Saturday, November 07, 2015

My Seven-Month Vacation

My Seven-Month Vacation

What would you do if you had all the time in the world? That's the question I'm wrestling with right now. No, I haven't been fired from my job. However, the school won't let me teach this entire second semester and through the summer of next year. Now isn't that a nice problem to have?

How I came upon this enviable position is very strange, and I'll not get into that because the regulations that provoked this situation are byzantine. They have to do with loads and overloads, the unit of measurement for paid work in a university. Apparently I was so productive last year I have to sit it out this semester. The competent must not go unpunished.

A nice problem it is, but it's still a problem of sorts. For the past six years, the rhythm of my life has revolved around my classes. Suddenly that's taken out from under me. For someone who's used to working and who wants to work, it's punishment indeed.

As far as options go, the two most obvious ones are (1) to take on sideline work and (2) travel. And yes, I have lined up something along those lines. Then again, seven months is a long time. What do I do with the rest of it?

That's what I've been mulling over these past couple of weeks. In a way, this has been a good experience, because it's prompted a re-examination of my priorities. After listing down everything that I do want to do, it looks like they all involve studying and writing. I know: such a nerd, right?

Study-wise: I'm currently brushing up on my statistics and probability through an online course on R. After this I'll be doing some machine learning and computer vision. I'll likely enrol in a Mandarin class this semester as well. I hope to squeeze in some Android and game development, too.

Writing-wise: fiction and literature don't have quite the same appeal they used to. Perhaps my brain has rewired as I got older. I'm more inclined to try my hand at writing for academic journals (the unconquered territory). I'm pretty ambitious about this, too: I'm looking for collaborators to co-author articles for computer science, literature, business, and the sciences.

Any other suggestions?