Some of the engineering disciplines at Lehigh require Math 231 – Probability and Statistics, as a part of the curriculum. I, for one, will admit that probability has never been my strong point and to this day, I don’t have an adequate grasp on the subject matter. Whether it is the probability of getting a Full House hand in poker or finding the number of ways to arrange couples in a movie theater, the subject does not come natural to me.
Part of the reason I’ve faced so much difficulty may be because I never acknowledged any purpose in the field of probability and statistics; I’ve always perceived the subject as sort of a “fake math”. Not to offend anyone but probability, in my perspective, was the math of chance – whether something will be true or false, a probabilistic tendency for something to occur. What I failed to see – was the fact. The calculations may tell you that if you roll a dice six times, it is expected that it will land on each number once. Of course with sampling variability, this typically is not true and will only approach the expected value after the experiment is repeated indefinitely.
What I have yet to see is the point in all of this. Probability seems to be nothing more than a prediction and the actual outcome does not depend on what a mathematical calculation expects it to be. I’ve been hoping to find my passion for mathematics that’s been missing in this particular field. High school AP Statistics did not open my eyes and my next hope is in my Math 231 class, where I seek to be inspired by the truth I’m desperately searching for.
GEM stands for Greek EMerging Leaders Program which is a program at Lehigh that selects 35-40 members each year to participate in a semester leadership program. The purpose of the program is to prepare to students to become good leaders and help them improve their fraternity/sorority and Greek Life in general at Lehigh. I heard about GEM for the first time the other day and figured I would sign up because I am pledging both a social and a community service fraternity. A committee will select semi-finalists and then conduct interviews to decide who will hold those 35-40 positions. If I am selected I will have a great opportunity to both improve my leadership skills and improve Greek Life at Lehigh.
After a long February, my first round of “should i sleep, study, or procrastinate?” every night for three weeks is over. I was unlucky in that all the snow we’ve been having this winter caused a couple of my exams to be delayed and instead of one week from hell, I had to go into every Monday knowing that sometime that week I had an exam. It was rough but now that I’m done I can finally get back into the normal everyday life at Lehigh. Although it is challenging, its nothing compared to exams, and its definitely doable.
So as my grades trickle back in, and one by one a little more weight is lifted off my shoulders, things get better and better and I get a little more confident. The exams here are made to be extremely difficult, going in expecting a 100 is often times naive because the average grade on Lehigh exams can be as low as a 40. Think about that, people from across the world, all at the top of their respected High School classes, all being challenged to such an extent. Half the battle is keeping your cool as you go through a 5 part test and not understanding the first 3.
Study hard and don’t expect a straight forward exam. Professors expect you to get some things wrong because the tests here are not about doing problems exactly from the book. Exams at Lehigh are about testing your ability to apply what you’ve learned to different situations, because in real life, problems are not from the book. Averages will be low, but grades will be curved. So when you go to a difficult and prestigious college like Lehigh, prepare to be stumped on tests, but don’t worry, if you’ve learned what you are supposed to have learned, you’ll still end up with the grade you deserve at the end of the semester.
When I started picturing myself attending college, I realized that I had no idea what a college classroom would look like. At first I thought that everything would be in a huge auditorium with hundreds of people and one professor on stage. Then as I started to browse college websites I noticed that most colleges browsed about their low student:faculty ratios. So I went from expecting huge classes to wondering if anything would be different from high school.
Overall I had no clue what to expect in my classes at Lehigh, which is a little weird to think about because thats what we come to college for right? class? So to anyone who wonders what its going to be like in college, here are some examples from Lehigh
This is where my very first class was held. Packard101. This is that huge auditorium with hundreds of students. Some people might say that you can’t learn much in this setting. I would disagree, saying that the weekly guest speakers are what truly helped me solidify my decision to become a civil engineer.
Ive had the bad luck of experiencing this room twice, with my midterm exams this semester and last semester, but outside of this dreadful situation, a room like this is most practical in a university setting. It is large enough to hold many students, but small enough so that personal discussion is still possible.
Finally, in rooms like these you learn hands on with 20 or fewer students. This is where all the knowledge you gain from large classes finally gets put to the test.
So when you read about a schools average class size, remember that sometimes you will still end up with a concert hall with a class, even if the average is less than 30. But this isn’t a bad thing, not all classes need to be personal, save the extra faculty for when things are more important.
This week, all Engineering 10 classes moved from MATLab programming to the Arduino board. When I opened the kit to my board, I was frustrated to find so many LEDs, resistors and other small components that go with the Arduino because I thought I was going to be immediately lost in the class, but fortunately I worked my way through the board and was able to make a small circuit that lit up the LED. Even though we have stopped using MATLab for a little bit, we are still programming, but just on the Arduino. One of our assignments for class was to make the LED light up for 5 seconds, turn off for 3, and then turn on for 1 second and then turn off for another. I learned quite a bit yesterday not just from the programming, but also from the circuit board itself because I was able to have some hands on experience with the Arduino board. I’m actually a little optimistic about the next thing that we’ll learn.
