So I've finally decided that I'm 4 rEaLz about this computer science thing!
I've gotten in touch with some Grinnell profs and some other friends for advice and recommendations. In fact, I, uh, sort of sent them a 1,200-word email -- and that was the short version. (I left out most of the whining, and almost all of the existential crisis! After all, LiveJournal has to be good for something.) I'm registered to take the GRE in November, I'm making a list of Ph.D. programs to apply to for next fall, and if everything goes as planned, I might finish by, oh, 2013 or so.
Some of my interests are a little weird, even among CS people. It took a long time for me to figure that out, though, because when I first learned about this stuff, I couldn't conceive of someone not being interested in recursive function theory, or computability, or formal methods, because for fuck's sake, what else is there?! Um. *shuffles feet* But I'm...past that now...yeah...mostly.
I'm interested in studying these things, not because I care about making sure the Mars Rover's flash card doesn't overflow, but because studying them satisfies an intellectual curiosity I have. From time to time, it occurs to me that maybe these aren't really my interests -- that I just think that they are because they happened to be the topics that the best books were about and that the best teachers were teaching while I was at Grinnell. And, who knows, maybe at some point I'll discover that I really ought to be doing graphics or architecture or networking or compilers or operating systems or data mining or embedded systems or any of a hundred other things, all of which it's probably easier to actually make money doing. But it's not like this is about money. I'm going to say that again, because it's important and I'm really tired of people thinking the opposite: I am not interested in computer science for the money, and it is offensive for someone to tacitly assume that I couldn't actually enjoy these things, like, oops, I forgot to hate and fear math!
For me, what it's about is scratching a mental itch. In a nutshell, that's why I want to do this -- so I can scratch that itch long and hard. It's going to be totally sweet.