Friday, July 15, 2005

My Two-Year Plan

Yesterday, I finally met the famous geekette Sacha Chua and her boyfriend Dominique Cimafranca (both are on my blogroll). Sacha is going to study in Canada for two years, and she gracefully invited me to her second-sort-of-leaving party (which was actually a birthday party for her friend Ranulf Goss, founder of the brand new company Slycesoft; cool guy). I wanted to chat with Sacha, knowing that she wanted the guests to tell her about their plans for the next two years, but I was just too nervous. I felt something like the geek version of being starstruck, and I think I might have come off as a bit of an idiot. I ended up spending most of the party playing cards with Dominique and some other guys.

Anyway, since I was unable to talk to her about my own two-year plan, I might as well do it now, right here in front of my PC, where there's little chance of me stuttering and blanking out. Here it goes:

1. Before I graduate from college, I want to be able to create a program that's actually useful and worthy of distribution. Nothing fancy; a simple utility would do. Heck, I'd be happy if I could add a useful modification to an open-source application. Right now I lack the skills and the ideas, but I hope to stop procastinating sometime soon and finally take my programming seriously. This I'm finding particularly hard to do, since all my programming classes up to now have been rather lacking in depth, giving me no choice but to study on my own...which just isn't fair. But I know I've got to learn, even if I have to do it on my own. First, I plan to brush up on my C++ knowledge (it should be easier after C++0x comes out), and then move on to C#. XUL also looks like a good thing to learn. The thing is, I want to make sure I won't end up like so many other Computer Science graduates in the Philippines who disappear into obscurity doing system maintenance work that even a high school student could do, or spending each day in call-centers being insulted by computer illiterates, or teaching a new generation how to become mediocre "IT professionals" like themselves. I want to leave a mark, and now (i.e. the next two years) is the time to start.

2. I don't want to spend all my adult life working for the computer industry. Believe it or not, I also dream of writing novels some time in the future. I'm thinking I'd do detective fiction, and maybe some sci-fi. Now, I'll be the first to admit that my writing style is, to say it bluntly, very dull, and that my story-telling ability is comparable to that of a typical weather reporter. (I apologize...that last part is offensive in more ways than one.) But I want to improve. So as part of my two-year plan, I want to write a reasonably-lengthy short story. I haven't thought of a specific plot yet. Or rather, I've thought of so many plots, and I don't even know which ones are good and which ones are plain crap, much less which one to choose. But I'll do it, and I'm going to submit it to various places for review. I'm not expecting to be good on my first try, but I want to know if I can actually keep readers' attention for more than a few paragraphs.

3. Here's something a little more specific. I'd like to read the whole Catechism of the Catholic Church. It's been a long time since I last read a non-fiction book from cover to cover (the last one was my 4th year high school Physics textbook). And what's more worthy of such thorough study than the most comprehensive exposition of my religion's teachings? For one thing, it'll help me improve my performance in religious debates. My hobby of Catholic apologetics has been experiencing a temporary hiatus because I've been feeling so embarassed of my own theological ignorance. I am grateful for being able to read the works of so many great defenders of the Faith, and I've learned lots, but being completely sure about what I have to believe would be so much better. Maybe after the CCC, I could try reading other things like papal encyclicals and documents from the Ecumenical Councils. The point is that if I know what The Faith *really* is in its entirety, then I'll be able to defend it better against the great majority of anti-Catholics who haven't got the slightest clue about what they are opposing.

Well, I don't want the list to be too long, so I'll end here. These are the goals that, if I fail to achieve them in two years, I'll be really disappointed with myself. Let's just see what happens in two years.