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January 20, 2013 at 3:11 am

As students drop under the onslaught of a mad sore throat/gooey things coming out of facial orifices virus, temperatures begin to fall to levels that warrant frightening warning emails (like these):

Extreme Weather 

and yet the snow melted and then froze into dirty ice, and school marches on at its usual punishing pace.
Well, no more punishing than usual, it just feels worse because I’m ill and grumpy. You would be too if your darn nose hairs froze on the way to class. It feels incredibly strange, if you ever wondered.
Let’s talk about how school’s going for me, since I’ve only been alternating between that and sleep this week. This term, I’m taking Chem 123, Intro Psychology, Intro to Computer Science, Modern Dance II, and Ballet II.
Because I’m taking something called Chemistry with Problem Solving, we meet every day, as opposed to plain old Chem 123, which meets on a normal Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. So why on earth would anyone want to take the version of Chem 123 that meets every single freezing weekday morning? Because it means that we get to go over our homework problems with our professor and a prefect (not quite like the Hogwarts system) present. In regular Chem 123, of course students do their best to help each other with homework, but it usually ends up more like the blind leading the blind. Thus Chem 123 with Problem Solving saves us considerable frustration. We have a 4 hour lab on Thursday afternoon, hour-long prefect sessions twice a week (meaning that I have five hours of Chem class on Thursdays), Chemistry tutors available for a certain period every day, and optional prefect sessions twice a week. We have so many resources, there’s no excuse for misunderstanding anything we learn, even if you had a loveless relationship with Chem in high school, like me.
Computer Science is not something I thought that I would ever take, but even though I feel like I’m somewhat lacking mentally in the kind of logic required to be good at wrangling algorithms out of thin air, it’s fun! So far, we’ve written programs in Python to generate a simple song, draw and animate a scene in a graphics window, and encrypt statements. Along the way, I’ve picked up the art of making the computer say rude things to users of my programs and also bringing my computer near death using incorrectly coded indefinite loops... Another thing that’s cool about my CS class is that we get to use something called Pylearn that current seniors developed for their Comps project, which you can read about here (if the link works).
Psychology is a class I’ve wanted to take all throughout high school, though I never got the chance. It’s probably one of the largest classes they have here (about 70 students) and the class format generally involves broad lectures, headed by two professors. Julie and Julia trade off teaching the areas of Psychology that they focus on in their research (respectively, animal cognition/neuroscience and sensation/perception). Hopefully I’ll get to meet these guys in Carleton’s primate research lab one day.
The thing about Carleton is that it’s a pressure cooker, but all of my classes have been genuinely interesting and (once I get it started) I really do enjoy my homework. Although it’s hard feeling as if there’s something else I should be doing every time I take a break, every day I spend here is so rich that life anywhere else would be stale Coke in comparison.

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