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Author Topic: College - what to do?  (Read 3067 times)

moerl

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College - what to do?
« on: October 05, 2006, 01:21:06 AM »
I'm a computer science major. I'm taking three computer science classes that are pretty work intensive. Java with data structures, combinatoric structures, (literally, wtfbbq? well, ok, as literally as figuratively goes..), and computer systems are the CS courses. My fourth course is Calculus I. The last two years at college I spent in a core program that was all about a broad liberal arts foundation. I had social science, natural science and humanities. As you can tell from those terms, there was not much "real work" involved. The work consisted almost entirely of pure reading. Well, reading and the occasional essay here and there, but mostly reading.

Now that I've started my CS major, all of that took a very sharp turn in a different direction. The CS courses are heavy with homeworks and require a serious amount of thinking in problem solving to get anywhere. Before all I had to do is read textbooks, and if I did that I'd *know* I'd be fine. Now, one of my classes doesn't even have a book because it's only being offered for the second time ever at my university and they have us read MIT notes (PDF) about mathematical proofs while lectures only partly overlap with the content there.. and that's just one example. Structurally, everything took on a very different shape this semester.

The last day to drop a course without a W-grade ("withdrawn"), is tomorrow, Friday. On top of the four classes I'm taking I work in tech support at my school as well. I'm considering dropping calc and taking it in the summer next year. My calc professor, after I talked to him, strongly suggested I do just this because even though this is an intro calc class, (calc I!), he said that most of my peers are ahead of me because they took calc in high school, while I did not. Under the course/work-load of my three CS classes I've fallen behind in calc and I'm afraid it may ultimately hurt me more than it will benefit me if I stick with it for this semester. That's one side of the coin. On the other hand, I feel it may be "weak" of me to drop out when really, I could probably pull it off with the proper amount of work and effort.

I'm strongly leaning toward dropping the class because I really am a bit lost in it currently and the first mid-term is also tomorrow.

Any thoughts on this? I still have to tell my parents, and I have to tell them fast

If I drop the class, I'll have more time for my three other classes, could perform better in those and as a bonus on the side, I'd have three day weekends every week, (the only thing I have on Friday is calc).

The chief thing I was worried about was whether dropping calc I would set off a chain reaction in terms of what I could and could not take next semester, whether it would effectively bar me from taking other classes required for my major. That's why I talked to the CS advisor today, who assured me that that would not be the case. I could simply take this same calc I class next summer and be done with it. (My calc prof also suggested that if I were to drop the class now, it would still be a great idea to go to whatever lectures I could in order to get a big picture of the class and the material so that the next time I take it, I'd already be ahead and better prepared).

What it boils down to is this:
1. Drop the class and be the kid who's taking only three classes, (would feel weird, for sure :/) but probably enjoy higher grades in all three of my other classes, have more time for an actual social life and take a serious load of stress off my back. I'd still be stressed to a degree, but this would make a big difference in a good way.

2. Go with it, try to work my ass off and play 50-50 where one fifty is success and the other is failure. Given my track record, the latter 50 would more like a 90, if I'm perfectly honest.

Now that I laid it out like this, this is turning into a no-brainer :/

mouser

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Re: College - what to do?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2006, 01:28:18 AM »
drop it.

you did what people rarely do - you actually went to the professors and asked them their advice - this was smart and brave, and got you some good information.  drop the class - and you'll take it again, if not next semester, then the semester after if it's only offered in alternating semesters.

the only possible reason i can think of not to is if you have some kind of assistance that is dependent on taking a certain # of credits per semester.  otherwise it really is a no brainer.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2006, 01:30:21 AM by mouser »

Mizraim

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Re: College - what to do?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2006, 01:40:25 AM »
Drop. As you weighed the options, it would appear that is the best to do. :Thmbsup:

moerl

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Re: College - what to do?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2006, 01:42:22 AM »
Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. Obviously this is a matter that is very important to me and it's unfortunate that I realized the its importance at this late a point in time. What you are saying is falling right in line with what everybody else I'm asking is telling me.. friends, the prof, the advisor... It'll be a drop. I'm pretty sure of it now. I'll update this on Friday at the latest.

Thanks again!

Deozaan

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Re: College - what to do?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2006, 01:46:30 AM »
I agree with the others. But you've practically already made your mind up, so I guess it isn't necessary for me to chime in. :)


moerl

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Re: College - what to do?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2006, 01:59:31 AM »
Please, anyone who still wants to chime in, please do. Every voice counts. And thanks to all who've participated so far :) It really is making a difference.

app103

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Re: College - what to do?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2006, 03:56:42 AM »
I agree with everyone else here. Drop the class, and still attend the lectures as suggested by the professor.

It is much easier to do well when you are ahead than when you are behind. Taking the professor's advice will put you ahead and make the class easier to pass.

And consider this...you are paying to take the class...if you fail you will have to take it again and pay twice. Might as well pay once and pass.

If the calc class is the only one you will be taking in the summer, you can give it much more attention, since you won't have other classes to divide your time between. That alone will make it easier to pass.

f0dder

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Re: College - what to do?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2006, 04:35:16 AM »
Well, probably too late to chime in, but I also say "drop it", so...

I do have a thing to add, though: spend a little time each friday reading up on the subject, even though you aren't taking it. That should give you a head start next semester.
- carpe noctem

thomthowolf

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Re: College - what to do?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2006, 01:59:46 PM »
I also say drop.  FWIW, never make any decision based on whether you will appear weak (or strong, for that matter.)  The important lessons of college are about setting priorities and asking for help and advice when needed.  You seem to be learning that lesson well, in this case.
BTW, what kind of cool site is this that you could feel free to ask and we could feel obliged to answer.   :D
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.  - Benjamin Franklin