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Purdue Graduate School ('06-'07) - Semester VI

My final semester as a Masters student. Hurray! A very stressful semester indeed, but it ultimately ended in success. Hail Purdue!

ECE 606 - Solid State Devices

Yes, Solid State Devices round two. The professor this time around did an even better job teaching it than the previous. I learned even more this time, and thankfully that is reflected in my grade.

ECE 697 - Operating Systems Literature Survey

Another directed reading course - this time on operating systems security. I spent the semester reading some incredibly interesting security papers ranging from vulnerabilities with the infamous ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) network to injecting malicious code using compilers in such a way that the injection code doesn't even need to be present in the source (for the compiler or program). Once again an interesting and worthwhile experience.

MA 554 - Linear Algebra

Linear algebra, round III. That's right - I took it as an undergrad, I took the intro class as a graduate student, and now I made the mistake of taking the class that is apparently designed for Math PhD Students studying for Quals. Whoops. This class was the source of a great deal of uncertainty regarding my anticipated graduation from the Master's Program here. Nevertheless I somehow miraculously completed the course and graduated, for the second time, from Purdue University. Hurray!

BAND 120 - Applied Music Studies

Though I wasn't actually enrolled in the course I did participate in applied music. Instead of studying my usual friend, the alto saxophone, I instead concentrated this semester on the piano. One of the main reasons for taking applied music was so that I could remain in Gold and Black Sound, the women's basketball pep band. This turned out to be a very worthwhile thing to do, as we got to travel to Dallas, TX with the team for the Sweet 16 - another Purdue Bands experience that I will never forget.

Applied music is really a fancy word for "private lessons." And so for 30 minutes roughly once a week I would come and in play the piano for my teacher, and he would help me get better. It was fun, and I did improve some. Unfortunately as the end of the semester got closer I was able to practice less and less and, as one might suspect, with limited practice comes limited improvement in ability. Perhaps this summer I will have more time to put towards the piano.

The End II

Well, that's it - again. As President Jischke would say, "well you did it!" This semester was without question the most stressful semester I have had at Purdue, in no small part due to MA 554. Nevertheless, it was still worth it. Every year I spend at Purdue is a good year filled with new experiences, new friends, and increased knowledge.

That said, I find myself contemplating leaving. It isn't that I don't like it here - I love it. It's just that life is so short and there are so many things to do. While it is wonderful in the ivory tower, looking out I have to wonder what it's like elsewhere. This leaves me in a very difficult position. I fear if I leave now I may never return. I have been accepted to the PhD program and I have funding, something that may be difficult to obtain even if I do return. Conversely, I am almost twenty five. I am, physically, in the prime of my life (if not already beginning to pass it). Spending another three or more years working on a highly specialized degree seems at times very appealing at other times tremendously pointless. I know that I enjoy teaching greatly, and I would eventually like to become a professor. To do that one is almost required to have a PhD.

I also know that I love skiing, hiking, and engaging in physically challenging endeavors in general. I love the mountains. And so the conflict is revealed. Do I stay and study and prepare for a future career? Do I leave and fully enjoy my youth while I still have it? It is an incredibly difficult decision. At the time of this writing it is one that I have yet to make. Thankfully this summer shouldn't be too busy and I will be able to spend some time contemplating.

Regardless of my decision, Purdue University remains a great university that has given me so much over the past seven years. It has helped shaped who I am and will always have a special place in my heart. As I have said before, if you are reading this and considering attending college, be sure to add Purdue to your list; and don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to talk.