Term 1 - Halfway Done!

Today marks the first day of my fifth week back at school and I wanted to take a moment of pause and consider how things are going. With 8-week terms, this means I have completed exactly 50% of this term, and it might be a good idea to check in with some self reflection[1] or something similar, to make sure I am on track and doing things the way I'd like.

Research and LaTeX

(define bottom (if (eq? (length stack) 1)
                   (car stack)
                   (let ((x (pop stack)))
                     (push x stack))))

(define copy-of-myStack (let ((x (pop stack)))
                          (if (not (empty? Stack)) recurse)
                          (push x stack)
                          (push x newstack)))

(while (not (empty? queue))
  (pop queue last)

I mentioned this briefly in a past footnote, but I used LaTeX extensively when I was self employed, to create handouts and sheet music. It was good experience for me, considering what I'm doing now[2], but it also means that I have very high standards when it comes to how my published works look. I like that there is a strict way of doing things, and that there will always be the same result. I dunno, it makes me happy knowing the format is Not My Problem™ right now.

As for how I'm doing… Eh… I've been better, but also much worse. I have a major issue with time management, especially when it comes to keeping on top of my work. I've let things get a little away from me, mostly through yak shaving and such. In some ways it can be very helpful in the long term: I've recently developed a template for my papers that should make writing one in the future quite easy. However, it makes the weekly submissions of work something difficult to keep up with, and unfortunately right now I am behind by three papers[3].

But what I've learned is that I really do enjoy the actual research parts of the schooling process! I feel such a sense of satisfaction from building up a bibliography of papers to reference and works I can cite. I enjoy being awash in new ideas and connecting disparate concepts to discover new things. I even found a way that I enjoy taking handwritten notes[4], which I always thought of as something beyond my reach. It is so fulfilling to me; I am honestly considering continuing my education passed the bachelor level, maybe even to doctorate! I dunno! This is a new feeling for me, honestly, and I am still figuring it out.

\usepackage{babel,csquotes,xpatch}% recommended
\setmainfont{Nimbus Roman}

Looking Forward

I also have a mentor who has a Masters in Computer Science! She is helping me by providing a professional eye to what I'm learning at school; Our biweekly meetings have helped me greatly already, and there's only been three of them. She's recommended I join hackerrank, though I already have experience at a different site, and we are going to work through some problems each week to help solidify my knowledge of data structures and algoritms!

I used to be quite proud that I was self-taught when it came to computers. Though I will never say that someone who is self-taught can't be as or more capable than someone with a formal education, I'm really glad that I am able to branch out into a more formal solidification of the bits of knowledge I've collected. I've really begun to realize how much I don't know, and I cannot wait to get started![5]

As for now, I am going to keep this post fairly short. I am very tired today, and I have to write a bunch of papers this week. I'm gonna head home and try to get a good night's rest, so that I can better tackle starting on all of that work tomorrow. Wish me luck!

[1]I'm obligated to take a course on 'Applying Leadership Principles' by my school, and while I do still which I didn't need to take it at all, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't benefitting me at all. It's helped me get a (tenuous) handle on my time management, and the focus on self reflection and self knowledge has helped me work through some things I've been struggling with for a while. I guess it is a worthwhile course after all.

[2]I regularly attribute the majority of my computer skills to my love of doing things in plaintext. Perhaps I'll write a bigger post on that later. But also, I mean, the fact is that I can use my skills with latex to make things easier for me now! It's much easier to have the bibliography auto-generated based on my existing Biblatex database and my format consistent no matter what than to fiddle around with a word processor forever!

[3]It sounds a lot worse than it is, to be honest. I have most of the only one that will have a penalty applied to it done already, one of them is very simple and about 'Leadership' (so I don't care quite as much as the others), and the final one is only three pages long. I will get caught up by the end of the week, no problem.

[4]As anyone who has had the misfortune to need to read something that I have written out by hand will tell You, my writing skills could use some focus. Unfortunately, I have had little cause outside of commonplacing and now my Zettelkasten to work of this… Perhaps, now that I am writing out notes almost daily, I'll become motivated one day! Eh, at least Ican read it…

[5]It turns out that, in the end, I simply like learning, I guess. Oh, and computers.