Architecture is the love of my life. She and I have spent years, beautiful years, together. Broadly, I know her every gesture. Openly, she calls to me, arms outstretched, and whispers: you can perfect me. And I know I can. I know I can squeeze 5% more efficiency out of her. I know I can come to know her not only well, but also intimately. I know that we make a time-tested couple. A gorgeous couple.
For the past year, I have been biding my time in the assistive technology lab, waiting for a spot to open up for me in the architecture lab. I was promised that if I hang out for a year, the following year there would be a Ph. D. spot, and funding.
But in the past year, something unexpected happened. I have done significant work towards a Masters degree, and mobilized dozens of people across different sciences --- because I am doing real work. Because I can make a difference, and it is not just about efficiency. It is about people's lives. And what I am doing barely feels like work at all: it just feels right.
Now, that time has come. It is time to make a choice. To both labs, the door is open, and here I am, standing at the crossroads of two engineering fields. This is the identity crisis.
On the one hand, there is the architecture lab. This is the field that I have identified with; that has defined me. I am an architect; I have wanted to be an architect. I teach architecture. On the other hand, there is the assistive technology lab, where I have been working (and which funds me). Can I come to identify with human-computer interaction? Can I become an HCI expert?
Do I give up on my dream, on my true love, to pursue this project that has become more than the sum of its parts?
The answer is obvious.