What follows below is a personal update, copied from an email sent to a professor who has encouraged and challenged me over the past two years. I thought it might be of general interest to those who read this blog (more so than my usual fair, anyway), so I’ve posted it here.
I finished both my Econ and History capstone courses this spring. I have one more semester, before I graduate in December. I’m excited for the fall–in addition to (hopefully!) being an ECNS 292 peer leader, I’ll be taking an econometrics class, more computer science, and a math class or two.
As an aside–if I have one regret about my college career to date, it’s that I didn’t take more math as an underclassman. Lower division Econ courses are mostly conceptual, but some upper division courses are very mathematically rigorous. I’m proud of the “B” I earned in Econ 401 last fall–but I might have been able to earn an “A” if I had taken multivariable calculus. And, even if I don’t anticipate ever extensively using math in a future career, solid math skills are essential for doing well on the GRE and GMAT.
I have an internship this summer in Scottsdale, AZ at my brother-in-law’s pain clinic. Though obtained through blatant nepotism, it’s a fantastic opportunity, and I’m thoroughly appreciative. I’ll be managing his clinic’s transition to a new Electronic Medical Record system–which I expect will be an invaluable stepping stone to grad school or a future career.
Speaking of which–after four years of denial–I’ve finally realized that my future is going to be in Information Systems.
I had thought, in high school, that I wanted to go into Information Technology. Unfortunately, my high school exposure to IT was limited primarily to the commoditized (and endlessly dull!) repair-and-maintain side of IT. Exposure to higher level IT tasks (designing systems and solving problems using technology–or Information Systems, broadly) has rekindled my interest.
Reading Mountains Beyond Mountains (a biography of Dr. Paul Farmer, humanitarian extraordinaire, by Tracy Kidder) created in me a sense of guilt for having unrealized potential to positively affect the world. Similarly, reading The World is Flat (by Thomas Friedman) has imbued me with a sense of obligation to excel in a field that makes America–and its economy–stronger and more affluent. I see Information Systems as a field where I can apply my skills to create tangible social value.
My plan has been to graduate in December, and spend the spring applying to grad schools with IS or Management IS programs. Depending on how well things to this summer, however, I may try to directly enter the job market after I graduate. As this point, I’m struggling to put my finger on the skill set or ability required for me to succeed that 1) I don’t already have, and 2) can’t learn on my own, and that 3) grad school would provide me with. I’m eager to continue to build my “human capital,” but I’m beginning to believe that entering the job market (or striking out on my own) might better serve that end than grad school.
I leave for Scottsdale as soon as I finish the packing frenzy that will be my life for the next two days. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family in Laramie and Cheyenne as I drive my newly repaired motorbike to the Sunshine state.