evolosophy/grad school As soon as I found a catchphrase, I placed it here.
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Argggh!
Publish: 2024-07-09 17:55:11
Categories: grad school

I will share which school I'm going to! I promise!!

Actually, as of now I'm registered for 1 of 2 classes. After being denied from registering for any courses last week, I seem to have progressed, slightly. But I'm still stuck, and until it's done, it's not official, at least not in my mind.

Hopefully this week? Maybe?

I emailed someone at the University asking for help, so let's see. Once I'm registered, then it's official. Once it's official, then I'll share. 🙂

But right now... grrrr. 😐

Truth be told though, I'm ready to fucking get going already.

30 👀
How Many Of These Posts Will I Make?
Publish: 2024-06-26 16:58:42
Categories: grad school

No, really, when the fuck will I decide already? Right?

Yeah, yeah, I agree with you. But hey, I did ask you for help, and... well... you didn't help at all! 😋

The vote's have it.

So, I sent out the following text to a few friends:

A) good grad. program, great life experience

B) great grad. program, good life experience.

A or B?

And, here's the final vote count:

Program Vote Count
A
5
B
5

🥲 🥲 🥲 🥲

You know what though? This is exactly how I feel too. This has genuinely been a difficult decision, I can see both of them working out really well, though in different ways.

And that's the thing to note here. I do feel like I'm having to choose between 2 good options. I just can't figure out which! 🥲

Well, the deadline is here. So I sat down, looked at both programs, imagined life for 2 years, imagined life after 2 years and finally went with what felt right. So we're done. It's decided. 🙂

And... umm... once I get it just a little more official, I'll actually tell you what I've decided. 😋 (I mean, come on, how many times have I waffled? Even you have to admit it's better for me to stfu about it 😂 ).

But the ball's rolling. I'm packing, figuring out the final moving logistics, and pushing this shit forward. Soon, there should be a little action to back up all of this "blah blah blah". 😋 😀

29 👀
Waffle Waffle Waffle
Publish: 2024-06-17 17:25:24
Categories: grad school

You know, there's real-time and there's blog-time... and rarely are they the same. You see, in blog-time, it was only 3 days ago that I told you about my decision to (attempt to) matriculate to CUNY this Fall. But in real-time, I made the choice more than 3 weeks ago.

Well, here's a quick real-time update... I dunno, I may not be going to CUNY after all. 😐

I don't want to turn this into a huge post, as I'm actually taking the time to write this as a quick break from searching for a place. But here's a very brief update of what I'm seeing and where things are sitting. So brief, we're gonna do it in bullet-point format:

  • CUNY offers campus housing which includes a single, tiny studio apartment that was within my budget. This was the plan.
  • After accepting the grad school offer, I applied for their housing.
    • A few days later I was told they're full, and I've been wait-listed.
    • I've since learned, it's quite likely I'll never get off the wait list. 😢
  • I've been looking at normal housing (apartments and whatnot).
  • The top end of my budget overlaps with the bottom-end of the rental market IF I'm far enough away from Manhattan (where CUNY Grad. Center exists). This is Queens and beyond if I go East, and New Jersey if I go West.
  • Apparently, in NYC (and Jersey City in NJ), most ( like 98%? ) of the rentals are offered through real estate brokers who list the units on very normal websites (apartments.com, zillow, etc.) yet require a brokerage fee which starts at 1 month's rent and goes up. This isn't a rental deposit, first month's rent or anything like that. It's just a fee, poof, gone.
  • Parking... don't get me started. It's a nightmare. Even long term storage. It's so hard to see how I wouldn't have to get rid of my car.
    • Part of the interest of moving to NYC for 2 years included traveling up and down the New England area and beyond in search of the next attempt at finding "home".
    • Clearly this isn't the primary or even secondary point of choosing CUNY. But, still, this was a sincere perk of getting back to the east coast.
  • On top of all of this: these fucking assholes aren't even responding! I don't know if it's my West coast phone number or what, but I've left 3 voicemails for 3 different listings. I've also pinged like 5 or 6 via padmapper.com's "check for availability" functionality. So far, I haven't gotten a single response. Looking at online reviews, this a common problem.
  • So I don't know. I'm sitting here in a coffee shop, again. The day is coming to and end, again. I'm still not sure how I can make this work, again.

