Friday, September 26, 2008

Graduate Courses

So I have had my first half week as a Dartmouth Graduate student. This involved three days of classes, Wednesday-Friday. This term (yes term, we're not on the semester system) I am taking 5 courses, two of which are "seminar" classes. I'll explain in a bit. The other 3 courses that I'm enrolled in are Physics courses, the ones that deal with material that will end up on my PhD qualifying exam in a years time. These courses are as follows: Statistical Mechanics, Mathematical Methods, and Classical Mechanics.

The physics courses constitute most of the time I will spend in my office this semester... oh yeah! I have an office, not to myself, but with the other first year graduates. In total, I am one of 7 in the office, a large office with about 10 large desks and numerous filing cabinets. Needless to say, we have a lot of room around us and are quite comfortable in our own niches. This comfort, though, is great to facilitate learning; being around the other students whom you can talk things over with, it's quiet, located on the third floor of the Physics and Astronomy Building (Wilder Hall) away from the lecture halls and most of the traffic in the building, and finally, it's comfy and there is nothing else to do but do homework and read... this is good for someone like me who enjoys procrastinating.

The two seminars are courses on "Scientific Integrity" and "Teaching". Here we learn about ethics in the lab and in our work in general, including homework and then we learn how to TA, respectively. The seminars are important to our education and although they add a work load to our already immense work load, I welcome these courses.

In the future I intend to write about each class individually, describe the content and a little about the material specifically as well as the text book(s) that we are using. I think it will be a good insight into what really goes on in class and what I'm really learning.

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