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First Days as a Husky

My first day as as a University of Washington Husky began as a glorious late September morning in Seattle. The sun was showing signs of life, yet the air was cool and the lingering clouds made it clear they they would not easily relinquish their rule from the night.

I awoke earlier than normal, unaccustomed to the morning cross-bridge commute and expecting the worst. My preparations took longer than expected, but the commute was shorter than expected. I traveled across the I-90 bridge, then up I-5 to the Montlake E-1 parking area. I was additionally pleasantly surprised to find that, with my Husky Card, parking cost only $2.62 for the whole day. Clearly, I had not researched this process very well.

The first class I attempted to attend was a Biology 200 lab, at 9:00am in the Hitchcock Building. I was not alone – I met Joe, another student wandering around wondering where everyone was. However, as we soon found out, the labs don’t start until the second week of class. “The parents love the kids,” Joe explained, after I complimented his stylish Sony laptop, on which he looked up the news of the delayed-start labs.

My next class wasn’t until 11:30, so I decided to hang out in the Hitchcock building a while longer while I sorted through some papers and contemplated life as a new yet experienced student. Then what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Bobby Franco, a long-lost associate from the International School class of 2000, whose path to the UW appears to be even more twisted than mine. After a brief but interesting chat, he took off and I headed to the Chemistry Library Building, where my most recent schedule addition, Math 324 “Advanced Multivariable Calculus,” was held.

Outside of the classroom, I met Andrew, a CS major from Southern California. We chatted until the class started, and I confided in him that this would be my first real university class in nearly 3 years. He reassured me that it wouldn’t be so different than my Community College classes, and he was right. The professor came stumbling in about five minutes late, apologizing for getting lost on her way to the lecture, then trying to figure out how to turn off the projector for the next five minutes. The similarity was eerie in some cases. And, just like Hoffman at BCC, this professor got right own to business. She writes amazingly quickly on the board, and churns out noteworthy content at a prolific rate. It should be an interesting class.

Immediately after Math, I headed to the Biology 200 lecture in Smith Hall. The room was overfilled – 100% enrollment plus many more wanting to add the course – myself included – took its toll. However, the first handout, an excerpt of the lecture notes, looked eerily familiar. Indeed, when I printed out the Biology 200 Syllabus that night and compared it to my BYU Microbiology 130 class, there was nearly a 1:1 correspondence between lecture topics. The next day, I took this evidence to Tom Freng of Biology Advising fame and he agreed with me, giving me credit for Biology 200. No longer needing that class, and with only 12 credits to my name, I decided I would have to find another class. Nevertheless, back to Wednesday —

After Biology, I headed towards the Mechanical Engineering Building for my Chemical Engineering 260 – Thermodynamics – class. The path there took me by the HUB, and sine I was hungry, I stopped quickly to grab a slice of Pizza. I had just chomped it down when I made it in to class, not quite on time. I have already had some Thermodynamics training from the chemistry perspective (courtesy of Chem 111H) and some more from the physics perspective (courtesy of Physics 123), however somehow I’ve managed to stumble into another approach to Thermo — one thats uses specific volume, for example, instead of total volume. Its unclear yet whether this class will be following the chemistry q – w or the physics q + w paradigm. At any rate, it will be interesting seeing it from yet another perspective. It will also be interesting to see if I learn anything new apart from definitions.

Unfortunately, I don’t expect to be learning much from the next class I headed to, Computer Science 143 — once again immediately after the previous class. This class, the second of the intro to computer science series, looks like it will be covering little that wasn’t included in my CS 142 course at BYU. Particularly distressing is the fact that at the UW, apparently, they have recently made the change to teaching Java in a procedural-oriented fashion during CS 142. Not only is this retarded (a word that crossed my mind more times during the second CS 143 lecture than in any previous lecture that I can recall), its also extremely strange. Java is an object oriented only language. To teach it in a procedural paradigm only adds complexity to the process. Teaching objects in the next class in the series will only serve to make everything more convoluted. I find it especially strange, because one of the greatest strengths of Java – and why I thought so many academics liked it – was specifically because it was so purely OOP. Strange. And retarded.

Thursday, I had only CS 143 sectional. I would have had Biology 200 lab – or at least, Thursday would have been my preferred slot – but of course, I got that taken care of. So instead, I set to work trying to find another class to take. I had settled on Technical Communications 333, but then I realized that I’d already missed that class for the day, so I ate lunch and headed to work. I’ll need an add code to get into the class, something I think I’ll be able to do on Monday. However, the class is not required for BioE, only for CompE, and Ananth today warned me that it might be a pretty dumb class. But I liked its predecessor, that I took at BCC, where it was, however, listed as an English course. Its probably that or Organic Chemistry, which I’m really not ready for after my dismal performance Spring of 2002 has me thinking I really should brush up on my chemistry before attempting to dive head-first into that class.

Also this week, I delivered my final BCC transcripts to the UW admissions office. They asked me to specify my ethnicity again, and again I refused. If they really want the information, they could always look at me, but for some reason they chose to ask me. My credits still haven’t shown up (which only makes registering for the next class in a series harder). Also, my Physics 122 and 123 credits haven’t shown up yet. I’m beginning to suspect that some of the advisers at the UW Physics department are not entirely here.

Finally, While I have yet to find a suitable place to live in Seattle, it is beginning to look like my failure to do so isn’t going to be the end of me. The commute is not exactly fun, but so far it hasn’t lived up to the horror stories I’ve heard, nor to the afternoon drive into Seattle, which is one step removed from insanity on 520.

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