Hi everyone, tonight, I am here in front of a laptop to finish up  to you my latest post: THE MHCI post mortem. I hope, you, the reader can peek what into what has been my world and experience for the past 8 months - It’s an adventure for you and me . I am also very pleased to let you know this will be a multimedia piece! Illustrative doodles accompany major points of this presentat—, post. /end higher-pitched professional voice mode.
I do admit, I didn’t have any particular expectations when I decided to do this. The logic was straight-forward: for just an extra 3 months and 18k , I can walk out of CMU with a highly regarded masters degree in a field which I am passionate about. No brainer, right?
Long story short, there weren’t much of any expectations. And looking ahead, longer story short, I was blown out of the water.
This isn’t to say CMU hasn’t been working me into the ground every previous semester, but there was something particular about the people who surrounded me… I pin this back to our project’s secondary research, this thing called social normative pressure.
Social normative pressure is an interesting thing. I believe I worked as hard as I did, doing extra for the sake of learning because I felt behind. My peers were experienced, wise, mature, more ambitious than I. This drove me to sleepless nights and inane meal schedules, er, more than my usual ones! I looked outwards more than ever, adding new feeds and applications to scrutinized to my repitriore. I changed up my styling in class a bunch. I somehow built up to the point where I could marathon an assignment for 15 hours straight (new record).
Even despite all this, I still have room to improve, tons of room. But I think of it as a healthy obsession. Well, healthy for my ambition and early 20s at least.
Roller Coaster Summer Beginnings
Summer was an interesting experience, to say the least.  Skimping on some personal details, my first time going out of the country for the CHI 2011 conference without family changed a set of my core internal values, much to my surprise. Usually, I don’t waver on such things. I previously touched upon why this may have happened .
Stepping out into a completely zone with an open mind did wonders. It seems to have further accelerated my desire to do something with my life which also did a big part in propagating a serious decision.
After I stiffened up from the drama, things ramped up quickly. At some point, I couldn’t remember what I was doing the week before because there was much to micro and backburn at any given time. Nonetheless, we finished strong and came out with a gorgeous result. Very pleased.
A quick insight on this, direction, or lack of thereof. There a fine balance between constraints and freedom which needs to cooperate in order for a great result to emerge. Another thing I thank this experience for is the ability to evaluate situations better to find these parameters.. and the ability to say “No.”
Never has an academic program made me so happy to be capable of great things and cry so much over small things, but there you go, if you gave me the choice again. I’d say, I do it again. I came out loving almost everything about the whole experience.  
Footnotes by the Foot
 I actually flushed out the contents a day after finishing. Today is the new class’s orientation in which reminded me, perhaps, I should finish up writing this post. Then was reminded a second time by a friend who is now in my old project room!
 But perhaps largely me. Hah! No one reads these things right?
 I accomplished this via a loophole made possible by being an overachiever who enabled herself to graduate a semester early.
 So insecure and unsure: What should I do with my life? (September 2010).
 The day I received the acceptance email: Yay, grad school! (November 2010).
 Read: boys.
 Ripe for Disruption I was (July 2011).
 Apply and you can have the time of your life too. I am a good walking advertisement. I should be paid for this. I convinced a few at home to consider. Magic!
 At some point, this post swelled and became hard to finish. Forgive the lack of polish in details, I figured I should just push it out the door. < Sounds like a start-up or side project.