Week 2 – Rough Around the Edges

The body adjusts to stress. Winters feel a lot colder at the beginning of the season. By the time spring rolls around, you’ve adjusted to the drop in temperature. If you start to work out, it’ll be painful for the first three weeks, that is, until your body adjusts to the muscles tearing and regrowing. But the body takes time to adjust, and because of that, there is always growing pains when you encounter a new routine.

And right now, my body is definitely adjusting to the new environment. It’s been affecting me in weird ways.

  • Twice this week, instead of swiping my student card to get on the bus, I swiped one of my other cards. One of the bus drivers was nice to point out that his bus was not a grocery store.
  • I left some critical gear at home because I thought it’d be a great idea to have a look at the kit before the lab the next day. This was smart because it checking your equipment was the first task of the lab. It was also stupid because I forgot that equipment at home. Thankfully they have backups for the parts I needed.
  • I forgot some wires in one of my classes. One of my peers brought it back to me.
  • I spent fifteen minutes looking for a tool. I walked back to previous classes, I checked both of the bags I brought to school. Turns out it was sitting on the keyboard, right in front of my face.
  • I’ve been having weird dreams. I had a dream where was a massive bug in my ear that was screaming and scratching the inside of my head (horrifying). There was a dream where I threw a melon at the genitals of a giant bear (slightly amusing). And the last dream involved me shaving my head and convincing my fiancee it looked amazing (I would not look good with a shaved head).

Long story short, my body and brain are not used to the new, rigorous schedule I’ve set for myself, and as a result, are stressing out a bit. My mind, however, is fine. Mr. Charlton is holding it together pretty well, it’s just the vessel that holds me is struggling with waking up at 5:45 am and absorbing thirty hours of school a week and doing thirty hours of homework and then working twenty plus hours a week.

Still, though, even with this crazy schedule, I don’t feel overwhelmed yet. I’m still ahead in most of my classes, there’s a couple of knowledge gaps I have to fill with studying, but overall, I’m keeping my head above water. Even though I feel exhausted after these long days, I still wake up feeling refreshed and ready to do some more learning. At the same time, I’m hoping my body starts to adjust after week three or four. I’ve already had people at work comment on how tired I look all the time since my program started.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’ve gotten insanely good at managing my time. On the bus? Studying. I’m at work? Some notes are put in front of me to glance at while I’m cooking. Walking home? Trying to recall the lessons from the day. When you don’t have any time to spare, study time is all the time.

p.s.s. Not only am I learning new things at school, I’m learning new things in the kitchen! Me and Kat decided that date night would be wing night, and instead of going out to some greasy pub, we tried making them at home. And let me tell you, they turned out amazing. Seriously, go buy some chicken wings, toss ’em in cornstarch, then an egg wash, then some seasoned flour, and throw them in a pot of hot oil for 8-10 mins.

Snapchat-954206324

Look at these little badboys. We tossed ’em in some hot sauce and teriyaki.

p.s.s.s. You might also be wondering when I find the time to write this terrible blog. The exact time is typically Tuesday morning from 7:15 to 7:45, which is enough time to bang out a poorly written and edited piece of internet entertainment.

 

Week 1 – Gearing Up

The other day I gave a good friend of mine a phone call to wish the man a happy birthday. The subject of school came up, as we’ve been talking about me heading back to class the moment I told him I registered. He asked me how I get to school.

“Well, first, I hop on a bus outside of my place, head downtown, wait about fifteen minutes, then head up on another bus that takes me to the campus”.

“Man, you know what you need to do? Instead of hopping on the bus right outside your place, why don’t you walk to the second bus? Clear your head, get some exercise. Sounds like you aren’t saving time taking the first bus.”

So I took him up on his advice and started walking to school for the first section of my trip. And goddamn if he wasn’t right; I feel way more awake and alert and ready to tackle the day.

