Sunday, February 13, 2011

Year in Review

This past year has gone by at a snail's pace, having Sara away, but it has also been very full with school, work, and organizing for polo.

School is going well - I am in to my second term (out of a total 12 for the Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering) and I can't express enough the advantages of going back to school as an adult. Everything, from study habits, to critical thinking, to seeing the overall worth of the education I'm getting, is so much fuller as an adult. Looking back on when I got my first degree, I was just some dumb kid trying to do as little as possible to get the best grade possible; it is true that you get out of your education what you put in.

The biggest challenge that I've had in school is accepting that some instructors have a teaching style that doesn't mesh with mine, or more to the point, are just terrible at what they do. Fortunately, by now, I've gotten over myself, and decided that it is up to me to learn the material; if I have a good instructor, it is an unexpected bonus.

As far as classes go, I'm in the calculus series, which is fairly straightforward. Chemistry is absolutely fascinating; it is one of those classes that I never took in high school or college, but as a "science fan", I'm familiar with many of the concepts. Familiar doesn't cut it though, and actually going through the atom one piece at a time is creating a much fuller understanding of how the world works. For the ME degree, I don't have to take more than two terms of chemistry, but I have a feeling that I will take the third in the series out of interest. If it continues to give me an understanding of what is going on in the background for things like electricity, the properties of metals, etc., my time will be well spent.

The other classes I've been taking are in the engineering department. I don't have much to say about them, as they are very lower-level (Wood is a material. It can be used for building structures.). The best part has been doing drafting by hand, which we spent about two weeks on. I've always wanted to be able to draw better without a computer, and short of a drawing class, drafting is a good first step.

I've been working part time with Clean Edge, a clean-tech market research firm, which is turning out to be perfect for this transition phase of mine. Clean Edge is very flexible as far as when I do my work, being a telecommuting-friendly company, so I get a lot of my work done at school between classes, at night, or on the weekends. I consider myself very lucky to be able to continue my career (marketing / communications in the clean-tech sector) while working towards a new career (mechanical engineering in the clean-tech sector).

Polo is the only part of my life that I haven't been able to make enough time for. Fortunately I've still been able to be involved, even if it is on the administrative side, rather than on the playing side. Most of my efforts have been in organizing and normalizing Portland Bike Polo's relationship with the parks department. This has been going quite well, and I hope to continue to grow that relationship. We are also looking into non-profit status, recently won a bid to host a major tournament, formed an alliance with other hockey-type sports, and have received city approval for the ongoing improvement and maintenance of our main polo court.

Finally, Sara got back last week (for good!), and I couldn't be happier.


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