When Education Leaves a Void

For the first time in my life, my to-do list is empty. My inbox has zero emails (or it did this morning). In my budgeting app I’ve categorized all my recent transactions (and scrutinized them an unhealthy amount). I’ve been to the dentist, optometrist, and doctor for any necessary annual check-ups.

Until this year, I had an endless supply of externally-imposed goals. Between work and school, almost 100% of my productive time was spent working on requirements dictated by other people.

In December I graduated from ASU. After graduation I no longer had professors telling me what assignments to do or what topics to study. I no longer had my familiar to-do calendar which showed me the exact due dates.

I realized that I had to tell myself what to do now. And the first time I realized this, it felt very scary.

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Debugging a Human

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, so I can’t guarantee that anything I say about medical practices is accurate.)

Recently while watching an episode of House M.D., I realized how similar differential diagnosis is to software debugging.

Like any good doctor, the fictional Dr. House first seeks to verify the cause of a patient’s ailment before prescribing treatment. House is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, master of observing the mundane details that give clues about what condition a person may have.

This art of observation is not limited to the present. Talking to a person and understanding their medical history is as important as performing tests and taking vital signs. Medical testing can give important insight into the current state of a person, but often it is what happened prior that allows a doctor to determine how a patient should be treated.

If I walk into the ER with a bite on my arm, the doctor is going to ask what happened. I could have been bitten by a dog, poisonous insect, or rabid squirrel, and all cases would need different (and potentially life-saving) treatments. Sure, they could clean up my arm and prescribe antibiotics, but there are too many potential causes to treat them all simultaneously.

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Anti-Welcome

This is the post in which I don’t welcome you to my new blog.

I don’t say “Welcome Friends!” (more like “Welcome Strangers”).

I don’t say “I’ll be blogging about my passions x, y, and z” because I don’t even know what true passions I have yet to discover, much less what I’ll have to say about them.

I don’t say “Leave a comment about what you want me to blog about” since either (1) nobody will comment, or (2) the comments will be about topics I don’t even want to write about.

I don’t say “Check back next week for another post!”, since for all I know, it will be a year before I post again.

(By the way, If I wanted to make a goal of blogging, stating that here would make it more difficult to accomplish.)

Nearly every website I’ve made (including mine and ones for others) has launched with a blog and a “welcome to the new site” post with the promise of great things to come. My off-hand estimate would be that at least 50% of these sites never had a post beyond the initial welcome.

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