Monday, September 26, 2005
My weekend usually starts at 4:00 PM right after my Theology class. This past Friday was no exception, so I rushed off from class to get everything ready to go. I had already packed up clothes and other necessities in my suitcase, so all that was left was any little odds and ends that I forgot to pack. I brought a few books and studying materials, just in case I had some free time to study or do homework. Then there were just a few more mundane objects that I just had to bring along, so these kinds of things were included in my packing. However, because of all this packing, I was not ready to leave until 4:30, which in travel time is very significant. I quickly called home and said I was on my way, putting my arrival time around 8:30 PM. So, I hurriedly packed my stuff into my car and headed out, and I was on my way.
Unfortunately for me, it was Friday rush hour, and in Downtown Cincinnati, that is a bid deal. This is especially true when there are several wrecks throughout the city, and of course, right in the direction I was heading. So, I sat in Cincinnati traffic for more than an hour, moving about 6 miles in that hours. Needless to say, I was very frustrated, but I was glad when the traffic finally cleared up and I was "on the road." After that major setback, I finally arrived home at around 9:45 PM, with no other setbacks except for dinner on the road. I was extremely tired, but very glad to finally be back.
During my weekend, which I won't chronicle event by event, I went to my local place of employment (Ingles) and met some of my friends. Right after that I set out to the mall to meet some more friends, eating and walking around while we were there. I then said goodbye to them, and decided to spend the rest of the evening with my family, which actually was a major reason for visiting.
Upon coming home, I only had a little while to sit down when I was informed we were going to Saturday night Mass. Normally I went to 11:30 AM Sunday since I worked on Saturday night, so this was different for me. Not to mention the fact that at the Church in Cincinnati, they don't have a Saturday night Mass. But, I went along with that, since that meant more sleep the next day. When we got back, we prepared the fixings for barbecue ribs, since we were having a couple of friends over. I helped minimally, since grilling is not my expertise, but I did partake of the end product, which by the way was very delicious. We ate outside under the new deck canopy, and had a great time eating, talking, and listening to music. The whole shindig lasted until around 9:30 PM (may have been later) and it was a very rewarding experience. My family and I spent the rest of the night watching some TV programs and then headed off to bed. All and all, a very rewarding day.
Sunday started out relatively late since we had already gone to Mass, so I slept extra well that night. We then went out for a fast-food lunch and then a little bit of shopping. I decided that I needed a few warmer items, since by the time I would be back, it will have cooled down significantly. So, we picked up those items and headed back. The next couple of hours were spent lounging around and talking, and after that I had to pack up again. I waited to leave a little bit later than usual, since I felt my time there had not been sufficient. Everything was packed up into the car by around 6:30 PM, and I left soon after. But, not until after saying a very long goodbye to the family. I went out to fill up the gas tank (more than $3 a gallon!) and headed back north. I hope that this trip would take a lot less time, considering that I had started out quite a bit later.
Thankfully, I got back to Cincinnati in around 4.5 hours, which in my opinion is very reasonable. But, I did encounter some difficulty on the way back. It started raining outside of Lexington, Kentucky, and kept on and off until I got back. Apparently some of the power was out around here, but fortunately the power was on when I got back to the dorm. I unloaded and hauled my stuff up in the rain, and finally got settled at around 11:30 PM. I was very exhausted and went to sleep not too long after.
All in all, I would say this was a very productive trip. It definitely wasn't as long as I had wanted, but I'm thankful I got to come down anyways. Well, I guess that concluded this portion of "Sean's Exciting Life!" I will have more to write either tomorrow or Wednesday, since I have taken another test since last time. Until then, have a productive and blessed work week!
