I realize that I’ve been a bit quiet on here lately. I’ve been suffering from a pretty severe cold, which I’m finally recovering from, and have two(!) exams in psychology class this week, the second of which is tonight. After that, summer session is out and I have a week before fall quarter starts, so hopefully I can get some serious blogging done (or at least, some of my projects worked on).
There really was little doubt, but I survived my own personal “Hell Week” of working full-time, attending classes (and even taking an exam in psychology!), and working a couple of nights as a security officer for a local festival. I missed my goal of posting daily to all of my blogs, but every other day isn’t too bad 🙂 Now, I’m off to finish up my lunch break so that I can complete my 13-hour day. After tomorrow’s all-day class, hell week is finally over 🙂
Someone should have warned me that this week was going to be “Hell Week,” but it’s of my own making.
This week, several things have happened at once. First, I work my normal job (about 44 hours a week). On top of that, second summer session started at school. I’m only taking 6 credit hours (one 5 credit-hour class plus a workshop), but that’s three nights a week. And to top it off, I’m working two night shifts of security detail for a local festival. And did I mention that my new goal is to post to all three of my blogs daily? I’ve obviously missed that target already, but every-other-day is still better than what I was doing 🙂
Well, it was a nice break, but summer quarter starts this week. Since I’m a non-traditional student with a full-time job, I thought I’d take a few classes over the summer. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to return in the fall.
One good thing about classes over the summer is that they tend to be a bit smaller: everyone else is enjoying their summer vacation. Plus, the quarter is broken up into two “sessions,” each session being half the quarter. Some classes run the full quarter, but many run either first or second session. This allows me to get a couple of less-enjoyable classes out of the way pretty quickly, keeping them as painless as possible 🙂
Yes, it’s that time of quarter that everyone loves so well… Finals Week! Longtime readers can probably figure out when the beginning and end of my quarters are because it causes a break in my posting rhythm. Hopefully it won’t be too disruptive this time, because I have many things going on right now. I don’t want to be premature in announcing anything, so I’ll wait until each one is ready. If the first isn’t ready by Thursday, it probably never will be. So look for my first announcement by then.
“It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.”
“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”
“Go ask a glass of water.”
This is one of my favorite exchanges from the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and until recently I didn’t really appreciate it. For the past couple of weeks, I have been suffering from dizzy spells. The kind like you get when you’re really drunk and go to lie down, and the room starts spinning. Only I haven’t been drunk in an extremely long time, which made the entire experience extremely unpleasant. Sorta like a glass of water must feel when being drunk.
At any rate, I think I have finally figured out what is causing the dizziness. I have been getting way too little sleep because of the course load in school along with my work schedule, so I think I have been suffering from exhaustion. I came to realize this when I got a couple of good nights of sleep (without sleeping too much) and the dizziness when away. Once the sleep patterns got screwed up again, the dizziness came back. So, in the fall, I don’t think I am going to return to school. An associates degree isn’t going to really help me much because I’ve got the experience, and a bachelors is not available without transferring to a different school. Instead, I am going to study for the CCSP, and possibly grab the Network+ and Security+ certificates while on my way to the CISSP. InfoSec is where it’s at these days, and I’ve always been interested. I’d just about give up management for an entry-level position if the pay was right.
Third day of classes was boring! It was the same classes that I had on Monday, but I submitted my homework electronically for Programming & Design II so that I could skip the open lab. However, Network Concepts II just about put me to sleep. I don’t know why Dr. Zhang puts me to sleep every time he teaches. He has a very good grasp of English, and one of my best friends is Chinese (OK. Indonesian. But of Chinese heritage) so the accent isn’t even something I notice. I don’t even think it’s his teaching style. I think that, because it’s still a fairly intro-level course, I am just plain bored with it. I’ve already covered the material through the Cisco Academy program. Plus I’ve been doing networking from the time two of my friends brought and I crammed all of our PCs into my tiny bedroom and hooked ’em up to play a little Doom when it first came out. I’ve actually been doing networking in one form or other even longer than that, but you get the idea. It’s old hat to me. When we get into the hands-on stuff, it might not be quite as bad. It’s still mostly stuff I’ve been doing for years, but it looks like we’ll be doing a couple of group projects, so I’ll at least get to interact with my classmates.
Yesterday was the second day of class. The only class I had was on Visual Basic. The class actually looks like it might be useful in getting a grip on some OO concepts that I’ve struggled a bit with when trying to learn them on my own. We’re going to go behind the visual environment and actually code, which is as it should be. However, I’m not so sure it should be in BASIC 😉
Yesterday was the first day of Spring Quarter 2006, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. All of my classes are smaller than they were last quarter, with only a handful of people in each. Two of my classes are the second part of classes from last quarter, and are required for the CTCH degree. Makes me wonder – did a ton of people do that poorly in those classes? I could see it, because it was mostly theory. This quarter is mostly application.
At any rate, my first class is Network Concepts II, which looks like it’s going to be a very abbreviated version of the Cisco CCNA classes, but without IOS. The text is “Network+ Guide to Networks,” if that tells you anything. There’s no homework in the class other than reading (I’m not even wasting money on the text) and a class project. I must have impressed someone last quarter by winging my class presentation, because I’ve already got a partner for the project even though it won’t be assigned for a couple of weeks. It also looks like we’re going to have a field trip to my server room. Should be interesting.
My second class is Programming & Design II, which basically covers ANSI C. We spent last quarter learning the language. This quarter looks a lot more fun. After all, I knew the language already. Plus, a different instructor took this portion of the class. Dr. Zhang is a pretty brilliant guy, but there’s something lacking in his teaching style. He does better teaching the networking classes than the programming ones.
Finally, tonight I have a class called Visual Programming. Yup. Visual Basic. IMHO, anything with “Visual” in the title isn’t a real programming language. Same goes for anything with “Basic” in the title. Visual Basic is the double-whammy. If it weren’t for the instructor being the same as the ANSI C class – and the fact that it’s a required course for CTCH – I would probably drop it.
Both of my programming classes are 5:10 – 7:45. One is Monday & Wednesday, while the other is Tuesday & Thursday. The good thing is, in the C class at least, that we don’t have to attend lab sessions if we understand the material and do our homework at home. The instructor is either going to do half sessions with the second half being lab, or make Wednesdays lab nights. I hope the latter, because that puts me in class one less night a week. I hope she does the Visual class the same way. Guess I’ll find out tonight.
After a long quarter at school of not really trying, I finally got my grades. 4.0 for the term, 3.970 accumulative. That’s what happens when they’re intro courses (but required) on a subject that you’ve been making a living at for over a decade. That little piece of paper will look really good on the resume, though.
Unfortunately, spring break has been way too short. Classes start back up on Monday, and while the course load is roughly the same, none of the classes are online. This means I’ve gotta spend two additional evenings a week in class. All the classes are again computer-related, so it will not interfere with anything else in my life.
What I really can’t wait for is summer, because I’ll only have work and home to deal with, not school. This will leave me time to hopefully take care of a few of the projects that I’ve got on the back burner (some for awhile now). I also have to get ready to renew my CCNA, which expires in September.
All that said, I plan to continue blogging as regularly as I can. I absolutely love writing, and I have too many good ideas to let fall by the wayside. Look for all of my plans to come to fruition over the summer 🙂