December 11

Welcome back my virtual friends and thank you for joining me once again for the last leg of my Riddle Experiences in the year 2006.

That’s right, the countdown is on. T- 3 Finals and counting. We are in our final days here just waiting for the end to come at last. As I write this, I have already taken one final that was easier then I expected. It was a departmental final for EGR 115, which is a C programming course. I was very pleased with the ease of this exam because it was a multiple-choice exam.

Let me tell you a little something about department exams. They aren’t your friends. Lots of times they are multiple choice exams that allow no room to earn credit for all the work used to solve a problem. There are also too many discrepancies between classes. Some classes cover too much, some don’t cover enough. My personal opinion is that all classes should have finals tailored to what was covered in that specific course.

I understand that in some courses, like lower level calculus and physics, the departments need to make sure that every student understands basic principles before they can proceed. Hence, a standardized, department final is applicable. However, I think that in some cases a class may be rushed to cover enough information, if they were moving slowly in the first place, and the students may not be able to fully comprehend the vital principles if they understand them at all.

However, at the same time, this is college. Part of the challenge behind college is not only learning all the details about your field of study, but also learning to deal with a bunch of crap throughout the process. This is just one of those situations. That’s just my two cents. What’s the lesson to be learned here: Go to class, study hard and pray you have an easy finals week.

So in my last entry I said I would have some tips and advice for how to keep yourself moving in the weeks leading up to finals. First of all, listen to me now and hear me later: You need to keep up with your classes all semester long.

Many of you freshmen will be enrolled in an introduction to engineering course that does involve a project or two. Do not wait to work on those. I have many freshman friends on my hall. Some of them worked on their projects all semester long and were fine. Others waited too long and regretted the decision later. I myself pushed back a final programming project and ended up sitting in the programming lab for 11 hours straight. Not one of my finer moments.

Here at Riddle you will learn to pull through no matter how much you procrastinate but believe me, the road is much less toilsome if you stay on track from day 1. Hell, even day 2 or 3. Just don’t wait until day 30 or 35 to start trying. That goes along with what I mentioned last journal about managing your time. Keep yourself balanced and on track.

Some other advice is never work on one thing for too long. This especially applies if you are having trouble arriving at a correct solution. Lots of times you need to take a step back for at least a couple of hours. If you are having problems, set down whatever it is you are working on, get some shut-eye and then try working on it again.

I was working on my Fluids project. We were trying a solution with an equation that should have been correct but our answers kept coming out wrong. It was late and we were tired so we decided to call it quits for the night. We came back to it the next day and realized that our equation was off because it was including a portion of area that we didn’t need examine. Sometimes all you need is a little rest.

Once I got past those weeks, I got a little break and we all had the opportunity of a lifetime. As you may or may not know, STS-116: Discovery launched this past Saturday. It was the first night launch in over 4 years.

It was actually scheduled for Thursday night but was scrubbed because of weather restrictions. Okay, first of all, to see any launch is an amazing event. We were lucky enough to witness a night launch, which was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. From where we were, we could see the lights from the pad, but it was still pitch black outside. The anticipation was incredible. Everyone around was totally stoked to be there and ready for the launch. The show that preceded the ignition of the main engine was incredible. At first, fire and smoke shot out sideways for probably the most expensive fire show to ever exist, and then the sun rose over the horizon. No Joke. When the shuttle was full power and beginning to lift off, I could have believed that the sun was rising. Night turned to day and the shuttle went rocketing into the night. If you ever get a chance to witness a launch, do not miss it. You will totally regret it if you do. I would not have traded this experience for anything.

Well, for this semester I think it’s time to bring this entry to a close. I have to finish preparations for three more exams. Oh, and for those of you who remember, I was moved off of Wood Hall into Adams this semester. As of the Spring Semester, I will again be a resident of Wood Hall. Exciting stuff for everyone involved. So I also have to go start packing.

I hope you have all had a prosperous year and happy holidays. Next we meet, it will be the year 2007 and I look forward to the opportunity to write about my holiday adventures.

My best wishes for a happy holiday and a wonderful new year.
Respectfully, Steven von Kriegenbergh

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