While I haven't been blogging for a ridiculously long time, one would expect me to at least have mentioned a little bit about what I am doing over the summer. Why wouldn't I write about a pursuit that is taking up almost 30% of my time? For those of you who are bothering where that figure came up, I assumed 50 hours of work in the week which includes random academic, mathematical and economic thought divided by the total amount of hours in a week, so this number is actually a bit off since I do have to sleep sometime, comparable to total income verses disposable income, but I digress. Anywho, why haven't I commented on my research project yet?
My research endeavor has yet to be documented because, well, it's research. The implication behind that statement is that there is a lot that is still unfinished, open, not finite, and overall not composed into one nice neat little package. My partner, Will, and I are both in the CSUMS program in the Mathematics department at RPI, and this program is funded by the National Science Foundation, the NSF. Basically, the NSF and a couple other schools are trying to get kids back to having a hard on for research. Don't get me wrong, there are many aspects of my academic education that get me going, I'm looking at you non-linear optimization and convergence algorithms, but it still remains that research is research. With an industry problem, you have a deadline, a product to finish and manufacture, a client to satisfy so there exists some realistic finite endpoint. The same can be said for research, except that research might not have a global maxima, but you merely settle for a local maxima due to the bounded budget constraints. Your grant ran out; you're done.
Despite all my complaining, don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the work I'm doing. Being my own shared project, the project contains my own ideas shared with Will. It contains our struggles, verification of topics, and therefore is more rewarding to see the dynamics of the movements of the IS-LM model or a hypothesized utility optimization. I think I'm just worried, that after two summers and many semesters of mathematical and economics research, I will wind up trapped in the never-ending circle of research.
For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, my current status is that I have selected my time slot for taking the first Actuarial exam. On Wednesday, August 4th I will arrive to a testing site in Albany to take the first exam on probability. While I've started studying, I need to find time to kick it in to high gear. Having paid $200 on an exam fee to take a 3.5 hour exam kind of scares the heck out of me. It's high school all over again, but for me it means more. I've always had interests in finance and economics, as well as math. As a little kid, I watched the nightly Dow Jones report with my Dad. Finding an industry job to merge the two interests has been more difficult than it should be, and so finding about actuarial work gave me another spark to keep going. It seems like I want to do. It is my slingshot into the "real" world. Therefore, I really really really want to succeed at this first exam since symbolically, I'm psyching myself out, and this will be an indicator of future success.
Growing up sucks.