The Nine Faces of Dave
2003-10-03 06:35:26 (UTC)

who would be a renaissance man?

Since my last entry, I've begun toying with the notion of a
double major in math; that is, getting a B.A. in math along
with my B.S. in computer science. I plan to minor at least,
and doing a B.A. would only be about three more courses in
addition to the ones I want to take. It will be tricky, and
I'm liable to end up with a semester or two that is nothing
but math and computer science. Still, it seems doable, and
it just might be worth the time and hassle. I shall have to
look into my options, see if perhaps I can cover some of it
during summer sessions, either here or at home.

I'm just not 100% sure yet that it would be a good idea. It
would be helpful, both in the job market and for grad school
(if I decide to do so). At the same time, in the long run,
it may be more beneficial for me to take other courses and
enrich myself in that way, rather than just taking a ton of
math and becoming more like my roommate.

It's ultimately an issue of whether I can still do all the
things I want to do. I keep forgetting that I'm not back in
high school, and that courses here are actually a hell of a
lot of work. So I have to be careful about what I decide to
do, to ensure that I will meet my degree requirements and be
able to get out of here on time.

Now I'll be frank, I can't see myself choosing a major other
than CS or math. I honestly don't give a crap about social
sciences, and as much as I'm into humanities with my guitar
work and whatnot, I don't really dig the academic approach
to it. It's better to enjoy literature than to analyze it.
That said, there are humanities courses I'm interested in.
I'd like to take music theory at some point, and I need art
history to complete my breadth requirements in humanities.
Who knows, maybe an English course would do me some good,
though right now it seems unlikely.

The point is, I'm not sure I want my studies to be narrow at
all, because I'm not that sort of person. I may enjoy math
and CS, but they are by no means my life and hobbies. I'm
into film, particularly cult classics, and I read, probably
a great deal more than most people, and I'm something of a
trivia buff. And let's not forget guitar.

I'm not sure what to do at this point. I'd rather be a more
well-rounded individual than a science wonk, and it would be
great if people perceived me as such. It was easier in high
school, when things were unfocused by fiat, and I basically
had to do well at everything. Now, I have to make decisions
for myself about what to do, and those decisions affect the
way I am seen, both by myself and others. That makes it all
the more difficult.

Then there's the issue of the economy, with jobs supposedly
becoming increasingly specialized. I can believe it to some
degree; after all, jobs call for degrees in some pretty damn
specific fields. Will this be an issue for me? Who knows.
From a career perspective, the question becomes: where's the
job for a Renaissance Man?

Ultimately, I have to decide what will be the best approach
for getting where I want to be while still being who I am.
It won't be an easy task, but a lot of the information I'll
need is readily available from university faculty. As far
as issues of public perception, well, I don't know who might
be able to answer my questions there. But I am certain that
I can get some insight.

The real trouble is, this decision will require a knowledge
of who I am that I may not have. Awareness is something of
a rare commodity, and self-awareness is the rarest form. At
this point in my life, can I really answer the question "who
the hell am I?" Frankly, the answer is probably no. Maybe
if I were a fairly static individual, I'd know the answer by
now. But I change, and I've changed a lot recently, and in
all honesty, I don't know where I am or where I'm going.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle has nothing on me.

This is Dave, signing off.