Studies

Now that there are only two and a half weeks left I would say that it’s time to start reflecting on the nature of this experience – to assess what it was all about, what it was worth, and what it might be worth in the future. 

I’m in the library now. I just finished rehearsing for a presentation with some very focused young students. They’re so indulgent of the old man – they put up with my foibles without kicking up too much of a fuss.

Anyway, it occurs to me that I’m now coming to the end of an experience which began in May 2011 as an effort to re-rail and  re-establish purpose after being laid off from my job of 23 years. 

September of that year saw a large number of firsts – the first class, the first test, the first essay and so on – and now I’m experiencing some Newtonian, equal-and-opposite lasts. 

This morning, for example, I came here on the train for the last time. I waited in Mac Hall for the library to open – for the last time – and right now I’m sitting in a library workroom which I booked in my name for the last time. Frankly, I’m probably in this library for the last time right now, because the rest of my studies can be done at home and other than a final, romantic walkabout there would be no reason for me to come back here.

It makes you think: about the passage of time, the meaning of events. It makes you wonder what the point is of using all our personal forces to develop when we’d probably be a lot more comfortable if we just stagnated. I hope against hope that I have the energy to keep learning right up until my last day – there is no emotional profit in being satisfied. There’s no joy in quiesence. Learn and grow, that’s my motto. Learn something new every day, or waste your life on the passive entertainments.

Anyway, here’s my last view of the library. It’s Saturday, so it’s not too busy – but that’s not how I’ll remember it. 

There’s a thing about lasts. The optimism of beginning is gone, but it’s replaced now by the nervous anticipation of satisfaction and success. 

And I have to say, I like the sound of that.

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DP: Movement

And so it continues. My assignments for this semester are now 42% done, and I’m about 55% through the class schedule. 

I have to admit I never did make a point of going in to school to work extra days because I remembered (oh yah!) that I have a perfectly usable and quiet office space here at home, plus I didn’t want to spend extra money on bus tickets  – me being an unemployed bum and all. Staying home for my studies has also saved me the bother of budgeting for campus munchies which, though unquestionably hearty and healthy and not made with any MSGs or sugar whatsoever, are nevertheless money out of my pocket when I indulge.

Right now I’m working on my part of two group projects, and preparing for an exam, all due Monday. It has started to occur to me, now, that I’m actually working on the final projects of my educational career. Because of this, last week when I was readying a short report for submission I decided to go all out, presentationwise. It suddenly occurred to me that once I’m back in the working world (whatever that ends up looking like) I may not get the same opportunities to fiddle with the Word software, so I added a cover page, prepped a contents list, and inserted a subtle watermark – all because I could and because I wanted to, and because it made at least a part of the assignment feel like fun.

I’ve received confirmation that my graduation plans are on track, provided of course that I successfully complete these last two courses. I’m assuming they’ll be fine because I have a habit of just getting things done. 

I’ve also received and completed a survey from the university about my experience there – I barred no holds, believe you me. They know all the niggling little complaints that it is my duty and obligation as an over-confident senior student to divulge.

This afternoon I’m going to send out a resume – what the hey – I’ve got nothing to lose by submitting it. I’m certainly qualified. Anyway, stay tuned for whatever happens next.

 

Giggles

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasures of Academia

Here are the true treasures of academia (no, not the nut) – the kernels of knowledge and wisdom and understanding. 

Books. 

 

Simple Treasure

 

Update

The journey continues. This week I finished two assignments, leaving 11 to go, and I’m currently working on the proposal and annotated bibliography for the final project of the last communications course I will ever take. Exciting stuff. 

Meantime, the house must be cleaned, dinner must be made, the dog must be walked, and the frigid temperatures must be endured. But hey, it’s February: we’re closer to March, now, than December, and that’s a really nice thought. 

Library time!

