Operation Screw AP Biology – Status Report
Today I woke at 7am, and left home at 7:30. Unfortunately, Google Maps gave me retarded directions that caused the trip to UC Irvine to take upwards of 90 minutes, causing me to be late to class by 5 or 10 minutes. I had spent a lot of time the week before precisely locating the building where I would be receiving instruction, and I quickly found my classroom, HH118. Silently taking note of how Biology 1A was located in the Humanities Hall, I found a seat and took out my notebook. This recollection of my day will be based entirely on a set of notes I took during class on what to write for my blog post about this class. So you see, instead of paying attention and taking notes on the class, I was taking notes on what I would write about the class. Which is a whole lot more entertaining.
Let me take you back a bit. This summer, I am attending summer school at the University of California, Irvine. To be precise, I am taking a college biology course intended for non-majors, Biology 1A. This is because, to be truthful, I am deathly afraid of any difficult classes with stern teachers that involve memorizing tables of facts and information. I am sure that, if I took the AP Biology class offered at Arcadia HS, my own high school, I would spontaneously combust sometime between November and June and make a mess on the floor. My class is three hours long, and it involves a one-hour (each way) commute from Arcadia to Irvine. Ideally, one-hour. By car. By the way, Google Maps tells me that if I were to use public transportation, I would be getting home every night at 9 pm. And my class ends at 11:50am.
All-in-all, I think college-level classes at UC Irvine are much easier than GE-level classes taken at Arcadia, or perhaps it’s just that I’ve only taken low-level college classes and only high-level high school classes. Maybe I’ll get a college girlfriend. My class lacks any signs of intelligence or beauty, however. Well.
Anyways, my professor is an interesting character. He started the class off talking about harems and polygamy (with respect to horses…). One awesome thing to note: about half of the class brought in their laptop computers and took notes (and facebooked) digitally during class! I thought that was beyond cool. Did you know? On average, women live 4-5 years longer than men. According to my notes, I was supposed to make an entertaining comment about that. See, that was entertaining.
Now, although the professor’s teaching of the class was largely focused on his Powerpoint, he taught the class as if he was telling a story. This is quite a profound thing here — nobody does this at my high school. Professor Symanski enjoys teaching (or so I would suppose from his pleasant attitude throughout the class session). He gave us, as our very first lesson, a guided tour five feet up our anuses into the large intestine. “So that’s what it looks like six feet up my ass.” Then he told us the story of how he survived tuberculosis, culminating in the day’s thesis regarding the miracles of modern science. The professor broke up that lecture by giving us the following moral to take home: “Get a colonoscopy to prevent colon or rectal cancer.”
Interestingly, despite the course being higher-level than an AP course, the material (at least appears to be) far easier. In addition, there are only two tests that each count towards 50% of my grade: the midterm and the final. There is no homework grade, and extra credit is offered at every class meeting. You may think, then, that everybody gets an A. However, the professor shared the interesting statistic that out of a class of 400 students attending his lectures, only three received test scores over 90%. Epic curve!
Another point to note is that Professor Symanski is not actually a biology professor. In fact, he has only ever taken ONE biology course in his life. (I’ve already taken two, if you count middle school 7th grade bio.) He is a cultural anthropologist, and who cares what that means because it sounds so cool.
That about wraps it up. Oh, one more thing. I have an official UCI student ID #, so I have a website at UCI (http://webfiles.uci.edu/jiachenl/www), a UCI email address (@uci.edu), and I’ll be applying for an ID card. College life is great, I’m so envious!
It’s too bad this class was canceled. I would have snuck into the lectures.