So Far, So Good

“Will this work?,” I asked a couple of weeks ago. So far it does. But that may be mainly because the really stressful part of the term hasn’t started yet. Apart from the process mining course, which as a “compulsory choice” module has a different schedule (half lecture, half practicum), no regular practicum has yet met. In addition, so far the distributed systems lecture has taken place just once for a mere hour, because the professor is constantly on the road. But things are now starting to pick up pace. Yesterday night we received the first assignment for the distributed systems practicum, and so far I haven’t been able to make any sense of any the ten pages it came on. As far as I can say it seems to involve writing an application that runs in a Docker container and models an actor in a fantasy game taking place on the department server? It’s all very obscure. The only thing that became evident is that, again, the environment is prepared in such a way that using Java for the implementation will be easiest by far, as the containers will start automatically. Business as usual, except that in the mutilated first lecture the assistant had made a point of saying we could use any language whatsoever!

In the architecture of information systems lecture we seem to again have fallen prey to the “two professors, one lecture” scheme which invariably results in both professors trying to cram a full lecture into a half term. Software engineering in the two previous terms with the same professor had been quite relaxed, with the contents of the lecture usually done with after a couple of hours. And this time, with the lecture in the late evening, he is bombarding us with a rush of information until 7 p.m. every time. And the same with the practicum. The first assignment, which involved writing a rest interface complete with tests and Swagger documentation for a mock appointment scheduling service was to be completed singly instead of in groups, and the professor claimed it would take just 45 minutes. It took me 8 hours.

Even the seminar, where basically all you really need to contribute is an ungraded presentation (which I have already prepared and will deliver this Friday), will apparently be slightly more demanding than I had hoped. It started last week with two presentations from technical CS students which I had trouble following because they ranged somewhere between the banal and the obscure. Nor, to be honest, was I really interested in following them, because I had intended to use those two hours for working. (Recently I installed a Linux virtual machine on my company laptop so I have a fast machine for programming and can work from the university when I have time, to help with my “two work days don’t really contain 16 hours if you have kids” problem.) Yet the professor made it very clear that he expects us to listen to the presentations, participate in discussions on them, and provide positive feedback. Not just constructive, positive. So there goes happily and distractedly programming away while sitting out the seminar on Friday nights.

A good thing then that last week I sort of managed to complete my work project, more or less, so that from here on I can take it easier at work. Particularly since so far I have already amassed nearly 60 hours of overtime, or almost four weeks with my 16-hour-week. I will need that time!

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