Ah, it's that time of year again. The time of year that most folks in academia regard as the real new year's - the beginning of the school year. And quite an interesting start it's been for me. I managed to get through the first week of school with no problems at all, even though I was about 900 miles away from campus (though I'm home now). No, I haven't invented my own version of Star Trek's transporter (that's still just a wish) - all my classes are online this semester, so I didn't have to be physically on campus for the beginning of classes. So, I took advantage of the situation and extended a visit to Colorado (wonderful, cool, mountainous, Colorado).
Up until now, I have to say I've been fairly dissappointed in my online classroom experience - in large part because the software my university uses is... not the greatest. However, I'll admit that I now see one really big advantage (provided all your classes are online): you aren't chained to campus during the school year.
I don't really think I appreciated just how nice a thing that was until now. I managed to extend a visit to my family and still not miss out on the beginning of the school year. I'll be able to travel to professional conferences and not entirely miss class, if I wish (and librarians put a lot of stock in professional development, so this is a good thing). If my budget permits and I get sick of the heat of Tucson, I can escape to cooler Flagstaff for a few days without too many ill effects. That flexibility is nice.
But of course, it's still the beginning of the semester, no matter where I am when it starts. There's a lot of reading to do - almost more than I can keep up with (though I bring this upon myself, the class I'm most interested in is, of course, the one that has the most optional reading, and I want to try to read all of it - I just have to remind myself that I don't necessarily have to read it all right now). There's me wondering how on Earth I'm going to have time to complete all of my assignments, and how I'm going to survive the fact that all of my classes have group projects associated with them (when most of my experiences with group school projects have been... well, let's just leave it at saying that most of them haven't gone well at all).
Still, even though I'm in a bit of a daze, I'm still happy to be starting a new semester. I like school, all of my classes are interesting so far, and after a somewhat rocky first year, I think I'm finally getting the hang of grad school.
Of course, since this is a Master's program, I've only got one more year....