I took the leap and signed up for Biology 1A at Berk.eley this summer. Eek. The last time I took a class was back in the 2008 timeframe, give or take a couple years, when I took a Stanford GPS class. It was actually a great class . . . and I got an A+. (Thank you, grade inflation.) However, it was a project-based and homework-based class – no quizzes or exams. I didn’t have to memorize anything. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I took a class that involved memorization. I suppose something I took at Stanford probably involved a little memorization here or there. I honestly don’t recall, but most of my graduate classes had open book exams, and the real work was the homeworks. if you did all the homeworks, you were probably in decent shape. And doing well on the tests was about understanding how to solve problems.
First of all, I’ve never taken biology before – not even in high school. Even if this turns out to be a complete boondoggle, I’m excited to finally take this class. Second, biology is closely linked to chemistry, and if you know me well, you know chemistry has never been my thing. And, I’m more than a little bit rusty. Third, I’ve never been much good at memorization. So, I’m shaking in my boots. But I think a good dose of humility is generally the right way to approach a class. The few times I’ve gone into a class thinking it’ll be easy or that I already know it, it’s turned out to be a battle because I didn’t devote the time to it. (As I type this, I realize the exception to that was always math classes. I always felt confident going into those, but I always did well anyway, because I’m good at math, and also because I actually enjoyed doing all the problems.)
Being a summer class, I’m looking at the equivalent of Freshman chem at GT compressed by half – so instead of five hours of lecture and three hours of lab, I’m looking at 11 hours of lecture / recitation and six hours of lab.
What a boondoggle. But maybe this will get the wanderlust out of my system and I’ll be more ready to go back to controls. I was just reviewing middle and high school tuition numbers with Jonathan, and I’ll tell you, that certainly motivated me to think about going back to work.
Basically, I’ve become increasingly intrigued by the intersection of biology and math. I feel like I don’t understand biology well enough to even understand the avenues one could pursue in that area. Hence, the summer class. I could potentially take a few classes and look for opportunities less divergent to what I’d already been doing, or even apply for graduate programs in the fall.
My practical side thinks this is all ridiculous. The common sense option would be to start doing contract work with Blue and others in the Fall, thus keeping my skills and contacts current. Then, when S is a little older, I could go back to work full or part time (like 30 hours / week). This would be the fiscally prudent path. Heck, probably the prudent path full stop.
But for now, I’m going to take the darn class.