Time to Hit the Books!

This Wednesday,  I start my last semester at Montgomery County Community College.  And this semester, we must buck up and get ready to study for four courses.  These courses are Management, Western Civilizations, Computer Science, and last but not least, majors-level Biology I.  The Biology course is a decisive factor on my attitude toward studying it as a major in the university I transfer to.  Biology has been a passion for me for quite a few years, for I really enjoy God’s created world.

However, I wasn’t sure if I like learning the “technical” terms and information of the courses (as noticed on websites for college courses), or performing the lab exercises.  Fortunately, a friend from my new church (who is a pharmaceutical scientist) said such facts and jargon has use within a given line of work or study.

Also, this man told me, as a full-time student, I should not dawdle in collateral reading or even parts of my assigned textbook that aren’t in the instructor’s current lesson.  (Unless, of course, I had time to do so.)

Also, keep in mind that different universities have different course offerings, as well as the necessary decision of textbooks to use for such.  But again, you won’t know the ins-and-outs until you enroll, especially in that the entire text is not usually taught, and instructors often add material.  Some elective courses are often a hit or miss deal.

But what do we make of this?  Well, consider the following Scripture:

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  (Phil 4:10-12, ESV)

Incidentally, not only was this today’s personal morning devotional, but since it is Sunday today, I got my share of corporate teaching and preaching as well!  And with the friendly and useful advice of this friend of mine, I’ll be well-prepared.

As we conclude this last weekend before the semester, this gave some powerful preparation for my first full-time college semester.  So keep on praying for discipline as we get down and dirty with things.

So whatever you get, be content!  Onward and upward!

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Why Biology?

Each program [at ESU] helps students to think. But when a student chooses a program, it is a choice of what to think about. A physics major thinks about different things than a psychology major.  A math major has different matters on her mind than an art major., Dr. Peter Hawkes, Dean of Arts and Sciences at East Stroudsburg University.

While you will always learn new things beyond your college major in your lifetime, college gives you a trajectory for your career and other areas of adult life.

 

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My introductory biology textbook.

For me, that number one thing is biology.  It has a beauty of both unity and diversity.  Contradictory as they may seem, it is a reality.  Diversity in all the life forms on Earth manifests God’s beauty in their habitats and niches, yet their unity in all the core systemic processes equally shows what a wonderful and providential Creator He is.  (Evolutionists claim that all life is not from a common creator, but a common ancestor.  But what is that ancestor?!?)  Remember the idea that cells come only from other cells, and so forth.

And even at the moment, before transfer to a university, I love looking at numerous websites concerning biology.  These can be about animals, plants, neural processes, you name it.  Of course, God made all these structures and processes; the scientists among us just named them.

So to all my fellow undergraduates, whatever your passion, biology or otherwise, go for it!

Collegiate Excitement

As I enter my second year of CCP, we better be on the watch for more homework, speeches (in Public Speakng), lecturing, and best of all, lab work in our science classes, namely Biology and Chemistry.

While the assigned texts can stay at home, we will still need to take notes and and bring the appropriate lab manual on lab days.  (Public speaking does not have a textbook.)  By the way, the biology notes are a mere “fill-in-the-blank” approach in a booklet (which I bring to class).  I have mixed feelings about this organization.  It’s easy and already prepared, but waters down some of the freedom of a “true” notebook, and can be a little “mechanical” in terms of its study style.  Chemistry is taught by a very conventional professor uses no computer technology in his instruction.  We take real notes with him.

As far as transfer plans or even later courses, I really want to truly take things “one day at a time,” without merely vaunting it.  Therefore, blog posts, whether academic or otherwise, will focus chiefly on current issues, whether school or personal.  In the final analysis, no matter what college or career path I pursue, I’ll always be learning something.  After all, lifelong learning is part and parcel of who I am.

Getting Ready for Another Semester

This fall semester, starting the day after Labor Day, I return to my (formal) studies at CCP.  And it will be quite exciting.

The three courses to be taken are Biology, Chemistry, and Public Speaking.  Both Biology and Chemistry are the formats designed for majors, and have a second part in the Spring 2017 semester.  This will be a heavy semester, with lots of homework, so blog posts this fall may be a little sporadic.

If I get a job, I will restrict it to Fridays and Saturdays, as the rest of the week is busy with school.  Sunday, as a “rest day,” will hopefully involve more personal pursuits, such as reading some books such as the various Scientific American books, (a few) texts I may own, and perhaps even novels.  Later on, hopefully, church and Bible study will be back to normal.  Yet at home, I could listen to sermons and some personal Bible study.  The bottom line is, as a Christian, that I will not work a job on Sunday.  Period.

