My current list of unrealistic goals - Part Uno

Its 11 PM on a Tuesday night. I've been on a 2 week Netflix binge, procrastinating and avoiding finishing Naminator. Its been a long time since I've posted on this blog. So, why not write down the things I'd like to achieve, so I can either a) laugh at my self doubt if I achieve them, b) cry about my worthlessness if I fail miserably, c) a combination of both.

I won't even entertain the possibility that I could read this blog in the future without having an emotional reaction of some kind. Anyway, here goes:

1- Educational

I have this completely irrational desire to want to go to MIT. It seems like such a bad idea. I've never done well with structure and routines in my life. I don't really do well with stress. I have raging ADHD. So why would I want to go to college to a place which seems like it has a crazy high workload, and where even a little procrastination would mean I'd probably fail all my classes?

Its not logical or rational, or practical. But when I read their blog, I feel this weird sense of belonging. It seems like a place full of people just as strange as me. Everyone seems to have that attitude of not caring about societal expectations, and following their crazy passions / ideas regardless of what other people would say.

For example - look at Zork. Its a text based game written by MIT students from the mid-1970s. What possesses someone to create an elaborate text based game in the 1970s? They weren't getting paid for this. A text based game would've hardly helped their resume / job prospects - especially considering they used an obscure programming language called More Datatypes than Lisp to code it (instead of Cobol or Fortran which were the primary business languages of the day). And they were all studying Maths / Computer Science / Electrical engineering. Yet, they spent months / years building a text based computer video game, which grew on to be super popular.

For something like this to happen, I think you need a few unique abilities to all be present in the same person:

  • Creativity / Imagination
  • A sense of disregard for societal expectations (what kind of mathematicians spend a year writing text based games for free?)
  • Passion / obsession for your field.

It seems like all the MIT projects I've come across, are a result of these qualities.  Off the top of my head:  A girl coded a bot to analyze tweets to locate potential medical epidemics (e.g, if a lot of people in a city are saying they have flu, it could become an epidemic), the self car driving startup Cruise (created by an MIT alumni), Khan Academy, Segment, etc.

All of these were started by people with that unique combination of creativity, passion, and out of the box thinking. I would say a sense of disregard for societal expectations was a part of them too - e.g Salman Khan quit his well paying job to start making Maths videos on Youtube.

Anyway, I just feel like I would really fit into a place like that.

The second reason why I really want to go there - they have a combined degree for Molecular Biology and Computer Science.  I can't express how amazing and exciting that is to me.

Imagine writing computer programs to analyze proteins, writing programs to tinker with DNA and observing the results (in simulations) to see if diseases could be cured. I might be completely wrong about this - but I think that, a computer can run through hundreds of thousands of possibilities in an hour. Imagine applying that power to biology - may be we've only scratched the very surface of what could be possible.

Another example - Naminator is a project I'm working on, which tries to generate new, unique business names which sound good and pronounceable. For each word you enter, it finds thousands of possibilities, scores them, and shows you the ones it thinks are the best. To do all that work by hand would take years.

Imagine bringing that kind of power to biology - taking a gene and analyzing thousands of changes that could be made to it, to get the desired effect.

That seems incredibly exciting - I think I could spend my whole life on this without being bored - and that's saying a lot for someone with ADHD.

Of course, this is all just wishful thinking. I have an incredibly, tiny, minuscule chance of getting in - <= 2%. There are way better candidates than me - people without ADHD, who didn't drop out and basically wasted their 20s due to unmedicated ADHD, who didn't fail Maths 3 times in year 10, etc. Who have achieved way more than me at way younger ages.

But still, I'd still like to make a serious go at it. When I'm 50, I don't want to regret not trying.

Plan

I'd like to get top scores in the following SATs:

  • SAT Maths (the regular one)
  • Maths Level 2 Subject Test
  • Physics Subject Test
  • Chemistry Subject Test
  • Biology Subject Test

Lets be real - its going to take me, probably at least another 2 years to achieve this. Since I'm also working at the same time. I'll be 32 by then, and my already rapidly graying hair will probably be fully white by then.

Would I still want this in 2 years? Probably. But right now, I'm really interested in studying these subjects anyway - I do love all of these topics and want to learn more about them. Plus I think the skills would be transferable to my work as a programmer.

Anyway - this has gotten pretty long - good thing no one is probably ever going to read my ramblings. I have other unrealistic goals too - so its better to make this a series and make a separate post for each area, e.g career, fitness, etc. May be even romance? Say hello to unrealistic expectations times 10000.

Hey, this was strangely therapeutic. May be I should write more often.

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