Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's vacation time!

Yes! I am finally done with school for now. And we have two weeks for vacation. You'd think we would chill out, and relax for a while, but that's not how we do it in the Villalta's. Instead, We are going on a road trip to Washington D.C.!

You might ask yourself, why? And the answer is: "just because". We always wanted to go there, that's all. We want to see all the museums, the monuments, the marine barracks (ok, the last one was my idea), the library of congress, experience some cool weather, and get away from it all. We are going to take tons of pictures and it should be good times.

School Blues

I am doing my best to deal with the fact that I am not doing that well in school. What sucks the most is that I am doing the best I can, is not that I am procrastinating, or that I don't find the material interesting. Au contraire, I studied my ass off, and yet, I think I failed my last class. I don't know for sure yet, but there's a high probability.

That hurts, it stings, it burns, it sucks, I can't explain it. There's a part of me that likes a good challenge, but I know that I am losing, so I don't know whether to pull out, or keep trying. Maybe I am a bit over my head here, but I didn't think so.

So here's the full story, I am by trade a Computer Engineer, which means that I am hybrid, half Electrical Engineering, half Computer Science, we're supposed to be EEs that can write code.

Now, when I got admitted to UF. I was accepted to both the CISE and the ECE departments. I had to choose between a Computer Science and an Electrical Engineering Masters. I chose the latter. Even though I work as a Software Engineer, I want to get the background for Digital Signal Processing, because I work with Radio Technology. So I thought, that I'd be in good shape with a MS from the ECE department.

Last Spring I began with an Operating System class from CISE. I thought it would be an easy A. But there were so many assignments, and the tests were tough, Martha complained to me that we were not spending any time together, and overall it was a humbling experience. I expected to do much better, but I ended up with a B.

So my next class, Foundations of Digital Signal Processing, was supposed to be better, I supposed that if there are no programming assignments, How hard could it be? Just to make sure, I called the advisors to ask if there were any prereqs, and they all said no. So, I dove in.

Boy, was I wrong. The DSP class had some math that I didn't have, I tried in advance to study convolutions and transforms, but I was rusty on the complex plane, and I had no idea what they were talking about when they brought up stuff from Matrix Theory and Linear Algebra. In retrospect, those things would have been easy to learn, and I could have done much better if I tried to do more problems, but I concentrated in knowing the theory, which I think I have a good grasp. But I got a C+ in that class. Which means Motorola won't reimburse me. (credit card company: $$CA-CHING!)
What makes things worse for me, is that for everyone else in that class, it was an easy course. I justified it by noting that I do have a full time job, and a full family to look after. But still, I wasn't happy about getting a C.

So, enter the fall, and with it, a course that's supposed to be hard, in the first line of the Syllabus, the prereq was "strong mathematical skill" the name of the course, "Noise in Linear Systems" a math intensive class that involved Probability, Statistic, Calculus, Matrices and Linear System Theory. I had taken two classes that covered Probability, but I just could not hang. I mean, I would come home from work, help out around the house, and then sit down to study everyday working day until 11:30 PM the earliest, sometimes I'd stay up until 2:30 AM. During the weekends, I would do at least half a day with my family, and the rest of the time I would be studying. The whole month of December was spent studying for the final. And yet, I think I have been defeated, I know I could get a C for all my effort, but I C doesn't cut it in Grad school, I need a B average to graduate, and I don't know if they are going to put me in some kind of probation or something. Not to mention the fact that I won't get reimbursed for the cost of tuition.

Ever since I was in high school, I had never made some much effort towards a goal and failed like this. It's a humbling experience, I now know, that I am not as clever as I thought. That my math skills are lacking, and that I need to know when to cut my losses.

On a side note, when I was in high school, I was in the baseball team, I was never that good, even after trying and trying, I realized that I would never be good enough to play in college. So I quit. After that, I've never quit anything I wanted to do again.

However, if I get another C or below after the next class I am taking, (Digital Communication) I am quiting, I might switch from ECE to CISE, but I just might quit altogether. I am tired of getting my ass kicked in these test. I am tired of spending all that time studying and not reaping the rewards. However, I am not sorry I took these classes. I loved the material I learned, I think I understand the material as good as anyone else. Maybe I am deluding myself on that one. But I do like the material, In fact, I think the mathematics behind Information Theory and Signal Processing, is nothing short of beautiful. It's amazing how it all works. I loved it when I had those "aha" moments, when things come together and they MAKE SENSE.

However, failing it's too expensive. But in the other hand, I really don't want to leave school until I have a Master's degree. At the end I know that I will get a Master's degree. It's just that right now, I am down, I will come back strong after the break. I better get that A.

Things to do Today

There's a lot of stuff we have to do today, because we have a big day tomorrow. Right now Martha is in bed, she's feeling a bit sick from yesterday's Christmas party. Gaby and Anthony are watching the movie Cars downstairs, and I finally got a minute or two to sit down and write down a sample of what goes through my head everyday.

Blogging the trip

I don't want to make a promise I can't keep, but I think it would be a blast if I blog our trip. Hopefully, it will work out that way.

Ok Folks that's all for now, I needed to get that rant off my chest, I feel better now. Take Care, be good to each other.


No comments: