Scared to death, I moved to Ames in late August, 1963 to begin a new adventure. I had a full slate of classes plus I got a part time job at the library and worked on Saturdays and some afternoons doing carpenter work for one dollar an hour, a far cry from the five an hour I was used to, but I needed the money. I was self supporting as my parents had no resources to help me out financially. Then I had naval reserve meetings on Wednesday nights. The reserves were great as I earned forty dollars a month.
I didn’t do great in school, but I did well, mainly Cs and Bs with an occasional A. I was inundated with advanced algebra, trigonometry, calculus, drafting, structural engineering, soils mechanics, engineering mechanics like statics, hydraulics, and construction materials. I also had several classes in land surveying.
But the one class that I really liked was Technical Writing. Although it was about how to analyze and communicate something like construction specifications or reports, I learned how to really write. I remember our final test was to write a report, on what, I can’t remember now, but I do remember we were allowed only one spelling or grammatical error in a thousand word paper. Period. More that one, we would have to try again. I aced the course.
There was no time for anything such as reading anything other than working on classwork. As far as creativity, all my energy went into classwork, problem sets, and studying … and some college level partying.
With working part time, I had to lighten my class load. Then I had to do a two week training in February in 1965 which was in the middle of winter quarter and had to drop a particularly difficult class. That, plus, managing to get married in the summer 1965, rather than two years, it took me two extra quarters to graduate which I did in March of 1966 and left for my two years active service with the Navy two weeks later.
More coming . . .