Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Starting Sophomore Year

Apologies for missing a post last Friday. I moved back onto campus on Thursday and have been keeping busy, more or less, since then. This is shaping up to be a busy quarter, so this post is going to be mostly me setting my thoughts in order and compromising my quasi-anonymity.

I'm in 17 units of classes this quarter, which is lower than my average. But the classes themselves are more difficult, probably: physics of light and heat, managing sustainable building projects, solid mechanics, and second quarter German. I'm also the course assistant for a seminar class I took last fall about modern energy resources, and will be a peer advisor at the public service center on campus. For extracurriculars, I'm still on my competition team (probably going to be co-heading construction) and in band, and will be joining the biggest student sustainability group. It is unclear, as of right now, whether or not I will return to the project team I've been on since January (the one that brought me to Indonesia this summer), since I'm trying to go abroad to Berlin in the spring and would therefore not be around for the main work quarter.

My big goals at this point are 1) become a competent and responsible civil engineer 2) finish Ubermadchen. The way my classes are set up will support goal #1 (I include environmental awareness as a subset of being a responsible engineer). I will need to carve out more time to complete goal #2. Right now I am still in the planning stage for Graz, which is behind where I wanted to be when I set out my revised schedule at the beginning of the summer. But the flow of events needs to be at least somewhat sensible, and I'm juggling a lot of different groups of people who could be causing unrest in the city. I'll need to do a lot more research to get it right, but I'm okay pushing that duty off to second draft.

More about goal #1: this is my goal, and will probably remain one of my two Big Goals until, well, I stop practicing (so in several decades). But what are my objectives for this term and year?

Term: give my classes my best effort. I trust the professors; they've been doing this a long time, and have turned out classes and classes of competent engineers. This objective is simple, though perhaps not easy, and I've got the whole "be academically diligent" thing more or less sorted by now (at least, I know how to motivate myself). Going for mastery of material instead of focusing on grades and getting assignments done is the key here, since the stakes are higher than in my high school classes. This is material I'll actually use, so I need to learn it well.

Year: the worst part of being a freshman was not being an upperclassman. I am far happier now that I can give advice and be useful to people. I'm moderately power-hungry, but I don't see this as a bad thing necessarily because I am kinder when I am in a position of authority than when I am in a position of dependence. I'm in a lot more such authority positions than last year and I'm trying to be as approachable and benevolent as possible, becoming the kind of mentor I'm lucky enough to have had and better. Unfortunately this also takes more energy than my refresh rate so I'll need to be careful not to get too drained. 

What other resolutions do I have this quarter and year? I've started being more open and want to continue being so. At a sophomore welcome for my dorm I outed myself as not cis by saying that they/them are among my preferred pronouns. I'm more comfortable with myself than I was a year ago, though I hope never to be complacent. 

This is going to be a good year. I have the power to make that happen. Full steam ahead. 


Volle Kraft Voraus - Eisbrecher


Happy birthday, Augustus!

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