Sunday 30 October 2016

See saws again

It's a funny old time of year I think.  The balance between daylight and evening is all disrupted, and with it my body clock and emotions.  One minute I feel much more balanced, the next I feel as though I am spinning around out of control.  Had a bit more technical week at work, and I think occasionally, if I don't finish on a high at the end of my part-time week, then it colours my perception of my abilities for the rest of the week.

Keeping up nicely with the reading for OU, but this week I feel as though the practical has gotten away from me a little, despite best efforts.  So I will need to play catch-up a little this coming week.  Trying not to get behind, as there's a lot of new practical stuff that I need to keep my head up with.

Of course the procrastination fairy is waving her wand and trying to point out all the piles of clothing to be put away, the unwritten blog posts, the piles of piles.  I try to banish her entirely, but at the minute I either study, and feel bad about the other stuff not done, or do the 'other stuff' and feel guilty for not studying.

Looking forward to a life that will be really my own after this module, I can foresee many months of couch-surfing before finally settling into any kind of new 'routine'  I have to admit to a certain weariness now, between the (self imposed) slightly longer working hours, the commute, and the studies, I am worn out and ready for a rest.  My brains are getting used at work, on the plus side this makes the impact of study less hard, however, there's a tiny bit of me inside that says 'I was only doing this to keep my brains active, and I can do that at work now...'

Meh - I dunno - just in one of those odd moods I guess - this, like all things, will pass...

Tuesday 18 October 2016

A little bit of Column A, a little bit of Column B

More about balance which seems to be a bit of a theme for me lately (well technically I guess a lot of this blog is about finding those balances...).

TM351 is, I believe, the most balanced module I have studied so far.  There seems to be a good mix between reading and practical work, I don't sit on a metro and wonder how to schedule in the massive piles of practical between everything else, nor do I have acres and acres of dry paperwork (albeit electronically supplied now..) to wade through before I can get to an interesting practical challenge.

And the practical challenges are complex enough to keep me interested, but simple enough that my brain doesn't explode whilst trying to figure them out.

I don't know if this feeling is 'for real' or whether it's simply a matter of perception, I do think it helps that my practical programming brain is switched on during the day, so that it is less troublesome to make those connections on an evening when I am tired.  I know that in the past I have found it hardest to 'switch my brain on' when it hasn't had to work very hard in the day job.

Looking forward to finding out how the balance works during this final module.

The Seesaws of Student Life

At the beginning of last post I was feeling super-balanced - by the end of the week, I was feeling super-stressed.

I think that such is the way of the distance-learning student.  Nothing in particular was the matter, just little bits of everything that combined to make my head hurt, occasionally the pile of responsibilities (of which the OU and its deadlines and such are just part) seems a little too much.

We had household repairs to be done, and I'm the type that will stress over such things till they are done and out of the way (and maybe even for a little while afterwards until they have proved that they are no longer something to worry about!).

 In addition there were things of a technical nature that I wished to replace, but I needed to wait for the outcome of the household repairs before committing funds.  Which left me second guessing my technical requirements until I was finally able to make the purchase, and thus a head filled with specifications and price comparisons and availability checks.

With all these out of the way, I settled down to a quite pleasant weekend - seesaw on the up again.  A day of working from home yesterday taught me that all that glitters is not necessarily gold....the 5 second commute was very pleasant, but the feeling of being separated from the full support of the senior developer was less so, there's only so much we can achieve without sight of each other's code, so the seesaw tilted a little back the other way again.

Happy to report that once back in the office, I did finally manage to iron out any issues from my day working at home.  I'm also remaining ahead of schedule with the OU work, something I would like to maintain if I can!

Sunday 9 October 2016

Ironing out.....

Well - here we are a week and a day into the module, and I have just finished Week 1 exercises and made a brief start on the first TMA.  So, only a day behind schedule.  We've already had our first tutorial this week too, which was helpful in ironing out expectations and establishing where to expend our efforts.

If I was to describe it with reference to the washing basket, I think it would actually be the nirvana of washing-basket-balance, not too full, not empty, it's odd, I've rarely felt this calm and organised this early in the proceedings, managing not to procrastinate too awfully!

The course software, whilst giving me some headaches with regard to my old PC, is quite user friendly, and is apparently to be used as a 'notebook' too for our assignments, which are completed within the notebook and then converted into a Word format for sending on to the tutor - whilst a little nervous that this process will work completely, I am loving the idea of not having to deal with my perceived failings in MS Word and chopping and changing fonts after copy and pasting multiple lines of code.  So hopefully a step into the new world.

I've also come up with some ideas of what I want to do as a 'pet project' from a software development point of view, something that will allow me to practice the skills whilst being of some use to me.  Just in the inception stages at present, playing around with existing software packages and working out how I would integrate them, but enough to give me thoughts that there will, indeed, be life after the OU, and that I will find focused learning still possible.

Enough rant now, more later, let's see how week 2 goes!