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Notes from virtual grade 1

| school

Text from sketch

We're close to the end of the school year. We chose virtual school again this year, and we applied for a full exemption from synchronous learning. At completed the required homework on time and occasionally participated in class. The teachers were okay with this setup.

What worked well?

  • A+ generally did the homework quickly, giving her plenty of time for self-directed learning and outdoor playdates. Most teachers posted detailed instructions and resources.
  • It was extra nice when she took the initiative to do her homework.
  • I liked knowing what they were learning about in class, and following along with the homework.
  • A+ likes to read at night. Working asynchronously. meant that we could usually have laid-back mornings.

What was a little challenging?

  • Sometimes A+ was too tired after playdates, and homework was hard to get through. Sometimes she resisted doing homework with me. She always managed to do it, though. W- helped.
  • Sometimes I got a bit antsy about what we were missing out on, choosing to not do, or not doing as well as some of her classmates (Comparison is the thief of joy.)
  • Sometimes big feelings were hard to deal with.

Choosing virtual school again next year. I hope it works out just as well!


| school

My department followed up on my delayed letter of confirmation, and
they found someone at SGS who’s willing to do it. So I can pick it up
at 3:00 and get my application finally on its way!

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Out of my control

| school

The person responsible for preparing letters of confirmation of degree
at University of Toronto’s School of Graduate Studies isn’t around.
I’ve called SGS every day to follow up on the letter, but no one else
can prepare it. My transcript currently shows that my thesis is still
in progress, so I can’t request a paper copy and use that as proof of

An international student advisor at U of T said that there’s
absolutely no way I can rush either SGS or Citizenship and Immigration
Canada. She advised postponing my start date to three to four weeks
after I send the application, which is dependent on when I receive the

I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of moving my start date forward,
but I don’t think I can do anything about it. I’ve asked SGS if anyone
else can prepare the letter. I’ve asked about my transcript. GWAAH!

Looking back, I really can’t see how I would’ve done things better.
This galls me even more than being late does. The tentative start date
for my offer was based on a fairly reasonable time estimate after my
thesis defense. I don’t think I delayed a lot myself. Maybe I should
have been more pessimistic, adding at least a 50% buffer to account
for delays in communication, unexpected absences, things like that. I
guess that’s it: be much more conservative when estimating around
other people’s times…

I can’t do anything about it now. I just have to wait.

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I survived my defense!

| school

zomg, I’m actually done with the defense. I need to make a few minor
revisions, but the bulk of my work is DONE!

This calls for a celebration. If you’re in Toronto, join me at the
Taste of the Danforth on August 11. I’m thinking of being somewhere in
that vicinity around 11:00 AM on Saturday morning. Call or text to
find out precisely where I am. =)

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Thesis defense is tomorrow

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The end is in sight. In fact, it’s in less than 12 hours. Whee!

Right. Shower, then pick out clothes.

Must remember following maxim: When in doubt, cut it out. Minimize speech!

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Preparing for defense

Posted: - Modified: | school

My thesis defense is just two days away. I’ve drafted my presentation
and asked my supervisor for comments. The main thing that’s keeping me
sane is the reassurance that Mark wouldn’t have let me get to this
step if he didn’t think I’d be okay. =) The thesis defense will be a
good time to identify ways to improve my thesis. My examiners will ask
me tough questions to probe my knowledge of the subject and my ability
to think like a researcher. They want me to succeed. (Probably because
it’s less complicated than failing me.)

That’s it, Sacha, think positive… =)

Tomorrow, I’m going to U of T in order to double-check all the
arrangements. I should also make sure that I can project from my
laptop using the supplied projector. Actually, it might be a good idea
for me to go and borrow someone’s laptop with Microsoft Windows or
something like that…

Okay, I’ve posted my plan for tomorrow. I can get through this. =)

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If I don’t go and do something, I’ll go mad

| school

My thesis draft has been sent to my committee members. I’ve also
revised my CASCON paper and outlined my presentation. And if I don’t
find something else to do, some neat work-type thing, I’m going to go
mad. I can’t really give myself permission to waste the time idly
surfing the Net. I get that itch to do something interesting and

Tomorrow, I’m going to go to IBM. I think my laptop’s just too slow
for reliable VPN. If I go tomorrow, I can invest time in fully
participating in the blogosphere. I can even do some of the
story-collecting and analysis I’d been meaning to do forever. Maybe
I’ll start putting the slides together.

Ah, there’s another thing I can do: update my literature review with
older papers.

And get back into open source development, maybe with Rails.

This is teaching me a lot about my ideal life. I don’t want to be
retired-retired. I want to be doing interesting things. Twitch,
twitch, twitch…

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