Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Its my life.

The semester is finally over now. I catch a flight back to Phoenix later this afternoon, so I have to get my act together and start packing (I've been playing games the past two days instead). I am glad its over though, because this means that I am *finally* on a real vacation! I haven't been home in an entire year and I really miss it. So here's my semester in a nut shell. Some of these things I've talked about before and others I haven't.

> Had less than two weeks between summer work at Freescale and Fall classes starting, and as a result was unable to recover for the semester. Spent that entire period working on Allacrost.
> After some initial meetings with my advisor and research group, I became distant from her because she had lost my trust and I didn't see any reason for sticking around.
> Began seeing a counselor because I was so miserable and didn't know what was wrong with me or how to get better. Discovered that I was simply burnt-out and needed a break.
> I gradually began feeling less and less excited/enthusiastic about studying computer architecture, for a variety of reasons. This led me to questioning if it's what I want to do for the rest of my life.
> I started to greatly dislike the class that I TA. It was unorganized, I didn't feel the students were being taught the things that were important to learn, and I disagreed with several other things. I eventually gave up trying to make the class any better because I didn't have the time or energy to, and the professor was rather stubborn.
> Lack of motivation to work forced me to drop my Advanced Computer Architecture class to save myself before my grade and spirit plummeted further. I was relieved of a large amount of stress as a result, and soon recovered from my burnout.
> Interest in my neurophysiology class drove me far enough to apply to the graduate program in neuroscience at UT for a PhD degree.
> After a brief refractory period, I started feeling psychologically ill again. This time not only was I lacking motivation to work, but I became unable to feel basic human emotions such as happiness, sadness, or anger. I began sleeping excessive amounts and my eating habits changed.
> In the midst of my PhD application, I got a full-time job offer from Freescale Semiconductor, which I had to decide on by December 9th. I began stressing out over whether to do the PhD or just take the job.
> My boss at work allowed me to postpone my decision until January or February. Surprisingly, he encouraged me to do both the job at the PhD, which was not the most attractive idea for me. After all, I'd probably only get burnt-out again.
> Met my counselor one final time (it had been about a month or two since we last spoken) and discussed my latest symptoms and the fact that I'm neither very stressed nor burnt-out anymore. She suggested I was suffering from a condition called dysthymia, a form of clinical depression. That's the reason why my sleeping/eating patterns changed, and I'm unable to feel emotion.


A pretty eventful semester, wouldn't you say? Which leads me to today. I'm less certain than ever about what I want to do in my life, yet I need to make a decision soon. I talked to one professor in the CS department last week who is a computer architect and also the faculty advisor of the UT Marathon team (hence we know each other). I told him my situation and how I felt I was going to end up working regardless of what happens because I feel bad that my boss went through the lengths he said he did to secure me a full-time offer. He advised me to stop thinking that and just do what I feel I want to do, because I don't owe him anything. It was then that I realized that I had been letting the people around me push me into things I didn't really want to do, and that was probably the main catalyst for my downfall. Mystery solved? Maybe. But I'm taking his advice and from now on I'm going to start making my own decisions about my life. :)


A couple interesting stories before I go. First, two weekends ago I was driving to the mall to go shopping when I heard some sort of weird rattling by my antenna. I thought that it must be coming loose or something, but after I parked and went out to take a look, I discovered something unexpected. There was a bright red thong hooked onto my antenna. O_o I don't even want to know how it got there, or how I must have looked driving down the highway with a bright red thong flying behind me. I picked it up from the strap and just dropped it right there. I don't even want to think of how dirty that thing might have been.

All semester I had some various insect problems, none that were too serious. But every now and then I'd find baby roaches in my bathroom and I just had no idea of how they got there. But then, just this morning, I met the mother boss. How appropriate that it was on the last day that we finally meet (and how disgusting to think it was crawling around my room as I slept last night). And this sucker was BIG too! I think it might have been the biggest I've ever seen, even bigger than the one I battled at my old apartment. Luckly, I had better weapons with me this time than last. It was on the wall, so first I sprayed it with insecticide and it fell down to the floor. Then I turned on my vaccuum cleaner and tried to suck it up with the hose, but it got away and climbed back on the wall, then even onto the ceiling! After a couple more sprays and suction misses, I finally nabbed it...or so I had thought. I couldn't find it anywhere, even looking around in my vaccuum (it has a clear window for the waste, so I didn't have to open it to peak inside. Finally I saw him in there, still moving around just a little bit. I turned on the vaccuum for a while longer and let him get tossed around with the other crap in there, and then victory was mine.

All Enemies Defeated!
> XP gained: 1279
> Gold: 0 ;_;
> Level up!
> Learned skill: "Spray 'n Suck"


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