Michael's Education

Amazon In this section I'll be talking about my education background.

In a nutshell I went to Gunn High School for high school, University of California - Santa Barbara for college and graduate school.

I finished graduate school at the tender age of 22.
High School
9/1996: Gunn High School

Gunn High School is located in Palo Alto, California, which is one of the most upscale communities in California.

For some reason I don't care much for my high school life. Although I excelled academically I did not have much social life and therefore not much to think back on or reflect on.

School workload at high school is quite heavy compared to college. We had school full day every single day. Many students are involved in all kinds of extracurricular activities such as social clubs, sports, community service, and academic research.

Anyway, in my junior year I applied to several universities and one of them that accepted me was University of California, Santa Barbara. I decided to go there.
From 9/2000 to 12/2003: University of California, Santa Barbara

My first year was spent in dorm. It was quite nice. It's got pool tables, TV, and other entertainment facilities on the first floor, and the dining commons were just several steps away.

After my first year I moved out into a town house with my brother and sister, and life changed because I was responsible for all kinds of things, including house chores, cooking, paying bills, and so on.

I was a computer science major and I enjoyed most of the classes I took. To my surprise I was doing extremely well academically, getting Dean's Honors each and every quarter. I graduated with Class Honors and Highest Honors. I have a great passion for computer software and hardware and I believe computer science is the sole major that's right for me.

As you can see I graduated early and took some time off to visit my relatives and friends. I also took a trip to China, a long standing 'strategic' neighbor of Taiwan. For so many years I have pondered the future relations between China and other nations, particularly Taiwan.

I went to China because I believe it is getting stronger and more recognized worldwide. Maybe someday it will rise to be the head of the world.
Graduate School - Master
From 9/2004 to 6/2005: University of California, Santa Barbara

So it came time to apply to graduate schools. I needed to take the infamous GRE exam, which I studied and prepared for during a summer.

I registered for the exam, found out the closest test center, used Yahoo! Maps to find out how to get there, and finally drove there and took the exam.

I don't know why, but GRE has this rule that at the end of the exam you choose to whether take the score or dump it. If you decide to take it, it will be on your GRE record for 5 years and you get to see your score immediately. If you choose to dump it it will not be on your GRE record but you don't get to see your score at all. It's like gambling, right?

The fact that they don't allow you to make your decision AFTER you see your score is a perplexing and puzzling one. Anyhow due to intensive preparations I managed to pull top 93% in verbal and 100% in math. Not bad huh?

To me life is analogous to a series of gambles and every single decision you make could yield totally different outcome. The more you mature, the higher your ante and the better your skills.

I decided to take UCSB's graduate program in computer science. UCSB has an eminent faculty in a broad range of research fields. My academic interests include distributed system, parallel computing, database management system, and so on.
From ?/???? to ?/????: University of Never-never Land

Haha...hm...should I continue and go for a PhD? What do you guys think? A PhD sounds rocking in the academia but does it rock in the real world?

I mean I heard many say that most companies frown upon a PhD because a high degree equals high salary and usually they don't need employees with a PhD degree.

A friend of mine was doing PhD but he found it too tiring and spirit degrading that he walked away with an M.S. Now he's working at a great software company with great compensation.

So should I go for a PhD? It breaks down to this figurative scale:

Downside: time consuming, energy consuming, money consuming, spirit consuming, basically everything consuming

Upside: I may or may not get a PhD; even if I do get a PhD I may or may not get a job soon; even if I do get a job soon it may or may not be a great job; even if I do get a great job it may or may not be better than the one I would've gotten with an M.S. Even if it is better than the one I would've gotten with an M.S., well.. so what?

Life is full of surprises. My future could be better off or worse off regardless of the degree I have anyway. I just want to get out of school ASAP so I can start working and set the WORLD on FIRE!

Depending on the situation I may come back to school, but I doubt.
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