Thursday, June 7, 2012

An Update on Me

I talked on twitter a while back about a presentation that I had to do that you may have been able to surmise involved World of Warcraft. However, I didn't say what it was for. It was for my Masters program. I needed to do that presentation to graduate. The real truth is that it's taken me forever to do it. For comparison, the last class I took for my degree program ended in December 2010 and for the past year and a half I have been fighting myself to do that presentation.

It all started with my biggest flaw, sloth. I didn't work on the presentation because I was worried about the cumulative exams that I have to take and whether I'd pass those. I figured I would work on it after I got past that hurdle. I got past that hurdle and there wasn't enough time left in the semester to finish the project and present it. So I planned on doing it at the beginning of the next semester.

Well, I didn't work on it because, "Hey, I have plenty of time, at worst I can just present it later in the semester." Laziness compounded on laziness and I didn't get it done by the end of the semester. This turned into me being afraid to contact my professors. What if they would judge me for my tardiness? What if they told me it's too late? Then guilt set in. I was letting down so many people by not having done this already. I couldn't even think about it without feeling bad about it, so I would avoid thinking about it, and therefore would avoid working on it.

Laziness, forgetfulness, and avoidance due to guilt built on top of each other, turning a 2 year degree into a 4 year degree.

I'm glad I don't have this kind of work ethic when I'm at a job. It somehow just seems to apply to my personal life

Finally I kicked myself in the butt and it's done. There was some judgement from my professors about the delay, but not much and everything went fine, and now I feel so much better. It damn-near literally feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The question now is: "What now?"

I still have to look for a job (due to my impending unemployment), that hasn't changed. I don't feel like I'm done learning. I don't have any immediate desire to pursue a doctorate, that's for sure, but there are still things that I would like to learn. To begin, I didn't know that there are SAS (statistical software) certifications. I wasn't surprised that they exists, I just didn't know. So I'm going to be pursuing some of those.

I'd also like to get a deeper understanding of R. Right now I've been taking a "try and find solutions on the internet to your immediate goals" and I'd like to take a more structured approach. Maybe I'll buy a book, because right now I basically just now data manipulation and basic operations. I don't know how to do actual statistics with it.

I think I'll look through MIT's OpenCourseWare for mathematics/statistics courses that I could self-teach. I'm also interested in various computer science courses that relate to internet programming. I'm not interested in server stuff, but I am interested in webpage programming (in case you can't tell from previous blog posts).

Now that I'm free from the pursuit of degrees, I think I could actually enjoy taking courses. Perhaps I could take some computer science courses and fill out knowledge there that I don't have. I could make a serious effort at learning a foreign language. That is, once I find out where I'm going to be living/how employed am I going to be.

I wrote most of this about a month or even more ago. Yesterday (6/6/2012) I actually received confirmation from the office of records that I would be graduating. The request for graduation had been "pending" for so long and I was worried that it would fail to go through because of some clerical error. I'm very relieved to have this confirmation. I've been applying for jobs but I need to apply for more. I only have two months left here. There's one job application that I'm particularly excited for, but I won't say what it is (at least, not in such a public space). 

There is something that I've also been thinking about lately, which is tattoos. I've kinda been wanting one for a while. I even created a Google Docs spreadsheet of ideas. I think I may have settled on what I would get, if I ever get up the nerve to do so. I would get a lowercase tau. I've been using it long enough as part of an identity that I've really grown quite fond of it and attached to it.

I'm officially have my Master's now, and I feel pretty good about that.