It’s quite unfortunate, I’ve been doing lots of thinking lately. I don’t believe there is such a thing as too much thinking, but there are times when you can definitely over think something or drill down too far on it. I don’t know if I’ve reached that point, but I’m working to pull back and take a look at the big picture sometime soon.
What I have noticed, is that on several levels I find myself on the same plane I was on at the start of my freshman year here at RPI. I guess for me to make this conclusion one of two things must have happened. 1) I made some progress, and then it deteriorated or 2) I never made progress, but found an effective way to mask the situation. Now I haven’t spent too much time analyzing which of these two circumstances is unfolding, but I do know that I am not where I felt I was 1 year ago at this time, and I do feel like I am more where I am roughly 2.5 years ago.
I also don’t believe you can actually move backwards. I am no theoretical physicist, but I do think that experiences constantly shape and transform us and there is really no way to undo that. Sometimes we can be shaped like we have been previously, but time itself hasn’t rewound.
I think back to my freshman year at RPI, where I was barely involved in anything and wonder how that related to what I’m currently involved in. On paper I might appear to be someone of some slight importance in organizations on campus, but that’s only on paper… and only when its convenient. I find myself being consulted very little for things that I care very much about. The majority of things I directly work on have been classified in the ‘sun setting’ stage by most… aka the nobody actually cares about it until it effects them stage. I would be 95% OK with that if I was just able to go off by my happy self and do what needed to get done, but most of the things require parts from others. I think I have figured out how to design emails that will automatically be caught by spam filters without using and words to describe male genitalia or cheap drugs.
Socially, I think that last year I traveled to more places on campus than I have this year. I have only been in one living facility, BARH, and in only one room in said facility (A110) which happens to also be where I reside. In previous years I’ve enrolled in a class or two that one or more people I am acquanted with happened to be taken as well. I cannot say the same for this semester, or last semester really, whereby the closest I come is knowing a TA in one of my classes. I have watched 0 movies here at college this year and gone out to eat 0 times with more than 1 other person. Wait, I think I went out to eat with 2 people once. But for me its not the number of opportunities I take advantage of that matter, because that number I can directly control. I care more about the quality of opportunities that are presented to me because I have much less control in that field; and my junior year has been dismal on the social, academic, and professional front.
Typically I would be ok with this. I’ve been writing off losses on the social front for over a decade now, and the academic experience at college has never been what I’ve been hoping for, but I’ve rarely experienced such losses on the professional front. I look forward to the summer after my Junior year, where most people typically report finding an internship doing something like what they might want to be doing for a career [some lucky people even get offered jobs], and I can’t say the outlook looks bright at all. I’ve always said to myself, ya know what self… this summer you will do this moderately boring work because it will give you some experience which will help you get a position doing not-boring work during the summer of you junior year, because employers recognize you might have some skills by that point. Personally, I can’t say I’ve acquired any skills in the past 2 years that I would want to be doing at a job.. but thats a topic for another day. I look ahead and say hrm, there is a low probability this summer will be radically different that any other, and that is not encouraging if its a sign of what may lay ahead in my career path. Dear someone with enough money to hire me: Open up shop in western mass and look for local PHP programmers.
Unfortunately its not just the summer that has me in a tiff. In past, I’ve managed to avoid thinking about the summer because I have been busy working on cool and exciting things like Shuttle Tracking, Concerto, or RPI TV things. Alas, while both of those projects are cool and exciting, they are not presenting tons of work-opportunities at the moment.
Fundamentally I am, well I don’t know the word. Disturbed fits, but not really… intrigued doesn’t express contempt… and confused implies some lack of comprehension. Blend those, and then you might get what I’m feeling. My training dictates the methods I follow and the conclusions I can draw and support, but long ago I had ruled out the possibility that someone different could live my life but better. I felt that I was doing a very good job of optimizing underperforming areas and readjusting things that needed it. I’ve recalculated many times and the scores still come out the same, indicating I am behind without the leg up. Needless to say I need need a plan.