I spent the weekend researching and narrowing my options (there were quite literally around two dozen companies whose projects piqued more than just a mild interest), and now I have a list of eight organizations whose projects are incredibly interesting to me, and whom I believe I have the talent and passions to really give a helping hand this summer (did you see that? I was selling myself, because I really really really want to get one of these positions). The list is as follows:
Obviously, eight is still quite a tall order; when I applied to six organizations two years ago, that took one full day to fill out all the applications (not counting the days of research and communicating with the organizations beforehand). Furthermore, given my current situation – trying to write a master’s thesis by my defense date of April 29 and graduate in May – I don’t have the luxury of being able to spend time gawking at the design and implementation of the GSoC web application.
As I just told my mother over the phone, it’s not that I need to devote less time to GSoC this year, it’s that I need to be even more efficient than before: a quality which will reflect positively on my ability to assist these organizations over the summer (see? another selling point!).
Upshot being, this month is going to be Kickass April. I’m completing my thesis on the imputation of protein subcellular location using sparse factor analysis and matrix completion, submitting (and, hopefully, being accepted) applications for GSoC, and blitzing all the machine learning assignments along the way (the one for Wednesday involves Bayesian inference; the one after that is a Naive Bayes implementation), not to mention being the best possible teaching assistant for computational biology that I can be.
Oh yes, it’s going to be rough; I’m going to get knocked down (and quite often). The theoretical aspects of my thesis are going to throw me for a loop on occasion. Code is going to break. Writer’s blocks will ensue. Machine learning assignments will add an extra layer of responsibility. Students will ask me questions I don’t know how to answer. My thesis advisor will likely have choice words for me from time to time. Some of my GSoC applications will be rejected.
But I have a plan, and while no plan ever completely survives contact with the enemy, it’s the ability to be flexible that makes up the difference. So that half-semester of yoga is going to come in quite handy 😉
I’ve done well up until this point. I see absolutely no reason why, at the most challenging and fascinating point in my waning days as a master’s student, I won’t continue to do the same. This is what graduate school is all about! This is what I’ll be doing as a Ph.D. student this coming fall 😀
*cue Shawshank Redemption theme*
Oh, and I’ll be kind of out of touch for the next handful of weeks. Yeah.