This semester has been my first semester away from taking “technical” classes; by that, I mean that I’ve had to take electives from fields out of Mathematics and Engineering. At the beginning of the semester, I was all excited about it. All I could think about was that I was going to learn about new material in fields that I had no previous experience about, aka psychology. However, I soon realised that it was not going to be an easy task. The challenge for me this semester was to rid myself of the “technical” way of thinking about everything in terms of numbers and calculations, and start understanding concepts as a whole and well …read!
I surprised myself with what a class did for me this semester. I registered for “Intro to Human Factors”, which is an undergrad course offered by the College of Aeronautics, to fill one of my free electives. I originally only took the class because I was curious as to what it entailed. The first weeks went went …and then came the first exam. It was a multiple choice exam , and even if everybody else always says these are easy, I have a profound dislike for them. I do MUCH better with essay-type questions than multiple choice for some odd reasons. After that one exam, I was convinced that I was going to drop the class – not because it wasn’t entertaining, but because I just could not study for that type of class. Throughout the past years, my brain got so used to working out problems and finding x’s and y’s that I had absolutely no idea how to study for an exam that required me to read lots and lots of pages. I was disheartened, confused, ridiculously tired and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to give up!
The only good thing in all that is that I never stopped going to class, because the material taught is actually super interesting. And then the second exam was announced. I was very doubtful at first, and I debated on whether I should go forward with it or drop it. And then some sort of epiphany came up to me – I decided to apply my methodical and mathematical way of studying to that class. All throughout the exam, “Think of everything as an equation, something’s bound to come out of it.” echoed in my head. I finished the paper feeling quite confident, perhaps about ten times more confident than I was when I finished the first one. I was pretty content with myself, and decided that whatever the outcome was, I gave it my best.
A week later, I came out of that class and I couldn’t be happier. I got an A on said exam and when I went home that day, I reflected on what I did the first time and what I did differently this time. I only realised that I had to change my way of studying and considering that I couldn’t adopt a new way of studying, I decided to apply my mathematical background to this class. Perhaps you might say, that I haven’t exactly talked about how I applied mathematical principles to it. It’s very simple. Everything in mathematics is logical and there’s *almost* always bound to be a right answer. Then again, the probability of getting something right in multiple choice is 0.25%. I would lie if I said that didn’t help.
My point is that even if a class is very difficult and you think you’re not geared enough to go through it. Sit back and think about how you can apply what you already know to the class. It’ll bring you a long way.