Next quarter is academically weird. I’m only taking one three-credit class, and auditing another one. Overall, it’s 4 hours of instruction per week, and probably the same amount of outside-of-class work. That will leave me a LOT of time to do… something else, I guess. Hopefully get a job. But I’m having some second thoughts about whether I should be doing this at all…
First of all, I think I’m going to hate the classes I take next quarter. One is a seminar about Computational Linguistics. I can choose from two topics: “Lexical Acquisition for Precision Grammars”, or “Information Extraction from Heterogeneous Resources: Special Focus on Linguistic Data.” Both sound pretty dull. But then again, so does my entire grad program. The other class I’m auditing (not taking for credit) is a stats class; a prerequisite to a statistical CL class I’d be taking some time next school year. I don’t like stats one bit, and the fact that I’m not required to do any work doesn’t suggest that I’ll focus especially well on the material.
Second, I want to spend time with my dad. My stepmom’s death is hitting him extremely hard. I haven’t been as available as I’d like these days (being a few states away and all), and I don’t think being home for the funeral or for Spring Break is really good enough for my liking. I also miss my mom, sister, and my Bay Area friends; it would be quite awesome to be around for them.
Third, I’m doubting the necessity of getting my degree in the first place. It would obviously be good to have a computer-based degree under my belt, but I don’t think CL is a line of work I would especially enjoy. I would really rather land some type of general job dealing with web technologies – design, backend programming… stuff like that. Surely not as high-paying as a more specialized field, but I don’t give much of a damn.
If I don’t audit this stats class next quarter, I will probably not have another chance to do so. I heard it’s only offered once every Spring. I mean… I COULD take a year off and continue my grad program down the road… I don’t know.
There are some other factors that tie in to me wanting to spend time at home sooner than later, but I don’t want to discuss that just yet. It has to do with summer plans.
If I leave Seattle, I’m leaving a great living situation (I love my apartment and my roommates – not to mention leaving might make them scramble to find another fourth roommate), some slowly growing groups of friends, a prestigious university, and the education I’ve received in these last two quarters. But I regain my family and friends. I’m really, really torn.
This weekend, despite voting and gaming with friends and going shopping with other friends and attending a friend’s recital and friendsfriendsfriends I’m still feeling pretty neglected and lonely right now. Also I feel pretty incompetent because I bombed a midterm today and I’ve just been thinking about my path as a grad student and just thinking I should quit and work retail, etc. etc. etc. Mostly feeling hopeless.
But given that I’m continuing to make friends and do things and work hard and get job offers, most of this whining is unfounded. All I can say is I’m glad my emotions are working again to make me feel pretty crappy while, in the big picture, everything’s pretty okay. I bet tomorrow or the day after I’ll feel awesome again. Ups and downs! This is the sort of stuff I’ve wanted for a long time.
My stepmom will die within the next few days, and interestingly enough, that’s the least of my worries. It’s not really a worry at all. Dying sucks, but death is when the healing can begin. What I really feel bad about is not Betty’s life ending – it’s really what she’s leaving behind. She has a son, estranged from our family due to his disability (Down’s syndrome), she’s leaving my dad a widower, and I can imagine he’ll feel lonely for an exhorbitant amount of time, her insurance business will disappear, et cetera. The amount of people her death affects is much more saddening than her actual death.
At least this is the explanation I’m giving to the lack of emotion I’m showing for the entire issue. Talking to my dad and sister certainly affects me, because I hate to see them this way. But I feel like it’s almost insulting how little caring I seem to be putting forth.
I’m considering living with my dad for the summer. The house is big, and as my dad put it, it’s like a Betty museum considering the amount of possessions and decorations of hers. It would certainly be more fulfilling than Seattle, where I still don’t know anyone well enough to regularly hang out with – and even if I did, they probably wouldn’t be around during the summer.
The future’s so uncertain, especially now when I’m feeling down in the dumps. What am I doing, why am I doing it, and what should I be doing? The thing is, I can answer all of those questions, so why am I still asking them?