Sunday, January 25, 2009

The transition

It continues to be an exciting time in my life as I complete the transition from my past 20+ year career as a computer scientist and on to my new career as a biology student.

The transition out of work has been interesting. Clearly after 20.5 years working at the same place, it seems very odd to be at arms length from that community. All of the people I have worked with for many years have been very excited about my change. I don't know if that's because they just want to get rid of me, or if they are truly happy for me. I do assume the latter. My team in India graciously sent me four excellent books for my new endeavor - Where the Wild Things Were, The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird, Birds In Flight, and The Owl and the Woodpecker. I was incredibly moved by their generosity.  Any way, I have one final work day coming up this Thursday, then I will be gone for good.

I found an interesting article this week. It was featured on the radio show/podcast of Science Friday. The article features The 10 best jobs in America. If this is true, I just gave up the #5 job in America! It's a good thing I am now pursuing the #4 job in America! What an upgrade!

The first week of full time school was very exciting for me. I passed through a series of stresses and emotions through the week. I expect next week will be the same. To start with, I am very excited about my classes - Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, and Ornithology. After the first day I was in a near panic as each professor explained the expectations for the semester. I couldn't believe what I got myself into and how I would possibly get all of the work done. By the end of the week, my confidence had returned. After completing the first few assignments, I determined that a few of the classes wouldn't be as hard as I thought. The Chemistry class was a bit concerning as I had completed the first half 25 years ago. The first day I was a bit lost and worried. After the second day of class, where I was able to help my teammates, and completing the first assignment, I feel much more at ease with my abilities. Ornithology remains a concern for me.  The grading is solely based on examinations. No intermediate assignments to calibrate performance or to balance the grades. It all comes down to the exams. Its a great class though. Only twelve students. We will see how the semester plays out.

This next week the fun begins with my first lab in Ornithology and Ecology on Tuesday, and my first Chemistry lab on Wednesday.

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