Ramblings of a (Nearly) Thirty-Something College Sophomore: Fall Term/Week 2

I’m now a fortnight into my return to school. The early returns have been promising so far. After attending the marriage of our friends yesterday, I spent my Sunday finishing up my first written report, to be handed in tomorrow for my geography class. [see PDF of report here]

Of course, it couldn’t all print easily. Halfway through getting the report onto paper, the ink cartridge died. But after picking up another on my way home from work, everything is wrapped up and ready to hand in tomorrow.

Due Tuesday will be the first week of our personal water audits for Environmental Sustainability, the sophomore inquiry course I was required to take as part of the Portland State curriculum. It’ll be interesting to see where I can shave more gallons off my daily water usage, especially considering I’m still cooking three days a week while I’m in school.

I also received back my first graded in-class writing for history — a check-plus, which I guess means I did the work in exemplary rather than merely satisfactory fashion.

I’ll take it… we spent the first two weeks on early humanity, from the evolutionary links of Lucy in the Rift Valley to the Mesopotamian world of Gilgamesh and Hammurabi. This week we move on to an Egyptian world of Osiris and Ptah-Hotep, obelisks and pyramids and a river running through it all.

All things told, I’m still ecstatic about being back in school. The classes weave together well, a sort of past-present-and-future lineup of courses that keep me thinking throughout the week. I’m getting more assignments for the school paper, which continues to be a fun challenge of its own for a guy who is used to a limitless word count.

I’m sure it won’t be all roses for the entire term, but for now I couldn’t be happier to be a student once again. Let’s hope things continue to fall into place as we continue onward into autumn.



QUATERNARY (adj.): of, relating to, or consisting of four units or members; a member of a group fourth in order or rank

I’d often seen this word on the ubiquitous bottle of sanitizer tablets that grace many a commercial kitchen, or on the machines of pre-mixed sanitizer solution you often find on the wall installed courtesy of the friendly local Ecolab technician. And I’ve always loved the term “tertiary” when discussing a chain of events or factors or effects or whatever. But I’d never given much thought to the word “quaternary” until I heard it once again in Environmental Sustainability last Wednesday (or was it Friday?).

In terms of sanitizers, it refers to a four-part solution. Using the word in my Sustainability course (or in geography or history, for that matter) it refers to the latter definition of the term. Either way, it’s a ton of fun to say…




I’m pretty tired at the moment, I can’t deny that. At least work was easy enough. It still feels like I’m missing something, but at least I know I won’t be caught empty-handed tomorrow when I head to geography class.

I should probably wrap this up and go finish the readings for history tomorrow. Now, as I enter the third week, is certainly no time to be falling behind or allowing myself to get lax in my follow-through.

Things are going well in class, at the paper and at work. I still feel a little off-balance sometimes, but I figure that’s to be given… I’m still getting used to the feel of classwork again, kind of like those first teetering pedal-strokes when you saddle up onto a bike again for the first time after a long sabbatical away.

The training wheels are off… here comes week 3, complete with all the thrills of victory (and hopefully I won’t get to the point where the agony of defeat comes into play.)

I could stand to use more sleep… but that’s always been the case in my life. Hence the 7 out of 10…

Peace for now…

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