  

14 minutes

Full blown attack

The thing about school is that it just doesn’t stop when a student gets sick. If a paper is due, well, it’s due, and that’s all there is to it. Of course, there are exceptions (like a death in the family), but me being unable to see straight for most of the past week, being unable to tell the difference between my cheek and my eyeball due to an ugly sinus infection, and being unable to cauterize the constant stream of booger bags flowing from my face to the trash can is not an excuse that any self-respecting professor would accept for work not turned in. 

The ice remains decidedly uncut on consideration of the fact that it has hurt like the dickens for me to even look at a screen or a page this week, let alone read volumes of research material, compiling, rationalizing, sorting and organizing it all into a coherent whole. There will be no sympathy for me and my silly little tissue pile – no concern for how deficient I feel or for how the pressure is building minute by minute because truly this encounter with a less-than-healthy me is rendering my usual standards of work unreachable. As the bard said, Lo, how hardens the professorial heart, how stiffens the administrative resolve! Verily, though I toil and toil, my sickly sweat dripping unbidden on the page, I – oh, never mind. 

The last time I got sick at school it was the second week of the semester. That time there was nothing but reading to be done. This time there are deadlines and a standard to maintain. Am I going to be able to do it? 

Stay tuned. 

Now, a picture. 

Ah, school.

 

Push back

Almost sure-fire recipe to push away a cold

Ingredients

  1. 200 capsules garlic. You didn’t really want a girl/boy friend, did you?
  2. 200 capsules Cold F-whatever. Hold the jar up in two hands, face the camera and smile from ear to ear. 
  3. 1/2 antihistamine tablet daily to aid in nasal aridity. Fact is, it’s only dogs who are healthy when their nose is wet – in humans it’s an undesirable thing.
  4. Tylebuprofenspirinvil as required or according to taste, preferably sprinkled on your morning bagel.
  5. 6 gallons orange juice. Orange juice has a shitload of vitamin C. Drink this while sitting on a tanning bed for maximum dosage and effect.
  6. 14 coffees a day. Coffee is a diuretic and the more often you pee the quicker you expel all the poisons. 
  7. Daily hot bath to sweat the crap out of you. Boil the water in the kettle – when you scream the cold germs run for the hills.
  8. Micro filtering face masks for use on train and bus when sitting next to annoying people who cough and sneeze their crap all over the place. Just be sure to take your mask off to sneeze on them.
  9. Massive doses of distraction to make time pass more quickly – this means interesting but useless books and mindless television. It also means sitting in the hallway at school writing blogs instead of reading school work or preparing for your exam this morning.
  10. Glad-handing freely with people you don’t like. It’s a fact: the more people you share your cold with the quicker you get rid of it. People, this is not the time to be stingy.
  11. Meditation centred on the word ‘no’. Breathe deeply, in between hacking coughs and sniffles. Inhale falteringly as nature intended, then exhale like a death rattle for dramatic effect. The chief benefit of this is that you will be able to ride the elevator alone.
  12. Brandy and lots of it. Nuff sed.
It’s not scientific, but if you do all this you are all but guaranteed to get rid of your cold quickly. 
 
Unfortunately, something else will probably get you.
 
Ok, now I really must study for this morning’s exam.
 

An Old Fart’s Strategy for Cold Management

 
 
(No really: you’re not actually going to do this are you? Please don’t.)

Presentation

Tomorrow is presentation day. My cohort and I are planning to regale the audience with tales of Open Science and trust in scientific delivery, and digitization of scientific content for consumption by various audiences. It’s going to be soooooo cool (please forgive the italics).

Gratuitous library shot

I should be nervous, but I’m really not. My toastmasters experience has helped with that: “Just picture them naked,” they told me. “Just pretend that the audience is nervous too.” Of course, I do this, but more to the point is that after two years in school I’ve been through this enough times that I know it will pass, and that no matter what happens the world will not end. Knowing this actually (usually) helps me relax, with the happy result that I get through it well enough to…  Well, you get my drift. 

Anyway, I’ve spent the better part of the last two days, and more, plugging away at the whys and the whatnots and the wherefores, and with any luck twenty-four hours from now I’ll be relieved and content. 

That’s certainly the goal.

 

Want more to read? Try The Judge’s Lesson.