Make it Work for Yourself
There are many things you might not like about your degree: your courses, your homework or projects, but there are still ways in which you can make your degree a fascinating experience for yourself. Some tips I found very useful for myself are:
(1) If you have elective courses, take the choice seriously! Do your research, think about your options wisely and really take the chance to pick things you’re very interested in. In my last year, I took courses on Deep Learning, which also turned out to be the hardest I could possibly take… Despite the challenge, this made my last year extremely interesting and kept me excited about what I was learning.
(2) Use your coursework to explore your interests. You can look at your degree as this “transaction” you need to do to put in your CV and get a job, or you can see it as an opportunity to do the things you’re passionate about within the framework of what they’re asking you in your university. For example, when I got an internship opportunity at Adobe Research I decided to propose a research project on dance and technology, which combined both of my passions – I thought they’re going fire me without even having started for proposing this instead of following the projects they had proposed. But guess what?! It worked! I loved working on this project and got the chance to get advice, mentorship and guidance by amazing researchers from the company in the field of computer graphics and computer vision. Then, I talked to the director of my programme at University so I could work on this project in collaboration with Adobe for my master thesis. Again, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. But it did! I spent my whole final year continuing the work on the dance & tech project with Adobe. I also had an entrepreneurship course, which was 100% coursework based. I decided to do the entrepreneurship project on the scenario of building a company based on the technology I was developing with Adobe Research for my thesis.
“Don’t complain about the things you don’t like, change them!”
With these decisions, one after the other, my degree turned into an opportunity to create and do work I really wanted to be doing. Don’t complain about the things you don’t like, change them! See what you can tweak within your environment to make it work for yourself: maybe is the schedule of your courses so you can practice swimming, soccer, hoola-hoop, or whatever makes you happy (in my case it was dancing); maybe it’s your coursework topic, some optional courses or your thesis theme. Find your way to go out-of-the-box within the box of the current university system.
“Find your way to go out-of-the-box within the box of your current system.”
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for your time and attention! I’m glad you’ve found something that resonates or that might be helpful for your journey. You can read the last section of the ‘What I Learned From Uni‘ series here: ‘WIFU#4 – Enjoy the Process’.