Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fall Semester Post Mortem

It has been over a week since I last blogged and not quite a week
since I finished my last final of fall semester. I have thought a
little bit about blogging, but I just have not had anything meaningful
to say. I am really enjoying this little recess from school. It is
fantastic to be able to rest, play games, participate more fully at
work, and hang out without the nagging "you should be doing your
homework" voice in my head.

Don't get the idea that this break has been all play for the last
week. Since finishing my last final on Thursday, I have been putting
in full days at work. I have been trying to get to the office between
seven or eight. It really feels good to make some progress on a few
projects that have not been getting the attention that they really
deserved for the last three or four weeks. Not to mention, it will be
nice to make some money, so that I am not paying bills out of the
savings account.

Fall semesters have the tradition of being unusually difficult for me.
I am not sure what it is about fall semesters; maybe the time change,
the days getting progressively shorter and darker, or perhaps that I
just happen to take my hardest classes in the fall. Whatever it may
be, I am so glad when fall semester ends. What I have learned this
time is that if you plan on working and going to school at the same
time, you really need to make sure that you can handle both the job
and the load of the classes. I under-estimated the difficulty of my
Analysis class last semester, and in the end, it made working almost
impossible. I have decided that the math minor can go on the back
burner for the time being. This will allow me to work, and finish my
bachelor's degree in three semesters by taking three classes each
semester. Three semesters sounds a lot faster than Spring of 2007, so
I will just keep thinking about it that way, that also means that I
only have to suffer through one more fall.

I suppose I should not say that school is suffering. I actually quite
enjoy being there, and I am learning many interesting things that I
probably would not have occasion to try in other settings. Fall
semester presented opportunities to learn about IA32 assembly, the C
programming language, how the 'stack' really works (and how to
exploit it), Turing Machines, DFA's, PDA's, and the basic theory
behind computability, the Scheme programming language, the Ocaml
programming language, BNF, how to build a basic interpreter and what
one must consider when designing a programming language, and what
makes a thorough and correct mathematical proof. Looking back on it I
now understand why life was so busy.

Things are good. The Christmas shopping is complete. I am working on
some side projects, and just enjoying the fact that right now I don't
have to do anything but show up for work each day.

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