So I thank the Lord for all my potential He has bestowed in a number of areas.

Why Textbooks Don’t Cut It On Their Own

Since high school, I’ve had a draw to college textbooks of many kinds, especially in the sciences.  Even though a given subject is of interest, the truth is, I’ve never felt confident to finish a text front to back.

Perhaps the main reason for such is the fact that without any instructor, you can’t guarantee your getting the right information.  Even if you can comprehend the writing with no problem, textbook material needs that actual power imparted by the professor in order to know exactly what is going on. This is especially true when you consider a college’s prerequisites for a given subject.  Reading such a book (and usually, thus taking such a class) warrants previous knowledge.

Moreover, especially in the natural sciences, you need labs, field trips, and many other practical exercises to truly learn concepts.  And of course, the lecture is at the center of it all.

Also, the fact that textbooks are constantly updated means inevitably that, as you grow older, you will miss newer material taught long after you graduated.  But again, you should be content with the position you are in now.

Now if you are out of college and wish to use a textbook for additional learning (e.g., when your school didn’t offer  a given class), I don’t see anything wrong with that.  But I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there, as I would have to test that statement.

So I must resist spending money on texts that have nothing to do with my coursework, and just take “baby steps” toward the goals I may aspire to achieve.  And I’ll leave the choices of texts to the professors.  And ultimately, all of it is in God’s hands.

So until then, just Google things, or if you dare, use Wikipedia.  LOL

OK, Here’s the Deal About My Future at CCP and Beyond

While I’ve seemed committed to Biology as a major over the years, this may have been quite rash.  The truth is that I must weigh it out as one among several CCP majors.  This fall, I take Biology I and Chemistry I (both in the sequence for majors), as well as public speaking.  Until spring 2017 registration, I will most likely remain in the liberal arts crowd  As you may know, we take two courses this summer:  Global History I (May-June) and a computer course (July-August)

This is important, since in reality, while I’ve read much material at the college level on biology (and other sciences), I have little or no biology lab experience.  This is mostly due to the special education environment of most of my high school classes.  In college courses, the textbook isn’t everything.  The professor’s job is to explain and relate concepts mentioned in the text (and possibly other readings) in different ways.  No wonder why I’ve rarely (if ever) read a college textbook cover to cover!

In chemistry on the other hand, I have had more than enough experience for preparation.  Believe it or not, it was never taken in high school (except by simply reading the text, but that didn’t help much.)  And I have attempted public speaking at my first community college (Bucks County), but was dropped due to poor speech at the time.  I’ve even been in the major’s chemistry sequence twice, but for personal reasons have withdrawn.  But by now, I’m ready!

So, while I am confident on my fall courses, Biology is a subject that must be tried and tested to see if that is an appropriate path.  If it’s for me, I would definitely transfer it over as planned, otherwise other majors like the all-new Chemistry (which is great for transfer to Chemistry as well as many other physical sciences at universities) as well as Chemical Technology (more geared toward employment upon graduation from CCP, particularly as a chemical technician.)  The latter allows allows other sciences (i.e., Biology, Physics) alongside its many chemistry courses.

We’ll see what seems more on-target.  Remember, you typically don’t know what you like unless you try.

Remember Prov 16:9: a man plans, but God directs!

College Update

This afternoon, a few months after submitting an application to Lock Haven University, one of the Pennsylvania “state schools” in the northern part of the state, I returned a call from an admissions director, and I was accepted!  Due to some misconduct over the past few years, sparing the gory details of such, I cannot live on campus.  Nonetheless, I can definitely live in the neighboring town (namely, you guessed it, Lock Haven, PA) and commute to school on time.

While I applied to the University for spring 2017, I probably won’t go until the fall of 2017 or more likely, 2018.  (Spring 2017 was the latest option on the application, so I selected that.)

The other major update is that after a year or so of study at Lock Haven, I may, in addition to my Biology program into which I have already been accepted, may add a “double major,” perhaps in geology.  Just as with biology (if not more so), when studying the subject, as a young-earth creationist myself, I would thinking against what I would typically believe.  Yet I have good resources, such as journals and personal mentors, that can keep me on track.  After all, the majority of scientists (of any kind) that follow creationism have had to take old-earth scholastic routes to get there.

As for my West Chester plan, I felt the double major of Biology and Geology had a better overlap of courses at Lock Haven, so I think I’ll go for Lock Haven instead, even though it’s MUCH further (that is, 4 hours or so from Philadelphia).

So, while I feel headed for “the Haven”, for now let’s just concentrate on getting through its “gateway,” that is, CCP.