20180906_173023

  1. Get some exercise in the morning.

The last three days have been more about getting ready and forming study habits, as to diving right in. Even on the last day of the school week, I’m still missing one tools from the ol’ toolbox, so hopefully tomorrow morning I can track that down. Speaking of tools though…

I’ve been bragging a little bit about how prepared I am for school, the fact that I’ve gotten a lead in a lot of my classes by taking the time to study math, physics, and programming. Well, I found out on Wednesday that being prepared has cost me. And it’s cost me roughly fifty dollars.

You see, back in June or so, when I was in between jobs, I decided to meet a couple of my professors and get a bead on what I was going to be learning. One of my profs recommended that I pick up a little kit for his class. It was a box containing an Arduino microcontroller, a bunch of LEDs, resistors, motors, and other electronic goodies. I took it home and play around with it a bit, learning a little bit about how to program the board. Awesome, right?

The tool kit for the program is roughly $420 ($418.15 to be precise) and it has everything you need, including the kit I had already bought. When I went to go pick it up, I mentioned that I had already purchased the microcontroller kit. This led to some problems, because as I found out, there’s only one guy on campus that knows the exact price of each individual part of the tool kit. Most of the other staff only know the total everything, which is roughly $420 ($418.15 to be precise). I could wait until this particular gentleman got back from his lunch, come back another time, or buy the whole thing and have two kits.

He wasn’t going to be back for about half an hour. In the school setting, a half hour when you have nothing to do can quickly become filled with things you need to do, like homework or eating some vitals or suffering the existential questions of why the hell am I here in the first place. This was the only time of the day where I was actually going to get a lunch, and I wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to make it back to grab this stuff. The power of my stomach turned over, so now I have two identical kits. My hunger cost me $50.

2. Majority of tools purchased.

The plus side of this is I now have a spare kit, as well as a crafty fiancee who wants to make Halloween decorations. Maybe if I get some spare time, we’ll sit down and try to make some interactive Halloween stuff. Who knows? We might be able to whip up some incredibly imaginative decorations.

There was another important event going on Wednesday, and that was checking out a wedding party venue in town here with Kat. Long story short, it was so well suited for our needs that we’ll be scooping it up.

3. Procuring a venue for wedding party.

Now, I should mention right now that due to both my new school schedule and Kat’s new work schedule, we aren’t actually going to see each other very often, and when we do, I’m usually going to be in the office studying. The only day we actually might get to see each other is on Wednesday afternoon, as I’m off school early and Kathryn has the day off. I made a declaration that Wednesday would be date day, and that even if we didn’t have any extra money, we would still hang out and spend some quality time together.

20180906_065330

Ladies love Italian.

4. Romancing the lady.

On another note, I’m going to pat myself on the back and let you all know that for the first time in my entire life, I actually went home and did the homework on the same day I received it. I didn’t procrastinate! I have six sheets of fresh math homework just waiting to be handed in. I’m hoping to continue this momentum this weekend.

5. Finish Math homework ahead of time.

And finally, this is the first day of not only attending school, but heading to work right afterwards. When my last class is done at 3:30pm, I whisk myself off to the kitchen to start work on the line. The restaurant closes at 10:30pm, so at the very latest I’ll be done at 11:30pm, which means I get home at midnight. That’ll make for an eighteen hour day, so even though I’m headed to the campus on the weekend, I might rewards myself by sleeping in until 8:00am.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Right, right, I have to pick up some tools tomorrow before I head to school, and then before I go to work again tomorrow. Well, only four to five more years of this.

p.s.s. I wrote this last Friday, but didn’t post it until next Tuesday. I ain’t working the weekdays.

Day 1 – Back Into the Swing of Things

What is soon to become a ritual, I got up earlier than I normally do, I hopped on a bus, then I headed off to school. There was a couple of observations I made right away:

  1. I’m really lucky to be getting on the bus downtown, because about half way through the trip, the bus was at capacity and ignoring stops. And you could tell this wasn’t the first bus to pass a bunch of people, as they looked pretty pissed off as we flew by.
  2. Any chance of studying on the bus is going to either be done with flash cards or on my phone, ’cause the likelihood of a seat is going to be slim to nil.
  3. Which means that if I do want to get some cramming in on the bus, I’m going to have to either come in really early when no one is on the bus, or stay really late. Or both.

