2011: The Intermediate Chapter

Throughout my christmas holidays of 2010 I imagined the possibilities 2011 had to offer. My studies at The University of Aberdeen were coming to an end and a chapter of my life was coming to a close. Or so I thought… As I lazily listened to music one evening (obviously just to distract myself further from the coursework and exam revision that I should really be getting on with), I wrote “2011:  Getting Things Done Edition”  in which I described some of the goals I had set myself for the new year.

“So, nothing huge here. No life changing goals or anything, just a few positive uplifting goals to keep the rest of 2011 interesting.”

I say “a chapter of my life was coming to a close” only because my expectations of finding a student placement program that satisfied the requirements set by The University of Aberdeen were, well, low. I was sure I would be a graduate of 2011. “Or so I though…”? Well, what’s happened? where am I now? I believe the best way to put it is The Intermediate Chapter, an interlude that separates university lifestyle from ownership of a degree. Simply put: I am currently working full-time as placement student. The fact that I got this placement rules out much of the uncertainty I had towards 2011 – I now know where I’ll be spending the rest of 2011, both job wise and location wise. It’s a funny situation to be in, like the interlude at a concert that connects two songs together while certain band members retune their guitars, I feel like I am tuning my life before the next chapter starts. Only once The Computing Science class of 2012 march through Elphinstone Hall will I realise that my time to start a new chapter has come. Until then, regardless of working full-time, I am still a student at heart. 

So now that my uncertainties are cleared up, let’s look at some of goals I had set myself.

  • Learn to Drive. As mentioned previously, I can drive. What has changed since 2010 is that I’ve had a lesson. A single lesson. Yes, just the one. A small, miniature, tiny, microscopic achievement. Or failure? This is definitely something that needs to change within the coming weeks.
  • Healthy Snacking. Although I dropped Graze (only because I realised it’s actually quite easy to go to the shops and buy nuts), I have maintained quite a healthy snacking lifestyle. Gone are the days of Haribos and chocolate – they’ve been replaces by dried and fresh fruit along with an occasional sweet. 
  • Maintain a good fluid intake / Continue Drinking Green Tea. As I write this, I’m enjoying a delicious teapigs green tea! Especially since having started my (office) job, I have been drinking vast amounts of green tea – along with plant of water, it’s basically the only drink I consume throughout the day. My fluid intake has been very high and I definitely feel the health benefits of keeping my body at a good level of hydration.
  • Learn the Basics of Sign Language. I am still very eager to start learning this, but have simply not found the time to do so. Staying on top of my things to do list!
  • Surf / Wind Surf. No / No. Although I won’t be going (wind / ) surfing this summer, I will be going SUPing. When my family told me what they’ve been up to, I too had no idea what they were taking about. SUPing, or Stand Up Paddle Surfing, is apparently a “an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage”. It looks fun and I can’t wait to try it in a couple weeks!

Frankly, I have hardly had the chance to cross out any of my planned out goals. My Getting Things Done approach followed me into 2011 and I have simply been, well, getting things done. My dissertation was finished and achieved a high mark, adventures with friends and family took me to new places and a spontaneous job application veered my life for the better! 2011 has been a fantastic year so far, but there’s no way I am slowing down just yet. Hardware needs to get soldered, core strength should be built up, sign language would still be a nice addition to my knowledge, a drivers license must end up in my wallet and adrenaline should be enjoyed! Hello rest of 2011, I’m looking forward to meeting you 🙂

2011: Getting Things Done Edition.

I’ve never been a huge fan of new years resolutions; to me, they always seemed so pointless. I’ve always been a person who likes the idea of a ‘getting things done’ lifestyle; no procrastinating, no lazying about. If something needs to get done, do it. Towards the end of 2009 I set myself exactly that goal for 2010; simply get things done. 

Frankly, I failed. There’s no drivers license in my wallet. Learning to surf and wind surf are still dreams to come true. I have zero knowledge about rock climbing. My skateboard and snowboard are still tucked away in my cellar. I can sum up my 2010 achievements on one hand; 2011 needs a change.

Here’s what I know about 2011:

  • I have my Computing Science course at the University of Aberdeen to finish (Honours Project and Professional Topics in Computing).

Here’s what I don’t know about 2011:

  • Whether I’ll graduate or go into a Masters course.
  • Where I will live. If I graduate, will I stay in Aberdeen? Move to Munich? Apply for a green card and try my luck at moving to San Francisco?
  • Who I’ll spend my time with (if I move away, will I know anyone?). 

