Posts Tagged ‘academics’

Post-Graduation Plans

My degree audit officially shows all green “OK”s and the message “All requirements have been satisfied” appears at the top. Woohoo! It’s been a long journey and I’m finally done.

And it feels weird.

Part of it is because I have not sought any form of employment other than working full time on my startup, but I think most of what’s weird is that I feel like I can do anything now. I’ve felt like that for the last few years, but now it’s unconstrained by long-term academic requirements. Nothing is holding me back from pursuing whatever ambitions I want to and that feels very, very good.

I still don’t have income as of now, though. I’ve had extensive conversations recently about this and about my lifeline being provided by my parents while I figure out how to get some income rolling in through my company and projects, and the pressure is really hitting hard. I’m a bit conflicted about how I will ground myself fully at this point. Do I diversify and hope something catches? Do I focus completely on the one most important future revenue generator? Do I stop for a short while, grab some projects for some income, then come back to everything? There’s no right answer to this so I’m sort of testing the waters if you will over the next couple of weeks.

What I’m working on now

We have been working on Mavenry for the longest time now and I have learned a ton about starting a business and how important it is to start with solid, accurate assumptions and to build from the needs of the customers. It’s been a tedious journey but I couldn’t imagine not having gone through everything we’ve gone through so far. I’ve even picked up the know how to build sales projections, financial models, business plans, neural brand identity maps, you name it. Anyways, this humongous learning process has swayed our direction back and forth and back and forth but we’ve been chugging on an incredibly solid direction for the last few months that should prove our efforts worthwhile in due time. I’m excited and passionate about the direction we’re heading — it’s all about staying focused and taking one step at a time.

Towards the end of the quarter I threw up a simple (and full of bugs that need fixing) application Glitchee for sharing mp3s with each other in sort of a “running mixtape” idea. Now there are a few solid competitors that have literally launched within the last week and attack sort of similar issues with different approaches, but I’m still sure that what I envision is not solved by either of the new guys out there so I’ll keep on chugging as a side project. I don’t expect this project in how it’s designed to be any sort of income bringer but who knows, maybe it’ll fill out to be something worthwhile that people would jump on and use.

And other than that, I’m building a website with mini CMS for my mom’s real estate presence as well as working on a store/gallery and mini order fulfillment system for my dad’s photography business.

Going through phases

It constantly astounds me how much my perspective on life, learning, relationships, projects, etc. changes so drastically and often these days. I’m at a point where my patience is extremely low for wasting time that could be spent producing something. While during school when I had a lot of forced projects and tasks to complete it seemed more reasonable to spend a great deal of time reading, learning, and running over and over plans for this and that, I’m at a point where all of that just seems like such a waste of time. I realize I only feel that way having already experienced that phase, but it’s weird to switch to an entirely different set of ambitions for what I spend my time on. I want to make things. I want to produce actual applications and products that can get out there. I’m tired of reading for hours on end about things that don’t produce results. I have a need for making things happen.

Git!

Now that I got all of that out of my system, I’m beginning to drink the cool aid and am moving my projects over to using Git and specifically the new cool kid on the block github.

Insecurities and varying skill levels in academic courses

Having been to a few days of classes now this quarter I have begun to re-experience sitting through lectures with 20+ other people whom all have drastically varied skill levels on the course topics. It’s awkward, to say the least, to try and find your place amongst other people whom many you know well from previous classes and get situated with what is appropriate to assume your classmates’, your instructor’s, and my own expectations for the class are.

I’m not saying that I think I’m in any way more knowledgeable about any of the subject matters but I’ve noticed this awkward time of skill positioning as an interesting and constantly re-occurring theme in my courses.

I don’t know what the psychology behind it is, but because of this I personally have a hard time speaking out at times even when I can answer the instructors’ questions perfectly well.

Reasons for [my] insecurities in answering questions:

  • The questions seem too rudimentary to be answered in a straight forward fashion
  • I feel like my answers will be off course because of the vagueness of the question asked, leading to greater insecurity answering later questions
  • I’ll answer too far ahead of the subject matter we’re covering which will then leave some of the class in confusion (bad for those it detracts from and makes me feel like I’m trying to prove something or know-it-all)

Are these justified?

Who knows. Likely parts are just because of being shy but I notice this among lots of people in the class—especially when an extremely simple question is asked and nobody answers because it seems so stupid for anyone to want to stoop so low as to say something so obvious.

What message does this send to the instructor?

Does a wave of insecurity tell the instructor that nobody knows what’s going on? Definitely doesn’t re-enforce peoples’ comfort with the subject. Does the instructor realize that we seem stupid because we think the questions are stupid? Maybe, but then I ask, does he still assume to take the most cautious path and assume he’s speaking to the least knowledgeable person in the room? I hope not.

It’s an difficult problem that nobody seems to know how to solve very well. Things normally even out a little better throughout the quarter, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes people continue to participate with the same level of insecurity so what is the instructor to think?

And now how I wish it were done

While it would take a lot of time and might alienate some people I wish we could all just explain our comfort levels right from the get go. Maybe this is in a class discussion. Maybe this is done in private one-on-one sessions for 10 minutes per student—we could afford the time if it would possibly cut down on all the lag time while people don’t answer questions all session long for the entirety of the quarter. Something needs to be done.

I hate getting to the end of the quarter feeling like the class could have been a lot more effective if we were all better aligned from the start and removed all this unnecessary insecurity that lingers throughout the quarter.

And so I leave with this question to those reading:

Is it my place to take responsibility for this or should I just take a deep breath and make the most of my classes because this is out of my responsibility or need for worry?

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