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Is this a reasonable workload?

  1. Dec 10, 2008 #1
    Unless Georgia, Illinois, or Michigan decide to give me boatloads of money, it looks like I'm going to be at the University of Arizona next year. I've already completed Calc 3 and will have done Introduction to Linear Algebra by the time I get there... I taught myself calc from Apostol so I know a little about how to write proofs and such.

    Here's the schedule I've planned so far:

    Honors chemistry
    Honors physics
    "Intro to formal mathematical reasoning and writing"
    Differential Equations for math majors

    Do you think I'll kill myself with two labs and two math classes? Or is this feasible?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2008 #2
    Well, i'm assuming you're a math major if you're taking a course for math majors! :smile: If you've taught yourself Calculus from Apostol, had success in Calculus III, and do well in Linear Algebra, then I doubt Differential Equations or an intro proof/logic class will cause too much stress.

    The others all depend on your abilities. Which Physics/Chemistry classes are these? Of course, honors will already add some difficulty, but if your taking Organic Chem/Calculus Based Physics, then your plate will be definitely be full. Plus, the lab work will burn up your time as well.

    Also, English will take a fair share of your time away from the other classes: writing essays, required readings, research topics, group work, etc.

    Second, do you work? If you do, how much time will you have left for homework? This will make it an even more demanding semester. I wouldn't worry too much about math, since this is your strongest area. I can't judge your skills in Chem/Physics, but if you've had previous good grades in these areas then it should be manageable. If not, i'd think about dropping either Chem or Physics. Either way, you're going to be busy!

    Good luck.
  4. Dec 10, 2008 #3
    Do you go by a semester schedule or a quarter schedule?
  5. Dec 10, 2008 #4
    Hi, and thanks for the advice! I got a really nice scholarship and a nice summer job lined up, so between what I make this summer and what my parents can cover, I shouldn't need to work during the school year as long as I live frugally.

    The physics and chem are both first-year introductions for majors and both require calculus. I could drop to non-honors varieties, but I can't take flaky "liberal arts" physics or chem. I want to minor in one (Arizona requires a minor in any subject if you're majoring in math) and use the other to satisfy my lab science requirement (you can't double dip between the minor and the lab science requirement for your major, unfortunately). If I decide to take less hard classes, it'll probably be dropping one or both of these to non-honors. BTW the same goes for English, which is honors too as I forgot to mention. In case it matters, the formal titles of the chem. and phys. courses are:
    first semester:
    "Honors introductory mechanics" (lab included)
    "Honors fundamentals of chemistry A"
    "Honors fundamental techniques of chemistry A" (lab component for the previous class)

    second semester:
    "Honors introductory optics and thermodynamics"
    "Honors fund. of chem. B"
    "Honors fund. tech. of chem. B"

    And second semester I'll be taking a flaky basket-weaving class to get one of the gen-ed classes my AP credits didn't cover taken care of. I'm thinking something that'll be significantly easier than English, which I'll only need one semester of.

    I think I'm very good at chem and physics. Not at the top of my class like I am in math but still very good. I'm not worried about the classes individually, just wondering if I'll have enough hours in the day for all of them. I'm also worried that I'll be bored if I drop the classes to non-honors, as I've already had two years each of (non calculus-based) physics and chemistry in high school. (IB higher level physics and IB standard level chem, if that means anything to anyone)

    WarPhalange: semester.
  6. Dec 10, 2008 #5
    Taking two classes with lab components at the same time is doable, definitely, but know now that it will kill your social life. Dropping to non-honors classes won't help either - at most schools the honors classes are always better (and not necessarily harder).
  7. Dec 10, 2008 #6
    If it's not for your major or a field you would like to pursue why bother with honor?
  8. Dec 10, 2008 #7
    I can't really speak for U of A, but for all the schools that I have experience with, the honors courses are smaller, with better organized, enthusiastic instructors. Compare to the standard state university 200+ student lectures with a professor who is so goddamn tired of being forced to teach these worthless service courses...
  9. Dec 10, 2008 #8
    Well, knowing more physics can't hurt, right?
  10. Dec 10, 2008 #9
    The load seems reasonable... what is it, 15-17 hours... depending on whether you actually get more credits in the lab courses? With about 2-3 hours outside of class per credit hour, this lands you about a 45-68 hour work week... reasonable if you view being a student both your job and an investment of your time. Hey, even with an estimate of 3 hours outside class for each hour in, you've still got 100 hours left over for eating, sleeping, playing and more study! :surprised

    Seriously, it's definitely doable. I once took 21 (semester) credit hours with at least three lab courses... (maybe four, it's been years and I blocked it out of my memory... since one of them was organic chem ! ? !). One of the best terms of my life :biggrin: (I'm thinking all A's but the o-chem, which was a B or B+).

    Keep in mind, however, that I also lean towards insomnia. Also: the above term was when I was NOT an incoming freshman. You may want to be cautious your first term to adjust to college... (but of course I was BORED my first term, an equally dangerous thing that resulted eventual drive for the scandalous scheduling above, along with the fact that I was a honors student with the benefit of taking more than 18 credits with no added financial drain :biggrin:).

    I concur... keep the honors classes. I always went for the professors that were considered difficult but excellent in all fields, not just my chosen one. :wink: That well-roundedness is usually considered part of being a scholar.
  11. Dec 21, 2008 #10
    Take it! I don't know how in the hell you managed to do calc III and lin alg in high school, but if you can do that, you'll be fine with this. Physics I, even honors, is always easy, and diff eq is a joke, unless it's very theoretical....
  12. Dec 25, 2008 #11
    I'd like to drop my 2 cents in this, even though it's clearly covered.

    At the end of the day, a reasonable workload varies between person to person. If you thrive on learning, are going to enjoy the classes you're taking, and willing to put in a lot of after hours with homework... then yeah. It's reasonable.

    If you're going to go crazy with freedom like some freshman do and party/socialize a ton, and put off stuff until the last minute, then probably not. It comes down to how much you're willing to sacrifice to get what you need done, done.

    Hope this helps a bit. Just look it at it logically, and try to figure out how much you're going to socialize verses how much you're going to study. :)
  13. Dec 25, 2008 #12
    Did you dual-enroll in a local community college during high school to complete Calculus III and Linear Algebra?

    As others have said, it all depends on the person and circumstance they're in as to what type of workload is possible. And remember, there is a difference between "handling" a workload and actually having enough time to understand the work you're cranking through.

    Last year I did Calculus II, Linear Algebra, Physics II, and Chemistry II all in one semester while working 40 hours a week (sleeping 4-5 hours a day) and it was all I could possibly handle while absorbing most of the material and still having a few hours on Sunday to relax my mind with a movie or some board games.

    If it is your first semester at a college/university, take that unknown environmental factor into account as well.
  14. Dec 25, 2008 #13
    If I were you, I would choose to take either physics or chemistry (but not both). Majoring (or minoring) in too many things don't really do any good, and you might regret wasting time in the subject you don't care too much about later on (from personal experience).

    The courses are definitely doable (assuming they aren't extremely difficult). However, going into higher level courses (junior or senior), I would be extremely cautious in taking more than 15 credit.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
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