Go with a smile!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Big Decision Time

OK, all results are out. I’m not in my 1st choice school, not in my 2nd choice school. I have to think about the University of Mexico. So I’ve got to make a decision soon. So I do what most people do: ask my friends for advice. And this is a controversial issue, very controversial.

Choice A:
I continue what I am doing, which is a part time master’s at a local uni. Academically, it’s almost as good as Mexico. I keep my job, but grow more white hair as a result of a hectic lifestyle. I think about where to go after this degree. Of course I am psychologically reluctant to take this course because of all the work I put into paving the way for choice B.

Choice B:
I go to the University of Mexico, have a nice time in Mexico. I lose a job for 1-2 years. But I get access to a new life, new friends. School fees are not cheap, in US$ terms, same as Snowy Hill 10 years ago. It has increased due to inflation, so even though Mexico is supposed to be cheaper, over the 10 years, the tuition has “caught up” with Snowy Hill’s level of 10 years ago. In S$, of course, there is a big discount due to the exchange rates. This option is also attractive to me because I love giving people surprises.

Anyway it’s very interesting because people always have different kinds of advice for me.

Person A: (knows something about the field of study)
What the hell? Do academics? Why don’t you just go into music instead? (he’s got a good point). But then again, I don't see you working here for very long.

Person B: (Studied in the field of study)
Go, just go! what's a hole in your pocket when you're going to be married to her forever?
can you hold your head up in society with an ugly wife? i say dig deep and pay for the trophy wife!
Going to Mexico can help you get a good job in the US. (Yes but do I want one?)

Person C: (Did a PhD in the field of study)
Both options are shitty deals. Why don’t you go for a PhD which is free? (nb: I need to talk to person C again because 6 months ago he told me to try out a master’s first if I wasn’t sure to go for a PhD.)

Person D: (Studied in the field of study but not involved in it right now. Is loaded.)
Do you want to change your life? Why worry about the money when you can go for a new adventure? Don’t you want to explore what life is like outside of your current circle?

Person E: (Working in that field of study)
Well whether you are going to do a master’s or a PhD, the thing is, you are eventually going to do his shit work unless you have a very good idea what you’re going to do for yourself. You have to know very well what you’re getting yourself into.

Person F: (Is an asst prof in that field of study)
I applied to University of Mexico but eventually I went to University of Cornfield because it looked like a better school. Also I didn’t find what I was looking for in Mexico. Yes, employers in the US and also in Singapore will look more kindly upon a foreign degree than a Singaporean one. (Sad but true). I lecture in a Singaporean University and I’m surprised that they don’t hire people who did their PhDs in Singapore.

Person G: (My sister, and a main reason why my choices are all in a certain region.)
Take a year off and see how it feels. (Well there are 3 semesters a year in the quarter system and I’ll try and figure out if I can cram everything into 5 quarters.) Try to think of what you really want to do next.

Person H: (Doing a postdoc in University of Mexico)
Housing is really expensive here. But Mexico is a good place for grad studies. (In the US, Mexico is usually rated between 10th and 20th for my field).

Person I: (A scientist)
The more you think about it, the more confused you will get. If you want to go just go. But you have to remember, you are not young anymore, and age will count against you in academia.

Well I’m kicking myself now. I didn’t give myself that much of a choice because I restricted my choices to a certain region in the USA. I didn’t apply to anywhere in Europe. If I got the big 2 I would not have hesitated, I would have gone. Mexico – is it really that much better than Singapore that I would drop everything and leave?

Anyway I’m superstitious. When Spain won the world cup, I was glad that there was a first time winner, because means 4 years of luck for me. And if Arsenal wins the league this year, this is a sign that things are going to change for me. Yes, big changes took place in my life, in 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002 and 2004. 2004 not so much but…



Blogger Nat said...

There are as many opinions as there are people. I suppose you can find a J, K etc... To add to my opinion, change is always great, it should not be constrained by consequences. It should be driven by interests and for a lack of a better term, 'passion'.

Given you applied to 'Mexico' it is not a bad shot to start with. It might be a good idea to be some place where you can expect some interesting leads to pursue when you graduate. And 'Mexico' has plenty...

9:31 PM

Blogger 7-8 said...

Hi person A!

Yes, that was precisely the point of my post. It struck me that I saw so many different viewpoints.

All these viewpoints don't point to answers for me. They only lead me to the important questions to ask. And the one that you just raised is probably really really important. You call it "passion". But what it really means is, "Can you slug it out?"

10:02 PM

Blogger 7-8 said...

OK, probably shouldn't be so superstitious. Man U, who were 2 down when I wrote this blog post, have won. I should make my decision based on factors other than Arsenal winning the league.

10:03 PM

Blogger Nat said...

Change the sport. Australia took the Cricket world cup 3 times in a row, things got predictable, but this year India has made a big upset ;)

9:57 AM


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