Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Archive for the ‘my future’ Category

Re-thinking a few things

Posted by thoughtful1 on November 10, 2008

Sorry, been busy the past few months……..  My bad.

Anyway, for reasons I won’t get into, I’ve been re-thinking some things the past few weeks.  It started with TV.  This fall season I haven’t been watching as much TV as I usually do.  Further, I simply haven’t missed any of the shows I usually watch.  The only program I was excited about seeing, and that I made an effort to see was “Mad Men,” whose season has ended.  After watching the “Heroes” premiere and realizing it was stupid, I gave up on that show.  As well as a few others, including “Smallville,” which has gotten dumber than “Heroes”.  I cleaned up the DVR.  The only shows I have set to record are “House” and “Dirty Sexy Money,” and I may cancel those, too.

Basically, I no longer found TV all that entertaining.  And I figured my time would be better spent elsewhere.

The other things I’ve been re-thinking are a little less specific.  More like, “What should I be doing with myself?” types of questions.  I started re-examining relationships I’ve made in the past year and whether they were worth maintaining.  Some are, some are not.  Last year I became a social butterfly, which is very, very odd for me.  This year I feel like retreating back into the cocoon, but with a better sense of who will be a real friend, and on whom I can rely.

Oddly, along with this, I’ve been putting more thought into my home.  A friend helped me clear out the living room in a big way.  Boxes that had been sitting there for years were relocated to the basement, and the basement hodgepodge was organized.  So now I have a big open space in the living room.  And it’s given me space to think: What to do with this?  I found myself staring at the 13 year-old TV and wondering if I should put it up on Freecycle.  I think I may do this, but only after I find a replacement TV for the kitchen.  I live alone, so the ability to watch the news while eating dinner is a must.  Sad, but true.  However, my current setup in the living room allows me to lounge and eat while watching TV, something I find very relaxing, and something of an emotional comfort.  So I’m not sure……  But, it would be nice to have one room in the place that does not have a TV.  And probably better for me, too.

Thinking about the home is really forcing me to think about my life, such as what I do, what I want to do, what my style is, etc.  These are tough questions.  Especially since I think I am beginning some sort of transition.  To what, I don’t know.  For example, the obvious answer to the living room would be to buy sitting furniture and set it up for reading and conversation.  But, as I was staring at the nearly bare wall where the now very lonely TV is, I thought it might be interesting to place a project table there where I could do artwork.

But, I am not an artist.

However, I’ve been considering taking an art course.  I’ve always enjoyed doing art, but I only took classes when I was in school, and even then it was only what was required for my diploma.  Since high school doesn’t count art as academic (but you can get a degree in it! hrmph), I took two course, and one course in college.  That was it.  I would like to go back to it, and see if having an artistic outlet would make me feel more balanced.  Or something.  Odds are I would get frustrated at the lack of technical skill – I wouldn’t be able to draw something the way I wanted it to look – but it would be worth a shot.

And, if I had a large table somewhere where I could work on stuff, then maybe instead of wasting time watching TV I could find pleasure in creating something.  But, there’s always the fear that the large project table would become a gathering place for more clutter.  So, I should think about that some more.


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Food for thought on the MS or no MS conundrum

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 4, 2007


It’s geared to undergrads, but there was an interesting nugget in it: computer science programs tend to teach theory, not programming:

…computer science is not the same as software development. If you’re really really lucky, your school might have a decent software development curriculum, although, they might not, because elite schools think that teaching practical skills is better left to the technical-vocational institutes and the prison rehabilitation programs. …

If you’re lucky, though, you can find lots of programming-intensive courses in the CS department… And those are the best classes to take. If you love programming, don’t feel bad if you don’t understand the point of those courses in lambda calculus or linear algebra where you never touch a computer. Look for the 400-level courses with Practicum in the name. This is an attempt to hide a useful (shudder) course from the Liberal Artsy Fartsy Administration by dolling it up with a Latin name.

Hmm. Well, I guess that’s plus for the BS in IT. Hmm.

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Peer pressure and grad school

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 4, 2007

For the past 2-3 years I’ve occasionally felt peer pressure to get a graduate degree of some sort. And I’ve worried that without one I will find myself in a career dead end. But, to get one would require $$$, and probably more time than I want to take away from my other pursuits, such as my involvement in APIC.

Because most of the people I work with have graduate degrees, and because most of my friends from college have graduate or professional degrees, I am wondering if I am “falling behind.” Today I suddenly felt a strange sense of panic or inadequacy that I didn’t have that precious second degree.

I could go along with the majority of people at work and get an MBA. But, I have absolutely no interest in an MBA. The idea of working on group presentations and reading case studies is a complete turn off. I do confess, tho, that me going to business has always run counter to me self-image. I can’t quite explain it, but I just never saw myself in business school. Ever.

The only type of degree I would be interested in that could boost my career is an MS in computer science. The problem? I lack a BS in computer science. Thus, I’d have to play catch up to get into an MS program. I could take a slew of computer programming courses at UMass-Lowell. I could even get a second BS in Information Technology from UMass-Lowell. And, given UMass-Lowell’s number of offerings online, I could probably earn the degree via the web, from the comfort of my home. However, the requirements are all programming courses; no math, which makes me wonder how a master’s program in computer science would would regard that degree.

I could try for a certificate of computer science at UMass-Boston, which essentially requires that you take all the math and computer science courses a computer science major takes. That’d be just what I need. The problem? I don’t think I can take all the course online, which means commuting to Dorchester after work. That would be fine if UMass-Boston was on the way home. It is not. And, I would have re-learn a whole bunch of math I have forgotten. I could take a stab to refresh my memory, but I generally distrust my ability to learn things on my own, without a teacher and the threat of homework to motivate me.

So, what to do? Getting a graduate degree due to peer pressure seems just as lame as not getting one out of laziness. Objectively, I don’t think I need to get one, but it wouldn’t hurt. And it could give me more options later on. For example, an MS in computer science could enable me to become a teacher, since I’d actually have specific subject knowledge.

I do not have to decide immediately. But putting this off will only delay my progress on gaining more education. I should spend the summer thinking about this. At the very least, I should take a programming course this fall. I had thought about taking one this summer, but I spaced and missed the deadline for registering. Doh! So I made a calendar entry at work to remind myself in August to register for something.

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