Tag Archives: decisions

To Know One’s Self

I am a horrible judge of my own abilities.  I’ve been wanting to write this posts for days, but couldn’t focus long enough to sit in front of the screen.  I’ve been going in circles, trying to figure out what I’m going to do in September.  I’ve been obsessing over my grad school plans again.  I somehow got it in my head that I could go to a top tier school.  I have no idea where that came from.  I never applied there for undergrad because I didn’t think I was anywhere near the level I needed to be for it.  On paper, I looked perfect.  Top of my class, 2 years of junior college down before I even graduated high school.  School awards every year.  But somehow I felt like it didn’t mean anything.  I knew I was just a big fish in a small town. That I could never live up to the standards that the top engineering schools demanded. Again I think it stems from my absolute fear of failure.

So I went to a good Tier 2 school.  One that my mom went to, so I guess I figured if she could do it, I could.  I was offered a full scholarship at the state school but turned it down.  I knew the name brand of the tier 2 school would mean more, and maybe it has.  I doubt I would have the job I do now without it. Problem was, I don’t think I fit in there the way I was supposed to.  I cried everyday for 2 years, think I made a horrible mistake refusing the state school’s offer.  I was alone, commuting 2 hours eveyday to school and home.  I never formed the relationships or developed the social skills I needed to survive in life.  I was probably a much better fit for the Ivy leagues, where I could have lost myself in schoolwork.

I always felt lost at the tier 2 school.  I was lucky to have an adviser who saw some potential in me.  The problem was I never saw it in myself.  I was constantly struggling, against schoolwork, against research, never fully understanding what I was doing.  I was just trying to scrape by and be done with it.  I wish I had the ambition I do now.  I won’t feel like I wasted my time there.  That I could have had more focus and worked harder and kept in touch with those that could help me now.

So with that, I’m still want to go back to grad school.  I must be crazy.  I have the perfect plan to go to the state school that I turned down.  I’ll start a certificate program in the area I want in the fall.  I’ll meet the people I could do research with.  I’ll get a recommendation from the professor so I’ll almost be guaranteed a place there when I apply.  Credit wise, I can be done in a few years, with the certificate courses counting as the bulk of the coursework.  I can get my work to pay for it, since I’ll have a plan and a timeline and contacts at the school.  And I’m fairly confidant if I work as hard as I did before, I would do well there.  It’s perfect.

That was the plan, but then my stupid brain kicks in.  My employer is associated with the Ivy league school, so alot of employees have gone there for classes.  I’ve talked to my supervisor and the Boy about going back to school.  Both think I should go to the Ivy league. This is where my problem of self assessment comes in.  I don’t know if I am even capable of doing the work.  To the outside world, I look like an intelligent person.  That going to this school is just a natural course of action.  But I don’t think these people even know me now, although they know my history and work the best.  If anyone could judge my abilities right now it’s them.  They think I’d be selling myself short by going to the state school.

I took the GRE last week and did OK.  OK enough to actually consider applying to the Ivy.  Again, on paper I look good enough that I actually have a chance at being accepted.  Then again, I may be delusional and just spin the facts to suit the outcome I want.

Now that I’m considering other schools, my plan has been blown apart.  I’ve been working on this for a year and now I feel completely lost.  I know to help my chances to get accepted, I’d have to take classes before applying. That way at least I’ll have something to count towards my degree and hopefully do well enough to get someone to write a recommendation for when I do apply.  But then I don’t know if work will pay for it.  I have no planned coursework, no potential advisor, and an even smaller chance of being accepted. (From a historical perspective, people have gone back to school with their previous advisors, and thesis plans well in place when asking for funding.  I won’t have that).

So I’m stuck.  Do I take a chance and try to take classes at the Ivy or do I stick with the original plan and just start with the state school in the fall?  admittedly, I’m in a much better position mentally than when I was in undergrad (and even when I started this blog 2 years ago).  Self confidence is tall a major issue and I can’t see my abilities objectively enough to figure out if I’m even capable of the work.  There are hundreds of other people trying to do the same thing I am, and I don’t know if I’m better than them, or deserve it more than them.  So until I hit some big revelation, I’m just going to spin my wheels.  At least, until the application deadline rolls around.

