After Graduation

A lot of people have asked me what I’m doing after graduation. Actually, you could say that’s the hot new question—or the new “nice weather, huh?”. It’s just what you ask people who are graduating.

I don’t know.

But I have an idea. During the semester I’ve been super-busy, or at least felt like it, and I’m not good at planning ahead in general. So I haven’t really done anything yet about this summer, or next year, or Life.

But I did decide that I want to go to Japan. Not as a tourist—I’ve done that—but to actually live there for a few months. Originally I wanted to get an internship or something, but it turns out internships just aren’t that common in Japan. Especially for foreigners who probably aren’t going to stay with the company. Fortunately, one of my friends gave me the suggestion to find a volunteer organization instead. I don’t know if any exist, but now it seems like a much better solution all around. Volunteer organizations are usually looking for people more often, and I’d be doing something that wasn’t the same as my actual work. And something that’s good for society, to boot.

Another friend also pointed out that it takes a few months just to get used to living in a new place; I might want to stay longer. So I shouldn’t rule things out that might be a whole year, despite concerns like how much fruit costs in Japan.

Then the tsunami, and Fukushima. People’s reactions to this have been mixed: either this is a good time to go, cause they’ll need volunteers, or it’s a horrible time to go, cause I’m going to get radiation poisoning and be sick for the rest of my life. My personal opinion: Japan’s about the size of California; I don’t have to be in Fukushima-ken. But if I do end up in the northern part of Japan, well, fine. Hopefully I’ll be doing something that’s worth it, and although things are pretty bad I don’t think…I don’t know. I guess I don’t have a great self-preservation instinct.

Still, I decided recently that if nothing works out in Japan, I’d try elsewhere in East Asia. Again, I haven’t looked into it yet (that’ll be when I get home).

Beyond that, I’m planning to go into industry. I’d love to work for a small company that writes desktop software and cares about design (ideally Mac software), but I may have to compromise on one of these things. (Still, to some extent I already do that.) There’s also a wildcard chance I’ll decide to work on a compiler / programming languages project instead. We’ll see (since, like I said, I’m not going into industry just yet.)

Why not grad school? Well, I’m not great at rigor, and I’m only occasionally interested in theory. I’ve certainly missed a lot of things that could be interesting, but other things I just have no interest in. Like I’ve said for a while, I’m more of a programmer and software developer than I am a researcher or computer scientist.

I’m not ruling it out for forever, but not for a few years, at the very least!

And right now? I’m actually still in finals week. I have a project and presentation to do tomorrow, late exams to proctor on Thursday, a final on Friday, and grading for 61A through Saturday. I graduate the same day as my mom (though she has a second ceremony the next weekend).

We have our apartment through the end of June, which is kind of an “oops” for us because I think we’ll all be gone by then. But none of us managed to make an effort during the semester to try to get out earlier. So I’ll be taking my time moving out of Berkeley.

So I’ll be in Cupertino for a while, Planning My Future and all that. I’m guessing nothing happens in the span of a week, or a month, even, so I have a pretty good chance of being in Cupertino to see at least some of my quarter-system friends when they get out. I’m sorry to my friends who are staying in Berkeley: if all goes well, I’ll be out of the country for Summer of Rice, not to mention the next few TR shows. Guess I can’t have everything.

Still, what I’m looking forward to is Time: time to sleep, time to play Portal 2, time to work on personal projects (another mashup?), and time to write more blog posts.