Friday, April 10, 2015

Quarter Goals

I'd like to articulate some things I want to make sure I do this quarter, since once I get into the thick of things it will be more difficult to pull back and assess where I am.

But first I should mention a big piece of news: yesterday, I officially declared my major in civil engineering! I came in this year pretty sure about civil, and everything that I have been involved with since then has made me more sure. My major advisor is also, I will assert, one of the nicest people ever. Actually I like everyone I've met in the department, which is great.

But now to unfinished business.

Indonesia is the main thing on my mind most of the time. Hopefully I will set dates of arrival and departure by the end of the week, and be able to move forward on visa stuff shortly thereafter. Going to the consulate in San Francisco will require missing some class but it's something I have to do and I've set a make-up time with my German professor. I still need: recent color passport-quality photos and a letter from the NGO describing what I will be doing.

In the public service class I'm taking that goes along with the travel funding, we were talking yesterday about our learning plans for the summer. There's a whole lot I have to learn before going this summer, including Bahasa Indonesian (apparently it's fairly straightforward at low levels) and everything about our system.

What that means is going through the Github and reading code and writing documentation, and of course writing more code to get the functionalities that we have not already developed. My partner for the transmitter is much more experienced at programming than I am but I can still help. I also need to get the guy working on the receiver to explain it to me. Oh, what if I offered to do documentation? Hm.

I also would like to do background reading on renewable energy distributed generation in Indonesia and in ASEAN countries in general.

For the competition team I'm on, I'd like to learn more about structures and structural analysis, and about how to use tools such as SketchUp and ETABS. Despite having been a part of the team since fall quarter I lack technical knowledge; all I have is intuition. The best way to learn how to use a tool is to use it, so I'll have to put in some hours figuring out how to use the software, playing around with it.

I will be working in a lab this summer. For that, I'm getting the necessary training on the job, and I will get more efficient at my tasks as I do it more. I should really do more background reading, since materials testing is a field in which I have not previously ventured.

On Thursday I went to a dinner event bringing together all the sustainability groups, and I realized that I miss having conversations about environmental issues with people who care deeply about them. There is a student group that I would like to join but I am pretty oversubscribed right now, so I should not be adding more stuff to my plate.

For my two German classes (language and culture) I will be researching different aspects of culture. I'm thinking that my two will be the Energiewende and Muslims in Germany.

In other words I have a long list of things to learn about this quarter. I don't know how I'm going to make time for all the reading and practice and exploring and learning that I plan to do, because I want to gain competency in a lot of things. A list:
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • history and culture of Indonesia at large with a focus on West Java
  • our code for the Arduino
  • our code for the web interface
  • Raspberry Pi
  • renewable energy in ASEAN countries
  • structures/structural analysis
  • stress, strain, etc.
  • modeling software such as SketchUp, ETABS
  • Proctor compaction test
  • environmental issues
  • German Energy Transition
  • Muslims in Germany

...well, looks like I'm in for a busy quarter.

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