Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thank you Lord

Those were my first thoughts this morning.

Yes yesterday wasn't the day I wanted it to be. I did try and follow Karen's advice (FROG) and to an extent it worked. Lunchtime I felt like giving up, everthing had gone wrong. I even text Karen to say please pray. I did though spend the 30 minutes lunch break, listening to worship music and talking to God. By the time I went back in I was much calmer, and yes I still didn't pass, it's not the end of the world, and I also listened to worship music most of the afternoon whilst completing what I could of the lab. God was with me, and given my first thought this morning was "Thank you Lord" says I am really in the best place.

I also thanked him this morning for my wonderful wife. I don't know how she puts up with me. Odd phone calls at the end of the written exam and then again last night (for me, early morning for her) when I got back from the meal/drinking session with the rest of the class!

Now just about packed and ready to come home, for which I can also thank the Lord :)

Kicking myself

I failed the qualification lab :(

I am kicking myself, I spent almost 4 hours on the first part (of 5). I ended up down a rat hole, not sure why things wheren't working, eventually spotted it. In all this meant I ran out of time. I was over half way through part 4 by the finish, and everything else went relatively smoothly. Yes there were problems to solve etc., but not things I felt I couldn't handle, or got particularly stuck on.

Overall only 3 people passed the qual lab, out of the 14 of us. People get stuck in different places. Rumour is that Thomas (another consultant in MS I know, who has taught part of the course, he is an expert on one of the areas) also got into the same rat hole, he was retaking his qualification lab this week, and passed, which does help a bit.

Most people came unstuck somewhere, just shows how tough it is.

At least I can look forward to coming home and seeing my family :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

1 down 1 to go

Well somehow I managed to pass the written exam today. It was a lot lot tougher than I expected, which is perhaps a good thing as I really had to rely on God. 4 hours 80 questions and I only just finished in the time. Normally on these things I finish with plenty of time to spare. I felt utterly exhausted afterwards. I hope Karen forgives me fot the quick non-sensical (I think that's a word) phone call I gave her immediately afterwards. I just wanted to share with her that I had passed, but everyone was coming out trying to find out who had passed and failed, so it might have been a bit odd from her end. Only 7 out of the 14 of us passed. Fortunately that includes Tim who is sharing the apartment.

Had a quick(ish) lunch, and then went to a  gigantic electrial store (Fry's) with a few others. Really just something to do to try and chill out. Back to the apartment for a bit of TV time and then out for an evening meal. The qualification lab (8 hours!!) is tomorrow and there is really not any revision to be done for it, so it is just trying to stay calm, get to bed at a reasonable hour - No I will not be staying up to watch England :(

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lessons over

I can't believe the time has gone. We have reached the end of classes and labs, and not just study and exams left. Tomorrow is a full study day, I will go into the classroom like everyone else so I can access the labs to check things out I am unsure of etc. As with last time, I know it will be just as intense as any other day. I am sure we will also do some group study, which can also help.

I am still worried by the exam and qualification lab. I am sure deep down that I know it somewhere, but can I remember it. I have been going over some of my notes this evening, and it is surprising how much just from last week I had "forgotten". When I say forgotten, I new it really, I just had forgotten that we had even covered it.

Please pray for me (and the others here) that we will remember all that we have learnt. My exam is 9am-1pm (PST, that is 8 hours behind the UK) on Friday, and then the qualification lab starts at 8am-4:30pm on Saturday (8 hours plus a 30min break for lunch).

On a separate note, the sad passing of Steve Jobs. I know Microsoft and Apple are seen as great rivals, but there is actually a lot of respect for each other (unlike some other competitors). Competition is a good thing as it helps drive innovation, and for all there may be things I don't like about the way Apple do some things they have been great at innovation. Steve Jobs was key to that success and he will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It must be getting easier??

either that or the beer/wine is helping!!

Sunday was another tiring day. Did webcam to Karen/Sarah first thing, it was good to be able to see them. Then it was studying for the first part of the morning, then a quick food shop to stock up for the week, before lunch and then more studying in the afternoon. Went in to the classroom late afternoon to meet up with others and do some lab study. Breaking up the day and different study methods helps.

Went out for a quick chinese (and 1 beer) and then watch a little TV before hitting the sack.

At the Chinese we got fortune cookies. Mine said something like "you will succeed at something that another has failed at", the obvious though around the table (there were 3 of us) was that this meant I would pass the exam. Now here is the deep thought for the day. Given that I don't beleive in luck/fortune telling etc. does this mean that I will pass or fail. If I pass is it down to the fortune cookie, and if I fail is it because I don't believe in them? - answers on a postcard please :P

Today was again lectures and labs, although not quite as deep as last week, or it may be that as it was scripting, which is something I have been doing for the last few months I found it easy. Home for tea and then more studying. I am now on my second glass of wine!!

I am still worried about the exam and qualification lab. I am sure I most probably know it, but will I remember it, so prayers please.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

End of second week!

I'm not sure if being the end of the second week is good or bad. I am still not sure I know enough to pass the exam :(

Early finish on Thursday was nice, but it left Friday a bit of a squeeze and today we had a practice exam and then the second half of the migration lab. I am now very tired, although as tommorrow is a day off (ha! ha!) a group of us went out to eat. It now means I still have to catch up with my revision/write ups.

Being very tired also meant no chance of trying to watch the England game, although having scanned the news reports, perhaps that was the best thing.

Tomorrow is a day off, but in fact means study/revision. Most of us plan to get together mid afternoon to do some group work after doing individual study in the morning. Next week is a slightly different week, 3 days of sessions/labs then Thursday is revision day, Firday is exam day (4 hour exam in the morning), Friday afternoon is recovery time before Saturday which is an 8 hour qualification lab. Then retire to a pub to celebrate or drown our sorrows.

I am now just very tired and missing home, but only a week to go.