How my projects go

You might be wondering why it took me two months to write that little update on my life. I know I am! I’m also wondering why it’s taken me weeks to write this entry when I intended to post it a couple of days after the last one. Part of the answer is that I’ve been sidetracked by my overly complicated search for grad schools. Even narrowing down my career interests to artificial intelligence, I only sort of know what I’m looking for in a CS grad school, especially since I’m very new to the AI field. And since it’s such a large investment, I want to make my decision very carefully. I’m better at that kind of thing now. It’s not like the days when I glanced at a couple of authors I liked and just applied to the college they went to. Although that turned out well, I must say.

I get kind of obsessive about research. It’s not that I forget to eat or sleep because I can’t let things go … usually … but I do tend to get carried away. And it’s not that I plan an overly complicated procedure from the start. It’s more that I plan a vague procedure and then find out it isn’t doing what I want, and so I adjust my plans … over and over again for the same project. Let’s put it nicely and just say I’m thorough.

I’m not sure how a normal person would go about finding a grad school, maybe look at some rankings, locate professors they want to study under, or restrict themselves to a particular geographical area. But what I care about is the subject matter, and while my interests are hazy, they’re particular enough that I suspect some schools will cover them better than others. And so I’ve felt compelled to go through a looooooong and complicated process of clarifying what topics in computer science and related fields I really care about learning in school and then matching those against the dozens of candidate schools I’ve collected. I’ve spent many hours on this, and I’m not nearly done.

So yes, my projects tend to take roughly forever, especially since I typically have several going at once. But I do pick up efficiency tricks along the way. For example, when I was writing that last entry, I discovered I could save myself writing time and you reading time if I restricted myself to four sentences per paragraph and generally one paragraph per section. If I hadn’t come up with that, I’d probably still be writing it.

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