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Aaron Said:

Advice on beginning motorcycle repair: As mentioned in my earlier question, I spent approximately $1500 on?

We Answered:

Some people are naturally mechanically inclined, inexperienced maybe but they have the ability. Other people could go to school, have an old pro teach them hands on and they'd still never master it.

I remember your earlier one about the forks, for the time being don't worry about them. If you don't like the oil misting up things, cut a strip of foam rubber or a strip of cloth, slip th erubber fork tube covers upward and put the cloth or foam in the space and replace the covers. That will catch any oil that gets by. When they run too low on oil, you'll know because it you push down on the handlebars, the fork will spring up and down like a pogo stick. If it doesn't, you still have adequate oil.

The others have given good advice and I know there's books out there for "dummies" (no offense intended) on every subject known to man. Try to find one, especially one that will go into general detail about what goes on inside your bike. The secret to finding a problem and fixing it is to know the principle behind it's operation. The best way to figure out how an engine operates is to find an old lawnmower engine and take it apart. They're pretty crude compared to other engines, but the principles are the same.

Start on simple things and as you progress, you'll gain confidence. Here's a good example of confidence. Last year I removed the engine from my Kawasaki 1000 and replaced it with a newer, different model engine. I had to build rubber mounted motor mounts, get the engine in exactly the right position because it was shaft drive, build a muffler system and so on. I had the bike totally apart, the only thing I didn't separate was the swingarm from the frame. I had the new engine totally torn down to replace the crankshaft. I got it together, fired it up and 10 days later I took off on a 3000 mile trip and it ran flawlessly. I'm not bragging but rather showing what self confidence in my mechanical abilities allows me to do. In addition, the bike is 28 years old and dealers don't carry any parts, so if I screwed up, I was in big trouble. Good luck and hang in there. If you need any advice or have questions, email me and I'll be glad to help. One last thing, be careful of people who give you a quick, short answer to a mechanical question. I've found they're usually wrong.

Lawrence Said:

What approach should be taken to pursue a PhD related to urban planning or social/economic geography?

We Answered:

I strongly suggest that any courses you take prior to applying to PhD programs are at least at the Masters level, and are not taken through distance education. Distance ed courses (or anything through Excelsior) will work against you in PhD admissions. If you wish, you could look into terminal MA programs in econ or geography, but why?

I honestly think you are underestimating yourself. With an Masters in Urban Planning already in hand, and with years of experience in the field, you should be looking at PhD programs.

Just contact the Directors of Graduate Studies in the programs to which you intend to apply, and ask questions. Your first question should be about letters of rec: "Would letters from employers be appropriate, given my situation?"

And finally, I think you are overestimating the time required for the PhD. If you are admitted to a program as a full-time student, you should receive an assistantship of some sort, which usually includes full tuition remission as well as a modest stipend. In this case, 5-6 years should suffice. (There are very few part-time PhD programs in most fields. I suggest you check into the situation in Urban Planning, however, since it is not my area of expertise.)

Best wishes to you!

Marlene Said:

21 yr old college student. 15 credits per semester. work 30 hours a week. GF,brazilian Jiu_jitsu : UPDATE?

We Answered:

Yeah. I'm in graduate school now getting my PhD--I'm your age as well. Let me tell you something, as hard as college is now with managing your time with work, gf, school, and hobbies, having a full time job sucks even more. I really miss college sometimes and grad school is NOT an extension of undergrad. I really really think you need to cut back on your work hours. 30 hours is a week is too much for a college student. I really think you should try to cut that in half and take out loans for the rest. Paying them back won't be fun, but it might be worth it to keep your sanity. It's either that or dump your gf or stop doing jiu jitsu--and I'm sure you don't want to do that. Your first priority should be school. College is fun, you should have SOME time to actually enjoy it.

As far as being productive when it comes to studying: I always made notecards. For every class I actually took the time to make notecards in, I got an A. Simple as that. It makes studying 100x easier because if you don't know what's on the other side of the notecard--you put it aside and come back to it.

As far as being fried: tell yourself that if you commit yourself totally for this last tests, you'll take a weekend off after its over and do something fun with your gf. It's sorta like making a deal with yourself. I did it all the time, especially when I started getting senioritis!

None of it's easy, but you'll be better for it. Good luck!

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