And I agree that the current tendency in America is to fill every square foot of one’s home, whether it’s 1000 square feet or 5000 square feet. There’s also a tendency to spend every dollar one earns, no matter how much that is. In fact there’s a tendency to use more than 100% of your space by renting storage and more than 100% of your income by taking on debt.

]]>We are the family Ben referred to above – a family of four who decided to rent out our house, put everything in storage, and hit the road to ride our bikes from Alaska to Argentina. Together as a family we spent three years cycling 17,300 miles through fifteen countries.

The whole time we were on the road, we knew we still had our house back home and fully expected to move back into it. However, by the time came, we realized that house (at 2000 sq feet) was too big for us. We left the tenants in that house and bought another, smaller, home (1100 sq feet). Now, my husband and I and our 2 teenage sons are living in the small home just fine.

The funny thing is that it really doesn’t matter how much space you have – you will expand to fill it. If you’ve got 5000 sq feet, you’ll fill it. If you’ve got 1000, you’ll fill that.

]]>Currently I am situated that I am able to forge a slower path. Aware that circumstances could change at any moment due to health issues or loss of job, I still, for the time being, have chosen to go slow.

And you are correct, the media tends to focus on the sensational changes people make, and not so much on those of us that choose to trudge the road of slow to moderate modifications in order to experience our goals and dreams. I have not yet read the book, Change or Die. However, I am going to now check it out. Thank you again for the insightful conversation.

]]>Using numbers from the NYT article, Eric Coyle was expected to graduate with 340+H credit hours and a GPA of 3.70, where H is the “more to come after summer school.” His extreme motivation started “three-and-a-half years” into his 6 year program, when his GPA was 2.57. “Most students juggle 15 a semester, graduating with a total 124”, so if we assume that he was average then he would have had around 109 credit hours, assuming spring semester was his last semester.

I wanted to solve for his GPA during the other ~2.5 years. It’s a bit complicated by the unknown hours (H) from the remaining summer semester. Use GP1=109 hours*2.57 GPA to be his total grade points in the first 3.5 years, and (GP1+GP2) = (340 hours+H)*3.70 GPA to give GP2= 607.87 grade points if H=0. But that can’t be the case since his GPA would have to be 4.23.

UNLV uses a 4.0 system. Assuming a 4.0 GPA for X hours after the first 109 hours gives X=410 hours of highly dedicated work, so H=70 hours to take over summer. That’s more hours than he took in the spring semester.

It’s more likely that he did his internship during summer before his final year, and started the fall with renewed dedication. 96 hours at a 2.57 GPA implies that he only needs X=362 hours at a 4.0 to get a 3.7, so H=22 hours, which is much more believable.

Other details make this calculation more complicated. For example, some schools will let you retake a class, at least if you got a D, and let you use the higher score.

BTW, the numbers reported in http://www.csmonitor.com/1998/0421/042198.feat.feat.8.html are “His grade point average now is 3.9. But in his first four years he managed just 2.56 by the fall of 1996.” There must be a counting error there, since most people start school in fall and end in spring, after 4 years. That should likely be “first three years”, and 3.9 must refer to his semester average, and not his overall GPA. But if he averages a 3.9 instead of a 4.0 then X=542 hours. Even one semester with a 3.9 GPA greatly increases the time needed to get a 3.70.

]]>http://familyonbikes.org/ ]]>

Another example of this: programmers working on old code. There’s this idea that it’s easier to simply delete all the contents of a method or class and just start from scratch than making smaller, incremental changes to the existing code. I’ve done this, and I’m sure many programmers have at least contemplated doing this at some point.

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