So now having been through 10 weeks of work and 10 weeks of school, I have learned a lot of things. Fortunately, most of those things have been nice 🙂 I will share a selection of them:
- For the most part, I go to school with some very awesome people! All of my groups have been really supportive of the fact that I study and work full-time. So it might mean that we have to meet at times where they would prefer to be free or something like that. And in every instance they have been accommodating. I should say that two of my three groups have been amazing to work with. I have learned a lot with them and from them.
- I don’t use my job as a reason not to do my fair share of group-based work (at least I hope I don’t). Yes, there are times when I simply can’t be in the lecture or the seminar because work has to come first. But I resolved in my mind before I started that I wouldn’t be one of those people who don’t pull their own weight in the group.
- Sometimes I think my professors take my work schedule and plan important events to purposefully conflict 🙂 Some professors seems to get this right every time. Luckily there has always been a solution everyone can live with.
- I underestimated the amount of effort involved when our courses start up. In Sweden, which is probably a bit different than US schools, each semester has two blocks that are about 8-10 weeks long. So it means that at two points in the semester you have intense start-up activities. Didn’t see that coming, but I am coping well…even if it requires that I take a day off of work here or there to make it possible.
- I am still loving my new job. I am still very happy that I made the move from IBM to HP. I miss people for sure, but I don’t have any regrets.
- My boss has been amazingly flexible and understanding about school. Generally I can manage quite well between school and work. There are some school assignments and dates that are mandatory, but I still always put in my 50+ hours to get things done.
- There are some things that are common to all multi-national corporations, no matter where you go. That is mostly good and has helped make the transition a bit easier.
- Did I mention I am still very happy? 🙂
So for all of this, what does it mean in practical terms.
- I had to make a conscious choice to really scale back my social life for the next 2 years. So please, if I am not as responsive or declining invites, it’s not personally. It might be strange, but please don’t stop sending invites 🙂 They are psychological proof that somewhere out there I still have friends 🙂 Meetings for coffees or food work better than big nights out.
- I am thankful for my car. I couldn’t make this work without one! Connected to this is the fact that I am thankful that my classes are reasonably accessible by car. Some locations are easier than others, but it helps me to make things work.
- Coffee is my friend. It is my constant companion.
- I have learned to enjoy my friend’s Facebook photos and stories of the weekend as if they were my own. In the last 10 weeks I have only had 1 weekend where there was no studying or work involved. Keep those pictures and stories coming! 🙂 I live vicariously through all of you these days.
- There such a thing as 04.30 in the morning. And more important I learned that it’s a great time to catch up on e-mails and reading over a cup of coffee. Or three.
- Shamefully, within the last 10 weeks, I have been to the McDonalds twice as much as I have been to the my gym which is one door over. I have started to change that now.
- I’m understanding again why students cook things in large quantities. What you might give up in taste, you make up in time.
- BBC Knowledge TV is a great way to procrastinate and kill some time in a way where you don’t feel completely bad for it because you’ve learned something in the process.
Despite all of this, I still feel I can do this. It hasn’t been an easy semester (in fact I am not even sure I passed by first two courses), nor has work been easy in any sense of the word. But I can say that I am using the knowledge and experience from both work and school to compliment each other. And combined with the great people I am meeting along the way – that makes me happy 🙂