Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'School' Category

Shifting priorities

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Now that I am back in school, everything, fundamentally, has changed. I knew it would be an adjustment, but right now I can’t help but feel like my entire life is in a state of upheaval.

The good news is, almost all of the changes are good. No longer do I spend eight hours per day sitting in one place, in front of a computer. I am studying fascinating topics, and I feel liberated from the boredom I felt from writing code all day. I still enjoy programming, but I’ve realized that it’s not something I want to spend 100% of my time doing, as I have the last few years. I am going in some new and exciting directions, and it feels great.

The bad news is, I haven’t figured out yet how cycling fits into my new lifestyle. I do ride to campus, and to work, and home at the end of the day. That alone nets me about 12 miles per day, five days per week.

At first I was riding from one class to another, regardless of how close together they were. Recently I’ve started parking the bike and walking more. Sometimes I forget how much I love to walk. It’s like cycling, only even slower, and less intense, and it gives you a much better vantagepoint for observing the world around you.

The thing is, I’ve had more homework than I expected. This leaves me less time, and less energy, for riding. I’ve also had a case of the winter blues the last week or two that’s been affecting my desire to ride. My first two weeks of class have also happened to coincide with two of the toughest weeks of the entire winter. It’s been challenging just getting to class, and by the end of the week I don’t much feel like pushing myself, riding-wise. I even set a new personal record on Friday, riding in -1°F temperatures, with -8°F windchill.

Even though it’s frustrating, I’m looking at all of this as a good thing. Cycling has dominated my life, the past few years. This is a great opportunity to focus on improving myself in other ways. I’ll certainly keep riding, but realistically I think it’ll be less than before. I was accustomed to all my time being my own, outside of work. Now, homework is taking up surprising amounts of my time. I will have to fit rides in whenever I can. That’s fine with me, but it’s a tough adjustment to make.

School is demanding

Monday, January 17th, 2011

I’ve hardly had any time for riding, aside from riding to/from campus and riding between classes and work, this past week. My first week of classes was not too difficult academically, but the riding was demanding. Cold temperatures, inches of snow, and new routes to learn. It’s been rough.

We had a three-day weekend this weekend, and I hoped to get some good solid mileage in, but I spent basically the whole time working on a mammoth photography assignment. The amount of work seems over the top, especially for a class aimed at non-majors, and I think the professor realizes this, as he gave us a week-long extension. Naturally, this didn’t happen until almost the entire weekend was gone. I got to ride a few miles today (six, to be precise). It’s been frustrating not having time for riding, but I hope that this is a temporary setback, and that future assignments will be less demanding. I’ve actually been having fun with the project — I love taking photos — but the time commitment has been way more than I anticipated.

The good news is, my brain is being used in ways it hasn’t in many years. I’m learning so much. There’s only one class I’m not excited about, and that is my Computer Science class. Part of the reason is that it’s very basic material, frankly below my current skill level. But there is enough flexibility with the projects that I can branch out into new areas. Furthermore, I’ve been feeling less interested in programming in general, and as time goes on, I feel more strongly about this point. Currently the best approach seems to be to supplement my technical work with more creative elements, to make things more interesting. I’m curious to see where this takes me.

I don’t feel bad that I have not had time for riding, except that I am supposed to be training for a 200 km brevet right now. But, riding has dominated my time the past few years and I need to balance that with some personal development in other areas.

Day two of school

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Today I had classes, but no work. Mother nature is testing me this first week of classes. We got a couple of inches of snow overnight, and it continued to snow throughout the day. It was a wet, sticky snow that got all over everything. Local public schools were canceled, but IU almost never cancels classes.

My ride to work was not too bad. When public schools are canceled, there’s never much traffic. Some roads were sketchy.

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This road hadn’t received any attention at all.

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For a while, I followed this intrepid rider. She did not appear to have studded tires, but she was doing just fine. I was impressed.

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Here’s a nice view from inside the Radio/TV building.

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The Sample Gates are an icon on campus. I passed through them between classes.

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There are many beautiful, old buildings on campus … many of which are made of local limestone.

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There’s a wooded area right amongst some of the buildings. It’s small, but you can lose yourself and feel you’re out in the woods.

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I stumbled upon this beautiful sculpture. Not sure what the story is behind this. A quick googling doesn’t turn anything up.

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Here’s the bike after my last class.

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My ride home from campus was sketchy. My rear brake wasn’t working too well … too much snow clung to it, and froze up.

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I did, however, manage to find a random nature preserve, and a shortcut.

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Here I am, almost home. You can see how the snow clings to everything.

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Seriously, everything.

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I planned to do a good training ride tonight, but the roads just got worse and worse. I decided to stay home tonight. A good choice, I think.

Classes are going well so far. I feel least interested in my Computer Science course, which is interesting as IT has been my chosen profession for the last several years. Maybe this is a chance to change course?

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