April 20, 2007, 11:03 pm - James FarrerSo there is officially 6.09625 days left until graduation (I have a count down timer) and I am excited. All of my homework is done and I have two finals left, neither of which are worth stressing out about. I believe I have all the other paperwork and stuff taken care of so now I will take one final tomorrow and the other on Monday. So close. :-)
So as I'm graduating I have been reflecting a great deal on various issues in my life. I have put a lot of thought into what direction I want to take my career in the long term. I have a good job right now, and I don't have any immediate plans to leave, but still, graduating opens up the possibility should I choose to. In talking with Dr. Helps, the Department Chair of the IT program and my capstone advisor from last year, he said I have a lot of very good experience for just graduating and am in an excellent position should I choose to "go out into the world". I think his thoughts were fairly accurate.
Working full-time while taking many of my IT and business classes has given me the ability to apply the course material in a very direct way. I think this helped me get a lot more out of the coursework. An example of this is a marketing project that I just did. I was able to use a service that we could start offering in the next year or so and assess what would be good to do to market the service. In comparing with the average salary of IT graduates from BYU, I could definitely go out and make significantly more, but there is a great deal of stability as well as good benefits here at BYU. Oh well, I'll be here for a little while at any rate, and it's good experience.
I've also been thinking about what I'm going to do with the extra time I have now that I don't have to do homework. I'm not sure how much I'll really have when it comes down to it since there's a little boy that will be born before too long and I may be doing some programming work on the side to earn a little extra cash. But on the off chance I can really find a few minutes to call my own, what should I do with that time?
I've got a few hobbies that I've tinkered with over the last few years. Model Trains, model plains, web sites, and the motorcycle. I'm planning on doing at least a little more riding, but I don't think that'll be my sole use of the time, especially when weather doesn't want to cooperate. The model train stuff is fun, and I'm looking forward to continuing with it at some point, but we don't exactly have a good place for it in our apartment. Model planes are good for a few hours every once in a while, but unless they are the flying kind (which I can't really afford right now) it's not the greatest long term solution.
So I've thought of one thing that I might do, though it seems a little daunting since I am so out of shape. I really enjoyed playing indoor soccer on my mission. There is a place not too far away that has leagues that I could join. It would give me a chance to get some much needed exercise. I'll have to look into this option some more.
Any other suggestions? I've got one more idea, but that'll come in further down.
So here's another question on my mind. I have some very loving and generous family (and I greatly thank you) that have given me graduation gifts. Most of these have been monetary and when put together, add up to an amount of discretionary cash that I don't think I've ever encountered. So with this in mind, I have been considering both the general idea of how to use it and a few specific things I could do with it. I have been looking at a few different options in particular but am still open to suggestions.
The first thing that I thought of is a lock box for my motorcycle. If you don't know what it is, you can go here to see a picture, it is the black box on the back. There are several brands that offer lock boxes, though BMW's is the most tempting because it is designed specifically for the bike and has a support bracket that goes with it. The down side to BMW's is the cost; it is the most expensive one that I've seen. It would have the benefit of using the same key as the bike ignition. There are other boxes of various sizes, I think one even had a bracket, but from looking online it's difficult to know of the quality and without a reinforcing bracket that I know is specifically for the bike and well built, I don't know that it could handle the weight of a passenger leaning on it as it should.
~On a side note, I just got a call from Jason and found out that they just had their baby. It was 7 lbs 9 oz. ~
The next option is something that I've been wanting for a long time but has always been very cost prohibitive. It is a digital SLR camera. I have enjoyed photography as a hobby since my parents gave me their Nikon F-20 35mm SLR camera in junior high. It's a nice camera and takes great pictures even still, but with how much I do on the computer, film just doesn't cut it for me any more and the camera has not been used much lately.
When I first started looking at digital SLR's, they were in the $1000+ range for just the cheapest Nikon camera body. They have come down in price a great deal. I think this is a good option because it can be used with a much more family oriented approach as well as on my own. I already have a great zoom lens (coincidentally a high school graduation gift from my parents) that I could use with the camera and an external flash that should be compatible. And while they may be questionable in the eyes of an experienced professional, from what I've seen they take fantastic pictures. I think I would enjoy this a great deal and right now is the direction I'm leaning, but that is still subject to change.
I have also thought of a couple other options such as getting a small sailboat (of the used, 2 man, fit into the back of the truck variety) or maybe some kayaks, but that is a relatively recent thought and I haven't developed it much.
So, there are the options so far. I would like to use the money for something that would last a bit and be a benefit to have. I have been gathering feedback and am still looking for more, so if you want to chime in, please do so. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I guess that about sums up my thoughts for tonight. Enjoy!