Diary of Stuff (Volume I)
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2002-03-11 18:25:21 (UTC)

Forked Paths....

While I was in school, attaining my BS degree in physics,
summer was approaching, and I decided to prepare myself for
some sort of summer opportunity to get me involved in my
field. I applied for a summer research opportunity at a
southern university working with their new optics and laser
center, and thought, wow, if I could get in, it would be a
dream come true for me--to work in research, and get paid
for it. The university was about 300 miles, and the
duration for 3 months. Since I didn't have enough funds to
afford two places, I would have to abandon the place I was
already in. On top of that, I was married, and we also had
a cat. The other 'fire' that I had in the oven, so to
speak, was a cooperative education position with a company
not more than 65 miles away, in my home town actually. It
paid more, and was logically (logistically) a better choice
than going 300 miles away to the other university, but my
heart said university, my mind said co-op. Time passed,
and I seriously didn't think that I was going to get
either, and then a phone call came through, and I was
chosen for the co-op position. Hooray! I was ecstatic.
Finally, I was going to make some real money for a change,
and see what it was like to work in the scientific
programming field. To keep myself from getting too
excited, because it all just seemed too good to be true, I
kept myself low-key and mediated, in case any unforeseen
event should happen that would lead to disappointment. But
still, I was totally taken aback from being the one (out of
eight). I thought, well, my choice has been chosen for me,
so I started planning what to do, moving back, breaking our
lease, finding another apartment... About a week later, a
letter came in the mail, and I was chosen for the summer
research opportunity...doh!!! Since plans had already been
made, I sent back a letter saying that I chose to co-op
instead, and that I was extremely gracious for being one of
the chosen, but that I had to turn down their offer. To
me, what I was doing was essentially choosing my path from
which to walk... If I had went ahead with the university,
I would have gone straight to grad school and gotten my
PhD. If I had gotten the co-op position, I'd go to work
and decide later what to do with myself (while accumulating

In the end, as I am here typing this, working for a company
that is nowhere as prestigious as what I had wanted it to
be, doing less than satisfying work, trying to make ends
meet, trying to hold on to our possessions, giving in and
lowering our standard of living, I can safely say, yeah, we
make a lot of choices early on, and a lot of opportunities
can come your way in droves, but...I am at a loss really don't know what life will throw your way
at every twist and turn. You can only control it so far,
but other factors come in to play, unbeknownst to you, and
will trickle down to affect you from some unforeseen
direction and turn it completely around. Sometimes those
factors aren't all external, they could be internal, as it
was to me, actually. To give this thought more
respectfully would probably require a book, and many
examples, and such. And there probably are many books out
there now on the subject. And there are probably many
people out there who have learned the same thing (and I
suspect that they ALL have). But in comparison from the
life that is described in the Bible, ours is luxurious no
matter which way you look at it, and we should all probably
have to be thankful for it.

As for me, well, I think I will still try to pursue my goal
of doing what I want to do, and not what the world wants me
to do, heh heh. :)

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