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Finals, Essays, and Reports, oh my!

So, you may all be wondering…what’s it like to be a senior on Finals’ Week? What have my Finals’ Weeks been like throughout my time at Caltech? It should be important to note that, unlike semester schools, we have three finals weeks throughout the year. This may sound like extra work for us, but remember: a lot of those other schools have two "midterm" tests in their classes, so it all evens out :).I will be honest with you, the title of this post is a bit of a misnomer – I only have 1 final, 2 sets, 1 report, and 1 essay this week. That may sound like a lot (and indeed, it’s more than I’ve had any week this term!), but I’d rather have things I can work on at my leisure than exams. And the best thing about Finals’ Week? NO CLASS!! That means I can schedule my time however I like to get things done! Some students take exams better in the middle of the night, others at the break of dawn; some like to take exams with days to spare before the due date (overachievers!), others like to push the deadline. Essentially, you can do whatever you want to do, as long as you get everything done!
So I will confess – I’m a BIG planner. Each time this part of the term rolls around, I break out my white board and make my grand "Finals’ Week [Insert Term Here]" plan. Well, this term ain’t no different!

This has gotten me through 9 terms of Caltech Finals’ Weeks, and I expect it to help me make it through the last three! So what’s on the menu this term?

  • Bi 145a: Human Anatomy. Set is due by Wednesday 7:30 PM
  • BMB/Bi/Ch 170a: Biophysics of Macromolecules. Set is due by Tuesday 5 PM. Final is due by Friday 5 PM.

  • Bi 180: Methods in Molecular Genetics. Report is due by Friday 5 PM.

  • En 138: Mark Twain and His Contemporaries. Essay due by Thursday 5 PM.

Like I said, as a senior this is MUCH less than I had my first three years! Normally I would have 3, sometimes 4 exams in a term! I’ll admit, that was a challenge, especially for some of the biology classes I’ve had with 5 or 6 hour exams! How’d I get through those really tough terms? The same way as I’ll get through this one – with a plan! Not everyone has that same system, but especially after the first two pass/fail terms at Caltech everyone can figure out what their strategy is.

I’ll keep you posted on how the week pans out!

Just for a med school update, I just got back from NYU! Let’s just say if nothing else, all this traveling has made me much more PATIENT! For example, my flight was diverted on the way to Newark and we had a 2.5 hour layover in Las Vegas! But no need to worry, I was able to get started on some of my Finals’ Week stuff, so I’ve learned just to make the best of it.

And to make matters more interesting…my flight back to Caltech was delayed 5 hours, so we just decided to change it to the next morning! And I’m glad I did – because it started to SNOW when I should have been taking off! Enjoy the short video to get you into the Holiday Spirit!

Though it’s nice to see the snow/cold once in a while, I’m definitely excited to go back to school and wear my flip-flops and shorts again! Definitely do NOT get this nasty weather at Caltech! 🙂
After finals and going back home (for break!), I have another interview – this time at Harvard Med! Wish me luck up in Cambridge!

Andrew Freddo ’10

Chemistry and Biology, Class of 2010

My name is Andrew, and I am beginning what looks to be a busy and exciting senior year! I’m originally from New Jersey, and always try to give my friends here at Caltech a taste of my East Coast roots. Outside of my chemistry and biology classes, I enjoy cooking (Italian food, of course!), giving admissions tours, writing food reviews with fellow blogger Dannah, and catching up with my favorite TV shows. Academically, this year will truly be a culmination of my first three at Caltech. I am currently applying for combined MD/PhD programs (also knows as MSTPs ? Medical Scientist Training Programs). In addition to juggling my sets and exams, I’m going to be visiting many schools around the country to interview for their programs. I’ll definitely be logging lots of frequent flier miles, snapping lots of pictures, and learning a lot about medical and graduate school!