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.

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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.

 

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.

 

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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.

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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.