Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So Busy!

It's been over a week since I've drafted an entry and man what a week and change it's been. I've been keeping pretty busy with homework for one. My classes remain interesting but they definitely are keeping me occupied. Last Tuesday was my first lab section in over a decade, and I think it went pretty well. It was a simple temperature monitoring exercise (measure temperature trends of hot water, add ice, melt, measure temperature trends of ice cooled water) and I believe I understand the concepts about thermodynamics/energy transfer it was intended to demonstrate quite well. For the most part the material in the text and video lectures for Chemistry has been a slightly more in depth review of material I read about over the summer in Kristin's Intro Chemistry text book. Ions, different types of substances (Compounds, mixtures, diatomic elements, etc.), chemical bonding processes, molar measurements, composition of an atom, calculated atomic mass, balancing empirical formulas, isotopes. It's interesting to me, which I guess is a good thing and a positive indicator that I am preceding in the right direction in my studies and career aspirations. To put it concisely: science is awesome. Medical terminology has been okay too, though not as exciting. It is definitely living up to its status as a one credit course so far, but that is not to say I am not learning material there. It's just so straightforward compared to what I'm used to in my studies; there aren't really higher concepts to familiarize myself with (well basic word construction concepts, but that's nothing new to me), it's just data memorization. Once that's down it's pretty easy to steamroll my quizzes.

Outside of school things have been going fairly well. I think I may have mentioned this in an earlier entry but I volunteered myself for the extra homework of preparing a devotional for last night's 19 Day Feast (for the month of'Izzat) at the Baha'i center of Minneapolis. This was a little bit stressful (largely because of my procrastination) but did feel very rewarding. I hadn't realized it when I volunteered, but this year the Feast of 'Izzat fell on the same night as Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the New Year on the Jewish calendar. This has particular significance to me as a member of the Baha'i faith who is partially of Jewish descent. I made mention of this during the Devotional portion of Feast last night and also acknowledged that we are approaching the new year on the Islamic Calendar (Eid al-Fitr, the conclusion of Ramadan, is tomorrow). I found significance in the alignment of these events and it definitely influenced me in constructing the devotional, leading me to draw on passages from the Torah/Bible and the Qur'an as well as the Baha'i writings and prayers. I neglected to mention this to the assembly but it really felt very special to be there with that community on Rosh Hashanah. For much of my youth my Hebrew heritage was a liability that could place me in physical danger if certain members of the community at large were aware of it. Last night I was able to discuss that part of my background and identity in a spiritually nurturing environment where I feel a genuine appreciation for diversity, a respect for differences and a comfort that I never would have felt celebrating Rosh Hashanah ten or fifteen years ago.

That's all I have in me for now, but I want to try to put another entry or two together before the week is out. I've done some creative stuff recently that I definitely would like to reflect on. Until then . . .

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