Another Friday, another post—anyone besides me sensing a pattern here? I really think I'm lulled into a false sense of security on Fridays about how much I need to do... especially right after a Thursday when I've had something important due (which probably means I stayed up late Wednesday working on it and still rushed to finish before the deadline on Thursday) and I feel like I need a rest. Since I never have anything actually due on Fridays I seem to think I can "relax" and not be as productive as I should be. Assignments for my online class are usually due on Sunday so I do have that to contend with, but since Saturday comes before Sunday it seems to provide a buffer for Friday.
This week I registered for spring semester. When I started my program last January I wasn't sure how long the program would take; eventually I decided on 2.5 years, so graduating in spring 2011. If you go full-time it's designed to be a two-year program, but starting in the spring throws things off because of when the required classes are offered. In particular, a course called "capstone project" is offered only in the spring, and it's designed to be the last class you take before you graduate. (The capstone project is in place of a master's thesis; as the name implies it's really just a semester-long project, not a real thesis.) It's also recommended that you take the capstone project course alone if you possibly can since it requires a lot of work. I'd be done with the majority of my classes in spring 2010 so I decided I'd start looking for a job starting in summer 2010, then just take the two classes I had left (one class in fall 2010 and the capstone project in spring 2011) while working full-time. They're both evening classes and plenty of people do the program while working so that was my plan.
Until about a week ago. While thinking about what courses I need to take next semester my plan of waiting until May 2011 to graduate started sounding a lot less appealing than doing the program in two years and graduating in fall 2010 (Dec. 2010). The only way for spring starters like me to do that, though, is to take the capstone project course the semester before you graduate—so you still have at least one course to take afterward (the required class only offered in the fall) and possibly other courses, too, depending on how much you've done up until then. To make a long story short (or maybe it's too late for that—oh well) I've decided to do it that way and take the capstone project course next semester in order to graduate in Dec. 2010 instead of May 2011. It means I'll put off my job search for six months longer than I'd planned but that's a relatively minor detail for us at this point. (When I went into this we expected I'd be out of the workforce for two full years.) It also means I won't be taking the capstone project course on its own and will be taking another required class with it, but since it'll only be two classes instead of the three I'm taking this semester that still sounds like a huge relief to me right now. I'll need to take two classes instead of just one in fall 2010 but that's ok, too, since I won't be trying to work at a full-time job then.
I'm not the first person in the program to take the capstone project early and I won't be the last; plenty of people do it so there's definitely a precedence. Now I have to come up with a project a year earlier than I thought I would—YIKES! I talked to my advisor yesterday and found out I'm going to have to turn in a short proposal for my project this semester, probably by Thanksgiving—DOUBLE YIKES! I've had some vague ideas of possibilities for a while but having to think about them concretely now is an entirely different matter. I'd really like to do something Web-related if I can. Redesigning a Web site is a common project; anyone out there have a Web site they'd like created or redesigned? I did one as a semester project for a class last semester (the class was on Web design) that probably would have been a good candidate for a capstone project; that was then, this is now. Apparently my project doesn't have to be "real" (related to an organization that actually needs whatever I do) and I can make it up out of thin air, but I'd really like it to be something real (related to an organization somewhere) if I possibly can. So I'll be giving it some thought. And hoping for a revelation, which is welcome to come any time now.