Aspirations, huh....

It seems that the last post has made some buzz. Ray has reflected on it.

This seems like a good time to list some goals I have. Pardon the rip off of Ray's blog title, but what dreams may come? Indeed.

I've worked for a couple engineering firms and software companies, and quite frankly I can't see myself doing that for life. So what is there left? Drumroll.

I like university. I like the overall academic environment, and of course, the social side as well. So that brings me to graduate studies. The field is probably mathematics. After that, maybe professor? There's option one.

Option two is law. Law is interesting. The average lawyer doesn't actually make large amounts of dough, so it's really based on interest and my reluctance to just graduate and take a job at say, Epson.

Option three is medical school. My parents went to med school, so naturally I feel somewhat inclined to do the same thing. I'd have to admit that I don't have the stomach that my parents do for the things that may I have to learn and do in med school (actually a long story, lot's of talk with 'rents :P). So maybe it's not such a good idea, being afraid of germs, diseases, and nasty things in general. Yet, I do have an interest in the field, more so than programming let's say. :P

Options two and three seem pretty cliché for a person with no clear idea of what they want to do after graduation, and indeed I am, but I don't believe I'm choosing two and three for the popular reasons.

Anyways, this is basically as far as I've gone in contemplating my future.


Rick said...

Jason, I think you should definitely consider a pursuing your doctorate in mathematics and perhaps specialize in image processing techniques. It's a very interesting and exciting research field that's applicable to a lot of industrial/commercial processes.

One application for image processing is in medical diagnostic equipment. Very complex machines that require complex mathematics to interpret EM fields. It's unfortunate that electrical engineering wasn't your cup of tea (or coffee) because there are a lot of amazing things you can do with it. So my comment (big rant) on Ray's blog.

Sure engineers are the most under appreciated and under paid profession but being able to "create magic" as one of my most respected profs said gives you a great feeling of accomplishment.

Plus, engineers are lazy people and rely heavily on mathematicians to help us figure things out.

Kagami said...

Yep, as you can see from my blog, I'm at the same crossroads you are. Engineering's not for me. And I have the same cliche asian options, except I replace "math" with "finance". :) All of them out of interest by the way, if I just wanted easy money, it wouldn't be a very tough choice (dentist anyone? :P)

Chacun son gout indeed.

Jason Yu said...

Actually I started reading up on some economics as of late too.. gold, monetary policy and what not.. intriguing. Damn, everything seems to be so interesting. Anything other than programming that is :P

Jason Yu said...

Rick, I've worked with engineers -- electrical and software -- for the past 3 years. Indeed, they are under appreciated and under paid. I have imagined myself doing the jobs of anyone I've worked with: division managers, section managers, project managers, ordinary engineers, -- heck, even the secretary -- and I came to the conclusion that none of these contemporary jobs at such firms are for me.

A few of the people I've worked with may like their jobs, but I haven't sensed much joy or satisfaction from them.

By the way, we mathies take pride in being known as the most lazy. =P Mathematicians are so much more lazy than engineers. Honestly, engineers work frantically, and hence 'over worked, under paid'.

Rick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rick said...

Jason, since you're in Japan, keep your eye on the news for something called the HAL-5. The HAL-5 (Hybrid Assistive Limbs) was developed by Prof. Yoshiyuki Sankai of University of Tsukuba.

It's one very cool looking exoskeleton. With this on the market, I believe we may one day see mechs of anime lore become a reality.

Here are some links you might want to check out:
http://www.rsj.or.jp/AR/ [August 2005]
http://www.fujipress.jp/JRM [October 2004]

Kagami said...

Heh, actually, after reading your post again, the occupation that I find truly "cliche for the person who has no clue what they want to do" is usually engineering, heh.

It seems that even in our own group, only us engineers have such hesitation about our future careers.

Looking back now, I see it in the past too. Mo (from Woodlands, if you guys remember), is applying to medical school, cause he doesn't want to be a Biomedical + Elec. Engineer, which is what he graduates with this year. Jia doesn't like his program, you (Jay) and Alan both switched out of engineering, I hate engineering...

