Study Abroad?

I went to the CSU Study Abroad fair today- got me very excited about the possibility of going to Spain sometime.

My thoughts, in completely random order:

  • When should I go? I’m a second-year student taking 100-level and 300-level classes at the same time. I don’t want to go too late when I can’t take anything that applies to my major.
  • I really need to bring my GPA up. If I do well this semester, I’ll be good for most schools, but the most interesting one is more selective and I probably can’t even get into before 2009.
  • Where to go? Barcelona seems the most interesting, except that I’m more interested in mainstream Spain than I am in Catalonia. Granada also seems really cool. Maybe Madrid.
  • How long? People say I should go for a longer amount of time, but that would mean harder housing arrangements while I’m gone, taking a long time away from the band, et cetera.
  • So long to graduating without debt!

So yeah. It’s very exciting to think about- I’ll be meeting with advisors and people in the study abroad department to figure out what fits me best.

Any advice on España? I am interested in any that you may have. 🙂

Technical School?

Right now I’m in a program that is half general business classes, and half information systems classes. Most of the general business classes bore me to death (except management) and a fraction of the IS classes also drive me crazy (I like server technologies, web design, and database-driven apps, but not much else).

I’m starting to think that maybe I should ditch the typical university approach to these things and get into some kind of technical school where I only have to take the classes that are directly pertinent to my field of interest.

Part of me feels like it would be a step backwards from where I am now- some of these programs don’t finish with a bachelor’s degree, and that could limit my future career options if I decide to do something different. People don’t care so much what kind of bachelor’s degree you have, just that you have one.

But at the same time- my biggest interests, both tech and music, are definitely fields where employers care a lot more about your skills than your academic rap sheet. With the classes I’m taking at CSU, I can only take one or two interesting tech classes at a time because of all my other requirements. I’d rather immerse myself in the interesting stuff, since my learning is kind of slowed to a crawl right now.

I don’t know if I’ll follow through with the idea of a tech school or similar program. Part of me really likes it, and part of me is uncomfortable with it because the “Go to a University and get a bachelor’s degree” thing has drilled itself pretty deep into my conscience.

EDIT: Did a lot more digging around to find schools that have web development or web design programs. The vast majority of them are at art & design schools – I can picture myself doing that, but I am not a person who is very artistic visually. I can’t draw for crap. But then again, I need to learn a good deal of that anyways if I want to do good web design.

Less attractive is the fact that most programs are either:

  1. Stuff that I could/already have taught myself. (“Here’s how to make static HTML! Have a crappy degree.”)
  2. Very similar to my current CIS program. (Basic web design + ASP.NET + basic business classes)

There are a few (VERY few) schools that offer a “B.A. in Web Development.” This is a brand-new field in academics (most people just self-teach) but it seems like just what I want – graphic design, XHTML/XML/DHTML, database-driven apps, server-side languages beyond ASP, and a few business classes here and there.

Pretty much any of these schools are more expensive than CSU, and I’m only going to move somewhere more expensive if I’m really excited about it and convinced that it will offer me something much better than I’m getting right now. After looking at 20+ schools, the only one that even comes close is the International Academy of Design & Technology. It would be a 100%-online degree, which would take some adjustment on my part. I’m contacting their advisors and admissions departments to find out more, but I’ll only do it if they can convince me that it’s much more than what I’m getting from CIS right now.

If I come up dry looking at other schools (which is likely), I will probably do one of the following:

  • Suck it up and take the boring business classes with CIS
  • Switch to Applied Computing Technology (less business, more tech)
  • Get an easy blowoff bachelor’s degree and teach myself the development stuff.

Fall 07

So I’m almost done with the first week of school. I’m taking some good classes (Networks/Operating Systems, Database Management Systems, Business Management) and some not so fun ones (Accounting, Statistics). Not a bad combination overall.

One thing I’m liking is my schedule – last year, I had class all day for two or three days a week from 8 to 4 or so. On the days I didn’t have class, I had work all day. It wasn’t pretty. This year, My classes are spread out to a few each day, and I work the lunch shift six days a week (including Saturday). This means that on most days, I can be home by 2:30 or 3:00 if I want to be.

I have run into a few friends from the dorms. It’s nice seeing them – everyone leaves town for the summer – but I still miss my friends in Arizona most, despite the fact that I’ve been here for over a year now. I have learned that I am very good at wearing both the introvert and extrovert hats, but that I am happier when I’m around people that I can be myself around. Up here, aside from my folks, I don’t really have that.

In other news, I passed my audition into the music minor program at CSU. I can’t take anything this semester, but it means that I’ll be able to take the piano and theory classes I’ve been wanting to take. I am very rusty on some things (namely marimba) but this isn’t a super-serious thing, just something I want to do on the side.