End of an era

Today was a special day. A day so special I celebrated it in the ultimate way possible – by doing nothing but reading mindless posts on reddit. Ask me why. It marks an end of my graduate life as a student. No no Im not graduating yet, but now have turned into a full time researcher. To cut the story short, I’m done with classes !!!

It feels weird to think classes are done. From our earliest memories, a major chunk of our life has been in a classroom. Kindergarten, oh wait pre-school, school that lasts a good twelve fantastic years save for the last four, college and for me graduate school. It’s been twenty one years of classroom style education. It has it’s pros and cons but that remains an integral part of our lives so far. From the bench scribblers to the back bench rowdys or the front bench nerds, a class defined people and tagged them for life. To think that I won’t be sitting in a class , waiting for it to end by scanning my watch and wondering if a second was actually this slow, to mugging for exams and pulling all nighters over old papers and cheat sheets feels a little bad. But hey, I couldn’t actually wait for them to get over this time because frankly, I cannot be twenty four and still do homework!!!

That brings me to another milestone. The yet-another-birthday-ruined-by-exam-saga has finally ended.
Exams, ruining my birthdays since 1990. Adios.

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End of an era

Today was a special day. A day so special I celebrated it in the ultimate way possible – by doing nothing but reading mindless posts on reddit. Ask me why. It marks an end of my graduate life as a student. No no Im not graduating yet, but now have turned into a full time researcher. To cut the story short, I’m done with classes !!!

It feels weird to think classes are done. From our earliest memories, a major chunk of our life has been in a classroom. Kindergarten, oh wait pre-school, school that lasts a good twelve fantastic years save for the last four, college and for me graduate school. It’s been twenty one years of classroom style education. It has it’s pros and cons but that remains an integral part of our lives so far. From the bench scribbling to the back bench rowdys or the front bench nerds, a class defined people and tagged them for life. To think that I won’t be sitting in a class , waiting for it to end by scanning my watch and wondering if a second was actually this slow, to mugging for exams and pulling all nighters over old papers and cheat sheets feels a little bad. But hey, I couldn’t actually wait for them to get over this time because frankly, I cannot be twenty four and still do homework!!!

That brings me to another milestone. The yet-another-birthday-ruined-by-exam-saga has finally ended.
Exams, ruining my birthdays since 1990. Adios.

Room-mate woes

Disclaimer 1: All of this may seem to be greek and latin to most boys.

Disclaimer 2: This is not for those who have found their perfect, dream room-mate and can’t imagine living without them.

Perhaps one of the most common topics of discussion between any two graduate students over a cup of coffee or lunch is the always-hated, never-forgiven, repeatedly-cursed entity – the room-mate. I am one of the unfortunate ones who didnt quite hit it off with her, right from the word go. The issues seem endless and the irritability is always on the rise. For someone who claimed to have no issues living in with anybody, this experience definitely changed all that.

Maybe it is because I was spoilt rotten with a single room all through college life or maybe now that I’m a little more grown up and responsible, the idea of finding half of your room in a complete mess doesnt go down well at all. Right from finding half cut lemons in your coffee mug when you have less than 3 minutes to leave or finding all your spoons stuck up vertically down the sink drain when you want to eat something, irritating room-mates can give you an experience of a lifetime and test your patience no end and I’ve had my share of trouble for a lifetime. Seriously.

I can say with confidence that I had the ill-luck of living with the dirtiest possible girl you could find on planet earth. This statement again might contradict the assumption that all girls are clean. Though my hostel experience did teach me that, the fact that this dirt now existed in my room became unbearable. Clothes strewn all over, earrings lying all over the carpet, hair covering the sink, all dirty pots and pans lying on the kitchen table, masala stains everywhere! EWW!! Everyday after happily tripping over her collection of shoes all over the living room floor, I was always welcomed by this beautiful sight. More I told her to clean up, the more mom-like I began to feel. Maybe she even thinks that I’m a nag of the highest order but that’s besides the point. We barely tolerate each other’s presence, forget cooking or eating together. So you might ask, why am I still with her? The answer my friend, lies in one single document – the lease.

So as my parallel hunt for subleasing continues and I battle with the woes of living in inhospitable conditions, I secretly long for my CH-3 369 which was my second home away from home for 3 best years of my life. Though I’m confident that I will find my dream apartment in the coming months and settle down to blissful and clean evenings, this one experience is enough to tarnish my confidence about sharing my living space with anybody.

All those who’ve found happiness and a great friend in your room-mate, consider yourself to be in the league of the extraordinarily lucky and I’m very envious of all of you.

PS: I did finally pass those exams I wrote about earlier. Praise God!

When rains lost their charm

For a person who loved and longed for rains all the time, this post must be a shocker. No, I am not bored of it yet but a lot of factors have made it lose its initial charm. The best part for me always was – unpredictability.

I loved spotting grey clouds all of a sudden, having those surprising unseasonal showers every now and then, but here all that is gone. The weather works like a keyed toy, rains are predicted even weeks in advance and it rains promptly when it is predicted. It becomes cloudy as per the clock, rains as it is supposed to and then stops. You can take umbrellas to work even when it is sunny outside and be confident that at 4 pm, it will start to pour.

