Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I have focused a lot on a lot of the events going on around campus, but I really haven't mentioned much about my classes except to say that I was busy studying for midterms. That is quite ironic, because the main reason I am at college is to take classes and complete my degree. I better talk about some classes then!

All engineering majors need to complete a specific set of classes with at least a certain technical GPA (depending on the major) in order to be admitted into the College of Engineering. Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 are among these requirements. I know that my major, Chemical Engineering, requires both Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations as well, but I am not so sure about the degree requirements for the other majors. This following link has information on the degree requirements for each of the majors:

Right now, I am in Multivariable Calculus, more commonly called Calculus 3. I took AP Calculus BC my senior year of high school, and I scored high enough to receive course credit for both Calculus 1 & 2. I worked hard during calculus and I had a really great teacher, so I was really prepared for college calculus. At first I was worried about making the transition into college classes in general, but I took AP classes and other challenging classes all throughout high school, which really helped me make the transition. I would recommend to take AP or other similar classes while in high school, because it really prepared me for college and saved me time and money! Just for taking the AP Calculus BC exam and scoring well, I earned a total of 7 credits for 2 classes required for my engineering major.

Here is a link to the course equivalencies at MSU just in case you are interested:

Each class and professor are different, but I could describe how my calculus class works since many other classes follow this same basic format.

My larger lecture meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 50 minutes. There are no more than 80 people, which is small for a lecture. Even though that class size is about 3 times larger than a high school class, it really does not feel that large, especially since I sit closer to the front. The class size will be much smaller once I get into the higher level engineering classes. My professor spends the class explaining each day's topic and doing a few examples of different problems. Really it is not very different from my high school classes, except for the fact that the seats are much closer together and the desks are tiny!

Each Tuesday, I have a 50 minute recitation. It takes place in a classroom with about 20 people. A graduate student TA spends most of the class answering any questions on the homework or content that anyone may have. The last 15 minutes of each recitation is reserved for a really short quiz over the past few lessons. Our exams are 50 minutes long and take place during the recitation period for which they are scheduled.

The four exams make up most of our grades with a small portion (about 14%) coming from the quizzes. We have assigned homework problems, but so far none of it has been graded. The biggest difference that I have noticed between high school and college is that for most of my college classes, homework makes up only a small portion of my grade, if any. Exams make up the majority of my grades. Seriously I only have one grade so far in my honors archaeology class, which is my first exam score.

So that is the basic format of most of my classes. Overall, classes have been going well. Speaking (well, writing) of class, I better head to class right now!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Midterms & Homecoming Weekend

I can't believe that the semester is just about halfway over! Recently I have been super busy studying for my midterms, which mostly are this week. After I am done with my exams, I will hopefully be posting more often. Of course, it had to be homecoming weekend when I had to study the most.

Friday night I went to the homecoming parade which was along Grand River. Many of the student groups on campus and sports teams had floats and walked in the parade. Well, not all of them walked. The rodeo team rode theirs horses, many of which were painted with some green paint and spirited designs. Also, many of the sports teams were pulled by tractors. I really liked that Student Alumni Foundation's float that is pictured below. Sparty for President!

Friday night was also Midnight Madness. I had never heard of Midnight Madness before Friday afternoon, so I had to ask some upperclassmen what it was all about. Basically people come to watch the first basketball practice of the year at midnight and celebrate the official beginning of the basketball season. Admission is free and open to the public. The doors to the Breslin Center opened at 9:30 PM when activities such as autographs from coaches and players started. I decided to stop by for a few minutes towards the beginning to check it out. After walking around for about 30 minutes, I left because I needed to study for exams, but I really wish that I stayed! Apparently Tom Izzo entered wearing a full Iron Man suit, which would have been a sight to see!

Even though Saturday was the homecoming football game, I am glad that I did not go because the weather was awful. I decided to cheer on my team from the inside of my dry dorm room rather than cold and soaking wet in the rain. Michigan State lost to Iowa 16-19 in double overtime, which was a bit disappointing. Overall, this weekend was fun, but I would have enjoyed myself more if I didn't have to study so much for my midterms.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Study Abroad Fair

This past Thursday from 12-6, the Breslin Center housed the annual study abroad fair. I have always been interested in studying abroad, so I decided to check it out. I remember hearing that MSU has the #1 study abroad program in the country when I visited campus, but I really had no idea what to expect. The Breslin Center was full of tables representing different countries or different programs through different MSU colleges. Just to give you an idea of the scale of the fair and MSU's study abroad program in general, the 2012-13 Study Abroad brochure states that there are over 275 programs in more than 60 countries. Also, approximately 1 in 4 students study abroad during their time at MSU. Sadly, I forgot to bring my camera with me, so I have no pictures.

First, I checked out the programs offered through the College of Engineering. There were a lot of cool programs offered for a semester or year in countries such as Germany, Australia, and Spain that offer classes that are required for an engineering major, allowing you to stay on track for graduation. Since I would rather be abroad for only 4-8 weeks, I looked at the summer programs offered through both the College of Engineering and other colleges. A lot of the other programs offered classes that would fulfill my ISS or IAH requirements, which are classes in the arts and humanities or social studies that all MSU students are required to take. I think it would be cool to earn some humanities credits by visiting museums across Europe or going to the opera!

I picked up so many fliers from all of the different booths that I do not even know what to do with them! I think it is so cool that someone can choose to take part in a program that relates to their major or future career or something completely different! Definitely I will attend some of the informational meetings and apply to some of the programs. Now I better go do some homework...