Over the summer, the reality that I would be facing the real world after I graduate in May hit me square in the face: “I barely know how to cook, how am I going to do other adult stuff?”. Thankfully, college is kinda like real life practice and I have the best housing to accommodate that practice this year (aka a 1920s house with crickets and no A/C). So, I’ve been cooking pasta while sweating and killing a lot of small insects on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It’s close enough to practicing living as an adult.
Despite all that, this is going to be a pretty amazing semester. I am currently three weeks into my senior year at the University of Maryland, I have 4 classes, none of which start before 2 PM and I like all 4 topics. To finish out my major (materials engineering), I am taking polymeric engineering and finite element analysis. One of my professors rushed us through a topic because we “lost” a class on labor day but I’m not bitter. As an elective to keep myself full time (#scholarships), I am taking spanish literature. Essentially, we dissect every possible symbol like in high school literature but in spanish. After 1.5 years with no spanish, it’s been a little tough keep up but definitely interesting.
Since I’m a huge dork, I’m going to go into a little more detail about my last class. Hands-On Systems Engineering is a technical elective for my major. In the class, we’ll work to design and model a system that can be used in some real-world application. At the end, each group’s project is going to be judged by real systems engineers from Textron and the top three groups receive a cash prize. One of the professor’s former students works for the Goddard Space Flight Center and suggested one project could be a power control system for the NASA TiME project. So, I came up with two solar energy projects: one based on the submarine’s power collection and one involving power utilization in remote areas. Safe to say that I’m very excited about this class.
But most exciting to me is the fact that I have a healthy amount of free time this semester. After two years of 15 credit semesters plus administrative responsibilities to the cycling team and lab work, it’ll be nice to have some me time. With this time, I’ll be able to train, sleep, recover, work and eat in the amounts that I want to. I haven’t really had that opportunity since taking on an officer position for UMD Cycling in Fall 2014. My current plan is to spend a month or two in Belgium next summer and the better my fitness at that point, the more I’ll be able to take advantage of the racing there. In order to get my fitness, mental toughness and language abilities to the points I want them at, I have started a habit board.
De puede ver, uno de los habitos para mi semestre es a escribir uno parrafo en ingles y espanol cada dia. Ambos parrafos necessitan ser demasiado cinco frases substantivos. Tambien, tengo que hacer 10 minutos en “Duolingo” cada dia para aprender holandes. Este va a ayudarme cuando voy a Belgica el proximo verano. Tambien, he fijado una meta a tener fluencia en 5 lenguajes en mi vida. Aprendiendo una lenguaje se convierte mas dificil con edad asi voy a aprednder con mucho velocidad. Estoy emocionado para este meta porque communicacion es tanto importante a mi.
This idea came to me through r/theXeffect on reddit. In order to ensure that I’m doing the right things everyday, I need a large visual reminder of the steps required and of my goals. Without being constantly reminded of our goals, it’s easy to let the small things that you need to do everyday slip by. I’ve tried a couple systems before, including the BASICS notebook but I found that something that has to go in a backpack sometimes doesn’t come out enough. I always knew it was there but it was too easy to forget. Having a visual reminder in my face has worked so far, now all I have to do is stick to it and work hard. Seems pretty easy.