Just when you think you know something

January 15th, 2006

..you realize how little it is you know. I'm starting a Master in Software Technology at Utrecht University in about two weeks and I've done some surfing on their website to find out what I should expect and how (if at all possible) to prepare myself.

Good news first, the site says Master students get office space. :cool: That can mean a lot of things, but since that just became known to me today, I'll be hoping for something nice. Next, the group of ST students is small (5 people registered), so it won't be a huge group of people I don't know. Next, Master students work alongside/sometimes with PhD students, postdocs etc, so the learning environment should be inspiring. Furthermore, the subjects offered all seem very interesting.

Bad news? As I looked through the websites of current PhD students (to get an idea of what they accomplished and what it takes to be a "good" Master student), I was in awe. These people have written a thesis I couldn't even understand, but they have also published many reports, some publications, held lots of presentations, written complicated software, in short: not only done a lot of work, done a lot of difficult work. If I try to compare who I am to that, well the gap is astounding. Invincible, seemingly. The thought of me being expected to do that kind of work is (how shall I put it) grossly intimidating. A challenge I wanted and a challenge I'll be getting, but I don't walk into this without a care in the world.

Which is a nice parallell to what I felt when I first started college. Before that, in fact. I didn't know anything about computer science, I wanted to know as much as possible, I kept asking people who were doing it and never was satisfied with the answers, always wanting more details, more everything. Right now I face a similar problem, I realize I don't know much about what I'm getting myself into. What seems apparent, however, is that it will definitely change my life. And it will be difficult and I'm ready for it. Hopefully if I get through this, I will finally feel that I have accomplished something in academia.

For now, I know nothing, let the games begin.

:: random entries in this category ::

4 Responses to "Just when you think you know something"

  1. ash says:

    Good luck then! Maybe once the course is over you'll have done everything those PhD students had.

  2. erik says:

    I could never do that, that's for sure. Good luck!! :strong:

  3. John/Mikhail says:

    Congratulations on getting the course Martin. :party: :cool:

    Don't be intimidated by what's ahead though. I'm five months into my PhD, and I understand things now that seemed really dense just a few months ago. You learn a lot when you're focusing on one subject. You read other people's papers, get a hang of the jargon, get on top of the maths and it gets much easier. Yes, it's difficult at times, but in a year's time, we'll both have published papers the other can't read! :D

  4. Diana says:

    Good luck! You'll probably do just fine I guess. And welcome to the Netherlands I would say ;)