Friday, 11 January 2013

January Semester, Week 1

One whole week of back-to-school completed. Despite the fact that outdoor work isn't precisely an option this semester, it looks like this is going to be a busy and fun session.

Construction class is divided into 2 parts. It seems we'll be making Adirondack chairs in woodworking (let's see if my carpentry skills have improved since high school...) and for masonry, we're doing what the prof refers to as 'lego for grownups'. He's got about 4 projects lined up, put us in teams of 4 or 5 people, and each team gets to assemble and disassemble each project, as well as keep logbooks and time-sheets, cost out the work, and have each member take turns being the crew foreman. There's a stone bench, a waterfall, a barbecue, and a light pillar, all to be functional, all to be done without mortar, and we're encouraged to take his basic plans up a notch, in terms of creativity. And some of the projects will be used for the garden show in the spring, which the second-years are organizing.

For further creative exercise, there's Design this semester. By far the most fun to shop for, IMHO. Besides the textbook and CADD software, we need all sorts of fun stuff for drawing - colored pencils, circle templates, tracing paper, gridded vellum, compass and triangle, Sharpie markers, drawing pens...Definitely looking forward to this one!

We've also got a course on interior-scaping (with a nod at tropicals and indoor plant ID), green walls, and green roofs, a nursery class which is starting with winter twig ID and continuing through starting seeds and transplanting, our second urban agriculture course, which is covering a range of concepts and topics - bio-remediation, sustainability, vertical gardening, business practices, organic certification...

By contrast, our second maintenance class doesn't sound nearly as interesting. Appropriate to the season, it's all on snow removal and salt management - and litigation. The prof basically stated that if you work in snow removal, you will get sued, and so we have to learn all the things to record to prove that we did our best - not because we might win the suit, but because our insurance company will appreciate our efforts, apparently, and maybe charge us less money. Terribly depressing, and rendering snow removal a job to be avoided. I think I'll try to keep winters for designing, instead.

English class is all about the prep for our co-op semester - resumes and cover letters and such, useful if not exactly a gripping topic. By the end of the month we'll be starting to apply for co-op positions already. And my elective is Geology of the Ottawa Area, which I figured would be useful in understanding the soils around here, as well as adding a nice base of knowledge to the interest I had in rock collecting as a kid. All online, though, except for the intro class, so it will be a matter of setting aside the time to work each week.

So many projects and assignments everyone's talking about, though! I feel rather as if I'm in water that's only ankle-deep right now, but watching a huge wave coming towards me. Here's hoping the schedule gets a little less imposing as we get into it.

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