Max R. P. Grossmann

Max R. P. Grossmann

10 Watersheds

Posted: 2022-10-25 · Last updated: 2022-10-25

So far, my life has involved 10 Watersheds.

Watershed 1: 1996

I was born! It's true.

I was pretty little back then. Many people say that the end of the 90s was the best time of their life, and some economic indicators agree, so I tend to go with the mainstream. I remember nothing. Even less than from the period starting at Watershed 8.

Watershed 2: 1999

I started kindergarten. That was a fun time. Good people. However, I mostly remember September 11 (2001). That was a decidedly bad time.

Watershed 3: 2002

I started elementary school. At the beginning, my distinctive appearance made it a little difficult. But I had the great fortune of having nice teachers who put a lot of important knowledge into me. I remember that I failed the cursive class. Do they still teach that?

First experiments with computers, especially with Notepad and PowerPoint. The oldest file that I personally created (and that I still have) was created on December 25, 2002 at 16:52:02. If I recall correctly, my parents gifted me an IBM ThinkPad with monochrome display. I might be mistaken, however.

Watershed 4: 2005

At some point in 2006, I was sent off to the “Gymnasium,” and I don't mean the sporty one. The “Gymnasium” is the highest-order type of middle school that exists in the German system. Great teachers here, too.

I started to develop basic websites using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It's quite curious that my first programming language really appears to have been JavaScript. After reading How JavaScript Works by Douglas Crockford somewhere during the period started by Watershed 9, I have a newfound appreciation for it.

Watershed 5: 2008

Not too much happened here. Lots of school, mostly. And I started to develop more advanced websites using PHP and MySQL. Looking back, it is quite curious that Python never even came up, despite it existing since 1991. It just was not much of a “thing!”

Watershed 6: 2011

I started what Americans would call “high school.” I was never a great student, but at some point in 2012, something just clicked with me. I don't exactly know what. I suddenly started to understand mathematics. Looking back, I attribute it to experimenting with two incredible software tools: Mathomatic and SageMath. I just started creating my own homework … and then I iterated until I could solve it without the software, knowing the answer was right there.

At this point, I became very interested in economic thinking, watching Milton Friedman's old series and reading his books. To this day, I recall some curious individuals he showed in “Free To Choose.”

Lots of trolling, too. But not online.

Watershed 7: 2014

I started “college,” studying geosciences. Yup, that's right! The first year was pretty strange and disorienting. The university system is just so different from the school system. Hence, I failed. Utterly. But I later switched to business administration, and that was a breeze. Met many good people. In mid-2015, got my first job as a Student Research Assistant at the lab where I still work to this day. Overall, a pretty good period.

Watershed 8: 2017

Finished my bachelor's degree, and started a master's degree.

Perhaps the worst period of my life. Serious and horrific health issues that, to an attenuated degree, continue until today. I remember not a lot from this period, especially 2018 and 2019. I vaguely remember that I was in the U.S. for some time and that I submitted my master's thesis. I don't remember barely anything at all from around mid-2018 to mid-2019. Oh, and the last quarter of 2017 is gone, too. It was rainy though. I don't exactly know why my memory is gone, but informed people attribute it to the health issues.

Watershed 9: 2020

Fortunately, I recovered somewhat and found a great job at my alma mater. Just a wonderful opportunity with epic colleagues. I cannot complain. Started my Ph.D. But, also: COVID hit right after my employment started. It's been a ride. From this period, I will mostly recall Zoom and a lot of sitting.

This watershed ended with life-threatening health issues (twice). I'd like to say that I didn't enjoy that part, but for me it was all pretty fun. As a patient, one has a very different perspective. Relatives and friends were pretty serious about it though. I am grateful for the high-quality care I received.

I see space for improvement.

Watershed 10: 2023

Who knows what's going to happen? I know one thing for sure, however: I'll try my very best. I guess we'll see. I hope our shared future will be bright. All the best to you and your family.

The lesson

What did I learn? Very simple. I'm in this for the long haul. And that haul is seriously long. Don't give up. There's a lot of opportunities out there.