Setting expectations for the new year, basking in the Valley of the Sun and taking my first crack at a driver’s license. All this and more if you’ll join me in looking back at the month that was in the latest Reflections and Expectations.
Grad school – After taking a quarter off last semester, I’m back this month to finish out my last three courses in graduate school at San Jose State University. I’m still pursuing that Master of Science in Transportation Management degree.
This semester is reserved for the all-important capstone research project. I’m still trying to hammer out my topic for the paper although it will focus on social media and transportation — indicative of my past and present experience in this business. Spring semester doesn’t feel so busy at the moment but it won’t be long before all that changes. I know. I talked to others who graduated from this program in years past and can attest to such an experience.
If all goes well, I’ll be participating in the Mineta Transportation Institute’s convocation ceremony in June before finishing out my tenth and final course during the latter half of this fall semester.
Phoenix – On the weekend of Jan. 22, I went on a quick weekend getaway to Phoenix, Arizona — my first out-of-state trip of 2016. This marks my first actual visit to the Grand Canyon State as past visits were merely an Amtrak pass-through or a couple of airport layovers.
I absolutely loved the city and the state. I stayed in Downtown Phoenix with a wonderful Airbnb host who formally lived in the same city in the Bay Area where I currently live. On my first night, I took the light rail — highly useful for a one-line system, might I add — to the Tempe Improv to watch the outstandingly funny comedian Jeff Ross perform.
On Saturday, I met up with an old college friend of mine who now works and lives out there along with a colleague / friend of his for a hike up the Camelback Mountain. I found the downhill climb to be more treacherous than the uphill climb, resulting in me sliding and falling at one point with the jagged rocks cutting my hands. Nevertheless, it was a worthy experience. To close out my second and final night, I went to the AMC theatre in Downtown Phoenix to watch Bridge of Spies. I enjoyed that movie, having been familiar with the history behind spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers being captured by the Soviet Union in the height of the Cold War.
I closed out my final day there Sunday with a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden. I checked out the magnificent botanical landscape local to the region, especially with the abundance of cacti. There also were exhibits displaying how the early native tribes once inhabited the area, giving people a glimpse of how they learned to survive in such a desert-like environment that still exists today.
I hope to revisit Phoenix again as there is a lot more to check out in my next go-around. I could theoretically see myself living there as well, providing almost everything any other major city offers but with a lower cost of living.
Driving – On Friday, I went to the DMV office in Los Gatos for my first driving test. I did not get it on my first try and I’m already staging a rematch in early March. I went into this not assuming any particular outcome although I was still disappointed by the results. Still, it gives me a chance to work out a few kinks before my next attempt.
- Nothing major expected for this month. I’ll spend this leap year February focusing on my capstone project and my current job. As always, something may come up along the way.
How did the year start out for you? What are your expectations for the year ahead? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you.