My path to grad school


I would be amiss if I wasn’t grateful for all the people who played a role in getting me to where I am today.

To paraphrase Sheldon Cooper -

Because this honor doesn’t just belong to me; I wouldn’t be up here if it weren’t for some very important people in my life. I was under a misapprehension that my accomplishments were mine alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been encouraged, sustained, inspired, and tolerated, by the greatest group of friends/mentors/advisors anyone ever had.

But, I will thank them personally and that is not why I am here. I am here to put down some post 12am thoughts on the realization that just dawned on me. To give you some more context - everything that I have been seeing, after applying for grad school and getting my admits takes me back to the decision for: 1. Going for grad school and 2. Making the right decision. For instance, I was watching Young Sheldon (look at me being a tbbt nerd) where Sheldon has to make the right decision towards joining the right school. He comes up with a scoring algorithm for evaluating which one is the best for him, and is stymied when he realizes that 2 schools (I am not giving any spoliers) are exactly getting the same scores.

When I was deciding between grad schools, I was often told that - there are no wrong choices and I feel I hadn’t truely understood the meaning of it till now. Well, what I have understood now is -

Being happy with your decision is not a consequence of the decision, but rather the acceptance of the decision.

What this means is that as humans we often tend to defend our choices; justify why we made a certain decision. This is not done to convince the other person, but rather to make ourselves feel better about the choices we have made. We only stop doing this once we accept that the choice we made was the best one (or do we ever stop :P).

I have made my choice and honestly I don’t think I need to defend it because I am very (very very) happy with what I have done till now, the decisions I am making and the things I will do in the future.

PS: The decision is UT Austin - I will be pursuing my PhD with the wonderful Prof. Isil Dillig and Prof. Greg Durrett with the amazing folks at the UToPiA and TAUR labs.

Anirudh Khatry
Anirudh Khatry
Research Fellow at Microsoft PROSE

My research interests include Program Synthesis, Formal Verification and Machine Learning.