Tuesday brought the end of my first semester back in school working toward my encore career in Biology/Ecology. By almost any measure I consider it a success.
This semester I took two courses. The first was a core course for my degree - General Biology. This also included a lab. The second course was an online course in Technical Communications. I don't have my official grades back yet, but do know that I received an A+ in Biology, and needed at least an 87 on my final paper to receive an A- in Technical Communications. The jury, or at least the professor, has yet to provide that verdict.
I was less than pleased with the Technical Communications course. It was probably due to the web delivered structure. I did learn some valuable content, but less than I had hoped or expected.
The Biology course was excellent. As a general course, it covered a wide variety of topics staring with a chemistry base, building up to biological macromolecules, cells, cell division, DNA, inheritance, evolution, and ecology. While my primary interest is in ecology and macro evolutionary biology, I found all of the topics fascinating. I was most surprised by my deep amazement with the cell machinery. The complexity of the processes required to keep a cell alive were deeply interesting.
In returning to classes after twenty years, I was very nervous about staying up with the detailed terminology. In my work I have been a generalist for most of my career. The specialized terminology was my biggest fear. At least so far, that has not been an issue.
With this semester complete, I have my sights focused toward next semester. I have already started my reading, to make sure I begin the semester ahead of the game. I have even been contacted by some new classmates over facebook. The next semester will be a busy one with a new focus on Ecology and the class I am most excited about, Ornithology.