Giving up on a Second Masters

Erasmo Calzadilla

Photo: Caridad

For onlookers and Erasmologs, I’m continuing the story of my derailed master’s study.

With the courses taken in the other master’s program (in philosophy) that I had quit, I was able to get a job at the Superior Institute of Sciences and Applied Technologies (INSTEC).  As this is where the Faculty of Nuclear Physics is based, it was a prestigious place.  I congratulated myself.

That was a nice time in my life, one in which I made good friends among the students…though others hated me…but let me get back to the issue.

A couple years were enough to confirm what I had already suspected: In this country everything directly related to ideology unfortunately lies polluted.  Moreover, it’s practically impossible to advance along that road within the institutional environment (with all due respect to those who still insist they can).

With such a conclusion under my arm, and despite how much I like mathematics and programming, when INSTEC created a master’s program in bio-informatics I got as excited as a guy with a new girlfriend.

Back then I was still dreaming of becoming a man of science, dedicated to teaching and research.  Wouldn’t that be great?  For a few months I would concentrate my energy on that, but it didn’t take long for the illusion to vanish.

The courses in the new master’s program weren’t to my liking either; I’ll try to summarize the reasons: even the best ones, those of a scientific nature, limited their knowledge to the skillful manipulation of objects.  There was no passion in them, nor illusion, mystery or deep analysis around the matters being investigated.  In short, it was alienated, positivist and utilitarian science devoid of sense.  Did anyone expect anything else?

In harmony with the previous master’s program, on the whole it seemed more like a bureaucratic mechanism aimed at giving out degrees than a serious attempt to prepare master’s students.

To make matters worse, nor did I find an advisor who was interested in the project that I was bent on pursuing.

This involved some virtual marbles that I had programmed; they would “collide” with each other chaotically to end up self-organizing without the need for a head.  Someday I will be justly recognized for such an important discovery for humanity: the virtual demonstration of the non-indispensability of bosses. (Let’s hope it’s not post mortem.)

One afternoon I presented my portfolios and programs at the faculty of physics, but the sole teacher who I was able to attract the slightest bit of attention asked me before hearing me:  “Have you read my articles on entropy in such and such a scientific magazine?”

“Well… no,” I responded.

“Come see me after you’ve read them,” said the poor guy and he disappeared.

The uneasiness was growing and I was only going to my courses from inertia, when suddenly… pow!  They kicked me out of INSTEC!… and it was the perfect excuse to ditch the master’s program.