Grad Lesson #7 – I Hate Finals Period

Yes this is a grad school lesson at least for me.  I never had to deal with a finals weeks in undergrad–I took 3 classes everyday for 7 weeks, and at the end there was typically an in-class final, exam, or project to do…or in some awful situations, all three.  Once that was done, I got a break and moved on with my next 3 classes.  Normal college is different, and I get to experience that this year.  I hate it.

First off–classes start out far too slow.  I think my first homeworks were due a few weeks or even a month after the class started.  Then prelims were pretty typical.  Then finally, everything imaginable piles up in November and to top it off–then comes “Finals Period.”  December 4th was the last day of classes at Cornell, which left me with Monday and Tuesday as what is referred to as reading days.  The last day of finals are this Friday – the 18th.  This is the reason I haven’t update within the week, and the only reason I’m updating now is I have a good and clear 48 hours to study for my Solid Mechanics final on Wednesday.  However, LAST WEEK was, how do I put this, just plain awful.  I woke up every morning at 7am, tried to get to my office by 8am, and worked on 6 different things that were due throughout the week.  Unfortunately, most of these things were due on Wednesday.  For a while on Tuesday I was concerned that I would catch the flu due to lack of sleep and dehydration created by too much coffee.

But now that that is all over, I’m pretty proud of myself.  I managed to complete a Concrete take-home final, finish my solid mechanics homework–involving me to create this program that measured displacements in an aluminum plate–

Matlab Plot output for Vertical Displacement within Stressed Aluminum Plate

I completed a foundation engineering design project which involved designing the pile foundation for the Ithaca Wastewater Treatment Plant (already found out I received an A- on that, nice!).  I designed a steel tank and hit it with the Northridge earthquake in a finite element software program…somewhat successfully…I think… And I finally, after hours of actually figuring out how to model a building connection, wrote a paper about how to use finite elements for modeling a connection–

Column - Beam Connections with no Stiffener Plates

Column - Beam Connections WITH Stiffener Plates

And today I managed to put together the final phase of an ongoing, semester long reinforced concrete project with the rest of my team.  We somehow, fairly easily, designed a 3 story concrete building.  All-in-all our project ended up costing the client $22,000 according to my invoice.  This is fairly cheap if you ask me…probably since we only charged $32.50/hour.  We’re all for hire, feel free to give me a call!…

Concrete Mega-Binder for Project

One of our 5 Million CAD drawings

Phew! OK, so you can see a bit why I hate finals time–too much to do at once.  But I’m really glad that I was able to tackle it all, almost.  Now if I could only stop procrastinating and study for Solid Mechanics, this would end my first semester of graduate studies.


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