The Road To Graduation, Part II

Midterm madness is finally over. My sleeping pattern is returning to normal. The extra weight from eating food at odd hours of the night is burning off at the gym. What brought me back to normalcy was reading “One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School” by Scott Turow, his semi-autobiographical story of being a first year law student at Harvard Law School, which was more insane than my accumulated ten years of college (1990-1995 / 2002-2007). Admissions & Records accepted my graduation petition after¬†the initial paper chase a few months ago, and, if I successfully pass my programming classes this semester, I can pick up my diploma in late August.

My programming instructor returned a 3.5″ floppy disk that I submitted to him in my first programming class in Spring 2002. Now that’s spooky. None of my computers today have a floppy drive installed. I still have a few floppy drive units in storage and a USB floppy drive for those rare occasions where I need access to a floppy. Five years ago I turned in my source code and executable files on floppies. Today I print out the source and/or email the files in a zipped archive. For a directed study class, I turned in the completed project with source code, executable, sample data, and documentation files on a CD.

The Data Structures (CIS 055) class is getting hard. I’ve always relied on the instructor’s lesson and reading the source code to understand the material without reading the textbook. The assigned textbook for this class dribbles out the source code in bits and pieces, and then buries the completed source code in overwritten comments that makes a bad science fiction novel enjoyable. My superficial understanding of the C++ language doesn’t help either. Cruising through my final semester isn’t an option.

I got my midterm worksheet back in Ceramics I (Arts 46A) with an “A” and a comment from the instructor that I have excellent focus and control of my work. That’s being put to the test with the larger-than-life self-portrait bust that will probably weigh 30 pounds in clay when I get done. Mine is the biggest piece in class as I have the biggest head. This week I’ll be carving in the details, getting back a glazed statuette and the other statuette will be ready for glazing.

Project four is stacking three or four separate pieces into one object. My design is a tall Japanese water vase that I saw in a ceramics book. The bottom bowl, sprout and collar will start on the kick wheel, coil building for the middle to combine all the pieces, and using nylon rope to impress a spiral design on the outside. After working in the studio for six hours straight, I come home to collapse in bed as I’m exhausted from all that focus and control.

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