Ideally, I wanted to write up a reflection earlier into break while fall quarter is still fresh in my mind but this will have to do. I plan to break up this reflection into multiple sections just for my sake. I can’t write out an entire reflection in one sitting.

I’ll start out with academics. This quarter I took four classes (17 units) – Math 132, Philos 6, CS 118, and ENG 183EW. Since I was spending a lot of time serving with ICA, I thought my grades would probably take a hit – but the exact opposite happened. After getting all my final grades back, this turned out to be one of my best quarters academically. I even made the dean’s honor list! I seemed to be much more at peace with regards to my grades. I remember on V-SET during debriefing, Conrad gave a message where he encouraged everyone to hold out their hand and make a fist, which symbolized something that we as sinful human beings were holding onto. He then asked us to take some time to pray and release whatever we were holding onto to God. For me, I was holding onto my future and that encompasses my academic performance. This quarter felt different. It was still a lot of work, late nights, and stress but I felt a lot more at peace. Before, I would often have trouble sleeping the night before an exam or if I was stressed out with a project. This fall quarter, though, I only remember one night where my mind was racing and I couldn’t fall asleep. I just tried to do my best and entrust the rest to God and it took a lot of pressure off of myself.

Math 132 – This was a complex analysis class and was my first upper-div math class. My math was very rusty; the last math class I took was sophomore year so I had to spend a lot of time at the beginning of the quarter to get back into performing differentiation and integration. The homework was pretty complicated at times but luckily I found a solution manual online so whenever I got stuck I would take a look at that. It definitely helped a lot because nothing irritates me more than being stuck on a problem. It seemed I never understood the material until I would study for exams. Thankfully, the midterm was pretty straightforward and I ended up doing pretty well on it (~15% above average). The final, though, was a lot harder, which I did not expect at all. After I took this exam I had no idea how I did but apparently I did okay with respect to the average. I still don’t know my final exam score since my professor doesn’t use MyUCLA but I’m happy with my final grade.

Philos 6 – This class was honestly a joke. The professor was horrible and lecture was absolutely useless. I only took this class for an easy A. All we had to do in this class was write three 2000 word essays. There were no exams at all. During the first half of the class I would skip about half of the lectures but as the quarter went on, I tried to attend all the lectures since the readings got more difficult. I regret wasting my time. The essays each took me about a full day to write but I was able to do pretty well on them and pull out an A for the class. Thankfully, Elliser was in the class so we would often joke about how ridiculous this class was.

CS 118 – It was probably one of the easier CS classes, but still required a lot of work. This class just had a bunch of material, even though the material wasn’t difficult itself. Just a lot of stuff to memorize and understand. We had weekly homework assignments with problems from the book as well as two projects so we always seemed to have a constant stream of work for this class. We were able to do the projects in pairs so Eric W. and I worked together. The first project wasn’t too difficult but we did have to argue with the TA for more points. Thankfully, he made mistakes with the grading so we were bumped up from a 75 to 95. The second project was a lot more stressful. We had five weeks to do it so Eric and I got together during Thanksgiving break to work on it a little. But 80% of the work was done the last two days before it was due. Since Eric was busy with work and other classes, I had to code most of the project. It was quite stressful for me. I hate doing projects last minute. I like to make sure my project is finished a couple days before it is due so I can test it and make sure everything is working. Thankfully the project wasn’t anything too complicated and I was able to finish writing the code the night before it was due. We did run into some problems when we tested it and we didn’t fix all the problems until three minutes before our demo time. So thankful that everything fell together at the end. I did below average on the homework assignments. I made some careless mistakes but honestly didn’t care too much about it. The exams weren’t too complicated and I did pretty well on the final exam.

ENG 183EW (Ethics) – This was probably one of the weirdest classes I’ve taken. The discussion has nothing to do with the class lectures, which have nothing to do with the book. It was like three different classes combined into one. Discussion was more focused on writing, lecture material was on the history of technology, and the book was about engineering ethics. The class turned out to be a lot of work with a lot of writing. I’m a slow writer so I spent a lot of time on the two big essays we had to do. We also had a big group project where we had to write up a 50 page ethics report of a current engineering issue. Our group chose social networking and we all happened to be CS or EECE majors. It was a pretty painful experience during finals week as we had to combine all of our individual sections into one report and not everyone had their section done. It also turned out we formatted our paper incorrectly and didn’t have much of a thesis statement or solution, but we basically said “screw it”. I also had to walk down to FedEx in Westwood the next day to get the report spiral bounded and turn it in. We also had to give a presentation for our topic and we kind of BSed that as well. We were the only group that didn’t dress up for the presentation. Other groups wore collared shirts and ties while I presented in a hoodie, jeans, and flip flops. The class also had a midterm and final exam, which consisted of a lot of writing and BSing. In summary, this class consisted of lots of BS. I’m glad this class is finally over. It was interesting but also a lot of busy work. Judging from the final grade I got, I doubt the professor read our 50 page report – probably just the executive summary.

Final exam week was especially tough this quarter. Not only did I have three final exams but also an ethics report, CS project, and a philosophy paper. It seemed like there was so much to do and not enough time to do it. Before finals week I would always wonder what God would have in store for me. During this stressful time, God allowed me to put my head down and finish all I had to do without too much complaining or self-pity.