Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Universe and The Mind

When I got to college, I thought that my professors would hand me the keys to the universe. I expected them to be able to definitively answer my questions. I thought that we knew so much more than we do. In my opinion, we have not advanced very far beyond the ancient Greeks in terms of what we know about our universe, at least not as far as I think we should have in the expanse of time since then.

Since I graduated, I have continued to seek the answers to my questions. One question, which I believe that many of us share, has to do with why we are here. The closest thing to a definitive answer that I have found for that question is that we are the manifestation of the universe's attempt to understand itself. Consider the following image:

While I am not at all suggesting that our universe fits neatly among many others within the brain of some random organism in an alternate universe somewhere, I do think that it is interesting to contemplate the similarities.

The more I learn, the more questions I have. Is our universe just an illusion? Could it be a hologram of some sort? Is it all just information? These questions seem to fit more readily within the realm of metaphysics rather than astrophysics. That's one of the interesting things about my experience. I always seem to be teetering on the edge, between the physical and the metaphysical, and between the universe and the mind. It is an interesting vantage point from which to contemplate our existence and I am looking forward to seeing where my search will lead me in future.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Making the Best of the Detour

The one thing that I have done for myself, while taking care of my mother, is to work toward a master's degree in educational psychology. While my bachelor's degree is in astronomy and I intend to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics, I chose this particular master's program because I want to be the best teacher that I can be as a future university professor.

Looking back, I can remember sitting in an undergraduate physics course in a large lecture hall observing my professor and thinking that he looked as though he clearly would rather be doing his research instead of teaching the mass of students in that space. It was at that moment that I realized that I did not want to be like him in that regard. While I do want to do research and write, I also enjoy teaching. I want to be the best that I can be at all three. So, before heading off to work on my Ph.D. in astrophysics, I decided to go for this master's degree in education.

There was another motivation for choosing this program in learning, cognition, and development, though. In addition to being the best teacher that I can be, I also want to be a better student. It is really important to me to not only be able to effectively deliver content to my students as an instructor, but also to be able to share with them what I have learned along the way as a fellow student. In addition to showing them what we know about the universe, I want to show them how they can maximize their academic performance and guide them in the direction of their dreams. In other words, I want to be for them the professor that I needed when I was where they are.

I was once told that one of the keys to happiness is to have a flexible path with regard to reaching for your goals. The lesson here is that when something like family responsibilities takes you on a detour, no matter how long, you can still keep heading in the same general direction. The important thing to remember is to keep taking steps in that direction every day. Persistence will get you there, no matter what the obstacles are. You just have to figure out how to go around them, or as in my case, through them.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Longest Detour

As you may have noticed, it has been a long time since I have written here. Since my father passed away, I have been serving as a full-time family caregiver for my mother. She has a constellation of health problems, the most challenging of which is vascular dementia. Since her diagnosis, she has continued to decline, though the process has been very slow. I have put my entire life on hold to take care of her, but I still cling to the hope of someday being able to return to my career path and fulfill my destiny. Until then, I will remain by her side. She gave me life. This is the least I can do for her.