In the third and final year of my degree I must complete a project. Because my degree is robotics, I can choose between a computer science (CS) project and a cybernetics (cyb) project. The process for selecting a project starts with the university producing a list of suitable projects proposed by members of staff. In my case there are two lists, one for CS projects and one for cyb projects. Students pick three projects they would like to do, and the projects are essentially allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis (hence the need to pick backup projects). Each student will do one project, though some projects will have multiple students working on them. My preference has been toward the CS, because I know my strengths lie in programming and understanding the theory behind computing, rather than in making physical things and understanding the physics behind electronics.
In the light of this, I decided to look at the list of CS project proposals before the cyb proposals. It turns out that picking a project is actually very difficult. Many of the projects are very dull, which I think is a good feature to avoid in a project which lasts for a year. The interesting ones are inordinately difficult, and in some cases I literally have no ideas how I could begin the project, let alone how I could complete it (a requirement for getting my degree).
I have always been aware that this project is a tremendous opportunity to try something which I could do for a living, in order to find out whether or not I am capable of doing it and whether or not I enjoy it. I suppose in my mind there has always been a subconscious idea of a fairytale project which I would be brilliant at and would love doing, and would result in me showing an interviewer the fruits of my labour, thereby convincing them to hire me on the spot to continue the same wonderfully fulfilling work. That idea is now definitely dispelled. Choosing a project is proving to be difficult enough, and even if I do find the perfect project I have a sneaking suspicion that finding a job that allows me to use the same skills will be nigh impossible. Thinking about the project has led to me think about my long term future, and the need to find paid employment in the not-too-distant future, and this has in turn led to the realisation that I cannot think of any job related to my degree that I would actually enjoy.
This sounds incredibly pessimistic, and I suppose it is, but I don’t want people to worry that I’m about to get hideously depressed about it. I’m convinced God will provide an appropriate occupation for me, but it’s not easy to see what it will be. I trust God for my future, as I have done for several years, but now I’m much less blasé about it. I have faith God will guide and protect me, but the ridiculous notion of my professional life being given to me on a silver platter is, I’m happy to say, gone. I know the Christian life is difficult, and I’m glad that God has shown me yet another way in which He may call me to suffer doubt and rely more than usual on His gracious providence.
Returning to my original topic and to something approaching positivity, some of the projects were actually quite interesting and of perfectly feasible difficulty. Ironically, given my degree is robotics, none of them involved robots anywhere. Most involved no hardware beyond a normal common or garden computer. I haven’t looked at the cyb projects yet, so I’m not diving into a decisions at the moment, but I do need to pick a project soon (the formal selection process is on the 3rd of June so I need at least three ideas by then). Praise God for His grace in reminding me that I need to bring all my decisions to Him in prayer, and need to wait and listen for His guiding and comforting voice to speak.