Finally, the beginning of the end.

Of my master's study group that we formed two years ago, we now have the first graduate among us. I went to her thesis defense this morning. Much like a PhD defense, master students also defend their thesis at my university as part of their graduation ceremony. She did great! Only a month or two and it's my turn.

Over lunch, I caught up with someone I've known since 2006. Never as a friend, always as an acquaintance - imagine a Venn diagram with 'socially inept' and 'mildly annoying' and you can put him in the middle. He went to the same high school as I, but was in a different class. He did the same bachelor's degree as I, but made different friends. And now he's attempting the same master's degree that I am finishing. He even lives in the same block of buildings. Whereas I am almost done after 5,5 years of higher education with two degrees, he was already delayed with his bachelor's and has managed to cobble together less than ten percent of all credits in more than a year. His situation is exactly what I feared when I started my master's. It's a bit like looking into mirror of what I feared when I made the jump two years ago.

On the one hand I pity him, but on the other hand, I think he should know himself better. But then again, it's not like I was super confident two years ago...nor am I confident about what to do next. A PhD position opened up which I am interested in. The professor is nice, the topic is 'public transport data science' (choice models and forecasting mostly) and they got the Amsterdam transit agencies to provide and help with data. So I can seamlessly continue to build my data science expertise in a topic that I like, while continuing to live like I do now (but with a salary instead of student loans). But maaan...four years of full-time is a long ass time. That's until 2022, which seems decades away.

Anyway, this week I finally finished my code. As in, it now includes everything that I want (including the sensitivity analysis) and when run on a 22-core remote beast it only takes a few hours to run all my scripts. What's left is a bit of refactoring and commenting. The output is 30 CSVs, each of them with 158 indicators for 1192 areas, which is what I wanted.

So finally my cool maps and graphs are actually correct! And the best thing is that everything seems to work as expected. My reasoning is sound, my data is sound and my results look sound.

Tomorrow I present these initial findings to a bunch of colleagues at my internship. Next Tuesday my thesis committee gets the same story. Hopefully after that week I can focus on writing the thesis itself and making it look cool.

posted by lm: 22 days ago