 

20180904_080710

Sardines off to school

I arrive at campus, and thankfully I’m not even remotely the youngest person disembarking. Getting my bearings and with my schedule in hand, I head to the first class. I’m 10 minutes early, but there’s no way I’m the first person to arrive.

And I’m the first goddamn person to arrive.

20180904_131234

WHY WAS I THE FIRST GODDAMN PERSON TO ARRIVE?!?!?

Right off the bat, I’ve got a million questions going through my mind; Am I in the right classroom? Am I on time? Is it Tuesday? (I checked my phone, it is indeed Tuesday) Am I making a mistake? What the hell am I doing with my life? Thankfully, someone else walked into the room. It was a middle aged woman. Maybe it’s the professor?

“Is this the class for ECET-160?” she asks. She is not the professor. But it’s nice to see someone closer to my age. Her name is Izzy. We exchange pleasantries and take our seats. More people start to arrive, with the same lost look in their eyes. “Is this….” “Yeah, it’s ECET-160, come in.” The class is small, like a dozen people. The teacher finally arrives. You can tell it’s the teacher because he comes into the room from the special teacher door, not the student/pleb door. He greets the class.

“I’m glad everyone is here. Looks like you all got into the classroom okay. So your card is working correctly, yes?” Everyone looks at me. I look at everyone else. “…Key card?” I ask. “Yeah, you used a key card to get in here, right?” the teacher smiles. “…No, I just walked in.” He’s not smiling anymore. “It wasn’t locked?” he asks inquisitively. “No, I just turned the door and walked in.” He pauses for a moment. “Huh. Well, anyways…”

He proceeds to talk about the course. His expectations. His requirements. He mentions a number of times that the school networking system that distributes course materials and marks is frequently down and not available. I’m getting the impression that he’s been here for too long, and he’s no longer happy with the work he’s doing. I make a subtle note to keep an eye out for whiskey stains and the look that he’s losing his will to do this job. Besides his annoyance at the systems in place, he seems interested in teaching the material. The words ‘Military’ pass his lips a number of times. I make another note; don’t be late for this man’s lectures.

We finish up early, and I head off to get my key card. Very painless, and I look pretty good in the picture.

Note from the author: I was going to post a picture of my student ID, but unfortunately, it had a bunch of info on there that probably shouldn’t be posted. Also, I’m way too lazy at the moment to edit any of that stuff out.

 

The next two classes are back to back, and it’s the moment where I’m so pleased with myself for taking the time to study over the summer. One of the reference books our circuits professor recommends is the same one I’ve been reading this summer. I instantly recognize some of the formulas he’s throw up on the board. In the math class, the prof gets to a few problems that are only rudimentary because I’ve taken the time to review them on Khan Academy. I breathe a sigh of relief.

I’ve got an hour, so I decide to explore the campus a bit. I find out where my next class is. I check out the gym, where I keep telling myself I’m going to make use of this space. I check out the cafeteria, noticing that it’s mostly empty. There’s the bookstore with a massive lineup. Young people are sitting around playing cards, reminding me of my youthful days in college where I played cards instead of working.

Our English class is the most interactive so far. The teacher makes everyone say something about themselves, and I think for most people it’s the first thing they’ve said all day. Turns out there’s a couple of electricians in the class, so it might be a good idea to get to know them a little better. Also a couple of musicians and gamers, so at least I have a couple of the same hobbies.

I hop into my last class, which is programming an Arduino microcontroller. As luck would have it, Kat had to do a similar course in University, and I learned a ton helping her, so I’ve got a feeling this should be a bit of a breeze.

The day is done, and I’m headed back home. I don’t have any new friends yet, but I also don’t have any new enemies, so we can chalk that down as a win. But still, I’ve been in five classrooms today, and two of the clocks were broken. I’m hoping that’s not a bad sign.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I don’t know if I’ll be able to post everyday, not only because I’m busy, but sometimes it’s just going to be kinda boring. First day though, definitely a little weird.