I’ve had many disputes with John Emerson over the years, but I’m very much in favor of this idea of his. Personally I think I’m much too bourgeois to go for the full bohemian version, but I can definitely see myself supporting myself with a non-academic middle-class job of some sort and doing research on the side. Blogging, as a medium with both low barriers to entry and minimal distribution costs, seems like it will be enormously useful in this context.
February 28, 2010
February 13, 2010
Clearly I haven’t been posting much to this blog lately. This is mostly because I’ve been very busy, partly with school but mostly with various other things. I figure it’s about time to post an update about my activities lately.
I’m really liking my classes this semester. Last semester I had classes that involved a lot of thinking and writing, which was good, but my classes this semester are much more practical and skills-oriented. This is both a welcome change of pace for me and an opportunity to collect some marketable skills that will hopefully make it easier to get a job or internship for this summer. I may try to get something more immediately, but summer is my goal, and I feel like I really should start developing some work experience starting with the summer and continuing into next year. The stuff I’m learning now will be useful in applying for stuff in a way that the stuff I learned in the fall wasn’t really.
Probably the most important class from a skill perspective is GIS. I’m glad to be finally taking this, since it’s not only a very important job skill these days but also something of considerable inherent interest to me. I’ve always been fascinated by maps and geography, and GIS offers a way to turn that interest into actual, in-demand skills. I’m also taking Methods II, which is more of a broad survey of various qualitative and quantitative methods useful in planning (unlike Methods I, which I took last semester, and which was basically just an intro to statistics). I’ll presumably get some good experience with some of these methods, and at the very least I’ll be familiar with them and know which, if any, I want to pursue further.
My other two classes are Environmental Planning and Comprehensive Planning. Both are very hands-on and practical, taught by very experienced practitioners. I’ve lately been thinking I’m most interested in going into environmental planning career-wise, but traditional land-use planning is also interesting and still has most of the jobs (although that may change over time). Taking these two classes should be very helpful in helping me understand how these fields actually work in practice, which will give me more perspective on which way I want to go with my own career.
So much for school. Lately I’ve been spending much more time on social pursuits. The two snow days last week, which ended up giving me a six-day weekend, have been part of that, but it actually started earlier. I’ve been going to all the weekly social events put on by the student association, and there have also been some special events in addition. My roommate and I hosted a party that was quite well-received by everyone except our neighbors and the cops, who came by at 3:00 am to tell us to knock off the loud music and that next time they would fine us. Perhaps not the most ideal result from my perspective personally, but overall it was a good party and I definitely want to host some more. They’ll have to be lower-key and involve notifying the neighbors in advance, of course, but that can easily be done.
In addition, the student organization put on the big event of the year: SnowBall, basically a prom-like formal dance that serves as a fundraiser. It’s pretty ridiculous, and I wore my purple suit (as I am wont to do). There have been various other parties and less formal activities, such as sledding in a local park when we got the big snowfall. All in all, I’ve been getting to know my fellow students much better and enjoying my life a lot, which is great. I’m a bit behind on schoolwork, of course, but I’ve been catching up on that, and in the final analysis I’ve decided that at this point in my life having an enjoyable social life is important enough to take priority over school in many contexts. I was a bit of a recluse last semester, rarely venturing out of my apartment except for classes, and while I did well in those classes, I’ve decided it’s more important right now to have a little fun.
Anyway, the big burst of social events has died down, so I’ll have more time to focus on schoolwork, and possibly blogging, in the next few months. (No promises, though.) All in all, I’m really enjoying my life right now, despite some occasional frustrations, and I want to make the most of it. I’ve been pretty successful so far.