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Fighting myself

and I have no idea why.  It’s been going on for a while now and I can’t figure it out.  All I do is waste time, avoiding things that I should be doing or things that I want to do.  I spend far too much time at work on the internet.  It’s not like the work is hard or there’s a lot of pressure right now, I just don’t want to do it.  and I have 10 different things I could be doing and I just sit there and stare into space/the web.  I think about htings I could be doind at home.  But it’s not just work. Once I get home, I think of all the things I should have done at work, and again, I just sit in front of the computer, looking for things to do.  I have abundant free time and I could be working on awesome personal projects, but I just don’t want to.  I don’t get it.

I’m definitely running from something in head.  There’s something I can’t face, but I don’t know what it is.  Oddly enough, I hate myself when I waste time, which is why I don’t work on personal projects, since they lead nowhere.  But am I any better off right now?  Just refreshing facebook and wordpress and icanhascheeseburger?

What the hell is wrong with me?

Should I go back to grad school?

This question has been at the forefront of my mind the past few weeks.  It’s something that I have thought about since I was in college, but I’m starting to feel like I’m running out of time before I have to make a decision.  It is a 4-8 year commitment, depending on how I do it.  So I’d be in my early to mid thirties when I graduate if I start now.  The reason I’m even debating is that it would change the employlment opportunties I would have.  I already have a masters and I could theortically get most jobs in my field, so I don’t really need it.  The problem is the work I want to do would lend itself to me getting a phd.  I’m just afraid that I will be stuck doing the things I do now at work.  I have almost no way of moving up the ladder at my current job without getting a phd.  But my responisbilies would change dramatically (more management as opposed to doing what the current phds say).

I’m arguing with myself over a number of decisions related to this, so I want to flush them out, one by one.  I’ve been trying to manage all this in my head and I’ve reached the point where I’m just going in circles and I want to just chuck everything out the window.

First Decision:  Do I try to get my phd?
NO: My masters gives me ample opportunity to work in corporate/product development, and I could be a leader if I tried, but I’m not confident enough in myself.  I’m trying to step up more at work, but there are alot of bright people there and I HATE smoozing, like some people to get ahead.  I haven’t figured out how to get the attention of my bosses.  My job is almost secondary compared to what we actually do.  I’m like the support staff for the projects we work on.  To be a real project lead, I should have majored in a related field.
I’m not sure I have the personality to be a successful phd.  It requires a level of confidence and creativietly that I don’t think I have.  I’ve spent my life doing what others have told me to do.  I have no experience being an actual leader.

YES: I can get promoted at my current job, although I may not be a good fit there.  I can get a job elsewhere, and with the phd, I would be more employable in what I want to do: research.  I’ve definitely decided that I don’t want to be in the purely corporate world.  I hate the stress, the mind numbing admin tasks and lack of control.  I’ll gladly work in the R&D department of the same company.  I don’t want to be a code monkey.

So assuming I said yes, to the phd (and if I have to debate this, maybe I should be saying no), there are a number of other questions that come up:

Do I use my current employer’s grad school plan or do it on my own?
Employer Pays: This would therotically be awesome.  I get 4 years off of work and they pay tutition and most of my salary.  But, it’s incrediablly competative and it’s unlikely I would get approval.  Given conversations with my boss, I doubt he’ll be supportive.  He’s alreadly expecting leadership type things from me and I haven’t quite delivered on them.  Until I actually prove I should be promoted, I don’t think he’ll give me the funding to get my phd, since I’ll pretty much have to be, once I have it.  Also, I’d have to prove the phd is in a field that would be useful to my employer.  The problem is my research interests do not really coincide with what they do.  It would be a tough sell.

