Lindsey Kuper (lindseykuper) wrote,
Lindsey Kuper

Getting organized

I've got two big bags of stuff for Goodwill and one big bag of trash. My stuff for camp is all sorted out, too. Woohoo! Though I think I'll have to cut down on the clothes I'm bringing. It's hard to decide what to bring. I mean, in Austin, you know it's going to be hot almost all the time, but in Evanston it's more of a gamble. I lived in Evanston two summers ago, so you'd think I'd know what to expect, but that was also weird because I had to dress up for work some of the time.

Also, grades are in. My jaw hit the floor when I saw mine. I got straight As. Holy shit! That's never happened before. I'm confused as to why this happened -- I mean, I turned in a lot of homework late -- but I'm not going to ask too many questions.

Also, I would like to point this out.

  • Fourth semester: C in Calculus II (Math 133)
  • Fifth semester: B- in Linear Algebra (Math 215)
  • Sixth semester: B in Combinatorics (Math 218)
  • Seventh semester: B+ in Algorithms (CS 301)
  • Eighth semester: A in Automata, Formal Languages, and Computational Complexity (Math/CS 341)

I was terrible in Calc II. I just scraped by. I know some of you first- and second-years are like me. Like me, someone has probably told you to give up on it. Don't listen to them! They don't know what they're talking about. Don't give up on it!

I knew this before, but my grades pretty much cement it: I want to study theoretical computer science in grad school. I'm leaning strongly toward U of Chicago. Why? Well, first of all, their Theory Group is very strong. Second, my CS adviser and my Automata prof, both of whom rock my socks, went there (and my music adviser went there for his undergrad math degree!), and they all liked it, plus I think their recommendation letters will have more clout at their alma mater. Third, I love Chicago and want to live there. Fourth, I've looked at the requirements and at what they're researching and it sounds feasible. No, not just feasible; it sounds really, really good.

But mostly, I just have a hunch about it, and I've had it for a long time, the same way I had a hunch about Grinnell. See, I'm kind of weird. I tend to make small decisions, like what to have for dinner, by carefully weighing the options, but big decisions, like where to go to college, based on gut feelings. My Briggs-Myers type flip-flops between INTJ and INFJ, because I'm pegged as either Thinking or Feeling, depending on the "big" or "small" nature of the particular test's questions.

When I got to Grinnell, I was astonished to discover that some of my classmates had chosen Grinnell after carefully comparing the student-teacher ratios, international student percentages, campus sizes, and food palatability of various schools. I had done no such thing. I didn't have a clue where Grinnell stood on all those things compared to other schools, although I thought it was probably pretty good. I had a gut feeling about Grinnell, I'd had it for years, and that was the only thing that mattered. I applied to a couple other places, mostly to appease my parents, but I knew I was going to Grinnell.

Likewise, it's kind of strange now to see my friends making long lists of grad schools and comparing their every characteristic. It makes me uncomfortable, and I wonder if that's what I ought to be doing, too. But then I remember that that's their way of making decisions, not mine, and they probably picked out their undergrad school that way, too, whereas I used my method, and my method worked great for me. And now my method is telling me that the U of C is it.

I can't stop thinking about it. In fact, I've had an app half filled out for months. I just have to take that damn GRE and write that damn application essay. I also don't know if I'm capable of getting in. I mean, the Theory people are really smart. Really, really fucking smart. I guess I'll just have to try.

Tags: grad school

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