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Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Student Circle of Life
They've chosen next year's Master's students and have sent out acceptance letters. Now it's just a matter of who will accept the offers--and who will show up once classes start. We got slightly less applicants this year (probably because the economy is marginally better), but it was still over 40 applicants for each program. We're all curious about who our classmates will be for next year.

Meanwhile, the second-year students are scrambling to finish their thesis projects and, at the same time, find jobs (or wait for PhD acceptances, if they are so inclined). Bilge Mutlu was already accepted to CMU's HCI PhD program. It's a hectic time for them. And frankly, I don't want them to go. I rely on many of them for their friendship and advice, so I will definitely feel it when they are gone.

For the first-years, it's time to decide on thesis papers, projects, and advisors. It is tough to pick something you want to work on for a year. You don't know what topic is going to be so interesting and rich that you'd want to spend a year of your life researching, writing about, and designing it. I've worked on year-long projects before, but never one I've chosen for myself. It's an interesting dilemma because it can be a hell of your own making.

posted at 08:24 AM in classmates, cmu, preparation, student life, thesis paper, thesis project | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, June 25, 2003

School Countdown: 5 Days

The last two weeks have been hectic, to say the least, but I'm really looking forward to finally starting school on Monday. It's good to be in Pittsburgh, even if I am surrounded by boxes (not boxes and arrows, moving boxes. I've got my fresh copies of Macromedia Studio MX and Adobe Design Studio at the ready. Unfortunately, the 15" G4 Powerbook I bought for school had a faulty Superdrive in it and has to be replaced, so I won't see it until the middle of next week.

As I've been meeting people (neighbors, movers, random folks), I've had to say that I'm a student, which is weird for me, since I haven't been one in over a decade. It feels especially strange since I haven't yet taken any classes! Note to self: I really need a better, 10-second description of what "interaction design" is. Typically, when people ask me what I'm studying, I'll just say, "Design" and leave it at that. But if they dare ask what type of design, then I either launch into an overly-long description of user interfaces, experience design, interaction with digital tools, yadda yadda yadda until the person's eyes glaze over, or I'll just say, "Computer Design," which is totally inaccurate. Must work on this.

On another note, I'm heartened to hear of CMU grads going on some pretty cool-sounding jobs. First it was Kevin Fox going off to Google, and now Micah Alpern has gotten a job with eBay. Both of them were in the HCI program, not interaction design, however. It would be nice to know what the Design school alumni were up to.

posted at 11:41 PM in preparation | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Saturday, June 14, 2003


This next week, I'll be moving between Glen Ridge and Pittsburgh, with stops in Baltimore. My left eye is nervously twitching at the amount of stress all this is causing. CMU, this had better be worth it! :)

I'm headed to Pittsburgh without even knowing what my financial aid package is or when and how I'm paying for my summer session. More details to work out. Until next week...

posted at 04:15 PM in preparation | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Thursday, June 12, 2003

Details, Details

This post isn't so much about school as it is about preparing for school: uprooting your life for two years, quitting your job, selling your house and a car, saying goodbye to friends, and dealing with all the details you take for granted once they are set up. Insurance, phone lines, DSL, gas and electric, picking up the keys to your new place (on top of finding a new place, which is another HUGE hassle), cable, cleaning out your old place. These last two weeks for Rachael and me have been one long checklist of To Do items that slowly, ever so slowly, get crossed off. Everything has to be done soon, since the movers will be here on Monday to pack up the house. Yikes.

posted at 09:35 AM in preparation | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, June 3, 2003


I had a "First Day of School" nightmare last night, where I was supposed to have written a poem for my first class, but lost it. Gee, think I'm a little anxious about starting?

posted at 12:15 PM in preparation | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Taking the Plunge

I've been reading a lot of the blogs of my soon-to-be classmates and recent CMU alumni, and an entry from Kevin Fox reminded me how difficult it has been for me to return to graduate school. I deferred for a year to be sure of my decision and to get my life in enough order (sell my house, find a new place to live, find a school for my daughter, try to find my wife a job in Pittsburgh) to attend. And even now, less than three weeks from all our belongings being loaded onto a moving truck headed for Western PA, not everything is in place. I can only hope the boost CMU gives to my career is worth all this effort and expense. As moving day gets closer, my feet get colder...

posted at 08:13 PM in alumni, classmates, preparation | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link





All straight lines circle sometime. - The Weakerthans