Well, I've now submitted my project report, so I'm glad that it's… - John C. Kirk
Sep. 5th, 2003
Well, I've now submitted my project report, so I'm glad that it's over and done with. This hasn't exactly been my finest hour. Without going into a detailed post-mortem, most of the problems can be summed up as "Could've, should've, would've, didn't". Anyway, I was able to hand in something. Unfortunately, it was only in Word, as I started the LaTeX conversion last night, and gave up on it this morning. And the appendices break the rules about being compact, since the guy at Pronta-Print had trouble with two pages per side, and printing on both sides of the paper. And I missed the 4pm deadline - I handed it in at 16:08, so it was stamped as late, and the time was written on it. I don't know what happens next - the university may refuse to mark it, in which case I automatically fail the MSc. Mind you, it may not make a difference, since it really was badly written, and I think it's going to be borderline pass/fail as is. I'll wait and see what happens there. If I do fail it, then that probably means that I won't ever be able to do a PhD (since I'd be relying on my supervisor for a reference). It probably won't look too good on my CV either. The course isn't over yet - I have a presentation on the 16th, and possibly a viva at some point.
Looking on the bright side, it's basically been a good year. And my job at PMSI is safe - they don't care whether I have an MSc or not. Looking ahead, I need to make some life decisions. In the short term (over the next couple of weeks), I'll keep studying. It's about time I learnt how to use LaTeX, so I'll convert my project report over to that format, just for my own benefit. I'll also keep reading the NLP textbooks, so that I can talk about the subject more knowledgeably in the presentation. This is a bit of a grey area - the work is supposed to be frozen now, so they'll mark it (if at all) on what I've done up until now, rather than on any new changes. On the other hand, if I'm now on holiday, presumably the university don't have any objection to me reading textbooks in my spare time.
In the medium term (over the next year or so), I'll go back to my old job, get up to speed on the new programming techniques (e.g. Visual Studio .NET), and get my finances into a healthier state. Meanwhile, I'll be clearing my backlog of administrivia. For instance, I have a two year supply of computer magazines sitting on my floor, so I need to read them, and bin them (well, recycle them) to free up floorspace.
In the longer term, I'm not sure. I've mentioned before that I wouldn't want to stick with commercial programming. Maybe shift back into barwork (something I did a lot of during my undergrad degree). Starting my own small business would be overly ambitious, but I could look at working for one of the chains (e.g. Weatherspoons), then working my way up to a management role. I could then still keep up with computer stuff as a hobby. Anyway, that's not a decision I need to make right away.
Meanwhile, I saw Christmas crackers etc. in the supermarket last night. That just seems absurd to me. I can understand the idea of selling mince pies all year round (since they taste nice), but is anyone really going to buy crackers now, and hold onto them for the next 3 months, rather than just waiting? I rather doubt that they'll sell out in the near future...
On a lighter note, I've volunteered for a brain scan at UCL. They're still looking for extra volunteers, although one of the tests excludes pregnant women, and the other one excludes women of child-bearing age. But hey, science experiment + radioactivity = superpowers! Now I just need to smuggle in a spider with me...
Anyway, I'm now going to relax for the rest of the evening.