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
As for the Chemistry test, I knew that I wasn't going to get lower than a B grade, since I knew most of the material, and anything that I didn't know, I studied before the exam. I finished the exam in about 40 minutes, which was impressive considering the professor thought it would take the entire 50-minute class period to finish. Yesterday morning, right after I walked in, he started handing back the tests. As he got to me, I was very surprised to see, in red, the grade of 92 on my paper! I knew that I had done well, but I didn't think I had done that well! Like I had anticipated, I missed a couple of problems about naming compounds, so I wasn't surprised at all. I also had a few points taken off on a couple of short answer questions, since my answers weren't precise enough. But, all in all, I was very pleased with this result. I guess in the future though I will need to do better on details, since they are very important in Chemistry.
:Here's the Chemistry test that I'd been agonizing about for the weekend! Final grade: 92%, which in the Chemistry department is an A-!
After Chemistry class, I had Spanish class, and I would finally get my first quiz back. I wasn't worried at all about this one, since I knew everything on the quiz. I actually wouldn't have been surprised if it came back as 100%, since I've had all this material before, most recently last year. So, I waited until after her lesson, and at the end of class she passed back the papers. And, as I looked the quiz over, I saw "100!" at the top of the page! I actually wasn't too surprised, but nevertheless, I was still very happy. At least I knew that my Spanish was still pretty good, and I won't have to struggle the rest of the year. There are a few places that I need some work, but that will come in time. For now, I'll just enjoy knowing how to do this kind of stuff.
:Aqui esta mi primer prueba de la clase de espanol. Nota final: cien por ciento! (Here is my first quiz in Spanish class. Final grade: 100%!)
Next, about an hour and a half later, I had my Theology class. We had just turned in a paper on Friday with the topic of "What is human faith?" It was supposed to be around 3 pages long, and I think I had just more than 3. To be honest, I didn't spend very much time writing this paper, since I thought I knew all there was to know about human faith, so I just wrote down what I knew and what we had learned in class, only in my own words. So, when I got my paper back, I was happy to see a grade of A- on the last page, but the teacher had found where I had not gone into enough detail from our class discussions. I was still happy with the grade though, but I'll have to work on sticking more to the topic in the future. (No pictures of the paper, since it is not a test, and therefore not as important to post pictures.)
And finally, my very last class of the day, I had Biology Lab. This was the one I was dreading the most, since there was so much material and stuff to do. I was actually expecting a really bad grade, because I didn't know what to put for some of the answers. Well, he handed all the answer sheets and the booklets back, and I was very surprised that I got an 82! Now, normally I wouldn't be happy with an 82, but considering I thought I'd done worse, I was very relieved! On the Biology scale I think that is a B-, so I'm happy with that for now. I'll just have to study harder and look over the material more for next time. (No pictures of this test, since he took them back up.)
Well, that's all that's happening with me right now. In other news though, I will be making a trip home this weekend, since I didn't get to go for Labor Day. So, I will have to let y'all know how that goes, after it happens. Until then, I guess I'll be studying hard, since I have yet another Biology test on Friday. If you are interested at all, just look up photosynthesis and cellular respiration, and you'll know what I'm doing! Enjoy your week, and remember to always thank your mitochondria! (courtesy of Dr. Dottie Engle)
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Wednesday was probably my hardest day of college so far, and will be the hardest for some time to come. I had two huge exams, one in Chemistry and one in Biology Lab, and my first quiz in Spanish. Needless to say, I was very nervous that day. Not that I didn't know a majority of the material, just that these were the first assessments in these classes. Chemistry was a review of almost every High School topic that I know, so that was really no problem for me. The only problems arose when I had to name chemical compounds. Some of the compounds had components that I had never seen before! But besides that, I think I did pretty well. We'll just have to wait until Monday to find out.
Next that day was the Spanish quiz, which actually I didn't worry about at all. I have yet to learn anything in that class, just refresh my memory on stuff I learned last year and forgot. So, that quiz was not a really big deal for me, and I expect that I did pretty well. Again, I'll just have to wait for Monday.
