Grades

Well grades are in and I couldn’t be more thrilled. 2 A+’s and four A’s which means I got a 4.0! I was a little worried about getting an A- in one class so I was really excited to learn that there was a curve and I got an A. I have been pondering one thing, why is it that you get docked to a 3.8 for an A- but there’s no bonus for an A+? Oh well, no big deal. Now I’m not under any illusions that this will be easy to keep up for the rest of my time here. I had one intro class and I had to take physics 1 (calculus based) which just isn’t that hard. My first undergraduate degree and this one were both from state schools here in Texas so all of my humanities/writing/literature/etc. transferred. Therefore, I will never have any “fluff” classes. Each semester will get increasingly demanding with little room for error.

I’m also impatiently waiting for my classes next semester to post their textbooks so I can try and find them cheaper on the Internet and start reading! I work so much better when I “front-load” my work rather than “back-load” it. What I mean by that is that I prefer to work extra hard early in the semester so I never get behind. I find that it makes the end of the semester and finals so much less stressful. I’d rather spend long hours in the library at the beginning of the semester than be cramming material at the end. In law school, a common study practice is outlining your books starting from day one. For better or for worse, I’ve brought this procedure into engineering and I think it really pays off. Before school starts or in the first few weeks, I go through all the material and do a rough outline so I know what’s coming up. Then as I actually learn the material in class, I update the outline. To be honest, by the time the end of the semester rolls around, I don’t even really look at the outlines. The learning happens when you make the outline, not in some sort of last-ditch effort to cram it all in your head. I’m ready to get going!!

Aside from grades, I’ve managed to accomplish practically nothing on my list since I’ve been done with finals. I feel a little like Chris Gammell during his week off between jobs as described in the Amp Hour, the break is just flying by and I feel like it’s getting away from me.┬áMy parents were in town for a few days, I was sick for a while, and otherwise I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and shopping. I attempted a very ambitious recipe for homemade soy milk and created a monumental disaster on my stove top when it boiled over. Whoops! A picture of the mess is above.

The only book I’ve managed to finish was Tracy Kidder’s “The Soul of a New Machine.” I was so excited to read a Pulitzer Prize winner about the human side of creating computers but I was pretty let down. It gets such glowing reviews, but I never managed to connect with the subject of the story. I’m still loving “Code” and “Computer” so I think I’ll keep going with those.

Hopefully, the next time I update I’ll have some cool projects to show off. By cool projects, I mean putting together kits that are incredibly simple. Again, I’ve got to start somewhere.

Braggart

So I already bragged a little on Twitter but I thought it was only fair to subject my blog readers to this as well. First round of tests was a success! I’m talking, A on a test with an average of 66 and a 95 on a test with a 77 average. This is exciting, oh so very exciting. I worked hard and it paid off. Now, not too long ago, I worked hard in law school and I was mediocre. I was smack in the middle.

Now, before my law school experience, I was what some might call a “high achiever.” In elementary school, I regularly won the monthly Continental Math League competitions. In middle school, I was a member of our Math Counts team (and yes, that is just as cool as it sounds. We had t-shirts, and got pizza at our practices, scoped out the one cute boy that would show up at competitions, it was awesome.) I was a National Merit Scholar. I was an officer in college in the Biochemistry and Genetics Society.

As I was finishing up my undergraduate studies, I realized that I had a few choices with a biochemistry degree. I knew I didn’t want to do med/vet school. I briefly considered pharmacy school but then decided that law school would be a great choice because I could work on biomedical patents. Then I realized that every patent attorney working in the “bio” field had a PhD or at least a M.S. So, I went back to my true love, math and engineering. It’s so exciting and I really do love it.

Now I do realize that I have a totally unfair advantage over these 18 year olds in my classes. I have some “life” under my belt. I’ve learned how to deal with difficult people, I know how to manage time, I file my own taxes every year, I know what a dollar is, I know how much each class costs and therefore how important it is to do well, I know when to ask for help, I know how to deal with emergencies and crises, I know what’s important and what isn’t. I put in the time I need to succeed in these classes and magically it’s working.

Let’s hope I sound this optimistic in a month!

Internships

Today in our Intro to Engineering class we talked about internships. I giggled a little inside when one of the speakers stressed that being engineers, we needed to have something on our resume that indicated that we know how to communicate to others. Does law school convey that? I sure hope so.

I started thinking about getting internships and what my future will look like. to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the rest of my years will look like. I would really like to work in industry for a little while but I’m not sure what a prospective employer will see when they skim down my resume and find that J.D. and B.S. in Biochemistry. Will that elicit a response akin to “Wow! Those sure are nice extras!” or will it be closer to “Huh. Why would she want to work for us? What on earth made her go back for an engineering degree?” I’m going to seek out some of the better connected professors so I can try and get those questions answered. I love this new path so much and I don’t want my past to hurt my chances. I’m hoping that I can demonstrate that my prior degrees are just icing on a very well-rounded cake.

The speakers on internships also stressed having a high GPA. As if I needed that reminder. However, I was reminded of a few things. When speaking of GPAs, the magic number seemed to be a 3.0 in engineering. Here I am, freaking out at the possibility of getting an A- as opposed to an A or A+. Calm down, Katie. Take a deep breath. Study hard but remember that you can only do your best. As I said earlier on Twitter, compared to the bar exam, my physics test tomorrow will be easy as pie.