What Year Am I Actually In?

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Talking about my return to school in middle years, I hedge on that a little. Right now, if asked, I usually say something like, “I’m mostly in 3rd year, but it’s a bit weird because I started a term early.”

I can probably drop most of that sentence now. As time has gone on, it’s gotten less weird. My first full year had three second-year courses in it. Last year had two third-year courses, but I ultimately elected to move one of those to this year.

This year, I’m taking all third-year courses but lobbying for permission to take one fourth-year Engineering Physics course if there are any seats left after the Engineers have all had their crack at it. Not holding my breath, but you never know. It would be nice if there were a Plasma Physics course on the pure science side of things, but I don’t set that policy.

But that early term, and a couple of things I’ve done since, have allowed me to try to make things a bit lighter for 3rd and 4th year and maybe, if I can keep the grades up, get early entrance into the M.Sc. program here at Queen’s.

At the moment, I’m registered in 5 courses for the Fall term but I’m only going to mention 4 here. The fifth is under debate. My tentative plan was to go 4 and 4 for this year, but I find it difficult to let myself take less than a normal full course load. We’ll see. Those 4 are all Physics courses with 3 of them being core courses that everyone takes and one (the Astrophysics course) being something I need for the type of Physics I want to pursue. More on the long-term goals another time.

PHYS 315 Physical Processes in Astrophysics – almost more than 216, this course is a general survey of things you need to know to study further, and to figure out what direction you want to take those studies in.

PHYS 316 Methods in Mathematical Physics I – math that’s very specifically important for physics. Part 1 of 2.

PHYS 344 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics – The fact that this course is labeled “Introduction” when half of 242 last year was intro to Quantum worries me just a little, but I think now we’re getting into the protein of things.

PHYS 350 General Laboratory – The only full-year course of the group, this is a set of standard experiments in the Fall term and then either an experimental physics or observational astronomy project for winter term depending on the student. I would like the latter.

If I keep the fifth class, which is still in doubt, I’ll try to get it declared as a Personal Interest Credit, which means it gets designated as Pass/Fail on my transcript, doesn’t affect my GPA in any way, and I can just sit back and enjoy the course. Still thinking about that.

But even with four courses, I feel like this is going to be a solid term, and that might let me focus better. My current GPA is substantially above the threshold I need to be considered for the accelerated Masters program and the upcoming term grades will count in that application, so I’d like to keep things as high as they are. A little slippage would be okay, but a tiny improvement would make me so much happier.

Time to find out what textbooks I need.

Be well, everyone.

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