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An Ugly End to an Academic Career?

February 12th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 12 Comments

UPDATE: Sorry, it seems a number of people are getting the wrong idea from this post. Hehe, oops. So let me explain: I have passed, I will be getting my MScEng in March. “End” of my academic career: refers to the fact that I’m particularly unlikely to do another degree, but I can never be certain. “Ugly”: I have high standards and seriously dislike the quality of work I delivered for my Masters’. If my defence was better prepared and polished, it’d be a beautiful end to a mediocre Masters’. As it stands, the defence was mediocre, just like the thesis. Me under-performing.

Well, it is over. Some pieces of advice, on the odd chance my past self finds some way to read the future, in order to improve my past. Though what difference would that really make to my present? I should rather be hoping to improve my future…

  • Give yourself more than 24 hours to prepare for a thesis defence.
  • Don’t accept contract jobs until your thesis defence is a thing of the past. You will use it as a reason to start preparing too late
  • If you end up with only one day, try to not still be distracted by other things. And don’t panic. It’s bad for productivity.
  • Try to get around to practising your presentation the day before. Doing so for the first time in the morning before a 9am appointment should be considered foolish.
  • Ideally sleep more than three hours (achieved by adhering to the previous advice).
  • Don’t underestimate traffic, don’t pitch at your 9am presentation at the very last minute.

Um, well, yea, I know, this might all seem like “common sense”, but that is generally more rare than the “common” adjective seems to indicate.

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12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Clare // Feb 12, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    When do you hear whether you’ve passed? I hope it’s good news and that they appreciate you work, insight and effort!

  • 2 Hugo // Feb 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks Clare. I’ve passed, I heard it this morning already.

  • 3 Clare // Feb 12, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Congratulations! Time to move on to something else. Possibly sleep and a holiday?

  • 4 Hugo // Feb 12, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks! Sleep sounds good. But first, Darwin Day celebrations tonight, a contract job deadline for tomorrow… ugh… and a number of other important things coming up. Holiday will have to wait.

  • 5 Sweet Chili // Feb 13, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Are you kind of a drama queen Hugo?

  • 6 PienkZuit // Feb 13, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Geluk. Moenie jouself worry hieroor nie. Die punt is min of meer reeds besluit voor jou presentation (die eksaminatore moet voor dit al ‘n vorm invul met die punt wat hulle aanbeveel, al kan hulle dit na die presentation wysig). Ek was nog net ‘n paar keer betrokke, maar die paar keer wat ek wel eksaminator/promotor was, was dit maar die tesis en wat mens van die werk daaruit kon aflei wat die punt bepaal het (ek is natuurlik van mening dat ‘n tesis ‘n swak manier is om ‘n afleiding te maak oor soveel werk). En ek het ook al my views gegee oor hoe inconsistent die hele proses is (veral in daardie departement), hang maar grootliks af van wie jy kry as eksaminatore.

  • 7 Hugo // Feb 13, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Sweet Chili, I really don’t think of myself as a drama queen. It does seem my blogging-persona pulled a bit of that though. Friends that know me personally, and read this blog, and friends that were at the thesis defence, they know what I mean.

    Why do you ask? What impressions are my blog leaving on you?

  • 8 Rinus // Feb 13, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Hugo,

    baie geluk met die suksesvolle afsluit van jou Meesters. Ek weet jy’t waarskynlik nie jou eie standaarde oorskry nie (wie het?), maar ek’t gedink jou voorlegging was deeglik en goed verduidelik. Net jammer ons kon nie jou synthesized calls hoor nie. ;)

    Sterkte vorentoe en geniet jou effense ‘vryheid’!

  • 9 Hugo // Feb 13, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Die USB kabeltjie het twee pluggies: een wat “werk”, die tweede is bloot vir addisionele krag vir USB1. Raak hoekom het my hardeskyf nie gewerk nie?

    Friggen verkeerde pluggie in geprop.

    Ek sê jou mos mens moet meer slaap voor ‘n toespraak. ;-)

  • 10 Hugo // Feb 13, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    En dankie vir die terugvoering. Dis eintlik maar die tweede helfte wat so sleg was. Ek sê dis weens die rush, maar dit was grotendeels ook omdat ek nie regtig daardie deel geoefen het nie. Hehe…

    Maar jy’s reg. Die eerste helfte was inderdaad relatief aanvaarbaar. Nou nie cool animasies gehad oor die multiple-paths-through-an-HMM nie, of animasies van die features deur featurespace… maar c’mon, dit sou net absurd baie moeite gewees het, with zero gain.

  • 11 Sweet Chili // Feb 14, 2008 at 9:40 am

    In this post? Absolutely! And in a couple of other occasions in the previous posts…

  • 12 Hugo // Feb 14, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks Sweet. I’ll see if I can improve on it… Maybe follow fellow bloggers’ advice and completely avoid blogging about myself and my stuff… (and also don’t repeat the wacky mental state I got myself into a couple of times during the previous two and a half months.)

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