M-Day: 0

A bit of background first: roughly four years ago I finished my Bachelor of Computer Science at the University of Lethbridge. I was quite excited to be ‘done’ school and start working in the real world. I worked on software for the oil and gas industry for roughly four years. A few events (including a few months of unemployment) made me realize that I wanted to go back for a Master’s. I threw in my application with a few days to spare, and everything slid into place for it to happen. That was back in February. Now, on the eve of starting my Master’s, I found myself back at the same school that I left roughly four years ago.

It’s strange being back.

As I walked through the halls at the University, I felt the warm sunlight streaming through the windows. In less than 24 hours, the halls would be backed with bustling students – some new, some returning. Despite being Labour Day and almost no one around, there was almost something palpable in the air – the sort of excitement before the race, the dust before the storm, the lights dimming before the start of a movie.

The school itself hasn’t changed too much – there are a few new buildings, but that’s really about it. Walking through the hallways brought back memories – memories of spending time in various lecture halls, time spent in the library and time spent stressed out wondering if I would ever finish. At the same time, it was nice to think about some of the more fond memories of being at school there – socializing with friends and classmates and working on assignments until late at night, only to come out of the school to see the ground covered in soft new snow.

Today I felt anxious – the same way I felt when I first started there. Then I was doing something new to me – something exciting: stepping out into the unknown – going where I had not been before and learning what I did not know. As I walked through the hallways today, I felt that same way – wondering if I was doing the right thing – wondering if what I had proposed for my thesis would be good enough – hoping that the path I had taken was the right one.
I suppose only time will tell whether I’ve made the right choice or not. To me, there’s more than just school riding on the choice to come back: there’s the potential for missed income, lost love, and missing opportunities I would have by living where I was before – where I was comfortable. As it has been said though, “life is what happens outside your comfort zone”. I think there is some truth to that. I just hope I’ve picked the right place and way to jump out of my comfort zone.

So why “M-Day: 0”? Well, technically I haven’t yet started my Master’s yet (hence the “M”), and being a programmer, almost everything starts at zero. I’m going to try to keep a log of my experiences going back to school – if not for anyone else, for me – to see where I’ve come from and what I will have done over the course of the next two years. So future self, if you are reading this: remember the kind of enthusiasm with which you embarked this journey. Remember where you started, and see how you’ve grown since then.

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