiple choice questions to essays, due to their fairly rapid fire execution, I always found the questions put forth by the Grad to be less than satisfactory. Many of his multiple choice questions were designed to be nit picky and/or trick questions to make sure that you were fully paying attention and had a complete understanding of the material. With the essay questions, I could elaborate a bit more on topics without being limited to the confines of his atrociously precise questions.

To be fair, I am still worried about my prospects for getting into grad school. The C and the B on this semester's transcript certainly don't help me feel more secure. My plan for the Summer involves investigating and studying for the GREs in the Fall, as well as watching some French films and reading some French novels to better prepare for the Intermediate French. Also, as soon as the good Doctor contacts me and lets me know when to begin working in his lab I will feel like I am moving alot closer to my goal of graduate school. From what I have been told, getting as much research experience as possible can go a long way to smoothing over a few poor grades on one's transcript, especially if I can get a good letter of recommendation from the Doctor.

Time keeps moving steadily forward. And, tomorrow, I turn 37.

Have fun and keep living life... Or Some Approximation Thereof.

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