Tuesday, December 14, 2004

One Down, Two to Go

Yes, that is right. I survived the ODE final. I think I did ok. Hopefully well enough to maintain my grade. The test was a lot harder than I had anticipated. The problem types were all things that we had seen and worked with, but there was an added twist in nearly every set that made it slightly more difficult. Golem, from the Lord of the Rings, would call it “trixy”.

I have taken the next three days off of work; today and tomorrow for studying, Thursday for exam taking. This should give me ample time to be sure that I am completely up to speed for my back to back finals on Thursday. I learned that 1/3 of my Discrete Math final will be true and false questions that we have seen on the past exams. It looks like it would be a wise investment to spend some time making sure that I could pick up those easy points.

A Perplexity:
Have you ever wanted to be the “best” at anything? It is fun having lots of interests, it makes for a well rounded person, but sometimes I feel like the Jack of all trades, and master of none. Does becoming the master of a skill require that all else is sacrificed in order that one can be a master of one domain? I have done tolerably well in school this semester, but I can still think of times when I could have given more, stayed up for a few more hours, or just plain paid more attention. What does it take to give undying focus to a discipline? Is it possible? When I think about how I spend my time, and then look at my academic standing, I know that I do very well for the time that I put in. However, if I would stretch a bit more, cut out more of the nonsense, and put even more into it I know I could see improvement above where I stand now.

The question is, is becoming the master of one thing, worth giving up everything else? I will still be a good computer scientist, even if I don’t have a 4.0 GPA. I am still a reasonable singer, though I don’t take lessons or sing in a choir right now. I am a good employee, but I miss out on special projects because my time is so divided. If I didn’t take some time each week to just relax, I would go crazy. Yet, when I know I should be doing something, and I am idle, or not doing one of the things that I should be doing, I feel guilty for not attending to the list of things that I must do. So, because my sense of “to-do” says I can’t work on the “other stuff” until the “real stuff” gets done, and I spend time idle.

Well that was a thought and a half. I don’t know the answers, but something needs to change. Perhaps it has to do with learning the art of time management.


rfin said...

Congrats on one down. Good luck on the two to go. Your last paragraph reminded me of this quotation:

In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. --Theodore Roosevelt.

Of course, like so many other things, easier said than done.

Anonymous said...

"The question is, is becoming the master of one thing, worth giving up everything else?"

No and maybe. What does that mean? It depends on what you have to give up, how long you have to give it up for, and what the ultimate benefit of that sacrifice is. Balance is a wonderful thing, but it only happens int he movies. We can strive for it in real life, but it more than not evades us and is replace by the chaotic path of reacting ot what life throws our way.

In short, relish your opportunity to get an education, revel in your strengths and accomplishments, vow to do better if you don't do as well as you want to, but always be your own best cheer leader.