So as a quick update for the site, I fixed a lot of the icons to use newer svg versions, and updated some other behind the scenes things. The biggest change was the project page. Instead of trying to manually populate it by hand I’m having it generate the data from a preset set of repositories using the GitHub API. This makes it easier for me to manage and to keep things up to date… for now. At some point I intend to rework the entire site to be better built from the ground up and possibly building a small CMS or even just using a database to make these things easier. These news posts are done through wordpress’ PHP API. While this works and all, wordpress is quite the bloated piece of software and I’m not sure I want to use it as a CMS for the entire site. Perhaps that will be the next step after the GitHub API but before the rebuild. I guess only time will tell.
The site will be undergoing some maintenance soon as I have finally decided to update it and make it more useful with more information. There will also be an online version of my resume with more information. The projects section will see a complete overhaul with more projects added in. The writing and music sections should see the same. Ideally I will no longer be using WordPress for those, but time will tell as I will only be doing one module at a time. Changes should start within the next month.
Just a quick update but my life has been pretty crazy. Got 4th place in upstate NY table tennis at the collegiate level, so that was pretty cool, and my Master’s degree is chugging along. I have regionals coming up for table tennis and a few deadlines for research as well. I’ve been working on writing some stories related to a game called Katawa Shoujo and have started my own VN.
Life is busy…
Tomorrow I graduate from Clarkson University as a the top student in Computer Engineering, and I am absolutely petrified. Scared of what the future holds for me. Now this is not an existential crisis for once, but more about me not being sure if I will be able to accomplish my goals. This is worrisome for all undergrads as they take the stage and get their diplomas, but for me it’s a little bit more; I’m not even certain what my goals are anymore. Somehow, when I was younger, this was a much easier topic to tackle. I had my life “figured out” multiple times when I was younger. But it always came back to two things: 1. Being a theoretical physicist and 2. Being an engineer at IBM research. To some people these may seem very different in the sense that the fields aren’t related, but other people may know how much physics is involved in engineering. Regardless of what similarities or differences people see in this, there was something I saw personally that really hit home; I wanted to do something that could change the world.
Coming to a realization about careers is usually helpful right? Well this is… well it’s not what you could call a good direction to go in. It’s way too broad a direction for me to try and travel. That’s like being told that the coffee shop is ‘over there’ without the person pointing or even nodding, not a whole lot of new information is brought in. Anyways back to my situation. Knowing I wanted to do something that could change the world was very vague because there’s a million and one ways to change the world. So I tried to add more to that from my two recurring life plans. I ended up with a little more info:
- I should be in the field of Science & Technology
- I should find a subfield in need of a breakthrough
- I should do something I love
Now I’ll admit it’s not really that much more information. As I said before I’m a Computer Engineer, so I can check number 1 off. My subfield is still young with plenty of potential everywhere, check. But number 3, that’s the one that gets me. That’s the one that’s truly holding me back from having those goals. Because I don’t know what I want to do, I don’t know what I want to achieve.
Getting to this point I know a lot of people would easily be able to answer what they love in their field. But for me, nearly every topic I have touched on in my studies and my professional experience I have found joy in. Sure some were more enjoyable than others, but obviously none really jumped out at me or you wouldn’t be reading this.
I would like to tell you that I was able to figure out what I really love in my field and what I wanna do. But the truth is, I don’t, I might not know for awhile. It seems I’ll have to explore that for myself after I have my diploma in hand. For tonight though, I will be scared. I’m allowed to be.
This is something that has been on my mind as of late, and really reflects part of the human experience and the versatility of the human spirit.
