School’s Out!

Yesterday, around 6pm, I finished my last project for one of my classes, meaning that I am now officially done for this semester.

Cholesterol It’s been one helluva semester – first time I’ve done a full-time schedule (12 credit hours) in a few years. Compound that with a baby, and the fact that three of the courses were 300-level courses, and you’ve got a formula for disaster!

This semester I had four classes:

  • Organic Chemistry I (Chem 341, Lecture only)
  • Distributed Computing (Info 320)
  • Information Technology for Management (IIM 300)
  • Linear Data Structures (CompSci 243)

By far, Organic Chem was the hardest of all of them, and I successfully pulled off a B+ in that class. While I wouldn’t have minded an A-grade, I am completely happy with a high B. Distributed Computing & Linear Data structures were both somewhat difficult — in the former I had to learn the Python scripting language on the fly (I had never used it before), which was very frustrating. In the latter, I learned Java, a really awesome object-oriented programming language. The hardest part about that class though was learning the running times for all the algorithms. O(n^2) and O(n log n) and O(2^n), it was a lot of memorization that I only half-did.

The IT for management class was basically a discussion only course. Every class, people would present topics and we all would discuss them. It was pretty interesting — it definitely made the book more entertaining.

In other development, I am now double-majoring: My Bachelor’s degree will be a General Studies degree (or as my wifey calls it, a “degree in nothing”), and I will also be getting an A.S. in Chemistry. I’m considering a minor in Biology as well. I would major in it, but I would be stuck in classes for at least another 2 or 3 years minimum waiting for the classes I need to cycle in.

I saw the degree requirements for the Biotechnology program and became very envious. Genetics? Cell biology? Sign me up! It’s unfortunate it would take me too long to complete it. I suppose I can look into that for my graduate program?

Next semester’s classload, also full-time, is:

  • Organic Chemistry II (Lecture & Lab)
  • Intro to Biology (a pre-req for pretty much every other bio course)
  • Chemistry Topics: Protein Synthesis

Protein Synthesis should be neat – it’s my Chemistry professor that teaches it, and he’s a neat guy. He said we’ll all pick a protein and learn how to artificially create it from other base chemicals and whatnot. It’s strictly lab and should be a light workload compared to the other courses. (fingers crossed)

But for now, I’m going to enjoy a well-deserved break from school.

Whirlwind of a Week

The diet is still going well. I say this first because it’s still really challenging. Last night my wife decided she wanted to melt Barking Chocolate (like for covering pretzels or buckeyes) on some Vanilla Bean ice cream. I had a bite, just because I was curious, but no more. Today I was offered chocolate by my Organic Chemistry Prof during our Final Exam, and I successfully declined. Ditto for the chocolate donuts in the break room yesterday (ate NONE), and the various donuts and goodies they had at Exam Jam on Tuesday. Go me.

I haven’t been able to walk in the morning lately; Partly because it’s FREAKING COLD OUTSIDE and the snow and ice make jogging somewhat treacherous, but also because I’ve been up late studying and catching up with things.

Today was my Organic Chemistry Final Exam, where I was asked questions like:

“A newly isolated natural product was found to have the molecular formula C15H28O2. By hydrogenating a sample of the compound, it was determined to possess one pi bond. How many rings are present in the compound?”

(the answer is 1, I think, due to degree of desaturation). I think I did ok. With the bonus points I’ll be getting in the course (around 20) and my grade as of the last exam (88.5%), as long as I get at least a B on the Final I should have a high-B / low-A over all. Fingers crossed!

Last weekend, Melissa, Sullivan and I all flew out to NJ for my Grammy Westerdale’s Funeral services. My Grandpa Westerdale died earlier this year (March) and shortly after that, Grammy found out she had cancer already in metastasis. It only took about 8 months to do her in, and she passed on Thanksgiving of this year. The funeral services were very good – we interred her’s and grandpa’s ashes into the memorial garden of their church (St. Paul’s Episcopalian) and I got to say my final goodbyes then. There was no viewing like with Grandpa (her request), but this was just as good, I suppose. None of us were very surprised by it.

We all drove out to see her earlier this month, because my mom said it was “going to be any day now”, and I wanted Sullivan to see her one more time before she went.  It was a good visit.

I think in some ways, I still haven’t had a chance to fully deal with this all. Sure, I cried at the funeral, like the rest of my family; And yeah, it wasn’t really a surprise to anyone. But I think the back corners of my mind haven’t quite come to terms with her being gone.

The best part of the trip (for me, but probably not for Melissa) was the family gathering after the Funeral. All of the branches of our family, the Westerdales, the Watkins, and the Magnussons (along with some neighbors and friends of my uncles) all came over and everyone drank Whiskey Sours (the official drink of the Westerdale Family), Gin, Wine, and Beer. It was a grand old time. Sullivan got to hang out with my siblings and other family members. He’s getting more comfortable with them.  We’re going back in a couple weeks for Xmas. Non-stop this time. (Missed our connecting flight on the return this time..had to spend the night in Cleveland! Ick!)

For those of you who are wondering, yes the blog theme is different. My wife decided that she couldn’t be married to someone with an ugly blog theme, so she logged in and changed it. I think it looks nice. :)

that’s it for now, I have more finals to study for!