January 18, 2013

Grad school acceptance letter: momentum changer

Life currently feels like the end of a western film where the hero rides into the sunset. The hero’s future is unknown, but he has triumphed over great adversity. Each day has ended with that feeling. I attribute this to the positive momentum in my life. It turns out that a semester is all it takes to start building momentum for success. It gives me confidence that I will master the hardest material, that my goals in life are too conservative, and that I must keep moving forward. But I did not always have such drive.

I had a plan. Back then, I was finishing high school and about to enter university. The plan was, I would get a degree in statistics, get a good internship, and progress to working full time with that company when I graduated. I had momentum going into university, so I initially did very well and was happy. However, over the next few years, the plan started to fall apart. I wasn’t satisfied with my internships or my degree. Although interesting, my major was not what I was really interested in. The problems I was tasked with solving in my internships were also not what motivates me. It began to sap all the forward motion I had in life, and in turn my step was heavier, and my successes more infrequent. 

How it all changed

The day I got my acceptance letter to enter graduate school was a great day. It was a moment I now define as a turning point; my life felt like it was picking up momentum. My first semester was great. The classes had a great balance between academic and industrial focus. It started becoming difficult to decide which one I was more interested in. My classmates were also driven to succeed, and that is infectious. The professors showed me how to think and challenged me when I spoke with them--not in an intimidating way, but rather to stimulate my own interest. The professors were able to bring me into their world, and I don’t want to leave it. The momentum I have is not just from my own doing, but from the environment I am in.

Looking ahead

The plan I had as an undergraduate is occurring in graduate school. I can honestly say I am looking forward to the next semester. It will be tough, but it is not something to fear--not with this momentum.