Finally, on my last class of the day, I had my first Biology Lab exam. This was the one that I worried the most about, since there was a lot of material to cover. Not to mention the fact that my teacher isn't very helpful when students ask questions. A lot of my class asked him questions about the material on the tests, and all he had to say was, "Look over the lab manual." Sure, the manual would have the information, but there is so much in there it would be hard to find one specific detail. And, when asked what would be on the exam, he had this to say, "Everything." So, I have one "very helpful" teacher in here, so I guess I'll have to work a little harder in that class. For the most part though, I knew what I was doing, so I was fairly confident. The test itself had both written questions and objective principles, using microscopes and other lab equipment. There were a couple areas that were a little fuzzy for me, but those parts were far less numerous than those that I knew. We'll have to see if he has it graded on Monday, as he takes a little longer to grade some things. That was pretty much the end of my Wednesday, so we'll move on from there.
Thursdays are usually very easy days for me, since I only have Biology in the morning and Chemistry Lab in the afternoon. I was actually very excited about Chemistry Lab, since this was going to be the first time we got to use the Bunsen burner. (I really like using the burner! It's fun to burn substances and see what happens!) But, my nemesis was also in the experiment this week: the crucible and its cover. I have had some very bad experiences with crucibles in High School; I think I broke about three covers and had tipped over the crucible several times. The thing that makes it very difficult is that you can't touch the crucible after it's been heated. The oil on your hands messes up the weight, and therefore messes up the experiment. So, you have to use crucible tongs, which are very awkward to use, and can easily be loosened. But, my teacher told us we could use a different method, by carrying the crucible on a wire screen and moving it with the tongs. This proved to be very helpful, and no dropping it this time! But, apparently my experiment was not done correctly somehow. We had to heat an unknown substance and calculate how much water was burned off, and apparently my total wasn't correct. Several students that used a certain analytical balance were having the same troubles, so we suggested that that balance was the cause of our troubles. But, my teacher wouldn't have that until she reviewed everyone's results, which made several people very angry. I just went with it, and I am hoping for the best. Hopefully that will be the problem, since if it was my own error, my grade could be affected significantly.
Thursday night was one night that I would never forget! It was going fine, and I was working on a paper and other homework, when around 9:45 PM, my floor was evacuated and sent outside. I had no idea what was going on, but several people were having breathing problems and eye irritation. I figured that since my door was closed (which it always is when I'm doing work), that I wasn't affected by whatever it was. After we got outside, the Hall Director spoke to us and said that someone had sprayed mace (pepper spray) into our hall. That resulted in people having eye and breathing troubles, since that's what it's supposed to do. We had to stay out until the police could determine what was going on and remedy the situation. This lasted an hour and a half, and I was very frustrated, since I had stuff to work on. As soon as I got back in, I got back to work, and we were advised to open our windows and air the building out. Thankfully I got everything finished and got to bed at a somewhat reasonable time.
Well, that pretty much summarizes my very difficult week. Friday was less than exciting, so I won't mention anything that happened on that day; you'd be too bored! So, I'll just put up another post if my experiences warrant that. Until then, have a great weekend, and GO VOLS!!
On Friday, I had my very first college test in Biology. I had not studied excessively, since most of the material was review from High School. (thanks KCHS!!!) I finished the test of 45 questions in a little more than half an hour, which was good considering that many of the other testers stayed more than an hour. I felt pretty confident about my answers, only doubting a few that had stumped me a little. But, I wouldn't find out the actual grade until Tuesday, so until then, I would have to agonize about my answers. (AAAAGGHHH)
First thing Tuesday morning (8:30 to be exact), I had my Biology class again, so the time was almost here. But, my professor decided to drag this out, so I wouldn't find out my final grade until later that day. Instead of actually handing back the grades, we got into our groups and took the test as a group. She figured that through this process, we would be able to find out our grades without actually seeing it. As we went through the test, I was very pleased with how many questions I got correct! The test was 7 pages long, and on the first 3 pages, I didn't miss a single question! The ones I thought I did miss were things I had neglected to study, or frankly, didn't know. I couldn't remember all of my answers, since I only had the test paper and not the answers, so I didn't know how many I missed exactly. So, I figured I'd at least earn a "B" grade, and I would be happy with that.
