My running this week sucked because I was lazy about it, so I'm not even going to bother posting it here. But I do believe that I am finally recovered from my shin splints, because they barely hurt at all now. I also lifted weights on Thursday for the first time in about 4 years, and yes I'm really really sore from it.
Here's a funny little story from this morning. One of the bathrooms in my apartment was starting to get an ant problem, so I moved out all my stuff and sprayed the place. Little ant bodies are continuing to accumulate all over the bathroom. To my surprise, today I went in there and saw the ant queen hiding on the top of my bottle of shaving creme. So I got my insect spray and did what needed to be done. I felt kind of bad about it though. I've never seen an ant queen, but I've always wanted to (she was one big momma!). And I actually really like ants (I'd say they are my favorite insect) and I played SimAnt all the time when I was a kid.
Things with Allacrost are going really great right now. Ever since I dropped that class I've had so much more time to work on it, and our whole programming team is fired up again now. We've finally figured out how to bind C++ and Lua together effectively, which was the major barrier holding us back. I don't see much from stopping us anymore. It's only a matter of code and time now. :)
My future in Neuroscience?
On Friday, I went and spoke with a molecular biology professor about the Neuroscience program at UT. What happened during that meeting was totally unexpected. First of all I've been really concerned about my complete lack of biology/chemisty knowledge, but he said that doesn't matter. In fact, they've actually been looking to bring in people from other fields (especially mine). So that was certainly good to hear. I also confirmed that the students that they accept automatically get a fellowship for their first year (and maybe their second) and after that its their advisor's job to find them funding. Much different than what I've gotten used to in ECE! But what shocked me the most was when the professor asked me for my credentials (GPA, test scores, publications, etc.), he said that if I would have applied last year, he was pretty certain I would have been accepted. At that moment I thought "HOLY CRAP!", because I thought that if I would get accepted into this department at all, it would be by the skin of my teeth. But he made it sound as if I would have little trouble getting in, as long as I played my cards right.
Ever since that meeting, I haven't been able to stop thinking about my future. I'm losing sleep over it, and even when I do sleep my dreams are about it. This is the biggest decision I've ever had to make in my life. Do I pursue a PhD in neuroscience, or do I stick with what I know and work at Freescale after I graduate? I've been weighing my options and I just can't make up my mind! I'm almost certainly going to apply though, because I have to get accepted first to be able to make a decision at all. Here's an analysis of the two options:
PhD in Neuroscience
+ I know for a fact that I love learning the material in this field.
+ My research can have a direct (positive) impact on people's lives, which is something that I've always wanted to do.
+ I find research in the field so much more motivating/enlightening than work in computer architecture, where there isn't much innovation at all (just faster clock speeds or more processor cores: big deal)
+ I'll be able to learn a hell of a lot, and I love learning
- I'll probably be committing six years of my life to this. In other words, I'd be about 30 when I graduate, which is SCARY!
- I have no idea what it means to do research in this field, or in molecular biology. So I have no clue whether I will actually like this type of research or not.
- I have some ideas of what I want to do with this knowledge after I graduate, but I don't know how difficult it would be to be able to do the type of work I would like to do (as in, getting support for it)
- How much free time will I have? I want to still be able to dedicate myself to other things while I study for my PhD, including Allacrost, translating Japanese, etc.
Fulltime job at Freescale
+ I'll make more money than I think I'll ever need (money isn't that important to me though)
+ Its an area I know and know well. I already know what I can expect from taking this path.
+ I really like the company and its policies. As far as work in computer architecture goes, I don't think there is another company in the world that I would fit in with this well.
- I don't feel like I'll be able to accomplish anything in life if I just become an engineer here. I'll help make some processors a little bit faster or consume less power, but that just...won't make me happy I feel
- When you do nothing but write code at work all day, the last thing you want to do when you come home is write more code. Working could be very detrimental to my contribution to Allacrost
- It will be so much more difficult for me to make friends and have a social life. That's something I've been trying to work on lately, because I finally realized how important it is to have those things.
The main question I'm trying to answer for myself here is "What path would make me feel the most happy?". From studying/working over the past year, I've discovered that being successful does not necessarily make one happy. Right now I'm leaning more towards the PhD in neuroscience, but the fact that I don't fully know what I'll be getting myself in to is why I'm only sticking my feet in the water right now instead of taking a full dive.
Okay, now here's my Wikipedia question of the day: How is Alan Greenspan related to the emacs editor?
- Alan Greenspan is an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism.
- During the cold war era, laissez-faire economics assumed a stronger ideological edge, and some argued that if the Free World was truely defined by it's freedom, then it's citizens should have full economic freedoms.
- Richard Stallman uses the term Free World to describe the set of software, people, commercial/non-profit companies, that adhere to the 4 basic freedoms of free software.
- Richard Stallman is one of the original designers of the emacs editor?