Today was the first day of classes. I only had 2, both of my math classes today. Class number 1 was my algebra type class or I guess what the main topic is, is group theory and I’m not exactly sure what that means yet, but I guess I find out on Wednesday at lecture 2. Anyway we talked about shuffling decks of cards and the 2 way that most people chose to shuffle them, either splitting the deck approximately in half and moving the top half to the bottom or the riffle shuffle. I was very interested in this conversation as I love playing card games and collecting decks of cards.
My next class was my second math class which is all about waves. It should be an interesting class. The handy thing was it happened to be right after my first class and in the same room, so on Mondays I’m just in one classroom for 2 hours and then I’m done for the day. This class only had 4 people in it including me although I guess 5 are signed up! I guess the good thing is that the teacher really does get to know you and help you if you need it or at least I’m hoping that is the case.
In this class we talked about the different types of waves, whether they are light waves, water waves or sound waves and what they all have in common, being the disturbance or in the case of a water wave, the peak of the wave. We then went on to talk about different types of wave equations we will be using and now I’m supposed to remember my differential equations that I haven’t done much with in the past year and a half, so this class will be interesting.
What I learned today was that the way Australia teaches math classes is quite different than in America. So I have 4 lectures a week per math class, so 4 hours of math and when you consider a university in America, that is about the same amount of time in class because normally I’d have 3 lectures and then a recitation. These classes don’t have recitations or tutorials as the Aussies call it, so you have 4 lectures and you have 2 teachers. Each teacher, teaches 2 lectures each week. It’s a bit confusing and weird as my teacher today says “you’ll learn what group theory is in the second half of this class with the other teacher.” From that I almost feel like each math class has 2 things going on at once and one week I may have an assignment for 1 of the teachers and the next may be the other. It will definitely take some getting used to. Also my math classes aren’t at the same time nor the same location each lecture. I have this feeling that I will be carrying around my timetable (schedule) with me everywhere for weeks or the entire semester.
In the afternoon, I was browsing the university’s website trying to figure out where to find the online materials. Well I managed to find the algebra class’ materials and discovered that my final exam for that class will be 60% of my grade. The wave class is the same. The only difference in grading is that the wave class will have 5 assignments and a test in addition to that 60% and the algebra class has 8 assignments and 2 projects in addition to the final. I can already tell I will definitely have to study each night for these classes to make sure I fully understand the material. The nice thing about having the materials online is that I only had to pay for paper to print it out. I have already printed the first 3 of 12 chapters for my algebra class and plan to start reading the material tonight or tomorrow. Apparently the wave material is online, but I haven’t found it yet so I might have to ask the teacher about that.
As far as the rest of my afternoon, I checked out O-Week on campus which is orientation week for the university and that just means there are tons of tents up in the central courtyard, some free stuff and lots of information about clubs and things on campus. Then I headed to the mall to get some more school supplies and explore because I still haven’t been in every store yet of the huge mall.