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24 June 2007 - 4 finals down, 1 to go

Posted by admin on June 24, 2007

These past two weeks have been crazy! My classes ended on June 7th, and I had the next week to study for my first round of finals. Due to the fact that I'm taking classes from both the first and second year programs I ended up with four finals during this past week. Since the course grade is based entirely on the final having four in one week is somewhat ridiculous. But, that's the way my exams were scheduled and I had to roll with it.

My week of studying started out slowly ("man, studying all of this is taking forever!"), but by the end of the week I found myself wondering where all the time went ("oh crap, my finals start in 3 days!"). It's amazing how fast 100+ hours can fly by, even when you're not "having fun" in the process.

I had a treat the Saturday before exams, though. My Uncle Al works for Philips (a Dutch company) and he came over to Holland for a week-long business trip. He arrived the Saturday before my finals and I spent the day with him in Amsterdam (we saw the Anne Frank House and Rembrandt's House) and Delft. Getting to see more family members in Europe was great (I say my Aunt Kathy in Mannheim, Germany in May. I'll get to that blog post in the future.), and he also brought me some good-ole' American candy.

My first final was for Vibrations of Aerospace Structures. I wasn't satisfied with how I did on the April exam, so I decided to take advantage of this retake opportunity and try it again. I think that the exam went much better than in April, but I've still got to wait a few weeks for the results.

Linear Algebra was next on my list. And to make my finals week even more exciting, this exam was on Tuesday morning (whereas Vibrations was Monday afternoon). Since these finals were so close together I had to pretty much be ready for both by the time I took Vibrations as a single evening isn't enough time to prepare for an exam. I think that this exam went well, though.

After Linear Algebra I could relax a little bit since my last two finals were Thursday afternoon and Friday morning (again, not affording much study time in between). Having Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday to study really helped me avoid getting too stressed out and it also allowed me to focus on Vibrations/Linear Algebra during the weekend and then Aircraft Structures/Dynamics on Wednesday.

Both Structures and Dynamics are notoriously tough exams. Structures has a passing rate around 30%, while Dynamics has the lofty passing rate of 15%. As my Dynamics TA phrased it, "Look to the person to your left and right. Statistically, all three of you will probably fail." I don't like to be pessimistic, but it's hard to hear that and think rosy, happy thoughts about the final exam.

I got through both of those exams, however, and I've spent the past couple days relaxing. My last final is on Thursday afternoon (Compressible Aerodynamics), so I've got plenty of time to afford this relaxation before studying. And after a week of preparation followed by 12 hours of examinations I definitely needed these last couple days of non-academics.

One a side note, I'm down to my last couple weeks in Europe and my last week in Holland (not counting the 48 hours I'll be here right before I leave for the US). This semester seems as if it's flow by so quickly! It seems like I only arrived a few days ago, rather than 5 months ago. I'm definitely excited to get back home, though. After 5 months of being surrounded by foreign languages/cultures I'm ready to return to America. Midwestern-English will never sound so good.