Weekend? What Weekend?

This is just a bit of a life update, so feel free to skip this, it’s pretty boring, writing crap down just helps organize my thoughts.

As the title suggest, I don’t have much of a weekend. I spent several hours today at the college helping out with the college’s preview day, and am going to be most of the day studying or working on projects tomorrow. Basically prospective students (their family for younger students) came in to check out the college, ask questions, and speak to faculty and current students.

I’m not exactly sure why I sacrificed my Saturday afternoon to this venture (alright, there might have been a girl involved…shut up) but it turned out pretty well considering I slept in and got there an hour later than I intended too. Everyone was supposed to help with general college tours as well as help out with their specific program (I’m in Civil Engineering Technology for those unaware) but me and the rest of the people helping out our coordinator neatly avoided having to do that (we just simply didn’t, we hid in the Civil labs).

The presentations ended up lasting about an hour each (there was two) but things like question period and lab tours extended each session by about 30-45 minutes. One of the potential students (it was an older guy, mature student) asked me, specifically me, how much time I put into the course outside of schedule class (and of course the whole group turned to pay attention to me to listen to my answer). I felt pretty awkward because, well, frankly I put very little effort into the program outside of class time. The Lab Tech came to my rescue though and explained how it varies from student and student.

I also enjoyed it because it let me reflect on the past three years of my life, all the time I spent at the college. Talking to prospective students made me realize just how much I’ve learned in my relatively short stay at the college. In the three years I’ve realized how much I don’t know still and how much I’ve yet to learn, but it was nice to realize how far my education has come already.

What’s Next?

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on my Twitter or my Google+ but I decided to apply to Lakehead University to get my degree in Civil Engineering. The university takes students take people with 3.0 GPAs in their final year of a diploma program (and have obviously completed their diploma) and after two months of summer courses they get put into third year of the degree program. So basically Diploma + 2 months + 4 semesters = Degree.

Have you ever had a moment in your life when something seemingly insignificant completely changes your life? Have you ever felt your life *shift* from said event? It’s weird, I’ll tell you.

To get my diploma I have to do a four week placement somewhere in the Civil field. The placement has to be full time work (150 hours over four weeks) and starts what would be week 12 of the second semester of third year (so we only have an eleven week semester). Back in first semester of my second year we had a pretty cool professor who taught us Transportation Planning (I think that’s what it was called, though a more appropriate name would be Traffic Planning) and several of us ended up adding her on Facebook (that may sound weird, but the program is small enough that all the faculty and students are pretty friendly). So way back in September of this (school) year I asked her if I could do my placement in her department, and she pulled some strings and got me and my friend placements in her department. Having my placement months ahead of time was a huge relief, I know people who only got theirs last week, that must have been stressful.

So fast forward to January of this year and I have to go in to get some paperwork signed for the placement. I was in no particular rush so we ended up chatting and the conversation inevitably turned to my plans for life after college. At that point I had been planning on jumping right into a job (well, hopefully) and possibly my own apartment (depending on how quickly my mother sold the house). Talking to her though I realized that’s not what I wanted to do. I realized I wanted to go on and get my degree, my Iron Ring, and, after the required work experience, my P.Eng.

Walking out of that office I could feel my life shift, completely change direction. It was a weird feeling, but by the time I got home I was resolved, and I had a completely different life plan than when I woke up that morning.

An Unconventional Segway

I’ve talked about this a bit I think already, but the past couple of months I’ve had this huge surge in self improvement energy, for lack of a better term. Writing this post, and double checking some logs, I realized it started after that meeting. I guess making that decision had an immediate domino effect on other aspects of my life.

That weekend I restarted the 100 Push Up Challenge on the Consortium forums that I originally committed to way back in January of 2012. It took me a while because I had to repeat several weeks, but I finally finished Week 6:

2013-03-20 19.48.05

The dips in the graph are where I had to restart weeks for various reasons, and the final dip on that graph is me starting Level 2 (at Week 4). I’m going to keep this up until I can work up the confidence to go to a proper gym and start working out properly. To that end, I also did the 200 Sit Up Challenge offered by the same people, and I just finished Week 6 in that program too:

2013-03-23 23.24.56

As you can see that went a bit more smoothly.

Around the same time I also started watching my weight a bit because even though I wasn’t “fat”, with a BMI of 23.7 I wasn’t exactly skinny either. So I started small, I started walking my dog every day again and increased the lengths of our walks. I also improved my eating a bit, I stopped buying chips and majorly cut down on how much food I was buying at the Tim Hortons on campus (that was great for the ol’ wallet too). I don’t know how much effect it’s had though since the scale has mysteriously since vanished from the house. Maybe it’ll turn up and I can check up on how things are going and if I need to step it up a bit, because I haven’t seen and noticeable improvement yet. I should probably step it up a bit. Or a lot.

I also have started working to improve my hand writing (both cursive and block letters, it’s over all horrid) and I’ve also started to learn Dutch. Both have been going slower than I’d like, I’ve always had trouble with writing ever since I was a kid, but I thought that since I grew up with Dutch being spoken around me I’d pick up on it quicker. I should probably spend more time on Rosetta Stone.

So that’s pretty much it. I’ve only got 4 days left of class, and then I’ve got my four week placement, and then I’ll be done my diploma. After that it’s pretty much just waiting to hear back from Lakehead (they won’t send an acceptance until they have my final marks) so waiting for that letter will be nerve wracking. Should be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of months.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.


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  1. Jojo

    You really have been busy! Hopefully you’ll get into Uni :) So, am I right in saying that you basically get to skip the first two years of the degree course because you have the diploma? Id so, that’s pretty cool. I’m always intrigued by the US schooling system – so different to here in the UK.

    1. Eric Dekker

      Well Canadian technically, it’s a bit different again from the US system :) And yea, the way the program at Lakehead works is that everyone in their Engineering programs graduates with their diploma after the second year, so since I’ll have my diploma this May I’ll be able to enter third year after the catch up courses on equal footing. The only difference will be that I did my Diploma in three years, not two (which is called an Advanced Diploma apparently).

      And yea I’ve been fairly busy lately, a lot busier than I usually am at least. I’ve been happier too though, I was in a bit of a funk my second year of college, or at least the second half of it, so it feels good to be back on track again :)

      1. Jojo

        Ooh Canadian sorry ;) I really like that you can skip a little and don’t have to re-do stuff. After my Masters a few people looked into PhDs in the US and Canada but most of the time the PhDs included the Masters – in my field atelast (marine biology). So the PhDs were a year or so longer than here. But the Uni’s weren’t willing to let you skip the first year if you already had a Masters – kinda sucked and in the end no-one bothered applying because of it.
        Busier isnt necessarily bad. Atleast youre happier – I personally find that being happy in what Im doing greatly improves my work ethic, motivation etc. Plus, no matter what happens in life you always have your education :D

        1. Eric Dekker

          Well this program is pretty unique to this university. At most universities you’d have to go through a huge song and dance and then maybe get a few credits for your diploma. The college also has an agreement with Queens University which works a bit differently, basically students from the college going there get a bunch of credits scattered across the program, so they end up having to do 2.5-3 years there.

  2. Eric

    Didn’t expect a fellow canadian uni student to be the one running this blog. Good luck with the engineering, also your life shift and positive energy are things that I would like to experience. Any tips? links to those pushup situp challenges?

    1. Eric Dekker

      I’m using apps from the Android market, the free version isn’t listed on the site, but here’s the site for the 200 sit ups http://www.twohundredsitups.com/ and 100 pushups http://www.hundredpushups.com/
      As for tips I’m afraid I don’t really have anything, I’m just figuring this stuff out myself

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