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filling the void

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What I Should Have Done

Before I went to college for computer science, I wanted to become a psychologist. Every year from graduating from high-school I would apply to the psychology program. Of course, since this was a very popular program I could never get in because my grades were so low. Finally I went in to computer science, something I've been doing since I was a young child. In the second semester of my first year, we did a couple of months of Human Computer Interaction. Basically applying psychological concepts to the user experience and the interaction between man and machine.
Considering my burning lust for psychology, I thought that I had found the perfect combination; behavioral psychology together with computer science. I was thinking to myself "this is what I want to do with my life".
The problem was that most of the HCI we did was focused on usability studies and user interfaces, which I find incredibly boring (albeit incredibly important). When I graduated and it came time to choose a minor, this turn of events made me chose database technology as my minor, as opposed to HCI.

Now, in my 6th year of university, I'm looking for a thesis topic for my Master's Thesis, and as such, I was roaming the halls in our faculty, reading posters and generally seeing what my school was up to with regards to research. I have to start my thesis in January, so I'm going to try to be prepared.
I started at the 5th (and topmost) floor, reading posters and successively working my way down to the 2nd floor, where the HMI (Human Media Interaction) people are. In the top 3 floors I found what amounts to maybe 1.5 interesting topics to write about. When I got down to the 2nd floor, I got a certain feeling about it. People had open wine bottles in their offices, they were roaming around in more of a hippie kind-of style. It made me think of what the early computer labs in the 60ies and 70ies must have looked like. Reading the posters on the 2nd floor gave me tons of ideas, but since I haven't been specializing in HMI, I doubt that I could go down that road with my thesis.
All in all, the courses I have been taking over the last 2 years have been dull. Some of them have had some interesting parts, but I can say that there haven't been more than maybe 2-3 courses that I have actually enjoyed.
Now, hindsight being what it is, it would be easy for me to conclude that I should have chosen HMI when coming to this university, but since hindsight is just that, there's little I can do about that now.
I chose software engineering hoping that I would do what I love most, write software. However, the amount of software written during this education has been little to none. It's all about the meta level. How to develop methods to develop software, and quite frankly, it bores the hell out of me. I certainly cannot imagine myself as a researcher on the topic.

I just hope that I can actually find a topic for my thesis, and find and advisor willing to help me, because if I don't, and I get stuck with a topic that I'm not interested in, this is going to be a horrible school year.

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