Strawberry Fields Forever - Nothing is real

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Out of college, money spent, see no future, pay no rent

Ok, only parts of that quote from You Never Give Me Your Money are true. I'm not out of college, at least, not yet.

Since I quit posting I survived (and only barely in the Spring) 2 more full semesters of graduate school at CSULB. I did pretty well in the Fall, as I had somewhat followed my dictate of actually focusing on school as my main focus. (which was at least a large part of the reason I resigned as a teacher) Unfortunately, my focus was once again entirely lost in the Spring as I started work on GenUX with a good friend. (yes, this was the idea I referenced in a much older blog entry) Still working on it actually, and yes, it took a LOT longer than predicted. But the time/energy I was putting into GenUX in the Spring meant I was only BARELY managing at school, and I did horribly. I very nearly disqualified myself from graduation with one of my classes. (note: I do NOT plan on blogging about work related issues, because well, I could easily violate somethings I signed, and because it's REALLY bad form regardless)

Thankfully my performance in the Fall, coupled with some odd administrative issues, may give me a chance to redeem myself. Even though at this point, I have all my requirements fulfilled for graduation (save for my master's thesis), I have to continue to enroll for a bare minimum of two more semesters due to odd requirements of candidacy advancement. (in 2 weeks, I can finally advance to candidacy) Indeed, I would have done my thesis last semester, except one can't do that until they advance to candidacy, and they can't do that until their prerequisite courses (ie: the ones I would have taken had I majored in Computer Science as an undergraduate) are complete... and I took the last of them in the Spring (the same semester I was completing my graduate unit requirements). Yes, I am weird. (even for a Computer Science master's student) I can't really do my thesis until the Fall. So.. that means that I can take a huge load of classes in the Fall (and one now) just because I want to. Already I've signed up for 5 classes in the fall (I expect I will end up with 4 of them, plus the thesis), and if I do all of them, and I actually focus, I can bring my GPA back to a more respectable level.

Why does this matter? In theory, it doesn't. However, a bunch of the classes are in areas I either like (Graduate Networking), or know I'm weak in (database theory, computer architecture, compiler construction). I took the GRE subject exam in Computer Science last Fall. In theory I was 1 semester of courses away from completion of my Master's degree. I sat down for the exam, opened it up and realized to my horror that I hadn't seen at least 50% of the material before. I could tell what rough areas the questions were coming from, but I couldn't even begin to fathom how to answer. Normally I do very well on standardized tests, but this was embarrassing. (rest assured, I scored poorly by any objective measure) I'm planning on taking a bunch of these classes so I can retake the GRE subject exam in Computer Science in the fall while actually knowing most of the material.

Why do I care about my GRE subject exam? Well, I may or may not care actually. I'm still very much toying with the idea of going for a doctoral program in Computer Science. Indeed, last month I visited both UCSC and UCSB's Computer Science departments and had talks about the feasibility of me getting in and what it would take for me to get in. The bottom line is it will be struggle for UCSB, but quite doable for UCSC (supposedly). I need to have good letters of recommendation, my thesis needs to be awesome (I have a great topic, but I need to beef up the research component), my GPA needs to be higher, and I need to redo that GRE Subject Exam! In truth, I'm not yet sure if I want to do doctoral program. Or at least, I'm not sure if I want it enough to justify it. However, I figure if I aim for it, there isn't much harm even if I decide I don't want it enough. If indeed, I do go for a doctoral program, the lyric won't apply to me for quite some time, even if I can basically have my PhD thesis be an offshoot of my Master's thesis (yes, someday I will blog about what it is more specifically than to say it involves network communication). However, if I decide not to do so, then in theory all I have to do is finish my current class (which I should be able to do well in), and complete then file my thesis in the fall.

I somewhat stumbled into graduation at Berkeley. Indeed, I didn't bother to "walk" at graduation since I didn't know if I had graduated or not. I had a special request to have some units count approved by the Dean after the walk date. Indeed, on the same day I was driving back to Los Angeles regardless, I found out that I was a graduate! I should know this time a lot better when/if I'm graduating. That coupled with the fact that I commute to Long Beach anyway, makes the issue of finding out that I graduate on the day I move away pretty unlikely, which will be a nice change I suppose.

Still, the idea of people calling me doctor in a non-ironic way is kinda neat. Though when one's father holds both a PhD and an MD, I know I will never be The Doctor in my extended family. However, given I keep the computers working for the family, they can't exactly be too harsh with me, or they can face my wrath. (DOS 4.00 and Windows 95 for all in retaliation!)
In the mean time, I still have work, classes, exams, graduate school applications and the thesis ahead of me.

I should also try to figure out what exactly I want to do.

"...but oh that magic feeling, no where to go..."


  • I didn't know that you started this up again. I had just gone back to read your previous entries (though I skimmed over the TV show reviews for obvious reasons). I really did miss your blogging, but I'm glad that you chose to focus on school instead. Referring to someone we both know, it's very good to focus, and I respect you a lot for it. Online life is such a poor excuse for risking your academic career, even though I joke that it's the only life I have (sometimes it feels that way when I realise how superficial some of the people in my real-life relationships are). As for barely passing classes because of work, you already know what I do, and I can understand being stretched thin.

    It's a nice feeling to know whether or not you've completed everything you need. You seem to be pretty organised (*gasp*) and have your work cut out for you. For obvious reasons I still hope you could do UCSB's doctoral program if you do decide to pursue, but it's better to do what you know you can do well and push yourself from there. And I agree! Aim higher! Always aim higher; it gives you a standard to strive for beyond what everybody else is doing and grows you. The things you learn by going above and beyond are going to be useful even if you finally decide not to. I'm so sick of people doing only the bare minimum, even in their supposed "field of expertise."

    I hope to talk to you/see you sometime [soon].

    God bless, hugs and kisses.

    Lots of Love,
    ><> Elizabeth <><

    Eternal Waves
    Fading Light
    Les Cafés Littéraires
    United Studios of Self Defense, Rolling Hills Studio

    By Blogger Theophila, at 4:08 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home