THE END OF AN ERA

My three year adventure as a grad student ended Sunday when I handed in the keys to my apartment on campus. I was in that apartment 9 days short of a full calendar year. A year is a long time but it felt like I moved into that place just yesterday.

Overall, it’s still very weird to think that I’m no longer a student. For the last three years, I was a grad student every day of my life. For me, I wasn’t just a grad student when I was in class or doing schoolwork, it was a lifestyle. I enjoyed nearly every minute of it.

I vaguely remember when I made the decision to go back to school sometime in the summer of 2001. I was working as a tester at EA making $12.50 an hour. I was thinking that I could do better than this. After making up my mind, I set out to accomplish three broad goals for grad school: get a Master’s degree, allow my education to get me a job as a software engineer making games, and have fun the entire time. In a rare display of things lining up in my life, I managed to somehow tick off every single one of those goals.

Though the having fun part might seem pretty superflous as a goal, I was pretty serious about that one. I kinda missed out on a lot of undergrad fun. You know how a lot of people use undergrad to goof off? I barely did any of that unfortunately. A few years after I graduated, I told a friend once that I felt like I perhaps had missed out on all of that. I was feeling some regret and wondered if that chance was forever gone. She told me that I there was no going back.

I am happy to say, sometimes, you can certainly go back, I did. During the last three years, I’ve had more fun and adventures than I could have ever anticipated. I’ve met a lot of quality people and suprisingly only a few not so quality people. Living a fulfilling life leads to contented soul. Someone wrote that once, I think it was me, like in the last sentence. Anyways, my point is I wiped away whatever regret I had about lost opportunities.

One thing that I do feel especially lucky about is the fact that I blogged the entire time I was in grad school. I had a four month warm-up period before September of 2002 in which I wrote about 10 posts that 2 people read. Good posts or bad, it’s all there though on the right-hand side of this page. The archives are for me as much as they are for you. A few days ago, I was reading the first couple of posts just after I moved into SJC. I instantly remembered what my room looked like then, who I knew, who I didn’t know, and what I was thinking at the time. If I ever need to know what I was doing during a certain week of grad school, I’ll be able to find it. For me at least, it’s interesting reading things like when I sliced my thumb open, had major oral surgery, had food poisoining for a week, went on a cruise with my family, got drunk in New Orleans with a fur salesman, and list goes on. I know for sure there were things I didn’t blog. Perhaps, I should retro blog those events. I have one evening in mind that thanks to the passage of time, might be suitable for public consumption now.

In any event, I’m not sure how one post or my literary skills could sum up the last years of my life. It was the best time of my life. I accomplished everything I wanted to do. I had the pleasure of meeting so many good people from around the world. No matter how old I get, I will always think that being a university student is one of the greatest things you can be.

I’ll close up with some thanks. I’d like to thank everyone I’ve met for making my life better. SJC residents make up the bulk of these people but there are others. My academic supervisor Dr. Croft was a kind and understanding soul the entire three years I muddled around in her lab. I have to thank every single one of my classmates who aided me in my studies. Good luck to them in their own academic pursuits. And last but not least (just like in an Oscar speech), I’d like to thank my family for putting up with me for the last three years while I basically I took a hiatus from being a “real world adult”. Their generous financial support was the only reason why I could continue being a student for so long.

So ends this wonderful chapter of my life and I’m hoping the next few will be even half as fun as the last.

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