Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Bit Blustery

Well, I have an hour and 45 minutes to wait for Chunky to render the latest beautiful raytraced vista of Honningbrew, my Minecraft city, sso before I eventually go and get some food, I find myself back here, for want of something better to do.

Today was a pretty good day. A nice lay in followed by a nice coffee, sitting in a nice room well insulated from the freezing cold gale force winds outside, I finally managed to get the content management system of my university project website working. Properly working too.
It was a little touch and go at one point, I did something wrong at one point and the next time I loaded the page, well, I've never seen so many PHP errors on one page before. They might have extended off the bottom of the screen, I didn't bother to check.

The website assignment has been something of a millstone around my neck over the past few weeks, it's not one of my strongest subjects, but at least I am slowly picking it up. While the intricacies of PHP (and to a lesser extent, SQL) are somewhat lost on me, the same was true of HTML, and I used to consider CSS something of a dark mystical art.
This project apparentlly uses all four, as well as JavaScript and jQuery. I say apparently because it's such a big project - 70% of the marks for that subject for the entire year - that many of us have started working on it before the classes that teach us the required skills have even been scheduled.
We lost about 40% of the class at the end of the first year at university, and while I'm pretty confident (no, honestly) that I'm going to graduate, I do wonder if one or two of my remaining coursemates will be leaving us in May, never to return.

University of course is the most recent "big thing" to happen to me. Very big, extra big, super big. I'm in second year now, and while I suppose it would have been awesome to get those freshman experiences down for posterity, frankly I've been too busy to sit around and write about them. Studying, stressing, sleeping, or ssssdrinking. The four Ss of your stereotypical student life, and I've done plenty of all four.
I have to admit though the dynamic has changed somewhat, with the first year weeding out those unsuited, unwilling or unable to adapt to university life, the amount of studying has increased (despite a much greater emphasis on self-directed learning that chronic procrastinator here initially struggled to adapt to) and the amount of bars, pubs and drinking has decreased sharply.

It has occured to me to wonder if I should actually make more of an effort to get out and hit the bars, or at least spend some time gaming, because these days I'm either studying or sleeping. As a kid, I was amazed that my brother had these cool games and this amazing computer, yet I never saw him enjoying them, and his room was filled with boring stuff like textbooks and pencils and stuff. I had no idea why someone would rather have their nose in a book than up against a screen, playing Doom or Magic Carpet 2, or even that demo of Total Mania that I still have laying around here somewhere (despite the publishers (Domark) sort of merging into Eidos Interactive nearly 25 years ago)...
Now I understand. Sure, I'd love to be gaming. But I'd love not-failing my degree even more. Not that I'm in danger of doing that, but my classmates and I are quite familiar with what happens to folks who'd rather game than study. Or as they used to say in the Army, Train Hard, Fight Easy, i.e. Work hard now, so you don't have to, later.

Not that I'm under any illusions of course. Data network engineers are very lucky if they can find a nice sinecure. The ones that do exist are no less dead-end than the jobs I left unskilled labour to leave behind me. My best hope for a nice comfortable life is to hit the books, then hit some different books, then hit even more books.
Of course I've already said to friends that I am wary to keep my eyes on the prize. I've had well paying jobs that made me miserable before, I've no intention of working my arse off to get lots of lovely sparkly money, if it means that I hate the job I'm doing day in, day out. I'd rather find a midddle ground between stress and money than be rich and freak out every day at work.

Still, that's some distance away, there's at least another year of university to go, possibly two if I do my Master's degree. Though it's scary how fast things have moved. I was in college twenty minutes ago and now I'm coming up to the start of Exam Season, second year.
I seem to have adapted quite well to the stress, mostly. Probably. I keep a level head not because I don't geel stressed, but because I know that freaking out would just distract me, delay my studies, and quite possibly annoy people at the same time. Strangely, it seems to be the ones who get stressed about every little thing that do quite well in university. The ones who just sit back and assume it will all be fine and that there's no need to worry right now, well, we had twenty of them more on my course this time last year than we do now.

Still, I seem to be getting through my work at a decent pace, grades are good, if not amazing, and I'm just getting on with things. There's really not a lot to report, outside of university, simply because it has been occupying pretty much all my attention in one form or another.

I don't mind. It's something to work towards isn't it.

Now, time for that dinner. I'm going to have new potatoes and chilli.

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