This is the week that some students are looking forward to–or dreading. Nearly all 4 o’clocks at Lehigh are finished, and professors and TA’s have had the time to look over and grade them. There is no other moment like anticipating the return of a big test: You hold your breath, feel butterflies in your stomach, and try to remember what answer you put down for question two. Regardless of what you are thinking, your grade has already been determined, and you must go forward with confidence and acceptance. You may be happy with your grade, or you may be unhappy. However, it is essential that you treat that grade as only a memory of the past. You have more than half a semester to go, and it is so important to finish strong, whether it means not messing up your high grade or putting a little more effort into studying. Also keep in mind that the number you see on the top of your test isn’t necessarily reflective of your final grade. Some professors make incredibly difficult exams where they don’t anticipate all A’s and B’s. Knowing full well that Lehigh students are smart, they often curve grades according to the average grade in the class, in hope of providing a more accurate reflection of a student’s work, relative to others’.
In all, if you’re doing well, keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t let up. If you performed poorly, it’s not the end of the world. You have a large portion of the semester to make the grade up–seek office hours and study sessions.
Yesterday was going to be my first midterm of the semester, but classes ended up being cancelled due to the snow. I did not feel ready enough for the exam yesterday so I needed the snow day, like many other people. The exam got moved to later today, and now I feel ready. I did not have anything I had to do yesterday so I had a lot of time to prepare for the exam. I was able to go through the book, my notes, and review material given to us to prepare myself. My roommate and I also had some time to quiz ourselves on the material to ensure we are both ready for the exam.
In addition to preparing for my exam, I spent part of my day playing Settlers of Catan with five of my friends. For those who do not what it is, Settler of Catan is a strategy boarding game that usually takes 1 to 2 hours to play. I never heard of the game until coming to Lehigh. One person in my building brought the game and it became extremely popular. A few other people decided to buy the game and some expansions of the board game which allow for more players and different scenarios. It was a great way to take a break from studying.
Giving a speech wasn’t exactly on my to-do list for this year. However…
I go to Spectrum (Lehigh’s LGBTQIA+ group) meetings on a regular basis (Wednesdays at 5:30 if anyone wants to come; it’s open to anyone! You should drop by!), and I frequently visit the Rainbow Room, the center for all things LGBTQIA+. Now, there’s a speaker event going on in April, featuring several speakers from all sorts of diverse backgrounds, which is pretty awesome–and they invited Spectrum to speak at the event too! I actually volunteered to help write and present the speech, which… is simultaneously terrifying and really, REALLY exciting. I’ve never given a speech like this before, ever, so it’ll be a totally new experience. See? Opportunities can pop up even when you least expect them to.
The theme of the event is deconstructing concepts, so Spectrum’s topic will be deconstructing the gender binary. Needless to say, it’s a hefty topic to squash into ten minutes. There’s all sorts of things–different gender systems, intersex conditions, transgender people, the speculated causes of being transgender… of course, if you don’t feel like clicking on all of those links, you could just come and watch the speech! It’s on April 4th in the Linderman Library at 2pm. I’ll also get a copy of the video and upload my own speech, and I’ll be sure to post a link on this blog.
Now, one last thing before I run off. I’ve set up a survey to help with my speech. It isn’t ridiculously long, although there are a lot of open-ended questions. It’s open to anyone, even non-Lehigh students. Anyway, you can put as much or as little as you like! The survey will stay completely anonymous, too. I’ll only be referencing statistics in my speech. Also, if you take the survey, you’ve got the option to be entered into a drawing for a $20 Amazon or PayPal card! I’ll need your email address for the drawing, but your email won’t be associated with your survey responses, so feel free to answer however you like.
Hope everyone is staying safe this week! One more week until spring break. You can do it! (And be sure to take the survey! :D)
Physics Lab for Physics 011 this semester for me are very different from chemistry labs for Chem 30 from last semester. Both meet only once a week however both classes are different. The number of students in my physics lab is much shorter then the number of students in the chemistry labs. There is also more teachers assistance in chemistry than in physics. Physics labs to me seem to deal with more equations and proving them right like the test for momentum. In most lab there are sheets of equations and charts to do. While in Chemistry the labs seem to be examples of situations in class such as the solubility rules. Almost all of the chemistry labs come with a prelab that is online or on paper. Overall I enjoy both Physics and Chemistry labs.
Lehigh is widely regarded as one of the best engineering schools in the country. Amongst other feats in academia, Lehigh boasts the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering as a standard for other universities to achieve. And, as a prestigious school of bright young engineers, of course all proper codes are followed. I am referring to the fact that Lehigh engineers reference the Code of Ethics for Pennsylvania Engineers conveniently located inside of Fritz Lab. Fritz is also the home of some impressive, and rare, equipment that is literally massive. From the first floor to the top of the seventh, the Riehle testing machine is around 90 feet tall, capable of testing many kinds of metals for various important components. Although fairly unimpressive (in comparison to Lehigh’s other beautiful architecture) from the outside, Fritz lab has the machinery, and the pride in engineering to compete with some of the most state-of-the-art testing facilities. Really, its not the machinery or the capital at Lehigh that makes our school so appealing, but the integrity of the students and the staff; a small reminder hangs on the walls of Fritz.