Wait…I’m Going to School?

Robert Latta
March 13, 2013

It was just this week that I realized that I may finally have to step out of vacation mode for a while.  While the work is still not quite as difficult as at Purdue, and I don’t have to stay up until 2:30 finishing my structures homework, I’m currently struggling with the fact that I have a 2,500 word paper due tomorrow (not a usual assignment for an engineering student).  In fact, I’m procrastinating right now, taking a break from discussing remote sensing technologies in forestry.

Since I haven’t done so yet, let me tell you about the classes that I’m in.  And yes, Mom, I have been going to [most of] my classes.

1. STAT201 Applied Statistics.  This is an elusive one, that just shows exactly how differently academics go here than at Purdue or anywhere in the U.S.  It’s an early 8 a.m. lecture that deals with how to use statistics for the real world.  So far it’s mostly a brush-up for me from my AP Statistics class in high school.  It’s interesting because they don’t take attendance (I think about 15 out of 100 people actually show up to class everyday).  There also hasn’t been any graded work in the class so far.  The only lab work we have done has been ungraded exercises in a computer lab.  I’m getting a bit nervous for what is to come.

2. GEOG109 Forces in Nature.  So far, I’m enjoying this class, and not just because it’s easy.  It’s a first year course that deals with, well, forces in nature.  We started the term off with learning about the migration patterns of dragonflies in the Indian Ocean (who knew that dragonflies migrate?).

3. ENCN415 Pavement Design.  I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan.  It’s probably the least exciting course I have ever taken.  Just look at the name.  Alas, I’m taking it as a technical elective that will help me graduate from Purdue.  If anything, I guess, if somebody ever asks me what is in asphalt, I’ll be able to tell them!

4. FORE342 Information Technology in Forestry.  This is the one I’m writing my novel–er, literature review on.  It’s easily my favorite class so far.  The material is about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that help with collecting forestry data.  We’re learning how to use a mapping software called ArcGIS in lab, which is applicable to solving civil engineering problems.  Right now, for my paper, I’m looking at how well radar, aerial photography, LiDAR, and multi-spectral imaging can help with forest managment.  It’s pretty fascinating stuff (at least to me it is).  It’s also interesting because I’m in it with a bunch of forestry majors, so I can learn a lot about trees!

In other news, tomorrow is my 21st birthday, which I’ll be celebrating by taking a long car ride to Fiordland National Park for some backpacking with a few friends.

Well, time to get back to the rock mine.



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Robert Latta

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Robbie Latta and I am a junior studying civil engineering at Purdue University in lovely West Lafayette, Indiana. I am also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity on campus. I like to spend time outside, bike, play hockey when I am home in Minnesota, write, and spend time with my friends. I am coming to New Zealand to explore the Kiwi lifestyle and have some fun!</span></div>

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