Later that afternoon was when the all-important message came to my class' online webpage. I looked at the post and was very pleased to find out that I had earned a 90%!!! I was so excited, since a 90 on my first college test is a great thing! So, all that agony that I had during that weekend was in vain. Thanks to everyone that has kept me in their prayers over the past few weeks; I think this result is definitely a positive answer to those prayers. Just because I felt like it, I took a picture of the test paper so you could see what my first test looked like.
:Here's a little snapshot of my very first college test. Final grade: 90%!!!
In other news, I have some very good news about my car: it's fixed!!! My dad came up here on Sunday evening with the necessary parts (which he got at a discounted price by the way) and the intent to fix it. He arrived here around 7:45 PM and met me on campus just a little while later. We decided to check him into the hotel and then go and get some dinner, since neither of us had eaten since lunch. Now, I should explain that the hotel was on the north side of Cincinnati, and the school is closer to downtown, so there was about a 15 mile difference between the two. So, since my dad had been on the Interstate for the past 5 hours, we decided to take the local roads, which we assumed would take us to where we needed to go. The major highway by the school is called Montgomery Road, and the major highway next to the hotel was Mason-Montgomery Road, so as far as we knew they were the same road. Too bad I don't know the Cincinnati roads yet!
So, we started out going North on Montgomery Road, since it ran N/S and went into the general Northern Cincinnati area. But, as we got further along, we realized that we were going down the wrong road. We stopped at a service station along the way and asked about our directions. The man assured us that the two highways were indeed the same road and that the change of name would occur in about 6 or 7 miles. We were glad to hear that and went back on our way. Too bad he didn't know Cincinnati roads either! We went on down the road for at least 10 miles and didn't notice the change. We did briefly pass through a familiar area to me, but I didn't know which way to go from there. So, we stopped at another service station and this time they knew where they were going. We found out that in fact Montgomery Road and Mason-Montgomery Road are not the same. In fact, they run parallel to eachother! So, we took a few turns, and finally got to the signs that said Mason-Montgomery Road! We saw the neon sign for the motel and finally checked him in. After that, I helped him get settled and we rested for a few minutes. Then, we looked around to find something to eat (after all, it was getting late; we had been driving for almost 2 hours!), and found an Applebee's that was still open. We had a very nice meal, and then we headed back to school. He dropped me off and headed back to the hotel (via the Interstate now!) and I went to bed.
Monday was reckoning day; the car was finally going to be fixed! I had classes until 6:30 PM, so I wouldn't be able to witness the entire thing. However, I did have a gap in my schedule for about 2 hours, so I went to lunch and intended to go see what was going on. But, my dad beat me to that and called during lunch, saying that he wanted me to come help him for a minute. So, I walked up there and watched as he finished taking out some parts. Apparently the book he was following didn't follow how the parts were positioned, but he eventually figured it out. Now that day was very hot and humid, so my dad was a little tired and thirsty, so I went and got a drink from the dorm. So, now he had his drink, and got back to work. I had classes again until 6:30 PM, so he would call me when finished and let me know if everything worked out.
So, around 5:00 PM, I received a message saying that everything was fine, and that he had driven my newly fixed car around the block! I was ecstatic!! It was so exciting to finally have a working car again! So, we decided that I would go pick him up and I'd take him out to dinner; a good reward for a job well done. We found an O'Charleys nearby, and had another very nice dinner. Then I took him back to the hotel and got to try out my car on the Interstate. It worked just as good as ever! This was very exciting, and I looked forward to being able to get around Cincinnati. For those of you who are curious, I have added a couple of pictures of my car for you! Just take a look:
:Here's a frontal picture of my car; sorry about it being so blurry, but it was taken in bad light. For all of those who don't know already, it is a green '97 Saturn SL.
:Here's another picture of my car, only a side view. I'm so excited to finally be able to drive it again!
