CMU, I DO know what to do with you

More on my CMU drama now that it is actually resolved. I hope. Thanks to those I’ve talked to over the past few days that have expressed their condolences (and just plain dismay at what’s been going on).

So, after I almost had a nervous breakdown when they postponed the Information Security and Networking program until an undetermined date, I talked to the West Campus admissions folks, including the head of the Software Engineering program, and figured out what options I had left. Luckily, my acceptance to the SE program was still good back from last December (I can hardly believe it has been this long) and I was even eligible to go into the new Software Development and Management program, although for Fall 2005 (this program didn’t exist when I originally applied in Fall 2003). I will admit that even though I’m anxious to start my Masters program, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go into either one of these programs. At face value, software development/engineering programs are not exactly interchangeable with a program in information security and networking and like I said earlier, that’s a lot of time and money to waste on something I don’t necessarily want. But after speaking to the department and getting more information on the program, I realized that it might not be exactly what I wanted, but I can still make it what I want and need. The skill focus is a little different and the topic is a little broader, but I can certainly tailor my studies to focus on the desired areas, including my interest in information security and privacy as well as my desire to develop more management skills. And the folks in charge of the program were very helpful, encouraging me to start the program and letting me know that they would be happy to help me tailor the program to my needs.

As I’ve said before to others, after working for a university for a few years, I am more than aware that there is very little relationship between internal university operations and academic excellence. As prestigious as Stanford is, you’d be surprised how decentralized and disorganized we are when it comes to regular operations (although I will acknowledge that the undergraduate admissions process is very streamlined and conducted very well). Simply scheduling a classroom is a bureaucratic drama. So, even with the entire admissions ordeal, my confidence in CMU’s academic strength was still there. And after speaking to the folks I did at the West Campus, their helpfulness and willingness to come to the best solution as simply and quickly as possible was really what sold me. They were very understanding of my frustration, clearly expressed why attending the SE program would be beneficial to both CMU and myself, and that because of that, they were willing to be flexible and come up with the best solution for both policies. And now, I’m excited to start the program and feel like not only will I have a good experience and learn a lot, I am welcome to the program and that my contribution will be valued.

So, it looks like the drama has been resolved. I’m filling out the final paperwork, ordering books for the new semester, setting up my computer, and more. Finally!