Friday, February 20, 2009

Grad school ranting

Tonight I should be working on my first IDA exam (where I can earn credit for real world experience). But I'm not. WHY? More in a sec.

Yesterday I had two papers due, one about 5 pages and the big ass one that ended up 18 pages. I had them done early, like Tuesday. I put in TONS of hours on them on top of work, kids, and everything else, right? So, yesterday I decided to double check that I'd uploaded the correct versions. I'd hate to upload a previous draft by mistake. And I see a note from our instructor. It read (to paraphrase) "A few students asked for an extension so to be fair to all I'm giving everyone an extenstion until Monday". WHAT! I was incensed. Extention? Hello! I'm just as busy as anyone else and, like in the REAL world where you have a deadline, I MET AND EXCEEDED THE DEADLINE! I couldn't believe the gall of some people to ask for an extension! When the hell did they start this project? It was assigned on the first day of class! What about those of us with initiative to email the instructor for feedback early and re-write their papers like 5 times and made thier wives read THE WHOLE DAMN THING to make sure it looked good! Boy was I pissed at those slackers.

THEN, today, exams open up. So I open the first exam. We have 72 hours to complete the exam and upload your answers (essay and regluar true/false, muliple choice). At 6:30 pm tonight, I open the first exam and start the clock, figuring I'll work maybe 3 hours tonight, and put in the rest of the about 12 hours recommended to complete tomorrow and Sunday. I wanted to have it done early Sunday since we have a Blue and Gold dinner for Grasshopper Sunday evening (cub scout event). I go to download the questions and I get an access denied error. I tried 4, yes FOUR different computers, same error on all 4. So I call ESC tech support. Except the CLOSE AT 5 PM ON FRIDAYS AND DON't OPEN AGAIN UNTIL SUNDAY! And the instructor available to help won't be available until 9 AM TOMORROW! And the clock is ticking. Now that I've opened the exam, once the 72 hours is up, I can NEVER take it again which means I won't be able to earn the credits towards my degree and have to take the entire course. Yes, I'm pissed. Here's the email I sent:

"Let me tell you my frustration level is extremely high right now. I tried 3 different computers all with the same error. I tried contacting the help desk and of course they closed at 5 pm. As an IT professional that deals in Service Desk, let me state this is very poor customer service. ESC publishes an exam with a time limit you can only access once, and at an obvious peak time for students to access an exam (I do recall the recommendation to do it over a Friday, Saturday, Sunday) there is NO assistance. Truthfully I’m very disappointed and am now going to lose at least 15 hours of time assuming this issue gets resolved at 9 am tomorrow. I had intended to put several hours in tonight and now that time is lost. I’m sorry to take this tone but I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this program so far this semester and did significant rearranging of my personal schedule and time to accommodate these IDA exams. As a student and IT professional I find this situation completely unsatisfactory. Please contact me immediately at home at .. or on my cell at .. to resolve. Thanks.)"

So now I'm going to have my "special" coffee (laced with amaretto) and watch Battlestar Galactica. And let me tell you they better fix my problem pronto or they're resetting the clock on my exam.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Drive by

Just a quick update during a "lull" in the action. I've turned in my two papers and am caught up with school. However, beginning this weekend, major tests are available that will allow me to earn credits for prior experience and knowledge. They literally take about 12 hours to complete and you have 72 hours from the time you start an exam to turn it in. So every weekend for the next month I'll be doing these tests! Then there's all the OTHER work that needs to be done! My brain is hurting already.

Nothing special happened here for Valentine's Day, but the Wife and I usually don't do anything. We both feel Valentine's Day is a big excuse to sell flowers and candy, neither of which we need. We're not even into getting "romantic" on Valentine's Day. Last time we did, we had a Halloween baby. Kind of cured us of the holiday.

We exchanged cards. I surprised the lady with a new cat to replace the one we lost...a grey Webkinz cat. We like it since its so low maintenance.

Wrestling is done for Maverick with the exception of a couple of tournaments. Grasshopper is crossing over into Boy Scouts on Monday (yikes!) so we're prepping for that. He and Maverick will be in the same troop so it will be MUCH easier for both of us.

There's probably going to be an interesting shakeup at work. My boss took a job in a different department outside of IT so we're waiting to see what the fallout is. No indication whether they'll post for the job (which I can then apply for ;)), eliminate it, or re-org us. I'm in wait and see mode so stay tuned. In the mean time, I just keep on keeping on.

I've been popping in here and there when I can and will continue to do so. Take care kiddies!

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Hi all.

Just wanted to check in really quick. Things have been absolutely nuts around here. The last two weeks have been jam packed with craziness, between the cat passing away, me being out of town for 3 days, church and scout stuff going on, its been non stop. To top it all off, I've been working on my courses every spare minute I have. I'm in the middle of writing a 15-18 page paper analysing Boeing versus Airbus in the commercial airline manufacturing industry. I know TONS of stuff I didn't before! Just ask me!

I had a one on one with the big boss last week and mentioned I'd begun my MBA. He asked how I was handling scheduling and I told him I spend 2 to 3 hours Monday to Thursdays after the boys go to bed, about 4 to 6 hours on Sunday, and take Friday's and Saturday's off. He looked at me like I had two heads! Last time I was in an intense learning environment (that being Nuke School), I learned that if you bust your ass Sunday through Thursday, you can take 2 days off and still do really well. Plus, I'm motivated to get my degree, so I put in the effort. I believe I impressed him. Still, that schedule only impacts time with the family on Sundays since I start working on weeknights after the boys go to bed. The Wife is asleep in her chair by 10 pm so we interact before the boys go to sleep anyway.

I'll check in with you guys from time to time when I get a chance. If I haven't been by in a while, don't take it personal. I'm lucky just to have been able to write this post. Take care!