Sunday, March 14, 2010

I need to take a moment

and brag about myself.

So, I've been taking a few online courses to keep me busy and brush up because I've been contemplating pursuing my master's degree.

One of my classes is an upper level Environmental Chemistry class. I'm not as opposed to Chemistry as you might think. I generally don't mind it, especially compared to classes like Biology. Which I seem to struggle a little more with. I know that I'm more into the "romantic" subjects -- English, History, Sociology, etc.

We had our first "take-home" exam. I hate take-home essay exams because they are generally hard, thorough and long. This one was a little grueling too. These questions were hard and he expected 700 words per question. Also, at least one part of the question was not found in the book, because he expects you to use outside sources. Here were the first 2 questions:

  1. Global Warming. Global warming is thought to result from an imbalance between the solar radiation received by the earth and that lost back into space. Describe the difference between the solar radiation and the radiation leaving our planet. Why is infrared, 10 μm emission thought to be most important in this energy balance process? How do trace gas species influence the atmosphere’s temperature? What are the some of the predicted consequences of global warming?
  2. Stratosphere Ozone Depletion. What is stratospheric ozone depletion? Why is this potentially harmful? What anthropogenic compounds are thought to be primarily responsible for ozone destruction? What is the mechanism, i.e., what role does atomic chlorine play in the chemistry? What historic international agreement addressed this problem? Is it working?
The last question was a literary article that you had to tear apart into scientific fact, emotional statements, and subjective or circumstantial statements. Then we to interpret the article and explain the chemistry behind their claims. This was a pretty easy because it's more what I like to do (minus the chemistry).

I stressed about it. I spent hours researching and writing about it. And even after I turned it in I was a little worried about it. Since he hasn't graded anything we had turned in up to this point, I was a little more worried I was just doing things in a general manner which he hated. Which has happened to me before, but usually I do really well in my classes. All this worry about this class was making me sick.

But guess what?

I got a perfect score!!