Student for One More Week

I just returned from taking our youngest daughter to the daycare. It’s five minutes by bike. Yet today we took the bus which, by a rather roundabout route, manages five stops on that short distance which for some reason is something our daughter enjoys. On embarking I showed the driver my student card which doubles as a ridiculously cheap public transport ticket, and realized that it’s valid for just five more days counting this Monday. On Saturday, the First of September, I won’t be a student any more.

It’s still a rather odd feeling, but not quite as odd as I had expected it to be just a few weeks ago. I am growing more detached from UAS with each passing day, and in fact have been for some weeks or even months, now that I think about it. From something that occupied my thoughts day and night for three years, my being a student of applied CS at UAS has slowly faded into the background, to the extent that now a full day may pass before I remind myself that it’s, in fact, not even over yet. But with almost nothing to do any more–above all, no flashcard ritual every morning–it has lost its vital importance and permanent presence. As always during the term break, one hears almost nothing from one’s peers on our otherwise busy chat channel. That’s normal, except this time it’s going to be final. We won’t return.

After my practicum partner and I had handed in our theses two weeks ago, I took less than a day to condense the table of contents and some graphics into a presentation for the colloquium. I did a trial run (without any audience) and it took just 31 minutes. The regulations prescribe 30 minutes, and the professors say 25 minutes to be sure to keep people within that limit. In my experience, however, usually all subsequent tries are faster than the first, so I sighed deeply, called it a precision landing, and laid the thing aside.

I took the next couple of weeks to prepare the Scala and functional programming training I am going to give a couple of months hence for my colleagues at work. Apparently we really did land that large contract I talked about a while ago and now have to provide, among other things, half a dozen Scala developers, except we only have one (me). At this point I’d rate my Scala skills as advanced beginner, so my teaching the language to others can really only be justified as the one-eyed being king in the land of the blind. But preparing that training really taught me a lot, again, about one of my favorite languages. On the side, I invested a couple of days in the basics of Kotlin and a couple of hours in an introductory online course for the statistical programming language R.

Last Thursday night I read my presentation to my wife. Unfortunately it was not a success. She was probably tired and appeared to look very critical, I was confused and tried to explain a lot of things I can rightly expect my audience to take for granted , and the thing took 39 minutes. I’ll have to look for a way to shorten it just to be sure, and maybe practice once more. This morning.

IMG_20170829_082142Because I have decided I’ll hardly go to work this week. Usually I enjoy doing it. I like the office, particularly the spectacular views (I enclose a picture of what I see when I look up from my favorite desk), and I love biking–it’s 12.5 km or just under 8 miles one way. But this weekend I realized that for better or worse I will be obliged to spend practically every day of the week, minimum 47 weeks a year, at work for the next 19 years. This week is the last in which I’m officially my own master. So I’ll make the most of it.

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