So, that's where we're at. Maybe I'm not going to CUNY after all.

Like I said a few days ago, time is running out. I need to choose. Find a place. Pack. Move. Enroll. Get going.

It's not critical yet, but it's getting there.

NY is getting further away every day. I can either pack up my shit, get the fuck over there, and find a place in person (there are a fair enough of units if someone would fucking reply)... hoping to get it all ironed out in time. And if I want to do that, then I need to move ASAP.

OR... fuck it. Michigan has the best program and cost-of-living. Just give in, and take the path of least resistance. It's not the greatest, but not bad either you know? If this about 2 years of life experience that's one thing, but if this is about spending 2 years to get one last degree and get back to normal life... well, then not living in NYC really, truly isn't the critical decision point.

Anyway... it's June 17th @ 2pm as I write this, and shortly after as I post it. This is where I'm at... right now, real-time.

I'm going to publish this post, and then get back to looking at places online. Admittedly though, CUNY and two years in NYC, is feeling like it's drifting away.

And... for what it's worth... the amount of my money I've spent doing very little these past 3 years is very much on my mind. Ooof. 😐 I've definitely been fucking things up...

28 👀
The Update, Without The Update
Publish: 2024-06-14 20:15:36
Categories: grad school

It's been a minute. How's it going? 🙂

Me? I'm good, thanks.

So, "what's been going on?", amiright? When we last left off, our friends at the University of Washington (UW) offered me a spot, almost guaranteeing my decision (right?).

So how come there hasn't been a post to make it official? Well... let's discuss.

Yes, Let's Discuss

Prior to UW's offer, University of Michigan - Dearborn (UoM) had become the obvious front runner, mainly on the strength and flexibility of their program. I can't stress enough how good their program looks. Add to this UoM's overall good communication and general experience throughout the process, it was easy to place them in the #1 spot after Minnesota told me to fuck off.

Now, to be honest, I was very excited when UW offered me a spot. They're local, their program is 1.5 years (versus that normal 2 years MS program), and UW is one of the top public universities in the country. Genuinely, accepting UW's offer seemed so obvious that it was silly to consider not accepting.

"Seemed".

While UW, as a university is a well-ranked institution, it's not necessarily true that all their programs are awesome. And, the more I looked into it, the less sense it made to choose UW.

I'm Judging You

I've talked a couple of times now about researching programs and whatnot, but let's be clear, by & large it's a shit show. What am I doing? I'm going to DuckDuckGo and I'm googling "Top MSDS programs 2024", "Best Data Science graduate research programs 2024", and shit like that. Then, I'm reading.

I mean, it's exactly what you'd expect, but the point I'm trying to make here is that there are no 'official' reviews or rankings. There are some big names review sitesthat offer up their opinions, like Fortune, Forbes and US News - all of which have multiple lists of program rankings. And then, there's a bunch of other sites to read.

So anyway, I read a bunch of these sites, and I would see certain Data Science programs pop up over and over. Never once did I see anyone mention UW. Not once. Should I be concerned?

Interweb articles are fine as a first pass, but now that I'm in the top 2 ( 😉 ), I'm able to take the time to look deeper into the programs themselves, and try to judge them by their merits and not their reputations. So I've been looking deeper. And, again, UW seems to fall behind.

UW has a very rigid program. Officially it's a fixed curriculum, although their is an option to swap out up to two courses. However, for each one, you have to write up an official request with justification as to why a) you feel you can skip the course you want to skip and b) you will benefit from taking the alternate course. Compare this to UoM that gives you a pool of core courses with a some flexibility and a set of elective courses with a lot of flexibility. Again, UW is looking like the less attractive option. Should I be concerned?

