Last week I graduated with a Master of Science in Software Engineering and am still waiting for the grades to be posted and the ink to dry on my diploma before everything is verified. This has not stopped me from taking time to change my LinkedIn profile, work email signature, business cards, and to begin contemplating what to do with my time.
This actually is very monumental and somewhat challenging to me as it brings to an end 29 consecutive years of structured education since pre-school that has led me to achieve an Associate of Applied Science, Bachelors, and now Master’s degree. Only 2.2% of my life has been spent not learning. Realizing this, many have asked, “What’s next?” and I think I now have a better idea of what is to come. Feel free to check back in a year and see if I pursued any.
Be with family
My mind is now clear and it is not thinking about the chapter to be read, homework to be done, and tests to be taken. Now my mind will only be focused on appliances to fix, shelves to hang, and wash to be done. Luckily my son can help me out with these home projects as he hasn’t been so helpful with Java coding, security, and forensics… yet.
With the clear mind I am looking forward to improving my son’s batting practice and helping him ride without training wheels this summer.
I’m done reading textbooks. For the past five months since I received my Kindle I’ve been scoping out a few works of fiction and have really gotten into reading books about being relevant in today’s technological environment. Over the January break I read Jeff Jarvis’s book What Would Google Do?, last week I finished reading Fortune’s “Inside Apple” article by Adam Lashinsky, and next on my list is Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, and Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.
Of course I have fun books too. I’ve already downloaded Willa Cather for the Kindle and started My Antonia over spring break and hope to resume where I left off. Next is Zero Day: A Novel by Mark Russionovich (recommended by Steve Gibson on Security Now), and then back to Willa Cather with O Pioneers. I have some Jules Vern and Agatha Christie lined up as well.
I really want to get back into writing too.
I would love to apply more time researching local history and investigating possible area historical societies to join. I have a long list of possibilities and just need to find one that will best combine research, technology, and railroads. I, of course, plan on further developing my blog and wiki related to history, nostalgia, and railroading and taking more pictures of subjects.
Storm Spotting and Radio License
Several years ago I took a weekend class to be a card carrying member of Metro Skywarn, the people referred to as “trained spotters” by local newscasts during severe weather. Due to time constraints I let the membership lapse but have anxiously been waiting to go back and renew.
I never actively sought out severe weather, and probably still won’t, but being from Nebraska and now living north of the Twin Cities, it seems severe weather finds me. Just last Sunday I watched as a wall cloud–that moments before spun off a tornado devastating parts of North Minneapolis–pass just north of us. As long as I can identify what is coming at me and understand what to be aware of and look out for, I am content in feeling that my family is in good hands.
Though not within the next year, I’d like to look into pursuing an amateur radio license. I really have more of an interest in being licensed to carry a railroad scanner with me while train spotting, but having a two way license wouldn’t be bad if I were weather spotting.
My son and I often create large towers with Lincoln Logs and wooden blocks. We also enjoy watching building demolition and implosions on YouTube. However, he nor I can master our calculations on Angry Birds. I’m interested in completing a degree in structural engineering so I can better myself when attacking the pigs, or at least prove the developers’ idea of structural integrity is flawed. I’ll also combine my MS in Software and Structural Engineering to develop code to correct the flaws.