No I’m not getting my molars plated with 22-carat gold.

In September 2016, Microsoft announced a new Professional Data Science Degree Program for those who aspire to become a Data Scientist. The program consisted of 9 courses with a special inaugural offer on the Introduction to Data Science course for $25 instead of $49. All other courses except one cost $49, while the one exception cost $99.

Had everything gone as I had hoped, I’d spend about $450-$500 including all taxes and stuff, irrespective of whether I’d get that degree or not.

A few weeks before I enrolled on that program, I had enrolled myself in IGNOU’s Bachelor of Arts programme for the sake of it. Not that I wasn’t interested, I was. And, it was part of a larger plan for my future career course. Yet, in India IT brings money and I had to survive here for a few years more. I can ride on my C++ knowledge only for a couple more years, after which I’d be that professor of a college who teaches Sanskrit, but there’s no student to study. At least, my experience of application programming in C++ on Windows platform would be worth nothing in 3-5 years.

So, I had to plan something that could sustain me longer. Having been interested a lot in data, I thought this degree program could serve my needs if I dedicate some real hours and mind to it. “$500 would be about INR 30,000, manageable” I thought.

After enrolling myself, I completed 2 of the 4 modules in the course, but got busy with the IGNOU stuff and then with friends’ wedding photography shoots. The wedding itself happened in November and I kept assuring myself that I can complete the remaining by year-end. It was compulsory to complete all the modules by then and apply for a certificate on the new year’s eve. For us engineers 11th hour is the most crucial hour, that’s when we study for our exams.

And when December came by, one of my wisdom teeth started having problems. It was decaying and was causing an infection. The dentist said he has to remove it. And when I got it removed, the wisdom tooth above it had to be removed as a precautionary measure so that it doesn’t hurt my gums in the future. That was one painful surgery. It lasted 10 minutes with about 7 anaesthetic injections into my gums. It opened up my sinuses even before the surgery was complete. I was choking on phlegm collected in my sinuses for the next two hours.

I spent the next 48 hours banging on the wall as the pain wouldn’t let me sit, stand or sleep. The 72 hours after that would be spent in figuring out how to eat with the tail-side of a spoon because I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough to eat from the spoon the way other humans do. The sinusitis resulted in a sever chest congestion and I spent the next few weeks recovering from it even as I tried catching up with pending work at office. The degree program was archived.

It’s August 2017 now and I’m giving the program another shot. I have to do it at any cost to secure my future for the mid-term given that my long term dream of getting a degree in Arts is kinda collapsing. The results of one of the five exams I gave for B.A. degree are out and my score is nowhere near to what I expected. 43/100!! Ugh! My conservative estimations would give me a score of 65, but the IGNOU assessors won’t. During my engineering days, if I’d claim I’ll get x marks, I’d get x+/-5 marks. There were only two instances in 4 years of engineering where my estimates went kaput. Now, it looks like all my estimates for B.A. will go down the drain. On stranger tides!!?

So, the introductory prices of the Data Science program no longer exists and the program will now cost me $1000!!!!! That’s close to 60-65k in INR. I can fill 5 months worth of EMI that I pay against my car loan!

I gained nothing out of any of this. Even the bicycle that I had bought 3 years back and which I had started using regularly last year around September’s time, found itself abandoned once again thanks to my teeth. So, I lost about 2k on the bicycle, about 5 days of vacation, INR 7000 for removing my teeth and associated expenses and $500 for the course. Above all, I’ve lost one half of my wisdom!!

Shit happens, indeed!