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Schedule Overload? *Opinions*

  1. Mar 17, 2012 #1
    My adviser seems to think that I may be taking on too much for my third semester, and I am starting to worry about hurting my GPA (4.0). I will be a first semester sophomore in biological engineering (possibly switching to physics). This is my tentative schedule for fall 2012:

    Organic Chemistry I (3hr)
    Physics II (5hr)
    Calc III (3hr)
    Genetics (4hr)
    Physics Seminar (2hr) <--- intro class for physics department

    I will also be working in a research lab 10-12 hours a week. This seems like an average schedule for an engineering/physics major but maybe that's just me... Opinions/Suggestions?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2012 #2
    I don't think you'll have much trouble, but you will be busy. Calculus III can be fairly easy. Organic Chemistry will probably be your hardest class (I don't know what genetics is like). Not sure how you will do in physics II: some find it easy and others hard. Your seminar class won't be time consuming: probably a reflection after each class, interview a faculty member, other similar things.
     
  4. Mar 17, 2012 #3
    Physics II and Calc III are time consumers. I don't know how it is where you go, but at my university, you can expect about 3 hours each lecture in homework. I have Physics II and Calc III on the same day in the morning two days a week, I finish up around 1pm, and then it's homework time until about 7! I also have DE and LA on 2 days a week which in themselves provide ample homework, so that might be why it seems like a ton to me.

    Organic Chem isn't a big deal if you are good with memorization. I think that course just gets a bad wrap because of all the nurses and whatnot that have to take it and complain about it.

    No clue on genetics or your physics lecture thing.
     
  5. Mar 17, 2012 #4
    Well as it sits right now I will have Organic, Genetics, Physics, and Calc all in a row from 9:00am-1:00pm no breaks... That should be interesting from the sounds of it. Appreciate your input guys.

    DE and LA?
     
  6. Mar 17, 2012 #5
    One thing to look at:

    Are any of these classes direct requirements for another class you want to take next semester? Make sure you have a plan all the way to graduation (you may need to work with your adviser to make sure courses are offered during the semesters you'd like/expect). This may help you balance your schedule over the course of a few years. For example: maybe you don't need to take genetics this term (because nothing next term requires it as a prereq), and just the way that courses line up - it would be a more balanced work load next term if you took a GenEd/reading class this term and Genetics next.
     
  7. Mar 17, 2012 #6
    You will almost certainly be very busy. While the seminar class might not be too onerous in terms of requirements (presuming that it's not too different than most introductory-level undergraduate seminars I've had or had experience with), you will want to speak with your research supervisor about what expectations s/he may have for you. Some might prefer you be able to come in each day for 2/3 hours - others might feel you should be able to get more done if you can come in fewer days but spend more time per day.

    Individually, the classes you list aren't that bad. It's really more about the collective effect of all of them at the same time, and that is difficult to predict.

    P.S. - I would not recommend memorizing one's way through organic chemistry. It's not really a good strategy in the long-term.
     
  8. Mar 17, 2012 #7
    Calc 3 at my school has a solid 12-15 hours a week in homework, the class is no joke. Also, they throw 3 projects at you during the semester which just happen to bump right up against the exams. This class was offered through an applied math department so I don't know if you're talking about a pure math class. The applied math version feels like an engineering class to me, not difficult conceptually but an insane workload.
     
  9. Mar 17, 2012 #8
    The Calc III I will be taking is a pure math class. I have done well in Calc I and II so far and I love math so I'm not too worried about that. I am most worried about Physics II since I will be taking Physics I in the summer. Therefore I don't know how well I will do in physics (I did well in high school but that's a different story). Also, I have never taken any organic chemistry but I hear it can be pretty time consuming. I'm okay with forfeiting my social life in order to keep a good GPA but I just want to make sure there are enough hours in the day for me to do so!

    I think I'm starting to psych myself out :yuck:
     
  10. Mar 17, 2012 #9
    Calc III isn't too bad really. Is it an honors sequence? If so, they may teach aspects of it in terms of differential forms and that would be rough. If not, if your calc I and II are solid, it'll be easy.

    Organic chemistry was the easiest sequence I ever took. A lot of people say organic chemistry is very difficult and time consuming, presumably, because they buy into the 'organic is just pure memorization,' shtick. Organic only has a few underlying principles and is very rationale.

    Genetics, I've heard this can be hard.

    Phys II, of the lower division sequence of physics I find this to be the most challenging. The concepts aren't simple and the problems can be very tricky.

    All in all, a challenging but doable and rewarding quarter.
     
  11. Mar 17, 2012 #10
    Well that definitely gives me feel a little better.
    The Calc III class is not an honors sequence, and I do feel very good about Calc I and II.

    I appreciate the help everyone... I will probably just keep this schedule and see how it works out for the first few weeks as far as workload, check the syllabus to see when the exams overlap, etc.
     
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