This really resonated with me, thanks for the great talk!
Kayvon, this discussion made me smile. Thank you so much for showing that you understand the culture here and really care about the well-being of your students.
I might add one thing: there is a lot of pressure, especially at CMU, to find what you are "most interested" or most passionate about. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of people crumble under that pressure because the truth is:
1) There are, pretty much, an infinite number of things you can do.
2) You will only ever try a tiny subset of those things.
3) Things that seem cool and exciting at first will become harder the more you work on it.
It's ok to never find the thing that you would be "most" passionate about. From a pure probability standpoint, the chance of that happening is very small. (Like, maybe I could've been a professional mogul skier, but I never tried.) If you are doing something that you care about and want to contribute to, then you are already on the right track. And actually, you won't even care about it 100% of the time. Every time I see a seg fault I feel the urge to pound expletives into my laptop. But if something you do gives you those really satisfying moments when you're like "OMG I did it!" then it's worth it.