Out of us Mac engineers (Rama, Jia, Mo, and myself), only Rama likes engineering. Out of the Waterloo group who went (that we're closer to anyway), only Wen has stayed in engineering with seemingly no intention of switching to something completely different in the future (that I know about anyway).

Funny, isn't it? Of those I know both from 'sauga and not who didn't start with eng and switch out (or plan to later), everyone knows what they want to do, or what job they want to pursue when they graduate. Business, life/health sciences, math, humanities...you name it.

Sad, no? :P

Alan said...

Hmmm...your parents went to med school, so you're somewhat inclined to do the same thing? For me, it's the opposite. My Dad is a parasitologist...he spends all his time looking at microscopes for micro-organisms and writing reports about what he finds. Because he was doing that, it made me want to stay away from bio. Didn't want to end up doing what my parents do and being compared with them etc.

When I was younger, I has aspirations to become a lawyer or some kind of programmer, but now both those options are pretty much closed to me. So, I don't really have that much choice left, unless I want to spend the rest of my life in school. :P So I guess what I do post-grad won't end being as "cool" as what most of you guys will be up to. I guess I'm at a crossroads too, only with fewer roads diverging from my location.

Oh, and Ray, I saw Peter Harron about a year ago I think, he went into Civ Eng at UW, and he told me that he's not really enjoying his program either. In my elec program here at UW, I know quite a few ppl who switched out also, besides Jason.

And yeah, I must agree that Mathies are the laziest ppl on earth. I can't remember how many times my math/stats profs have said something like "Now of course, us mathematicians/statisticians are lazy, so we use a shortcut and just do this instead of this long tedious way." It's kinda funny actually, how my profs seem to be encouraging me to be lazy haha. Also, based on the mathies I know vs. the engineers I know, I think I can have some evidence that mathies are truly lazier. Jason, do you have any evidence to reject my null hypoxes? :D

Kagami said...

Mathies are only lazier than engineers because mathies have an "instant-win" card (Duy) whereas we only two aces (Jia and myself). :P

Kagami said...

After reading Wen's blog, we can safely scratch Wen's name off the "engineering is awesome, this is what I want to do" list, and add it to the "hesitation is the answer" list.

So we can revise my previous post to say that those in our group who chose engineering, only Rama enjoys it. So Waterloo has zero students with engineering spirit, and Mac has one. And I'm not even sure how much Rama really enjoys engineering, since he's...energetic...doing anything, even the absolute stupidest stuff.

Rick said...

After reading through everybody's post here, I have to admit I'm in engineering because I want to make that a career. Sure, there are still plenty of hurdles I have to jump over but I am proud to be an engineer.

During grad school, I might do some off-shore volunteering with EWB for six months.

For those who don't know, EWB stands for Engineers Without Borders. It's the same idea as DWB, Doctors Without Borders.

Ambrose said...

Better that you all are thinking about what you want to do now, than to go on with something you don't like (say, Engineering =p) and be miserable about it.

We still have time on our side, kinda. Still got about 40 years left to do stuff before "retirement age" (of course, I personally would like to "retire" before that time). That is, unless some global pandemic or natural disaster wipes us all out, ha ha.

As for engineers who are still sticking in their program, I'm pretty sure Ben Komalo and Jeff Hau are still in Soft Eng. Although the thing w/ Softies is that they end up being a lot like CS-ers it seems when it comes to finding jobs (they all go for Seattle or Silicon Valley). So maybe they're an exception.

Any word on where 'Zeeb is Ray? =p

Kagami said...

Oh yeah, Tanzeeb! Yeah, he's thinking twice, or as Rama would say, "two times". :D

I see him all over the place, took the same GO bus he did once and talked on the way back. We can add him to the list of people who hate his program (software eng).

Alan said...

Haha...too bad our "instant win card" can't help us win at everything. :P It only applies in certain specific situations.

Jason Yu said...

Makes me wonder if there's a laziness contest somewhere out there.. :P

Rick said...

There probably is such a contest but the organizers were so lazy, it was never organized and nobody bothered participating.

Jason Yu said...

It's not necessary that the organizers themselves are lazy. I do surmise however, that the task of recruiting the truly indolent would be difficult.