Let's see. Well, I've been on the water A LOT this summer. Aside from the other float that I wrote about in detail, I've floated another three times, gone to the lake for a houseboat party once, went to Schlitterbahn, and also went to Barton Springs a couple times. Just between you and me, I'm a little burnt out on watersports and booze, but this is the season to do it. So I should enjoy it while it lasts.
Work has been terribly slow since I got back from Louisiana in March. That first month back I was getting about 20 hours of real work a week. Now we've got a local design-build project now that keeps me closer to almost full-time busy. None of the engineers want to plug me into any of their significant projects, seeing as how I've just got a month to go before I quit. This isn't how I foresaw my exit panning out. I thought I'd stay in the field with the drillers like I had all last year or so; y'know, go out strong. But it looks like I'll be going out with a whimper, just killing time in the office until the clock runs out. It stinks. It's hard to build up my graduate school nest egg with these under-sized paychecks.
As for school, yeah, most of the schools turned down my application. The advisor I met with at UTDallas said that they'd be willing to consider me, pending good scores on a PACT (Pre-Admission Content Test?). Basically it's a test to prove that I know my subject well enough to teach it; the alternative would be to take a whole bunch of undergraduate courses to prove the same point. I took the blanket Science grades 8-12 PACT test in June. Even though I'd prefer to teach Physics, I'm willing to teach the other fields too. Plus, this test would be a good chance to learn where my weak spots were, considering that it's been over a decade since I cracked open a textbook.
With the exception of taking the practice exam the night before, I did no studying. And still, I nailed that PACT test. 92%. That was a big surprise and a rare bit of good news in this whole graduate school application process. I've since signed up for the Physics PACT test which will be in late August. I'm actually studying this time around. No more recreational reading for me until then. I'll be working through my physics and chemistry textbooks in my spare time.
Once I get my scores back from that I'll immediately re-apply for UT Dallas. When I quit my job next month, I've got enough savings to coast for 4 months or so. I'll need a timely response from school to help me decide whether I need to get a part-time or full-time job, or consider some other option.
Part of me wants to back out of my quitting date and tell my bosses I can stick around till the end of the year. But if the past year and a half has shown me anything, it's that I'm prevented from or unable to advance my career change plans as long as I'm working here. Either I'm out-of-town/state/country, or I'm just too comfortable where I'm at to act. Living in a cramped house with housemates and having no employment ahead of me is uncomfortable, but it will definitely force me to act.
My last day is August 1st. For that month I'll just be studying for the PACT and working on costumes in preparation for Dragon*Con on Labor Day weekend. That's kind of my last hurrah for the season. After that I'll be tightening my belt and preparing for the next step. No more cosplay or trips, and I'll be moving out of this house, maybe out of Austin. I wish I could make some more concrete, detailed plans beyond that point but until that test and application come to pass, I just don't know how things will turn out.