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Purdue Freshman Year ('00-'01) - Semester I

Really, I'm left speechless. This is just nuts. To imagine that I'm finally at college, and at Purdue University at that, is just difficult for me to grasp. I'm not really surprised that I performed academically well enough to get accepted to Purdue, I'm more surprised that I'm actually here, that my high school years have ended, and that my roommate is so freaking annoying. Yes, that's right.

ENGR 116 - Honors Engineering Computer Tools

This is one of those classes where I once again need to be cautious regarding what I say. Professor P.K. Imbrie taught this class. His intentions were good, but the layout of the class ended up being scattered, and difficult to understand at best. He's a great person, but the way structured the class makes you wonder. The focus of this class was to introduce us to MatLab and also to teach us basic skills that the every day engineer needs. Let me say, some of the stuff regarding physics and mathematics that we learned was somewhat challenging. Unfortunately, the MatLab scripting (believe me, they called it "programming", but it's far too simple to be programming) was insanely easy. What surprised me more was the fact that there were people in this class that truly could not grasp some of the basic programming concepts, like an if-then statement. I suppose I should mention that this is designated an "Honors" course, so only students that are enrolled in the Honors program at Purdue can take it. This is why I was truly surprised at how, "slow", these people were. The labs were also extremely interesting. It's always fun to walk into a 7:30am lab and watch as your TA's quickly attempt to write the lab for that morning and then pass it out to everyone in class. Since we were "Section 1" we were the Guinea Pigs and for some odd reason most people failed to complete the lab on a regular basis. My group didn't, but I guess we're weird or something. The highlight of this class had to be "joke Wednesday" and "deep thought Monday", the professor's attempt to excite students and get them involved in class (I think). Granted, the lego car that we had to design and have traverse a maze of PVC pipe was rather interesting as well. Pictures of our car are available somewhere buried in the "Photo Albums" section if you're really bored. Anyhow, the class is over and done with and I get to move onto bigger and better things. Translation: ENGR 117. Yes, and even Imbrie is teaching this too. Although, the class is pure programming, which hopefully means I'll learn something useful about programming. As near as I can tell, we begin by learning Fortran the first half of the semester and then move onto C in the second.

ENGR 100 - Freshman Engineering Lectures

Um, this isn't a class. I don't care what they want you to think, it isn't. When I first came to Purdue they mentioned that this class was required, and the grade was based entirely on attendance (it was pass/fail anyway). I was told that I'd meet professors from each field of engineering and they'd discuss their field, explaining what it was all about. I thought, at the time, that this would be a great would help me decide which particular field of engineering I wanted to enter. I couldn't have been more mistaken. Apparently with this class the professors take the same approach as the students; they think it's a joke. I would have to say that perhaps one or two of the professors that came to make presentations regarding a particular school actually seemed to have worked out something before hand and took the lecture seriously. All the others came in half-prepared, and mumbled through the entire hour. Ultimately I came out of this class no better or worse than I was before. I still didn't know what major I wanted to declare, and I had a burning desire to demand I be compensated for the 50 minutes per week of my life that was lost to utter oblivion.

COM 114 - Fundamentals of Speech Communication

This class was weird, and I still don't think we had a professor for it. Our TA, Chen, seemed to understand all of the concepts we were supposed to learn quite well, but unfortunately never tried to teach them to us. The complete focus in our class was the 4 speeches we delivered. They determined most of our grade, and the final exam which all COM 114 students took at the end didn't seem to matter. I did well on the first 3 speeches, writing them in a rush the night before and adlibbing the next day, but unfortunately I didn't quite pull of the final speech, which counted for the most towards my grade. The ultimate result was a C on that speech, and an irreversible B in the class. I was able to determine that regardless of what grade I received on the final exam, I would end up with a B. How unfortunate.

MA 173 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry I

Dr. Weingram taught this class, and it unfortunately wasn't what I had anticipated. I haven't been able to determine if it was the professor or the course material, but things just really didn't click in that class like they had in previous math courses. It may easily have been a combination of the professor and the fact that a lot of it was geometry. I hate geometry. I struggled with the basic geometry class in Jr. High School, and apparently I struggled with it in this class as well. However, I somehow managed to pull off an A in that class, which is good seeing as it was a 5 credit hour course and getting anything except an A would have utterly and completely destroyed my GPA.

CHM 123 - General Chemistry for Engineers I

Oh Oh Oh Oh, more chemistry! More chemistry! Hurray!! Not. Well, maybe not. I really wish I had gotten a 4 on the AP Chemistry test last year instead of a 3. Ah well, basically what I'm doing now is taking the class again. Sucks to be me. Sorta. This semester we had a really awesome professor. His name was Dr. Bodner (if I spelled that wrong, I truly am sorry). Dr. Bodner is an awesome person. He is an extremely intelligent man and did an excellent job presenting the material, although a lot of it was review. He did some really exciting experiments that not only looked cool but also aided in illustrating concepts further. Our TA, Larry, was also a great person. He did an overall good job overseeing our labs and explaining things that Dr. Bodner missed going over in class. Although he wouldn't let me make nitrogen triiodide :( Ah well, I get to take CHM 124 next semester and I'm sure that'll be interesting review as well. I can only hope that the professor teaching that class next semester is half as great as Dr. Bodner.

