Finally Hitting My Stride

One of the strangest things for me has been getting my bachelor’s degree in physics. Honestly, over the last few years, I have been terrified of the things that come with being a physics major. I just hated the things that were involved with being a physics major, from research to talking with others about science. It was really eating at me how much others seemed to exceed beyond me.

Well, fortunately for me, I finally hit my stride this year.

I’m not sure why, but I decided shortly after getting back from my mission that I was going to take the easier (in my mind) path required to graduate. I thought I would just do a dumb project one summer, keep contact with other professors at a minimum, just take the list of required classes, and then just graduate. It sounded perfect in my head because I just wanted to get out of there.

Over the summer, I finally realized that I needed to get over that degrading feeling and start making connections. It was time for me to put myself out there and give things an honest shot beyond just taking classes. So in a fury, I sent out a gigantic email to every single acoustics professor in the physics program. I have always liked how sound works, I thought that it would be interesting to study sound, so I put myself out there.

I got quite a few replies saying that they were busy because I happened to send the email out during a gigantic acoustics conference. Nevertheless, one professor emailed me back saying she’d love to meet with me. So, I agreed to meet with her to see what I would be tasked with doing.

We met the next week, and she immediately put me to work. I was astounded because I was expecting her to just say “maybe we’ll consider you when the semester started” or “sorry, but I don’t think this will work with your timetable.” Instead, I began researching beamforming, a complicated process to find equivalent acoustic sources (yeah, maybe I’ll explain that another time).

I spent weeks on the project after inheriting research-grade code. I spent two months debugging the code to finally get it to work. It was exhilarating a few months later when it actually worked. I’m getting some decent results now, and I will be presenting on my findings later at the Acoustical Society of America’s special data processing session.

On top of this new research that I love to do, I also decided to take a data processing class in acoustics. It’s amazing how many things that I’ve learned in that class. I feel like I am useful to others, like people appreciate the knowledge that I didn’t know I had. I was blown away by how wonderful things were getting.

Now, since it is the end of the semester, I’ve been contemplating on some of the things that have happened over the last few months. I realized that I finally have found my people, I have found what I like to do. Physics isn’t scary anymore, because I’m making progress and contributing to a larger community. I’ve hit my stride.

I even think that I might want to go into becoming a professor at some point. That’s still very much in the air right now, but it’s a real possibility. I’m not afraid of myself anymore, and I’m not afraid of my future. I’ll be applying for graduate school in the coming weeks, and I can’t wait to see where I’m going from there.

Therefore, what?

If I could travel back in time, I’d tell myself a very simple set of truths. There is a plan for me, one that is so real and amazing that I still don’t understand it. There’s no reason to be afraid of your future because you are building it. Keep the faith and continue pressing forward with the hope of the future.

You know, I really like writing, and I think that I should do more of it. I write constantly on my other website, NintenCity, but that’s about how much I love Nintendo. Maybe I’ll just have to write more about my life and see where that takes me.

With many llamas, David.

David Van Komen Written by:

I am just an abnormal normal guy that loves the Internet, physics, and lots of other great and wonderful things. Though I don't seem it, I enjoy writing about whatever interests me.

One Comment

  1. Becky
    December 13, 2017

    I just love this, David. You are so insightful and so ready to take on the world! Love you tons!

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