The darkest of days and times;
it is then that we find out who we truly are
A singularity is not always enough;
chain reactions push us to the edge
The dark days can beget themselves;
seeing ourselves, horrified by the reflection
The cyclical conundrum goes on;
we change ourselves and break the cycle
Those days can always be seen in the past;
knowing that now we are better off
Quick update, I was able to grab any post in the “Site News” category and have it automatically posted on the front page of ZackRauen.com. Awesome right? Yeah I agree. Anyways, the site should keep progressing along smoothly! Also the blog itself did not have a link back to the main site, so that should be fixed soon as well. Lastly for those that are observant
The site should be going through some major changes here soon. Hopefully within the next couple of months. The IA on the main page has been updated and all I need to do now is to implement everything that I had planned.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here but I decided that it was necessary. Now that I’m going into the fall 2015 semester I am seriously considering dropping my 5th class and trying to take a somewhat easy semester. The class is Computer Algorithms. I was using it mainly for my math minor but also because I was partially interested. But now, having been in the class it seems like a lot of work and too much math to actually be relevant to what I will be doing as an engineer.
Either way, I also have been tossing around the idea of graduating early and doing a 6 month stint somewhere, maybe even back at IBM. Then probably grad school somewhere, we shall see. I’ll also be posting about my experience at IBM.
Having typed this short post, getting rid of that one class would give me more time to work on my personal projects (such as this blog and the main website) as well as professional projects (like my web software pieces). It would also open up more time for my senior design. The only thing would be, what do I then use for my math minor? I guess we shall see in the coming days.
So far this semester has been going pretty well for me. Grades-wise that is. This is how my first round of midterms has gone:
- Advanced Digital Design – 97.5
- Visual Design – 97
- Computer Networks – 92.5
- Signal Processing – 91
- Microelectronics – 89
- Programming – ??
I have ?? in place of the grade for my programming class because the teacher, for the past 3 weeks, has been “meaning” to make the midterm and give it to us. I’m not sure that will ever even happen. As it stands, there is only one grade in that class, a simple homework assignment on which I received a perfect score. I don’t think I can even, in good conscious, call it a class. The students, and myself, have not really learned anything new from him, he just keeps repeating himself about things we learned in previous classes.
It has honestly been pretty stressful with the workload supplied by my professors. It doesn’t help that I go above and beyond on not only the projects in my required classes but also by taking extra classes. However I have found solace in the fact that I get to play volleyball 3 times a week, although I do wish I played much more often than that. I also only get to play table tennis once a week which barely keeps me in practice to play properly since getting my new paddle.
To me, it seems I don’t get the amount of time I want to just sit back and relax and do nothing. The only time I get to even watch netflix is when I quickly grab dinner to-go with my roommate. Not that I should be just lazing around all the time, but I already spend a good chunk of my free time doing solo projects in order to boost my abilities and my resume because that’s something employers like to see.
All in all, the semester is going well for me academically, I just need to find a new way to destress.
It’s one of those crazy phenomenons about human nature that some people don’t seem to observe. We, as humans, strive to show our independence and individuality from one another; we value our uniqueness. And yet, it seems that we cannot truly live that way. It’s almost necessary for us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. The most basic example is a community or group of friends. We need other humans that we can relate to and express ourselves to.
Everyone seems to want to have someone there for them while preserving their sense of singularity. I find this to be a curious happening. If I had to explain this a bit more, I would say that the sense of community is animalistic because of their being herd, packs and such of animals. I think that the desire to have individuality is much more human, though it’s likely that other sentient beings in the universe could be like this. What is truly human though is the desire to have both. It could just be due to the fact that we are a young species or something else.
Either way this still connects back to my theory about the true needs of humanity. The most basic of which is balance. There is almost nothing that cannot be connected back to balance in the world. Think about a game, a diet, or even a full lifestyle. All these things work well in balance. The same can be said for this phenomenon. It seems the best way to live your life is to balance these two things out. Have your sense of individuality but use that and share that to build the community around you. It can really shake things up, but for the better.
And now for my personal input. Personally, I don’t like the vulnerability of opening up. I also don’t like the feeling that I need to vent to people to live my life because I try to strive myself on being able to be independent. But the big kicker is that humans need one another. And since I’ve realized this. Things have become much easier because I no longer see it as a weakness. I see it as a part of who I am. As you should know, if you don’t take care of the parts, it could fail as a whole.