The calm after the storm

Had a nice lazy weekend.  Actually, started reading the next physics chapter, since I'll have to get homework and such done by this weekend - I want to end up a chapter ahead as early as possible so that I won't be on the edge all semester.  But really, most just lazed around the apartment.

Classes start tomorrow, and I'm actually somewhat nervous.  I think it's mostly just jitters - I've been out for 8 weeks now, and this is going to be a high workload semester (essentially two labs), but there's nothing here I really need to worry about.  My biggest concern at the moment is that I haven't gotten my parking pass yet; it should theoretically arrive in the mail today, but I'm not sure if there's mail delivery due to the holiday.

Things to do for school: 1) meet with honors counselor to go over education plan 2) meet with DSPS counselor to go over accommodation plan 3) start working on personal statements for scholarships and applications 4) prep to take the chemistry placement exam so I can take Chem1A over the summer.  That last one bothers me a little: I'm not sure why a placement is needed for college-level chemistry.  My understanding is that it's mostly about equipment and valence and such.  I'll have to review a bit just to make sure, but I've already found an online resource that should be decent.

The boss told us all to work from home Friday if we could, so I managed to avoid going out in the rains.  It wasn't so bad in my area - about 3.5" total for Friday - but there were flooded or mud-covered freeways all over the southland, not to mention all the usual accidents.  It's funny and annoying: everyone always claims that "people in Los Angeles don't know how to drive in the rain", but it's actually people who come from elsewhere and think they know how to drive in the rain that cause more accidents here.  See, the first rain after a dry spell  of even just a week or so results in highly slick freeways; it's closer to driving on ice than on wet pavement.  Us natives know this and know how to compensate (drive a little slower, leave more room, stay out of certain lanes, don't make sudden moves, etc.), but people who didn't grow up around it think it's just a little water.

There's more coming in this week, and most weeks for the foreseeable future.  We're definitely out of the drought, even if groundwater hasn't recovered yet.  Most of the reservoirs are dangerously full, and we haven't even hit snow-melt yet (which is usually what fills them).  I'm actually wondering if this year isn't in fact one of the 150-year floods but that the water management efforts of the state and years of drought have (mostly) managed to contain it.

To put it in perspective, Oroville (which has been in the news a lot lately) when from 40% to 100% full in a week.  That's 2,000,000 acre-feet in a few days in just one reservoir and what caused all the drama there over the last few weeks.  Since the entire state uses about 50 mil acre-feet in a year, that's basically a couple weeks' worth of water flowing into a single reservoir in a single week.  Without Oroville Dam, that all would have hit the central valley, almost assuredly flooding out most of it.

Spent a while looking at my retirement accounts.  Even if I didn't put any money in while going to college, I should be okay projection-wise; being able to continue contributions for those years will just put me that much more ahead.  Of course, that's assuming I don't have to pull any money out for school; doing so changes the math a bit depending on how much it ends up being.  Realistically, if I don't get some major funding support, I'm not going anywhere expensive (as much as I would love to go to CalTech or MIT, I'm not going in debt for $200k for a degree).  The UCs will be more about $40k-60k, and there's a far greater likelihood I could get scholarships to cover it, but pulling $40k out of my plans wouldn't be a show-stopper (essentially, that's my SEP).

I wonder how many college applicants plan on using retirement savings to pay for their first bachelor's.


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