With that in mind, let’s start a new chapter of my life! There’s a blank canvas eagerly waiting to be drawn on and there’s nothing that can stop me enjoying a beautiful year 🙂

  • Build Core Strength. 2010 was a complete downfall as far as exercise goes. I lost 6 stone throughout the start of my second year of university (2008 – 2009) and once I got to a healthy body weight, I completely stopped exercising. Although I never gained weight in 2010, I have completely lost all the body muscle I previously built up. I hope to build my core strength in two parts: The Hundred Push Ups Training Programand then Rock Climbing
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight. Along with the exercise regime mentioned above, I want to maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Experience Adrenaline. It’s been far too long since I’ve had a good adrenaline rush and it’s about time I experience some again. Bungee jumping or Skydiving are possibilities, but a simple snowboarding holiday could also suffice.
  • Learn to Meditate. Along with wanting to build core strength and general wellbeing I want to understand and control my inner peace. I know meditating, or rather learning and understanding meditation, will take time, but I know in the long it will be extremely beneficial to me.
  • Learn to Drive. Actually, this should read get a drivers license. My dad taught me driving years ago, but having lived in cities I’ve never had the need to have a drivers license. However, I can’t predict where I’ll be towards the second half of 2011 so having a drivers license should open up more possibilities as I’d be able to commute and travel.
  • Maintain a good fluid intake. In previous years I’ve easily let healthy drinking slip my mind and I could often feel the effects of dehydration towards the end of a day: extreme tiredness and dizziness. I don’t want to let that happen as often and simply carrying a water bottle around with me shall solve this. 
  • Continue Drinking Green Tea. I’ve recently switched to green tea and I’ve started to notice the health benefits. Green tea is a great healthy warm drink and replacing constant hot chocolates has really made my body feel better.
  • Healthy Snacking. I do enjoy the occasional treat here and there, who doesn’t?! But snacking on cup cakes, brownies and Haribo needs to stop. I’ve recently signed up for Graze and I plan to cut out all unhealthy snacks completely by replacing them with healthy, natural portions of nibbles I hope to have more consistent body energy. 
  • Solder, Build Things and Hack Away! As a kid, I loved being technical with my hands. I helped out the art studio at my school by putting the finishing touches to people’s pottery and preparing them for the furnace thing. I honestly can’t remember the pottery vocabulary and what I did, but I remember my teacher saying I had very steady hands and I should apply them more. I got into soldering after a physics practical in which we built our own random die generator. I started hacking away on my Xbox soon after that, installing mod chips and custom hardware/software. I really miss those days and I hope to slowly bring back hobbies which include technical know-how and using my hands. Read below about my knitting experience!
  • Learn the Basics of Sign Language. I know I won’t be a professional sign linguist, but I am extremely eager to start exploring the world of sign language. I find it extremely interesting and think it’s one of the most beautiful languages around. 
  • Keep a Journal. In 2010 I tried hard at keeping journals; I had a dream journal, normal journal and a journey journal. All my journals were forgotten about and only ever had few entries in them. My dream journal is probably the one with most pieces in it; I had fun psycho-analysing my dreams and writing them down. It’s a month into 2011 and I’ve started a new journal. It’s a combination of a journal, dream diary, motivational pieces and todo lists and so far I’ve been good at writing in it. It’s not a daily activity I plan to do, but as long as I have an entry a week and my dreams written down, I’m happy. I also have another journal for my university work; it’s got ideas, tasks and notes as I work through my Honours Project and other personal software projects. It too has been used and I hope it will continue to be used throughout the year.
  • Write More Letters. 2010 was the first year I ever wrote someone a post-card, and I absolutely loved it. I hope to send out more mail, letters and post-cards as I experience 2011.
  • Get More Involved. Throughout school I had to be involved; it was part of the Duke of Edinburgh and International Baccalaureate to stack up hours of activities, whether creative ones, sporting ones or service ones. I actually enjoyed it too; I never stopped when I reached the required hours. I’ve let that passion of being involved slip and have hope to bring it back this year. As mentioned below, I’ve joined a knitting group and already learnt a new skill. I want to be more involved with charity, promoting events, helping others and generally ‘being out there’.
  • Surf / Wind Surf. I failed at attempting either in 2010. Let’s change that!

So, nothing huge here. No life changing goals or anything, just a few positive uplifting goals to keep the rest of 2011 interesting.

Already completed at time of writing:

  • Stop Bad Habits. My worst habit is picking skin on my fingers. I woke up on New Years and spontaneously decided to never ever be OCD and simply stop picking on them. It’s a month into 2011 and I’ve completed this goal so far. Most habits/addictions take two weeks to adjust to, to get over that ‘urge’. I’ve been good and can say I have completed this goal. Other habits have also been taken care of and I’m extremely glad to have had such a positive start to the year!
  • Learn to Knit. I’ve always loved technical ‘puzzles’ and as mentioned above, I want to be more technical with my hands. I’ve been to a few knitting group sessions and have really enjoyed it so far and have already completed my first knit! I can definitely say I’ve learnt something new in 2011.