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One year down, one more to go

Originally published at Rodney's Blog. Please leave any comments there.

So today I took my last exam of the academic year, which is the first year of my Master’s Degree programme. First Year Done   It’s hard to put into words what this academic year has been like. There were moments of pure craziness, moments of “wtf”, and moments that were really awesome. I have made some great friends this academic year as well. I have also had to balance it against a new job which requires a lot of commitment and energy. It’s been hard to juggle everything, so for the next three months, I just want to decompress (even if I am not sure that I passed that last exam I took today…sigh…I can take it again in September…) When I got home from my exam this afternoon, I went for a walk, came back home, sunk comfortably into my couch, and I think I aged 9 months in a matter of minutes. I took a well-deserved nap with the kind of deep sleep I haven’t had in about 9 months :) I wondered at some point today if my fundamental reasons for pursuing my degree had changed since my last post on the subject. Whether it’s climbing Kilimanjaro, getting a Masters Degree, or training for a 10k run, I never want to stop moving. There will come a time when the ability to move will no longer be there, and advanced years will increasingly dictate what I can and can’t do. But for now, I full speed ahead. I also want to be a role model for my nieces and nephews – anytime is a good time to learn and grow and try new things. I thought I would summarise the year, in terms of things I learned and what I need to remember for the second (and final) year:

  • I look forward in 2015 to changing the priorities in my life. Whilst I am studying the order of priority has been work, school, and people. Saying that doesn’t mean that I think that work and school are more important than people. Rather, I am expressing that very often this year, commitments to work and school have meant that I have less time to hang out. Random and unscheduled nights out have been kinda rare this academic year.
  • My friends and family are awesome. They have been so understanding of my situation and whenever I meet them I am really glad. It hasn’t been as often as I’d like, and I look forward to a huge graduation party to make up for it! :D
  • My “Core Group” at school have been amazing. Natalie, Erik, and Latife, I am talking about you. They have been flexible and understanding of my calendar, we have made great use of technology, and it has been great to hang out with them and get to know them as people. I’ll really miss that we won’t be a complete gang for the Autumn term in 2014, but I have Erik to terrorise.
  • Google, you have  my undying gratitude. The ecosystem for Google has made everything easier to enable our team to work in a flexible way. It’s the best free collaboration suite (Docs, Drive, Hangouts, etc) that I know of.
  • Student discounts are great. I will miss those when they are gone.
  • Some of my best work has been done within hours of the deadline; and some of my worst work has been when I thought I knew it all and let my arrogance get in the way of learning.
  • The Black Pearl (my car) quite simple is a logistical miracle. Otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to get from work to school and back before anyone even missed me.

So what lies ahead in terms of school? Well first, I don’t have to think about school again until September! Autumn term awaits with 4 courses (and possible a re-take of a final exam) and then I move on to my Master’s thesis project for the Spring term. In the autumn expect more of the same as above – trying to find a way to make it all work. I will need to think about my courses in terms of what my interests are and what my schedule allows and find the balance point. I think there is more laughter, more tears, more redbull, more coffee, more joy, more frustration, more of everything to be had in the autumn term. And I have to say I look forward to it. Besides, it’s the beginning of my last year… …unless of course, I go for my PhD…after all, one should never stop pushing and learning :)

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