12 December 2014

Back to School

Those who know me in real life have a small inkling of my love for learning. While in school and since graduation, I've taken enough classes to qualify for at least one more bachelor's degree. I have taken quite a few classes primarily because they seem interesting and fun (which they were). My book cases and Amazon wishlist are adorned with books that span a broad breadth of subject areas. In other words, I like learning. So it really shouldn't surprise anyone when I say that I'm now considering going back to school. Again.

As a boy, I spent many years with my brother (and on occasion my sister) building the Seven Wonders of the Backyard. We would construct bridges and tunnels out of mud, sticks, rocks, and other building materials to direct water to flow this way or that. Also included were elements like little boats for the visiting ants and other similar implements. At the same time, I've been fascinated with planes, ships, trains, earth moving equipment, cars, and bicycles. The latter is really the driving force behind this determination. I want to further both of those interests.

When the bikeways look like this, the choice of
driving a car or bicycle has a clear winner.
Image credit: me.
It all started coming together due to some punches from MMM. I obtained a bicycle to start commuting, but I quickly discovered that road conditions in my area are at best, not even lipstick on a pig. So I started getting involved to do something about at least putting lipstick on it and maybe even turning the pig into another type of animal. Deer, duck, maybe a dingo; I'm still not sure what we're going for yet. What I do know is that in doing so, I've become more intimately involved in the planning and design of projects than I ever even knew existed. That has led to my gathering knowledge on various treatments and their applications from various blogs and design manuals, where I quickly realized that at present, The Netherlands sports the best biking conditions. After making a visit to the country last year, I've returned with a goal of improving biking conditions here. However, I've come to the realization that if I am to truly join the fun of actually planning better bikeways, I would be able to be most
useful as a licensed engineer. For that, I must go back to school.

Ready to start designing!
Image credit: stockimages
on freedigitalphotos.net.
Now comes the fun part. In one sense, I feel like I'm graduating high school all over again. On the other hand, I was just talking with a friend the other week about planning our 10 year reunion from our actual high school graduation. Needless to say, I'm getting up into the territory of another decade, so I'd like to finish school as quickly as possible for a multitude of reasons. Not that I feel that I "must" do anything by any certain time, but I'm mostly interested in getting started into a direction that I will feel definitely interested in going.

With this resolution to return to school comes several changes. Going to school again is the most obvious one, but it's far from the only thing that'll be different. In future posts, I'll go over stuff like finding a program, paying for college a second time around, figuring out if buying the textbook is actually a good idea, and most importantly, quantifying how it impacts my financial road map. So stay tuned for updates and if you've taken a break for school or gotten a second bachelor's I'd love to hear about your experience. Leave your story in the comment section!

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