TLDR; Why the title?
Because I am in that phase of life where I need to take one of the most important decisions of my life and it turns out that my thoughts are a chaos. Let’s compare the things I know v/s the things I don’t:
- I know what I can do:
- Contribute to open source more often.
- Write more regularly.
- Start looking for ideas for my research.
- Finish all the MOOC’s I’ve lined up.
- Start implementing the pet project I’ve been thinking for months.
- Read more books.
- I don’t know what I would do:
- Do I go for a job after B.tech?
- If yes, then do I need to do something differently from what I am currently doing?
- or, I should rather go for higher studies - MS, Robotics?
- If yes, then does the preparation requires that I need to abandon some of the things I’ve listed.
- Is the preparation for the above two mutually exclusive?
- Do I go for a job after B.tech?
- and moreover, I don’t know what is stopping me?
- Is it lethargy?
- Do I not want to do these things? Nope, it’s the exact opposite, I don’t want to do anything other than these things. I can dedicate any (or all) amount of my free time doing these things.
- Am I too busy?
- Nope, the workload from College is pretty less. Apart from hanging out with a few friends, I don’t really do much.
- Do I not put in enough efforts?
- No, I try every bit I can to achieve these things, I wake up as early as 5:30, don’t have a girlfriend, no TV, no movies.
- Do I not have enough resources?
- No, I have more than enough resources at hand - I have a fast Internet connection, a powerful computer and access to powerful servers for anything power savvy. I have god friends to support me and wise teachers/mentors to advice me.
- Am I just slow?
- Yes, probably.
- Is it lethargy?
Is it the first time you are confused?
Every career related decision I had to take up until now, I never really had to sit and think. They just came naturally, take the example of:
- What stream after High School?
- Biology - Nope, can’t look at blood.
- Arts - My sense of art is “horrible”, not very good with social sciences either.
- Commerce - Although I like it, I wasn’t very fond of finding mistakes in other people’s calculation.
- Mathematics - Hell yeah, let’s go study it.
What college do you want to go to?
I was already a student in the Aligarh Muslim University when I applied for B.Tech program - My rank elsewhere was average, so it was the only option. I like the city, my friends are here - I feel like I did no mistake.
Did you always wanted to pursue higher studies?
Nope, I never even thought of pursuing higher education. With the advent of MOOC’s and the Internet, I thought that I would never need formal training. But, soon enough, I was introduced to the field of autonomous robotics and MOOC’s weren’t able to satisfy my hunger, perhaps because it requires practical/physical exposure. At this time, I just had a faint, out of nowhere idea of an MS, but I wasn’t very serious. When no one around me was getting a job I thought we can get, I started to take this idea into consideration.
When the results for the third semester were out, a month ago, before entering my name into the website, I thought to myself about planning my reaction and almost naturally, yet passionlessly, my brain spurred out that I am ready to accept whatever I had expected (~ 8 ± 0.2). There need not any “resolutions” wherein I would try working harder the next time or to attend more classes, because what I believe today “Mr. Busy effect” - I won’t be able to give time to other things I (like to) do (contribute to open source, mentor new folks in AMU-OSS, study robotics, write blog posts, read). I also thought that I ain’t learning in class anyways, so my current way of studying (don’t ever open your book in regular days and cram everything the night before the test) was the “optimum” choice.
Ready for results, with absolutely no enthusiasm, I entered my credentials into the website and kept staring at it. I was trying to calculate how precarious life can turn out to be - I had scored a whooping 9.4 / 10 (my highest ever in college) and I was actually feeling happy (maybe it was shock, I’m not sure). The next few moments, I critically examined my result only to find out that I have got a few A’s in the subjects I thought I never would and quite ironically I also scored a B in a subject I thought I never would! ;-) I had “my moment” then and there, but soon everything faded away in the color of life.
Not until, I had started preparing myself for this (4th) semester’s mid-term tests, I realized that somewhere inside me, I had started to feel that I want to score high again, I want to study for exams - What if I scored low again? - What about MS?
This is where I started feeling confused. Can I afford an MS, would I be selected, am I too late?
Solutions (I thought of when researching for this post)
Although I don’t have answers to all (or any) of my questions, it turns out that writing this blog post gave me some clarity on the situation:
- I should read more on the topic, especially Quora.
- I am not late, it is the ideal time to start preparation.
- that I need to go out there and get things done, no more infinitely long “thought drills”
- Also, that if you decide to take one step ahead and you would definitely find a way to a solution.
Thank You for reading! - I’d highly appreciate your advice!