I’ve been thinking of what it’ll mean to be an empty nester. Mireya, our youngest, is turning 17 and will be going to college in the fall. Sierra, our eldest, is turning 21 and is making her way in Austin. And while neither of them are gone completely, things are already very different. We have the kind of time I forgot existed. Time to do something other than make sure everyone stays alive. And it’s a little weird.
So with the prospect of more time on my hands, I’ve been exploring learning something new. At one point I thought a foreign language would be fun, but without a driving timeline — like going to Paris — it seems tedious. Then I gave ceramics a throw, but there are only so many crooked vases you can unload on relatives at Christmas.
Somewhere along the way I must have signed up for a mailing list because now I’m being sent all kinds of classes I never considered taking. Here’s a sampling.
One of the classes is titled “Python for Everyone,” which seems slightly overstated. Let’s imagine for a moment that you are someone who actually knows that “python” is not referencing the type of snake that will squeeze the living daylights out of you, but rather, a programing language. Now that we have exhausted my knowledge of the subject, let’s explore this “everyone” claim. There is no known universe in which “Python” is for everyone. It’s not for my mom who can’t figure out how to turn on the ringer on her phone. It’s not for my daughter who is hesitant about how to follow the instructions to cook ramen. And it’s not for me since about the only thing I want to program is my phone to ignore robocallers who insist that I need to extend my car warranty.
Next on the list is “Deep Learning.” This is, according to the online description, the “most highly sought after skills in tech.” Well, duh. Of course, it is! I mean seriously, doesn’t everyone want to have some decent deep learning skills? Do you really want to take a class in “shallow learning” or “deep skimming?” Hellooo. Deep Learning is obviously where it’s at. And according to the description, after the class I’d know really deep stuff. Imagine my life if I could build a convolutional neural network and tensorflow! I’d be all the rage. Plus I’d probably learn what convolutional means.
There is one class I found a little intriguing and more accessible. It’s Bugs 101: Insect-Human Interactions. Initially, I thought that this might focus on squishing techniques, but apparently the course covers things like “symbolic roles of insects in human societies.” There’s also a section on how to “evaluate positive and negative interactions between insects and humans.” I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that if one of the creatures in that interaction gets squished, it’s considered a negative interaction. But the course description said there are “flexible deadlines,” so that could work in my post kiddo world.
Frankly, I’m not sure if I’m really ready to tackle any of these courses, but in a year from now, I’ll have to fill my time with something new. Hopefully it won’t be deep learning about bugs who know how to code.