On Tuesday, since I only have my Biology class in the morning, my dad decided to meet me for lunch before he left for home. So, he came and picked me up and took me to a fast food place. Then he took me to the grocery store to pick up a few things, and took me back to school. He had already checked out and packed up, so he was just going to leave from there. So, after he dropped me off, we said goodbye and he went back home. Now it was back to my every day routine, and back to some hard work.
Well, since then there have been quite a few other happenings, but being as late as it is, I'll save that for tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the weekend and talk to you later!
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I don't know about the rest of you, but I have been paying a lot of attention to the U.S. Open on T.V. lately. Now, as you already know, I happen to be a tennis player, so watching this is both for entertainment and for picking up new techniques. Lately I have been watching both men's and women's matches, and both are turning out to be very exciting and intense. The most recent match that I watched in its entirety was the Clijsters/Venus Williams match last night. I must say, that was one of the most intense matches I have ever seen! For the first set and the first part of the second set, Venus seemed to be in control, but she started to fade a little by the end of the second set. Kim Clijsters took advantage of this and stepped up her game to take Venus out. Now, I don't know if you have seem Clijsters play, but she is very fast and very flexible. She was able to do splits in order to hit the far shots, and this allowed her to whip Venus' tail! It was an awesome match, and I know that she will do well in this tournament.
As for the men's side, I have been following Andre Agassi in apparently his twentieth U.S. Open, and he seems to be doing very well for someone of his age. Apparently 35 in the tennis world is ancient, so this is very good for him! I also usually follow Andy Roddick, but he was out in the first round unfortunately. So, now my attention has turned to the other American players still in play. Actually, I am currently watching the Ginepri/Coria match, with Ginepri being one of the few Americans left. I am hoping that the Americans can keep it going and finally take the U.S. Open, as it should be.
As for the rest of my life, it is rather uneventful. I have been spending my time doing homework, playing on the computer, and watching these matches on T.V. No new news on my car yet, but that should be resolved here in a week or so. Of course, I'll let y'all know what happens. Until later, have a great four-day work week!
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Other than that, there really hasn't been anything interesting happen to me lately. Most of the students here have gone home for the long weekend, including my roommate. So, that means the ones who are left over have very little to do for the weekend. I have just decided to rest as much as I can and do any homework or studying that needs to be done. At least I know I will start the week on Tuesday refreshed and rested!
Well, that's it for now; maybe I'll have something to report tomorrow, or something to vent about. Until then, keep praying for everyone in the Gulf Coast, and do whatever you can to help the relief mission.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Oh, and I just found out how to add pictures to this blog, so I will go ahead and add a few. I took a few snapshots from around my dorm room just to show everyone what kind of environment I am in right now.
:Here is a picture of my bed. My roommate decided that in order to maximize area in out room, it would be best to bunk the beds. I decided on the top one, since when I was younger, that was the one I slept on at home. As you can see, it is very well made, at least by my standards!
:Here is a picture of my very organized desk, equipped with a laptop computer, all-in-one printer, shelves, class book, and various nick nacks I added to take up the extra space. I'm hoping to add a few more personal effects some time in the future, but for now, there are no pictures or reminders of home.
:Here is a picture that contains two components of the room. On the upper shelves rests the TV, VCR/DVD, stereo/surround sound system, and the microwave. The drawers and closet actually belong to my roommate, but mine are exactly the same. Funny fact, though, there are actually three closets, so each of us has one and we share the middle one.
:And finally, here is a sort of panorama from the door of the dorm room. In the forground are the bunk beds, and if you look carefully in the back, you can see the compact refrigerator on the floor. Also to the side, again you see my desk. Though this is definitely not home, I try to make it feel like it as much as I can.
Well, on to other details. Like most of America, I have been watching all the stories about New Orleans and the other Southern cities affected by Hurricane Katrina. I just have to say that it really saddens me to seee these people suffering and dying in the streets, and the government isn't moving fast enough to help them! Americans are being more than generous with telethons and fund-raisers, but it seems like those that are in need are not getting those necesities. I really don't know what to do except to pray that everything will work out all right. I hope that you all can join me in that, and donate to those rescue missions if you fell so inclined.
