This past weekend began Year 2 at Wilmington College’s Cincinnati branches. Unfortunately, I have to go to Cincinnati State for both classes this semester. That may be meaningless to you, but to those of us who attended Cincy State or Wilmington in Cincinnati, we all dread the labyrinth that is Cincinnati State’s parking garages. Wilmington holds classes in two places in Cincinnati: The aforementioned Cincy State campus, where class is usually tucked off in the farthest possible room from any parking garage accessible to students, and a self-contained Blue Ash campus that shares a building with Citigroup. Just pull in the lot and walk through the front or back door. I’ve been lucky. I haven’t set foot on Cincy State’s campus since last December. Now I will likely not see Blue Ash, only 10 minutes from my house and near a lot more interesting places to eat before class, before January. Or maybe next fall.
I did not get a summer break this year. I began the Accounting track in the Spring and needed to take a summer semester to get the second half of it. This began what I now refer to as “my year of math,” for this week, I start the first of two Statistics classes. (Statistics 101: Lies, followed by Statistics 201: Damn Lies). I’m not worried about this. There’s a long-overdue summer break at the far end of this, during which, Nita has decreed, we’re taking a summer vacation.
I’m also taking my first chemistry class in mumble mumble years. This one worried me. I looked at the syllabus to get an idea for what to expect from homework. Read 3-4 chapters a week. Okay, that’s doable. Do the review questions at the end of the chapter. I looked at those questions. Chapter 3 had 64 questions at the end of it. That was a disaster waiting to happen. So I set about writing out the questions ahead of time. This way, I could just delete true or false from those questions and all the wrong answers from the multiple choice ones. I’d copied up to seven chapters’ worth by the morning of the first class, a Saturday morning. Immediately, my hand went up. “Do we have to do all the questions?”
Turns out our prof’s fulltime job is a chemist for the water system and has a long memory about being a student. No, we don’t have to do 30-60 questions per chapter (which would be 240 questions in a worst-case scenario in a 4-chapter week.) We would do homework in the handouts and work on our research papers. We have just gone back to doable.
Were I in my late teens and early twenties, I would have complained loudly about 240 questions, 3-4 chapters, and research papers on top of my other classes. It would have interfered with my part time job, my underage drinking, and my “study breaks” with various girls in my dorm/apartment building. My forty-mumble self thinks my young self would need to shut up and get his priorities straight. My problem is a full-time job, a family, other obligations, and one other class (Lies and Damn Lies, of course). But this is also the life my prof needs, who also understands we’re all business majors who don’t want to stress out about covalent bonds, the impact of CFCs on ozone, or how to balance chemical equations.
On the other hand, I kind of miss having to do a few of the questions. One of them was clearly written by Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory.
“Dmitri Mendeleev was the last born of 17 children in his family. Can you write the atomic symbol and give the total number of electrons and the number of valence electrons for each of the first 17 elements in his periodic table?”
To which Penny would have said, “I dunno. What’s the atomic weight of cheesecake?”
At least I know now I can still exercise, write, and work on learning new programming languages. College, especially in middle age, is a sacrifice, but the sacrifice shouldn’t interfere with more important matters.