Sunday, August 19, 2012

Intro calc classes at the University of Bergen come in two flavors: easy 101 and hard 111.  Last year as a meteorology student I was required to take hard 111.  It was awful for me.  A lot of theorems, and proofs, and hair-pulling "Ugh! Who really gives a fuck!"  Easy 101 bills itself as a "user's course":  here's your problem, here's how you solve it, and don't you worry your pretty little head about why--it simply doesn't matter.  Guess which one is required for the geology program.

As I mentioned earlier, this past week has been orientation week for new students.  The university does a pretty good job of organizing this event.  I don't really have any complaints about it other than I'm way, way too old to play name games with pimplely teenagers, and I never saw a box anywhere that I could cross off, opting out of the games due to excessive age considerations.  There really should be such a box somewhere.  Anyway, after the games, we had some extra time before the campus tour, so the grad student who was leading our group opened up the floor to questions.

"Anything you guys were wondering about...?" she asked.

They wanted to know how long she took to complete her bachelor's (3 years).  Which master's program she was in (petroleum geology).  Was it hard to get into (not if you have a C or better in all your undergrad classes).  "And which math class did you take?"


"And that was enough?"


"You never felt like you needed more?"


"They don't expect more if you're planning to take a master's degree too?"


"Are you sure."


"Was it hard?"

"Was what hard?"

"MAT101.  Was it hard?"

"Not particularly."

"Cuz' we heard MAT111 is pretty hard."

"101 is easier."

"Are you sure?"


It was just one kid asking all the questions, but pretty much the whole group was holding its breath listening to the exchange.  It pretty much took a collective sigh of relief when it was over.  I already like geologists so much better than I like meteorologists.


Here's a random thought I had while I was waiting for the name games to be over:  All of these kids (including the grad student) are between 19 to 23 years old.  That means that many of them were busy being born, if not gestated and conceived when I was busy suffering through orientation week at Smith in August of 1991.  Now that's some scary, hard math to digest!


Queen LaTeacha said...

Well, things look like they're off to a good start. You didn't chime in on the Math 111 questions? Chicken!! I'm glad you're happier with geologists. They've all got rocks in their heads...yuk,yuk,yuk...I'm so funny!

Jono said...

I went back to school about five years ago, much of it online. I was older than most of their parents. It was good entertainment!

H. Bratset said...

I just want you to know that I love reading your posts! I am married to a Norwegian, and we are going to move to Norway in the next 12 months providing all works out as planned. I am currently a mom and a student and hearing your stories about school in Norway are super inspiring to me!