I Pay:  I’d have to do some of the phd part time at least, since I still need a decent income, but I may have to quit my job once the thesis work picks up.  That terrifies me.  I like the steady source of income, and if I throw that away, I may be making a huge mistake.  On the other hand, this is the only job I’ve had after college.  Few people my age stay with the same empoyer for their entire career.  I have to take a risk at some point in my life.

So assuming I pay, then my options about where and what I study open greatly, along with the questions:

Do I stay in my location, or got to a university where the research is what I like (regardless of location)?:

Go anywhere:  I’ll get to do the research I want! Assuming I even get accepted.  I’ve never left home.  I lived at home while I went for my BA/MA. Hell I still live at home.  I don’t know how my family (read:mother) will handle me just picking up and moving.  She isn’t supportive of me getting my phd (she doesn’t think I need it for my field, and she’s sort of right).  Other than her I have no reason to stick around, but I can’t say I will want to live where the research is.  I can’t focus on just the research.  I need to worry about the rest of my life while I’m there.  complete isolation from everyone I know will be a tough adjustment.

Stay Local:  Some of the best schools in the nation are where I live.  And it would be great to go to one of them, but my odds are acceptance are low, at least in my head.  My grades were good, not great, and I don’t have the 3 recommendations I need to apply.  However I did find two programs that have concentrations in what I want, and I could start part time with the coursework.

So I’m leaning towards staying local, if only for practicality reasons.  The two schools I found offer certificates that I can do after work, and can be applied to my phd coursework if I get accepted.  Even if I don’t apply to those schools, at least I’ll have more experience and maybe a few more recommendations if I do well.

Next question:  which school do I go to?

One private, one state.  I was accepted to the state school as an undergrad and was given the highest scholarship they offer, so I have few concerns about applying.  The private school rejected me as an undergrad, but I belive it was because I tried to transfer, and they typically don’t take transfers.
The issue with the local schools is the research.  They each have very small groups that focus in the area I want, but the work being done doesn’t really appeal to me.  I like the private school’s classes (at least the syllabus looks good).  I couldn’t get detailed info on the public school’s class content.  The phd candidate qualifiers are much easier at the public school and I would have all but 2 classes completed after the certificate.  I would be able to start on research right away, and I would be able to graduate fairly quickly.  The research is really what is stopping me.  It’s mostly robotics, which is tangential to what I want.  I think it’s cool, but I’m afraid my thesis will dictate what jobs I would be eligible for.  That may be a gross oversimplification, but it’s still a concern.  Therotically, I should be able to do most CS things.
The private school doesn’t have much (interesting to me) research, but it seems much more organized.  The private school has a better reputation than the public one.

So this is mostly where I’m at: doing it on my own/stay local/do the certificate part time/local school.

I keep osillating between the two schools and my head starts to spin trying to compare the two.  Then I keep going back up the decision tree and trying out other, less practical/feasible scenarios.  I should probably take a few days/a week off from thinking about it.  I sometimes forget the big picture of why I want to do it.

Consistency is not my thing

I hadn’t realized it’s been so long since I posted.  I’ve kind of checked out for the past few weeks.  Not wanting to talk to anyone, not wanting to interact really.  I’m glad february is over.  From my cat dying to  the week of food poisoning, it’s been a sucky month.

I’ve also been going thorugh my yearly “I’m bored with my life and I don’t know how to fix it without thinking of drastic measures” phase.  I want a new job even though the one I have is decent, pays well and I get a good amount of freedom.  Maybe too much.  I accomplushed almost nothing this month.  I spent a week in a daze just surfing the interent.  Then I was home for a week with food poisoning and today I just stayed home for no real reason.  Well, I thought it was going to snow storm, so the commute would have been awful/dangerous, but it ended up ok.  I didn’t even tell anyone I was going to work from home.  No one missed me.

I feel like a failure.  I’m 26 and have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing.  I just want to quit, move to a beach and work just enough hours to make rent and food.  I have no motivation anymore.  I remember when I was first out of college and I was so amped to be working, and making money and at least feeling appreciated at work.  I don’t get those feelings anymore.  I’m just dead on the inside.

