I did some research today.
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The more I look at it, the nicer Rhode Island School of Design looks to me. I've looked at their grad school stuff, while the Industrial Design department isn't huge, the faculty are very high-powered, the program is internationally recognized. Yeah, it's kick ass. It's near my Uncle (non-zero chance I might be living with him as he has a basement he rents out and he's not too far from RISD) it's actually affordable because I could TA the undergrad classes in both math and in design (engineering design, BWAHAHAHAHA). My ASME stuff will probably get me out of the first 1/2 a year they require for this degree.
Anyways, I got a promise from my mom that I could visit grad schools next summer for sure. She also said the AWA trip tacked on would be cool, but funding my hotel and con expenses would be my own problem. Which suits me fine, I'm good at that.
In other news I had a hopeful breakthrough on my ASME thing. I know this doesn't fascinate others the same way it does for me but I really am happy about it.
You see the competition I am in is basically the NCAAA Championships of Engineering. Except its World Champion, not just National Champion.
There's $3,000 prize money for my team. $1,000 for my school's ASME chapter if we win. It's a big deal. I also get another plaque (already won one at districts). Winning that competition is a permanent resume thing.
So yeah. That's why I'm excited about it. I think its justified to be excited about.