This month May just have been the best month in a long time! I have received admits from two places for PhD in the field of my interest: signal processing, specifically in compressed sensing. I won’t elaborate too much on them, but I think it’s worth a whole year of toiling and surviving the wreck that my life had turned into.
I’m actually surprised that I got through, I played it safe and I had to face quite a few hurdles. The person who ‘guided’ my master’s thesis simply refused to give me a recommendation. Plus, I never really pursued the field that strictly in my undergrad. Just a master’s level course that served as a paycheck for our instructor’s honeymoon. Well, he got married in that semester and was least bothered about imparting any amount of wisdom on the subject to us. I guess we got mixed signals from him. I guess we received a filtered education. I guess his knowledge on the subject was band limited. Any signal processing nerds out there who love to blog? No? Didn’t think so. In that case please omit the last three excruciating puns.
My last year as a project assistant wasn’t that great either. I had a lot of personal issues owing to which I really couldn’t focus on my applications or research. Could I have done better? Definitely! But I could have also done worse. So I’m definitely very grateful for whatever I have today. I did struggle a lot through college. Tried to balance academics; was a coordinator for the physics association; managed events for our technical fest; did some really cool stuff as a part of the backstage and infrastructure department; made some cool nerdy friends; had fascinating talks with a multitude of people and tried to implement projects that were more out of the box and interdisciplinary. Quite a well rounded experience, I would say. I think I owe a lot of my drive and ambition to my college days. I see a lot of my peers doing very well for themselves and that’s motivation enough to see myself succeed.
I recently visited my home after five months and had a deep discussion with my dad on the future of research and employability of the Indian youth in the science and technology sector. It was an enlightening talk but it also reaffirmed my plan of action for my career and gave me some confidence about my future. My dad’s approval is very important to me, because he has always been an inspiration. Apart from being a distinguished scientist and professor in physics and chemistry, he’s also known to be a great motivational speaker, something I hope I have inherited.
The only other person that I have such intellectually satisfying discussions is Drake, my boyfriend. Apart from being my college buddy, he’s also my career advisor. He has a very good conviction on competitive research. He has always been extremely interested in futuristic technologies, and he’s kinda the reason that I’m doing signal processing in the first place. (That’s also one of the reasons that I like him in the first place. He was doing gesture recognition and robotics when us kids were learning how not to screw up our grades and how to keep our eyes open till midnight to eat at the awesome night mess.)
As of now, I need to make a well informed decision about picking between the two universities… this decision is not only going to affect my career, but also the way my personality shapes up as I approach the second quarter of my life and target more solid goals like getting settled and starting a family. I also need to work towards finishing my project here. Tie some loose strings and cut some others off.
So here’s looking forward to wrapping up May in an elegant fashion. May the force be with me!