I have no hobbies, and everytime I get an idea for supplemental income, I work on it for a couple days and then just forget about it.  I don’t have the people skills/social graces to start my own business, which is what I think I want to do.  At least then I’ll have responsibility for myself.  But i don’t know any business that doesn’t involve some type of customer.  You never really work for yourself.  Your woking for other people’s money.

I have no sense of pleasure anymore either.  I remember working hard and then being able to reward myself with surfing the interet or food or buying things.  Now I don’t get that high from the reward anymore.  I don’t know if I’ve overindulged myself, taking rewards when I haven’t earned them or I just don’t want the reward anymore.

I want to just chuck it all.

I think I’m bipolar

No offense intended to anyone who is bipolar, but I’m trying to explain why I can be so depressed and angry and lethargic and then be the way I am now.

I’ve been so hyper.  Not necessarily happy, but I ‘ve been doing things I wouldn’t normally do.  I started a new blog for my hobbies and I’ve been posting to  that like crazy.  I even put pictures up of myself, which is very much not like me.  I’m initiaiting contact with people, but I’m also very impatient.  I was waiting to hear from my friend about watching the super bowl (he said on friday we’d work out details this weekend) but by saturday night, I hadn’t hear anything.  My brain goe in to overdrive, thinking he got a better offer, so I emailed him.  a few mintues later he gets back to me, but I still feel slighted.

I also tried to apply for a textbook writer position for the new myHogwarts program.  I wrote up my writing sample and eveything.  Typically, I don’t want to interact with strangers on the internet who will judge me, but I was excited.  I was still scared though, so I wanted to wait, and reread what I wrote.  Turns out I shouldn’t have, since they just closed applications (it’s been two days for crying out loud).

So now, I’m upset I let another opportunity pass.  I still don’t trust myself, but maybe next time I won’t be so hesitant.  I have to take a risk at some point.

Everyone knows what to do with my money but me.

I don’t have a lot of money.  Admittedly, this is a relative term, but overall, I’d say I’m middle class.  I’ve been saving everything I can since I started working, with the exception of a car and braces (desperately needed).  Now, most of my money goes to household/my brother’s bills.  that is supposed to end soon when he graduates, but we’ll see.  I was told I only needed to keep paying for a few months, until my mother started her summer job.  That never happened.

Anyway, I have almost enough saved up for a house, and more than enough to move into an apartment, but for some reason I’m not allowed to.  Since my mother is my real estate agent, I can only buy something she approves of.  The only she approves of are 10K houses in Florida and multiple family units in the area we live in.  Neither of which I’m supposed to live in.  Just income properties or a sit and wait property if talking about florida (because the prices are so cheap).  Thanks, mom, but I’d like a say in this.  Everytime I bring up moving out or buying my own house she completely ignores me or tries to “remind” me of the money I could be making with a rental income.  That’s great, but I’m starting to lose it.  I would love to have a supplemental income, but if I sink my life savings into that, I’m stuck with her for whose knows how long.

That’s been the situation for the past few years.  Now she has a new idea for me.  My grandparents are getting older and both they and her want them to live closer to us.  Great. But somehow, I got roped into this.  Now when I bring up buying my own place she tells me to just buy a place for my grandparents, and you can move in when they no longer need it (death or retirement home).  Oh, ok >.<

I’ll be 40 by the time that happens.  She was very surprised when I said that to her.  She has no idea how old I am.  Once my cat no longer needs me, I’m out.

 

Wasting…everything

I feel like such a waste of space.  I’ve spent the last 5 hours doing absolutely nothing.  I’m home alone, I can do whatever I want but I feel trapped.  Like I’m waiting for something.  I’m dependent on my mother for interaction.  I’m 26, I shouldn’t be like this.  I’m still a child no matter how much I fight it.  She treats me like one, but maybe it’s for just cause.

I have a 1000 thoughts I want to get out, but nothing is coherent right now.  I filled a post it note summarizing my problems in relationships (romantic or not).  I’ll feel better once I get that out of my system.  Right now I’m suffering from mental constipation.