I mean, come on, the word GROSS is in the title! So, as it turns out, Gross Anatomy was not deemed “gross” due to its disgusting amount of material and need for memorization. It is the study of human structures that can be seen with the naked eye. The amount of material covered during one semester of Gross Anatomy is enough to warrant a student’s every waking moment spent in the library. Basically, what the professor expects is for each student to look at a body, a cadaver’s bones, muscles, nerves, veins, arteries, and organs, and be able to name any single thing at any given time. Pretty gross, am I right?
Similar to gross anatomy, students are expected to learn an incredible amount of information in a very short period of time. The body is a wonderland, and the wonderland is extremely complicated. However, unlike gross anatomy, the A&P professor is the greatest reason why the class is so difficult. The class is taught based on the professor’s powerpoints. He presents the powerpoint presentations containing only very key pieces of information, and he fills in the rest of the information live, typing it into the powerpoints in class. He types and talks about very difficult information very quickly. Before you know it, you leave class and realize you haven’t absorbed anything. Ugh.
“Orgo,” as this class is fondly known, seems to be the bane of existence of many students. It involves the study of organic structures, properties of organic compounds. Francesca, a former pharmacology major, notes that “the simple orientation of a hydroxyl group or a double bond could change whether you’re dealing with a harmless compound or an explosive. Never in my entire life have I been so afraid to draw lines in class.” For her, it was the sheer terror of confusing a more common compound with a dangerous explosive on an exam. For others, the difficulty lies in the fact that the material itself is plain difficult, dense, and confusing. In all, this class can be alkynes of trouble. (An alkyne is any of the series of unsaturated hydrocarbons containing a triple bond. Puns are great. This class is hard.)
A class designed to analyze the theoretical underpinnings of calculus. Forget just learning calculus, difficult as it may be in the first place! “It’s much easier to learn things that have already been discovered, but nobody realizes this until they sit in front of a blank page and are asked to invent calculus over the course of a semester. Real Analysis was as humbling as it was stimulating, giving newfound respect for the historical greats of mathematics who invented such methods without a teacher to ask for help,” said Nick, an economics and math major. For him, the very nature of the class itself made the journey difficult. However, the gain from the experience seemed to be extremely worth it. Inspiring, Nick. Inspiring.
This class is based around the brain. You learn about how injuries in different areas of the brain and brainstem would affect functioning. Memorizing different parts and names for tiny little things sticking out of cranial lobes can be overwhelming, and the lab component requires you to touch and analyze brains, brainstems, skulls, and spinal cords. Concepts in this class can be confusing, but at least the professor is an extremely wonderful and quirky man.
This class is a history seminar with an allegedly wonderful professor and interesting material. However, “with upwards of 100 pages of translated old text to read for Tuesday and Friday, plus the 2 page single spaced summary and analysis, I spent the most time preparing for that class my whole semester,” said student, Ian. It’s important to recognize that, although a class may have a great professor and interesting material, it can still be extremely difficult in terms of time consumption.
Pharmacology is a course for students in the health professions which teaches about pharmaceutical drug uses for various conditions. Why so difficult? Well, not only are there about a billion and one drug names and corresponding uses to memorize, but, on top of this, the class has two professors. “It’s pretty common knowledge that people do poorly on the first test in a class because they’re learning the professor’s teaching style. But, with two professors, you did poorly on the first two tests and then half the semester was over and you were screwed,” said nursing student Elizabeth. So, the class material was hard, the professor situation was a lot to handle, and there seemed to be no out-of-class help for the course. Yikes. Drugs are bad, kids. Stay away.
Thermodynamics is a branch of physical science which involves the relationship between heat and other forms of energy. This course is offered for engineering students at NU. The difficulty of this class, said Zoe, a future chemical engineer, was rooted in her prior mathematical preparation and her professor’s expectations of the students. “The professor told us that kids at MIT graduate with math skills so strong that they can do differential equations with their eyes closed, but the math department at Northeastern didn’t prepare us enough to be Chemical Engineers. He really pushed us not only to learn Thermo but to become much better mathematicians.” She also notes that after spending hours upon hours completing vigorous problem sets, the class averages on exams were still around the 30’s and 40’s. However, she felt that she came out of the class more equipped to be a successful engineer. Go, Zoe, go!
Usually, it is the amount or nature of the material in a class which makes it difficult. But, in Healthcare Research, the difficulty lies in the tone set in the classroom. The nature of the material is short, cut and dry, and lengthy. Time moves along very slowly listening to facts about standard deviations, research methods, and t-tests. The professor lectures in a very standard way, and it is clear that she is very passionate about what she does. This extremely nice woman tries her best to portray her love for research in the best way possible for the students. However, she and many others are aware that it can be slightly tedious at times to listen and learn the material. Drink some coffee before this class. Stay alert. And, try to appreciate her love for research, because you could actually learn something interesting.
This class provides an introduction to the analysis of functions of a complex variable (a real number plus an imaginary number, which is the square root of negative 1). Similar to Gross Anatomy, this class selected an adjective for its title which immediately lets students know that it may be complex. Student Rory, a computer science major, describes his experience. “Imagine relearning everything you’ve ever learned about math, Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, etc, but doing it all again with complex numbers. And, that is just the first month or so.” The remaining three months of this class involves looking at complex singularities, triple or quadruple integrals, and something called harmonic functions. Rory notes that even after taking the class, he still does not know what a lot of that means. Sounds SUPER simple. I might take it myself.