Friday, December 31, 2004

My Year in Review

What a fantastic year 2004 turned out to be. It is amazing how time goes by; it feels like we just faced January yesterday. I suppose the year wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t take a little time to recap how things went, or at least try. What a journey 2004 turned out to be. I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities to learn and grow. I suppose that at its essence one of the beauties of life is that we get to learn. I have learned the value of ones time, and the need to use it carefully and wisely. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when dedication and perseverance are attached to a task.

I love the lyrics from the Switchfoot song, Dare you to move:

“Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be.”


I found that it is that tension that drives the motivated person to figure it out, and become “who you could be.” It certainly isn’t easy, and I have a lot to learn still, but the experiences of 2004 have taught me that I can make those changes.

Here is a brief summary of the major events in my life in 2004:

January: Anxious beginnings on a new major in computer science, being non-matriculated with regard to the School of Computing. Spring semester opened and I took three classes: Introduction to Unix, Introduction to Computer Science I, Physics for Scientists and Engineer’s.

February: Got deeper into my classes. Had my first experience with SCHEME an interesting programming language that belongs to the LiSP family. I got a tutor for my Physics class; it was an interesting experience, as I think he cared more about my grade than I did at first. I think I managed to get to the Opera in February, I think it was Hansel and Gretel.

March: Still working on school, tutoring sessions in physics two times a week. I completed my first major QA/Testing assignment at work. I was the main QA person involved with the release of our new corporate 1099 tax reporting process. It was a good learning experience, though the actual release wouldn’t happen until July.

April: Had my first major experience with Java as a programming language. What a thrilling experience to make programs that would run and do something useful. Enjoyed singing with the Viva-Voce! Men’s chorus in their spring concert, “Go West Young Man”.

May: Finished up finals from spring semester, continued to make progress on the 1099 project at work, and began summer semester.

June:I built my first computer from the ground up, it was quite the learning experience. Got interested in blogging, though I had really high expectations for how and what I wanted my blog to be. I took some time to read books about CSS, Java, XML, and PHP. In school, I was taking one class, Calculus III. I found for the first time in my life that I actually was enjoying mathematics.

July: Fourth of July with the family. Continued work on School, found that the best place to study was not at home, but in the Engineering classroom building at school. Finally, all of the hoops had been jumped and we were able to launch the Beta for the 1099 project at work.

August:
Gave a presentation with a business owner at work re: the 1099 changes at a major user meeting. Took a two week consolidated class on Globalization at school to finish up my general education. I engineered a recoding for Marion Miller, a vocal coach at the University of Utah. Her CD turned out quite nice, considering my novice ability as a recording engineer. It was a fascinating class and I really learned a lot. Prepared for the beginning of fall semester, and started blogging!

September:
I spent much of September adjusting to life with my new classes. I celebrated my 25th birthday, where I received a digital camera, which started my obsession with flickr. It was a fantastic time to see the world through the LCD screen of my camera. It brought part of me back to life that had long been dormant. School was a challenge, but I was enjoying it. I also found that Discrete Math and ODE’s were a lot easier when aided by a tutor. I made the decision that I needed to focus more on school, and as such, was forced to put my singing with Viva Voce! on the side for a while. At work, the actual 1099 release went out.

October: We could call October the month of cultural events. I think I attended the Symphony twice and the Opera once. Aida was absolutely amazing; it had me from the first aria. School continued, it was pretty much a way of life; tests every other week, trying to work 20-25 hours a week, and doing programming assignments on the weekend. I experienced my first time being “on-call” at work. I had to get used to wearing a pager.

November: The grueling schedule continued, and classes continued to get more difficult I found that I pretty much had to recluse into study mode. I applied for full major status as a major of computer science at the University of Utah. My cohort of classmates finally decided that if we were to study together as a group, we would all benefit from each others strengths. In the depths of my studying I created a list of things that I wanted to do when I had a break from school.

December: Studying like crazy up to finals, and then rest. I started to attack my massive out of school to-do list. I worked on my photography, and took time off of work to relax. I stressed for a while in limbo land with regard to getting accepted into the computer science major. I rejoiced with my family, friends, and co-workers with the good news of my acceptance into the major. Started to make plans for 2005.

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