I came to the conclusion last week that I’m not satisfied with how I lived the last three months of my life.

In general, I felt like I was just going through the motions. I did the absolute minimum that I needed to do to get by. By that, I mean I did all that was required of me to do get my classwork done. In that respect, I suppose I was satisfied since I did a good job as a TA and I learned a lot in my two classes. Other than that though, I didn’t think I got enough out of life.

One of the most important lessons I learned in undergrad is that you have to live balanced life. It can’t all be school because you wind up looking back and thinking what a waste it was to just have your head buried in a book. It’s vital to do things other than schoolwork.

With this lesson firmly in mind, I made the first year of grad school a success. I am especially proud of my second term, where I had three challenging courses, yet found the time to many things other school. That was the balance that I sought.

Somehow, I forgot that lesson this term. What I am most disappointed with is how I falied to maintain relationships with friends outside of school. My closest friends at SJC last year were Nic and Marcia. They moved out of SJC over the summer and I’ve barely talked to them since their fall wedding. It would have not been impossible to just phone them for five minutes a week. Yet I didn’t even do that. Unacceptable. I met one of friends Ryan in undergrad. Before I went into grad school, we lived quite close to each other and talked quite regularly. I learned through e-mail this fall that he and his young family moved to England. Despite this huge development in his life, I have yet to contact him to see how he is doing. Shameful. I have a friend Raymond who lives in Northern California. He’s left two messages on my voicemail in the couple of weeks. I have yet to call him back. Poor.

Beyond my friends, I used to do a fair amount of baking last year. On average, I’d bake a batch of cookies once a week and distribute them to residents around SJC. It’s a good way to make new friends and see how everyone is doing. I’ve made cookies maybe three times this year. Before the summer ended, I had this cookbook that I want to try out. I thought the fall would be a good time to do that. I’ve done nothing of the sort this fall.

Last year, I had food in my place for the most of the time; things for a late night snack or lunches on the weekend. This year, I’ve rarely had a fully stocked fridge. This is despite knowing it only takes an hour to go to Safeway and come back.

You can also take a look at my web site. Last year, I had updates on a regular basis whenever we had an event here at SJC. Whether it was the welcome dinner, harvest dinner or Halloween, I made the sections for them. You can see for this year, I’ve done none of that.

I really have no excuse. I wasn’t any more busy this term that I was last year. I was just too lazy.

In light of this, I’ve made a promise to do better in 2004. I’d be a fool to continue going through the motions again. I have to wring more out of life than I have.

Here’s to a better and more well-rounded Erwin in the new year.

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