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The first days of class have begun

January 10, 2012

Now that I’ve experienced my classes, I figured I’d babble on those. Like with previous entries, this will be divided into 2 days.

01/09/2012 (yep, I am still putting dates in US order)

I woke up from various weird dreams and had to shake the cobwebs out. Thankfully, most of the ice on the roads had melted by then. I try not to grumble in envy about things back home, but I do miss how back in Omaha, it has been a record warm winter (the first snow here it was 61F there). Where the only snow we got COMPELTELY melted away in 2 days because of unseasonable warmth. Granted, it’s been a warm winter up here too (less warm, but Norway standards are probably different), but…AUGH, THE ICE!

Like I thought, IS-304 is a class about doing a huge group project for and approved by a real-life company. Most of the people knew each other (that seems to be the effect of being in the same department and on the same year, although in Omaha it’s less so because of the detached and solitary atmosphere), so the groups were already made. Me and one other international student introduced ourselves and said what our skills were as “free agents.” Since I have a strong programming background (although I’m not nearly as good at it as I’d like to be) and speak fluent English, I was quickly recruited by a group (apparently, English speaking programmers are in demand). I’m not sure if I’m allowed to speak of the details of our project (the company involved does seem to be strict about confidentiality), but it did say reports had to be submitted in English. Unfortunately, the language they seem to want is C# and possibly a dot-NET background. Well, I’ve been meaning to learn C# anyway (it was tied second on my list with ruby and Lisp, first place being Python).

Sidenote: Each of the group members has something different in common with me. The one with the least in common does have the fact that we’re the only men. Another started her collegiate education late in life (she’s a year older than I), and the last one has been to UNO (she studied abroad for a semester, she took 1840, 2850 [aka “Bob’s perl class”], and one class I couldn’t identify).

For lunch I went to the student cafeteria. For price reasons I can’t make a habit out of this. However, they had this awesome thing that was like a cinnamon roll with vanilla cream in the center. Between that and their strong coffee, I think I found my ideal breakfast if I want to dine Norwegian. I know I can find those at grocery stores, so I might treat myself to one after I accomplish something significant on my group projects or something.

Speaking of food, I’m happy because after doing requisite shopping (the book store wouldn’t take US credit cards because they don’t have that “chip” that EU ones do, so I had to get money from the ATM), I now have enough food to pick and choose what I get to eat among them. I know this sounds minor, but prior to this, I only had chips (which lasted a little more then a day) and bread. When chips ran out, it was literally bread or nothing. Since grocery stores (at least ones nearby) aren’t open on Sundays (the day I am accustomed to shopping), I literally subsisted off of bread and water. I feel like a peasant. Oh well, at least the water is covered in my rent.

I spent the rest of the day teaching myself basic C#. I learned some things about it I never suspected. First of all, that it is a Microsoft initiated language (it would explain why it feels more like Java then classic C/C++, even though they are all in the same general family). Second, I had to find where the C# compiler was on my computer and do some system digging to set the path (also did that with the JDK while I was at it). I’ll be blunt, MSDN’s site on the various methods and keywords is not that helpful for me. Also, I don’t think the bookstore has any resources on it (I’ll look, rather not have to pay a “Norway Price” for such a thing). Between that and talking to GF, I got lost in my doings and couldn’t get my Laundry done (I was going to, but the Laundry room is closed at 10PM). Plus I’d probably have to get a bit of help doing it (the machines are almost certainly in Norwegian).

01/10/2012 (today, as of the time I type this)

Once again, I had nightmares. These are getting disturbingly common. If this keeps up all week, I may seek psychological assistance, but I should be fine. This class is an hour earlier. That means I walk in the dark and the roads are frozen over. As much as I like the wealth of info intellicast seems to give me, it was always below the predicted low temperature today, and you didn’t bother to change that (hence why the roads were frozen). It was actually not bad out (wind-chill was pretty bad though, plus it is stupidly humid here).

My second class is a lot like my Organizations, Applications, and Technology Systems class (OATS for short, back in my day it was CIST-3100, although I think it’s CIST-2100 now). However, this class is a LOT more hardcore. We go over things like Enterprise systems versus Silo systems and that kind of thing. The class has one major test and a group project. Because most (if not all) of the people graduating this year are taking IS-304 and IS-305 concurrently just as I am, I got the same group people. This makes things a lot easier (I assume most if not all people did the same thing).

One of the crazy things is that this class apparently has its final exam in March. Meaning the project will be done before then (as it being satisfactorily completed is a prerequisite to take the final exam). This is going to be a much shorter project then the other one (I’m hoping we can get effective credit for the same project by doing the more theoretical business side of things there). This is going to be a brutally hard core semester earlier on.

Looking in to my schedule for 304 and 305, by the time easter break is over, I have no more lectures. The “week no” part is the weeks class is in session (classes are longer, but not always every week). This week is week 2. Also, the 305 teacher said that by the time February comes around (I think), we won’t be having Tuesday class anymore. This means that after that after that point, I will only be having class on Wednesday and Thursday. Furthermore, after between weeks 4 and 7, I will only be having class on Wednesday. The exam for IS-305 doesn’t count as a “class”, but it’s really the last one I have to visit (it’s a written exam) until the oral test for IS-304. Meaning that as of April, I don’t have to attend any classrooms whatsoever. This is definitely different. We’ll see how this plays out.

Now I have some class reading to do (I’m going to concentrate on reading ahead on the IS-305 slides and making notes for them before anything else). I am supposed to meet up with the Erasmus students in the on-campus pub (which I am having trouble finding to be honest). I might do that, depending on how much I feel I got done. I need to keep one ear open on my group though. THEY are going to be my “buddies” in work for the coming semester, so as much fun as the Erasmus folks are, the group gets priority.

Well, I’m off to be scholastic (or worst case scenario, pretend to before I get distracted or tired XD)

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