Digging deeper, from what I can tell, UW's program does a good job of covering all of the basics, but fails to get into any serious depth when it comes to specializing with Data Science. This was reinforced during a Zoom "Open House" that UW sponsored to welcome the upcoming MSDS class, answer questions and set up next steps. During the session, as they described the program, they mentioned that it was more of an "applied data science program", than a theoretical one. Should I be concerned?

So UW isn't looking like such a slam dunk. "What about costs?" you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked, let's compare the two programs estimated cost of tuition:
UW UoM
$53,000 😮 $21,000

I know... right? I mean, I should be concerned by now, right?

Enter The Dark Horse

So, the more I'm researching the harder it is to see Washington being the place to be. That's from a purely academic perspective. There are several other reasons to argue for leaving the area as well, but this post is too long as is, maybe we'll chat about it some other time. Needless to say, UoM seems to have successfully defended the throne.

Well, as I'm researching all of this... guess who show's up? CUNY, the City University of New York, returned their decision and I was accepted to that program as well! 😀

Now, time can change things, can't it? Back in Next Steps I talked about my CUNY prospects as such:

CUNY - sure, maybe. The big cool factor here is that I'd get to go "back" to New York. That's nice, but that's about it.

Honestly CUNY was one of my flyers. 🙂 But after losing Minnesota, and (almost for sure) dropping UW, things have really changed. CUNY is a reasonably close second to UoM's Data Science program while offering a life opportunity that is calling to me more and more as I consider the two options.

I didn't expect it, but CUNY is not only in the race... but this dark horse may have joined the race in first place!

Ooof... so... more research. 🙂

So here's the deal, I'll keep this one short: CUNY has a good program. It's well-rated, it's well-organized and is more relevant than UW seemed. There's flexibility built into the curriculum via electives, though it doesn't have the breadth of UoM's program.

How about cost?
UW UoM CUNY
$53,000 😮 $21,000 $23,000

So... ignoring cost of living for a few seconds, academically UoM and CUNY are identical here.

Are you seeing why I haven't updated you guys in 6 weeks? 😂 This shit isn't obvious! But we gotta decide, don't we? Time's tick-tick-ticking.

The East Is the Seed!

UoM has the best program offering. Clearly. CUNY's is still good though. Genuinely, I think I'd be happy with either program.

But what my life would look like is drastically different. UoM offers a suburban, easily-affordable life that includes a budget that's fairly easy to swallow. CUNY offers two years in NYC on a very-tight budget, grittier lifestyle (public transport, smaller apartment, few amenities, etc.)... but with much more interesting possibilities vis a vis life experience .

It's going to warrant it's own post, but for now, I'll say that the decision has kind of made itself. As of now, I'm trying to see if I can make CUNY work. 🙂 🙂 🙂 It's not official yet, and there's more to share, but I did want to post something after 6 weeks of silence.

So, yeah, I'm not yet sure I can make it work. I'm trying to figure out housing, and it's looking like I may have to sell my car if I did move to NYC... which, I don't know, it's a sacrifice I wasn't ready for, so let's see how that affects things.

I'm really running out of time to decide and act. A decision is coming either way. Once I know, you'll know. 🙂

27 👀
Hold That U-Haul - Maybe
Publish: 2024-04-30 18:12:26
Categories: grad school

Well, the University of Washington has emailed me to officially remove me from the wait list...

ACCEPTED! 😀

Haha, wow. A roller coaster, right? 😂

So... what does this actually mean? It means I'm going to UW now, right? Honestly... I don't know. This is all just happening and I wanted to share it as it's going down... but I gotta figure it out now.

I mean, technically, I'm still waiting to hear back from CUNY, and I have several other acceptances. But mentally, I've been shifting into a University of Michigan state of mind. With everything associated with the Dearborn / Ann Arbor debacle having been worked out, it started to feel like the best option. Now... well..

Well, I won't say anymore. I literally just found out. So.. for now: woo! But... next up: time to decide.

The tanks been getting fueled up... we've got our launch coordinates... launch site is almost finalized... I don't know, blast off seems pretty fucking imminent... 😀

25 👀

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one day. possibly.