BAND 110 - Marching Band

Better known as the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band, or the "Best Damn Band in the Land!" Marching Band at Purdue is considerably different than what it is in High School. To begin with, it's geared completely differently than in High School. At GHHS, we participated in festival, a setting where various marching bands competed to get ranked from 1 (the best) to 5 (the worst). In college, at least at Purdue, we don't compete for rankings. The only reason we're there is to get the crowd excited, support the football team, and have fun. Another difference from High School is that at Purdue we high step. I personally think it looks a lot better, plus you get a considerable amount of exercise from it :-). We also practice a LOT more than in high school: two hours every day, Monday through Friday, and usually an hour or so before the game. One of the final major differences is that there's always a chance that the football team will make it to a bowl game, and if that happens, the marching band goes with.

Well, as I'm sure many people know, Purdue went to the Rose Bowl this past January. It was soooo much fun. We stayed at DoubleTree Suites, a really nice hotel. The room that I was placed in had a balcony that exited onto the swimming pool, which also had a somewhat obstructed but breathtaking view of the ocean. We wore shorts just about the entire time, whereas had I been at home I would've been wearing winter clothes and jackets and stuff. We got to go all over the place too.

One day we marched down Main Street at Disneyland, and had free admission afterwards to get food and ride some of the rides. The following day we visited the Rose Bowl itself, marching in front of cameras for the CBS news special "Coming Up Roses." After that we were able to take a brief tour of some of the float construction sites which were all very interesting. That evening we gave a performance at Century City. It was amazing, so many people showed up! It was great to be able to stand down in front of them all and perform, all the while hearing the loud screams and the thousands of people singing along to "Hail Purdue."

After our performance at Century City was over, some of the upperclassmen broke off into mini pep bands to perform around town. The rest of us were free to go tour the city. We had a great time, and were able to visit Hollywood and other various locations. I even was able to take a photograph of C3PO and R2D2's footprints in concrete! Our bus driver for that tour was great as well. He even did a U turn in the middle of a rather busy road. It was hilarious watching all of the angered and confused looks from people in the apposing lane as a giant tour bus cut in front of them, doing a 180 degree turn.

After all this was over, we turned in for a brief period of sleep. Getting up the next morning, we put on our summer uniforms and wandered down to the Santa Monica pier to perform side-by-side with the Washington Marching Band. Afterwards a group of the alto's went to a restaurant on the pier and ate some delicious seafood for lunch. Later that afternoon we encountered the Washington Marching Band once again, as we both did our last run through of our halftime show in front of each other. Not to be too arrogant or anything, but I think that we showed that we were much better prepared than they were, and that we took our performance far more seriously than they did. Finally that evening we went to Universal Studios where, although they clearly hadn't prepared for us like they should have, we played outside by the rotating globe and once again got free admission to the park. It was late at night though, so we didn't have much time. Nevertheless, myself and two other people managed to stand in line for Jurassic Park the ride and get to go on it. It was so unbelievably cool. Afterwards we rushed back to the hotel to get as much sleep as possible before the 4am wake up call the following morning.

We finally made it to the day we had been preparing for: The 112th Rose Parade and ultimately the Rose Bowl itself. The Rose Parade was just plain insane. Five and a half miles of nonstop high stepping. There were a few times where I thought I was going to pass out, but I somehow managed to make it all the way through. After that I dropped to the ground with everyone else, refusing to move for at least 10 minutes. As it turned out, we all managed to make it without passing out. Once I regained some semblance of consciousness, got up and went to get food, I managed to look around and see a breathtaking view of the mountains. It was amazing, it really was.

Anyhow, there wasn't much time to stop and stare. We were off to the Rose Bowl and pregame. Pregame was actually really interesting. While the Washington Marching Band performed, we got to watch parachutists drop down into the band. It was even cooler, though, when while we were playing the National Anthem a group of jets flew overhead. After that we sat on our bleachers in one of the corners of the field, playing and cheering the football team on until halftime. Finally the big moment came, our main goal for this entire trip...the halftime show. We all did our best, performing as millions of people watched from home and in the stadium. Surprisingly I was actually shown on national television for a brief few seconds as they zoomed in on me while I was playing. After half time we continued cheering and supporting the football team until the end. Despite our ultimate loss, I know that both I and everyone else had a great time in California.

Shortly after the game ended we all piled onto the busses, went to the airport and took off for Purdue once again. Upon arrival at some ungodly hour in the morning, I immediately drove to my apartment and fell asleep. After 6 or 7 hours of sleep I got up and drove home to complete my Christmas vacation with my family. All in all, the Rose Bowl is an unforgettable experience that generated memories which I will keep with me my entire life.