I graduated from MIT in 2018 in Mathematics. I especially studied abstract algebra, though MIT gave a very good education in all areas of mathematics. My freshman year, I thought I might want to become a professor, but I quickly realized that that wasn’t really in the cards–I wasn’t smart or resilient enough to be a math professor.
After college, I worked as a private tutor. I worked with middle and high school students for a while, tutoring in all school subjects. I later worked with college and post-college students. I worked with several students who had gotten liberal arts degrees and hadn’t done math in n years, who suddenly needed to know math for the GRE.
Tutoring was enjoyable but comes with a rough work schedule. It was also hard and unenjoyable to “be my own boss”–withholding my own taxes, etc. Tutoring did, however, mean I could spend a great deal of time at home with my kids. The kids continue to teach me a lot and “expand my heart” and for that I am grateful. I can only hope I have been as good to them.
When I realized I didn’t want to continue tutoring, I revisited an old love: coding. In the eighth grade, I bought The C Programming Language–the pre-ansi first edition because it was much cheaper on Amazon. C remains the way that programs first come to me, though I know that the C abstract machine isn’t terribly close to how things are actually executed.
I polished up my resume and sent it forth wildly, hoping that someone might bite.
A company called LeafLabs did bite, first asking for a response to a coding challenge. And it was in C! After passing that, a technical interview. And then after passing that, a unique final interview: I was to give a talk on something I had made! The talk ultimately ended up being on a continuation/stackful coroutine library I had written in C and Assembly. They loved it (and I loved giving it), and they hired me in April of 2023.
At MIT, I also had the great privilege of studying Greek and Latin, which remain as hobbyist interests.
On the Easter Vigil of 2016, I converted to Catholicism. This was a mistake in retrospect, but I learned a lot. I never would’ve been exposed to as much philosophy and (rigorous) theology without it. I especially loved the ascetical theology (such as The Sayings of the Desert Fathers) and theology on the more neo-Platonist side of things (my son’s third name is Boethius). But it broke my parents’ hearts (my father is a Southern Baptist minister), and I didn’t ultimately end up sticking with it.
There are many rules and dogmata and aedificii in Catholicism. And some of them seem to align perfectly well with the human being (a rhythm and nature to life, virtue ethics), and others do not seem all that congruent with the lived experience of human nature. So ultimately, I couldn’t handle the cognitive dissonance any longer, and I stopped going to Mass.
I did, however, retain my lifelong love of church music. Nowadays, I attend church at a high-church Episcopalian Church in Boston. I formerly worked as an organist, and still occasionally will for special occasions or when someone needs a substitute.