My Second Year at University

It’s that time of the year again. No, it’s not Christmas, and it’s not back-to-school either. It’s time for me to reflect upon my previous academic year at the university. Not much has changed from first year other than the courses I was taking, which resulted in me spending even more time for studying. Come to think of it, that was a pretty big change. Anyways, as you could have imagined, my second year at university was still as (un)exciting as ever. If this doesn’t get you people interested, I don’t know what will. Read on to find out more.

I began the second year of my post-secondary education well rested from the summer vacation, since I didn’t manage (or bother) to find a summer job nor did I go volunteering anywhere. The first term started off the same way as last year: with a trip to the campus bookstore. I have learned my lesson from last year and didn’t waste any money of the optional textbooks. To counter my new found knowledge, the school required me to buy more expensive textbooks, so even though I bought fewer books than first year, the cost was around the same if not greater. Other than the textbooks, I was also required to buy a brand new response clicker for one of my courses. I bought a clicker on my first year, but apparently that model was obsolete. This new clicker ended up being used less than ten times and accounted for less than five percent of the total mark of the course, but it cost quite a bit. Not surprisingly, my tuition has gone up as well, but I suppose that’s partially due to the higher number of courses I am taking and not entirely due my university overcharging for everything.

The second year is when my faculty splits up into different programs, so therefore my courses were much more specialized than first year. In this first term I had a computer programming course, two math courses, and three courses that are specific to my department. Since I’ve been in university for a year already, there wasn’t the “adjustment period” that I went through in my first year. The course load was about the same as the second term of first year, but since there was no English-related course, I didn’t find any of them particularly hard. Math, for example, was actually pretty straightforward. I can now confidently say that the troubles I had in first year calculus probably had something to do with that particular professor. Math courses are still about exciting as watching paint dry, but at least the instructors in second year gave decent notes and easier exams. This might have something to do with the fact that my math classes are no longer honours classes, but who knows.

Out of one of my courses, one of them was a special laboratory course. I did a fair share of laboratory experiments through high school and first year, and I never really did that well on my labs due to my lack of neatness. This new lab course, however, was quite different and only really required the understanding of the instructions, and that was something that I was good at. The lab course also provided a nice hands-on break from the usual lecture courses. My other courses of the term were the technical courses required by my program and the programming course. None of these are really worth any special mention, except for one course which had a very humorous professor that gave really easy exams. Unfortunately, this guy also had the habit of giving ridiculous amounts of homework, and unfortunately I was dumb (or responsible) enough to do all of the questions.

In terms of extra-curricular activities, I did exactly the same thing as last year, which meant I didn’t do much. I went to the school fitness facility three times a week just like before, and I also re-joined the math competition club, again mainly for the free pizza. My math skills seemed to have improved from last year, and I actually understood some of the discussion during the club meeting. Looks like I am on my way towards ultimate nerd-hood and actually writing that grueling math contest. Other than the above, I didn’t do much else socially. I managed to make one new friend and learned a couple people’s names, and that was about it.

One last thing worth mentioning about first term was the strange weather the university had. In a place where snow usually makes a token appearance, my university and surrounding locations actually received a big dump of snow in the winter. Of course, “big” is a relative term. Canadians elsewhere were laughing at the snowfall level we’ve got, but to the people living around the area, one foot of snow was chaos. The snow actually forced the university to close for a day, which resulted in me missing some very valuable lessons on C++ inheritance (yeah right…). All that snow was preceded and followed by the usual gloomy weather and endless rain of winter, and sometimes gale-force winds. Needless to say, the weather could definitely use some improvement. Unfortunately for me, my classes were pretty spread out in the big campus, so I was either soaked by the rain or slipping and sliding on the icy sidewalks.

The first term passed by almost as quickly as it had began, and the end of term brought some good news. Due to the specialization of the courses, I was taking stuff that I was pretty good at. So after all the finals were marked, I ended up getting the best average I’ve ever had in my academic career since probably elementary school. I was fairly pleased with myself, but I knew I probably won’t be able to keep my average that high in the coming term, since there was something terrible looming on the horizon. Can you say “writings course” (shudders in fear)? For the moment though, I was pretty content and enjoyed my winter break.

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