As for the rest of my life, you'll just have to wait for tomorrow, as writing this has made me very tired. I will most assuredly write more concerning the Hurrican Relief Efforts, as I do have a lot to say, and of course, vent about. Until then, enjoy the long weekend; I know I will be doing A LOT of resting during mine!
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Just to let everyone know a little bit about my life as of late, I am a first-year college student at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am originally from Powell, Tennessee, a suburb just north of Knoxville, so being in Ohio is a great leap for me. It is about 4.5 hours from home, which when driven, is not really that bad. So far, my classes are going very well; I am actually surprised at how easy they are right now! I am a Biology major, so most of my classes reflect that major choice. Right now my classes are as follows:
General Chemistry I MWF 10:30-11:20 AM
Intermediate Spanish I MWF 12:30-1:20 PM
Theological Foundations MWF 3:00-3:50 PM
General Biology I Lab MW 4:30-5:20 PM
General Biology I TR 8:30-9:45 AM
" " F 1:30-2:20 PM
General Chemistry I Lab R 2:30-5:20 PM
So, as you can see, my Mondays and Wednesdays are very busy and late, while my Tuesdays are very early, but very easy. So far, I haven't had any problems with getting to my classes on time and keeping up with the schedule, so that is very good. I have had some problems with buildings and classrooms, but that was on the first day. Plus, the reason I went into the wrong rooms was because the scheduler gave me the wrong rooms! So, there's modern technologies for ya!!
Another new thing for me is living on campus with people I have never met. Of course, this means living in a dorm with a roommate, an experience that can change one's life for the better, or for the worse. I'd have to say that for now, my experience with a roommate is going great; no problems whatsoever. It is something I'll have to get used to, but I don't think any major problems will arise. As you must in an inclosed space, we are sharing certain appliances and media, as duplicates of anything will provide one with much less space. Of course, there are also personal objects for one-person use, like computers, beds, desks, etc., but those are no-brainers. Sharing a room is something I haven't experienced in quite a few years, but I'd have to say things are going great. I actually couldn't have asked for a better roommate! More on that as the school year progresses.
Though I do like it here in Cincinnati, I do miss home, even with all the quirks and problems that arise. My plan was to try to visit home about once a month, over the weekend. So, I brought my car up here with me ('97 Saturn) so that I could make that drive. Alas, the car was the first problem that arose when I arrived on campus. The MINUTE I drove on campus, the engine was smoking and fluid was leaking. Obviously, this is not a good sign. This was just about a week ago, and Tuesday I took it in to a local repair shop.
It was raining cats and dogs that day (thank you, Katrina), so I had a fun time walking out to my car, which is all the was across campus. I added the fluid that was needed (which I found out to be coolant...luckily I had some in my trunk) and checked to make sure nothing was leaking. To my surprise, I didn't see any leakage, so I naturally thought everything was okay. But, to my horror, the mechanics used a pressure test and found that my radiator was cracked and leaking fluid. I actually got to see this phenomenon, and it was quite shocking how much it was spraying out. Then, for the biggest shock of all: the bill of $646.80 for parts and labor. Now, as a first-year college student, there is no way for me to have that kind of money!! So, the only thing I can do is wait to either raise the money by myself or get some aid from my parents. Either way, this will take a while, so no visit over Labor Day like I had planned. I am hoping and praying that I will get to make a trip either later in the month, or sometime in October, but we'll just have to wait and see.
So, besides school, nothing is really going on for me at this time. I will make sure to keep everyone up to date on how classes/college life are going, as there will be much to report some days. Although, do keep in mind that there are going to be a lot of boring days, so just bare with the mundane topics I vent about on here. As for my very first blog, here is the end of my first posting! I hope that as time goes on, I can continue to post information and receive feedback from readers everywhere. Until next time, stay healthy, stay close to God, and stay true to yourself.