I can’t believe it’s already a week since my last post. This past week has gone by really quickly. I’ve been working hard on school, mostly. My first degree, back in the first half of the 90’s, was something I barely worked at. I spent most of my time socializing with my friends and trying to teach other people about the Baha’i Faith. In many ways, it was time well spent. However, my studies suffered grievously; I failed several classes and barely scraped by with a 3-year degree after 5 years of school. To say that my study habits were poor is an understatement. I mostly didn’t go to class, I mostly didn’t read the textbooks, I mostly didn’t do assignments. What I did was I would get classmate’s notes and read them quickly before the exams. I’d scan the textbooks sometimes. I begged for late assignments to be accepted (sometimes).
All of this led me to some anxiety about school this second time around. So, I decided that in order to not repeat my past experience, I would go to every class (barring illness or other truly unavoidable situations), I would keep up with the reading for my classes, and, most importantly, I would do every single exercise in the textbooks along the way. This has been working well for me… except that it turns out to be a lot of work! Part of it is that I believe that I am mentally slower than I was 23 years ago. I might speed up as I continue… in fact I can feel it happening already. But part of it is that I still have ¼ time work, and I’m spending a lot of time with my family and helping around the house. So the work for school is really substantial and it is pushing against my time in a way that I didn’t expect.
Anyway, I finished an assignment for my Math 3020 class today. The assignment itself had one really hard question, and the rest were easy to moderate. The hard question, I spent over 3 hours on it. And I’m not sure that I got it “right”. I know that I got the final answer right, but I’m not sure that I will have met the expectations of the prof in terms of the work that I did to get to the answer. We’ll see. Anyway, after I finished, I realized that I have a very high expectation for myself: I expect to get high-90’s in both my classes. I’m pushing myself as close to perfect as I can.
There have been lots of other developments in the past week. My daughter Verity has started taking the bus to school alone. I’m proud of her. She also had a bit of a nervous breakdown mid-week. I helped her through it a bit, but it’s related to the stress of changing schools. Her grade 8 class was only six people including herself… her grade 9 class is about 500 people! She had one teacher for the previous four years… now she has four teachers simultaneously! We drove her to school every day… now she travels on her own. Big changes, to be sure. Anyway, I was glad to be home to talk with her and hold her as she struggled with the stress.
In general, I’ve been spending more time with all the kids. Justice by driving him and sometimes seeing him briefly on campus. Haifa by being home and helping her practice driving. Verity by sometimes biking part of the way to school with her and helping her with her little projects. And Ocean by being in the same room with her while she draws and I do homework. I’ve also been walking our dog Toby almost every night and I’ve been cleaning up the kitchen almost every night before I go to sleep. Melanie has now given me 7 projects, and I’ve completed 5 of them so I’m helping her out a lot too. Here is my updated personal kanban board:
I’m pretty happy about how things have been going so far on my sabbatical. I still think about work, but not much. Earlier this evening was nice: my colleague Iryna had her birthday a couple days ago so a few of us went out with her to dinner at a place called “Mythic Grill Greek Cuisine” – the food was fantastic! We had a nice relaxed visit and talked about all sorts of things including politics, parenting, lethal injections, Russian weddings, and a bit about work.
I have also had a little time for personal relaxation. I’ve been making my way slowly through “The Flash” on Netflix. It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s enjoyable enough. The acting isn’t great, but it’s not terrible. The writing is a bit formulaic, but there are some nice little surprises. I also binge-watched the second season of “The Good Place” which I loved (available on Netflix). Lots of laugh-out-loud moments for me. I’ve been eating poorer than I hoped (in other words, less healthy, more quantity). But, I’ve been doing more exercise than I expected and I feel like my fitness level is going up overall. In particular, cycling to school has been a real joy even though I end up sweaty and exhausted in my classes.
This week I hope to finish publishing “The Scrum Master Guide to Choosing a Retrospective” by Jerry Doucett. I have to re-do some diagrams to get it to work well with the ePub format. Then, next weekend, I start pottery lessons with my family! I’m excited to do some sculptural pottery, not just cups and bowls and stuff.