I hate the fact that it is freezing when it rains. Now devoid of the comforts of a car or even the pleasure of not attending classes as and when I want to, it is horrible to walk in frozen water. Your sweaters get moist, your feet freeze in sneakers and you cant even wear your new uggs to office. It is impossible to even hold your umbrellas with your gloves on since they get soaked. Bah.

I never thought I would ever have the slightest resentment towards rains but now everytime I see the clouds on my weatherbug desktop, I go like, “Argh! Not again!”.

M Back !!

Okay..herez a quick recap of my life in the time from diwali to 14 days post new-year.

Umm..where was I..oh yeah..Diwali. Life was pretty much non-existent after that. I had a math test..then another midterm…n then another. Every thursday called for two-three submissions and so did a monday and friday. Had another midterm…studied like mad for it in November…the paper was graded out of ten marks…got assigned a project..hunted for a paper to model…found one…did the MATLAB coding..ran the codes…got stuck..spent sleepless nights trying to make it work…did some jugaad made it work…made the poster..printed it…celebrated that day…ogled at it as if it was Monalisa…gave the poster presentation…got good marks…had finals in three days…didnt sleep after that…gave the finals..almost slept in one exam…finished the finals…my birthday was the next day…had to pack my room for the pest control clean-up…got an amazing birthday surprise at 12 am..partied till 3…slept till lunch..went out to california pizza kitchen for lunch…ate awesome greek pizza…decided to watch 2012 last minute…turned out to be the worst movie ever…shifted out my stuff in pouring rain…slept…left to New Jersey…cut a surprise cake there…played with my baby boy…enjoyed with sister…went out last minute shopping…got an amazing gift…saw two movies…got my grades…was relieved…came back…started studying for qualifiers….just studied everyday…didnt step out of the house for 3 weeks…partied on New Year’s..ate cake…had some wine..watched the ball drop…continued studying…Jan 7th gave quals…got badly raped…mostly wont pass…mourned the exam…mourned my luck..was super pissed after screwing it up..it snowed in Atlanta..played in snow…had a fight..slipped and fell..walked in snow…started reading for oral qualifiers…read and read articles after articles on chocolate..critiqued the paper…made the presentation..did not sleep…was practicing…walked to the department with a shiver…gave the presentation..answered the questions…gained momentum and confidence as the questions kept coming…overall did a fair job…made pongal and now im writing the blog.

Whew!

This semester is as tight as the last one but hopefully (if i dont have to write my qualifiers in May) will be far more interesting than the last. I’m excited about starting research and finally having time to do all those things that were under hold all of last semester.

Fingers Crossed for results though.

PS: Writing the blog is high on my agenda this time. Keep reading! 😀

YAAY! Its FRIDAY!

After a long period of time when the days and dates were long forgotten and lost track of (read: Vacation!), its back to gruelling weeks and even sad-der weekends with three assignments due and two essays on some stupid safety issue the next week. Still, friday brings a ray of hope giving that extra time to sleep in and finally finish those chores you always postpone for the week-end.

Grad-life is not easy. But it is enjoyable. Everything here is an experience in itself. Though the academic part is rather similar in terms of content and competition, the whole experience makes it so much fun. It is fun to grab those free pizzas lying outside the class and then after a couple of burps and downing two Dr.Peppers ask,’What was the food for?’ or the ability to munch a sandwich in class and sip coffee as the professor drones on about Helmholtz energy functions or to go check for boiled peanuts in the vending machines or discuss chinese high-school system with your neighbour in class. Though it is not particularly enjoyable to sit through 8 subjects a semester and brainstorm when 4 people get 4 different answers for the same question, I am liking the fact that my grey cells are being used again and over stretched . Its fun being busy. Though I always tried to keep myself occupied in BITS, the load was never the same. The motivation strangely lies in the opportunity. You want to milk everything that comes your way and that drives you to work hard.

Ah, I started off discussing my weekend and ended up writing about my week. There is a cute little club which drives down Indian students to the Indian grocery shop (located a far 25 miles away) every month to stack up on those frozen parathas and garam masalas. Usually the seats fill up in like 5 minutes after the mails are sent out, and this time I made it in! So I can finally give my Iranian store some time off from me! Food is not a difficult option if you are open to new tastes and are not too fond of the spicy fare you get back home. The world’s cuisines are at your disposal and you can really make the most of it (only if you want to!). Apart from that I’m really really happy that I have nearly 2.5 days ( i’m trying not to think of my workload which can easily swallow that entire time) and I dont need to wake up early tomorrow. Even the gym opens only at 9 on weekends!

PS: I finally found two really amazing professors (totally a.w.e.s.o.me and they leave me mesmerized everytime they teach or talk). Wow, I am back in love with engineering and academia and have never been happier!

A fresh start

I write this post sitting in a godlike library on an amazing Mac monitor. I am now in Atlanta and also an official student and legal working girl in the USA. I finished 4 hour long paperwork today, completing a mindnumbing 15 forms with so many other formalities and finally I can take a deep breath and say, Whew! Now it can all be normal.

I came here on the 6th august 2009. Stepped into this country for the first time as a non-tourist. Everything wasn’t such a cultural shock to me since all my gaping and awing was already over. It felt good to be independent, to unlock the doors to your apartment, to be able to shop for your gorceries ( all of them rice, daal, masalas, oil, milk etc etc) and set up a working house from scratch. This included huge shopping trips to Wal Mart, Targets, Publix and other places to get the place up and running. Seniors were the life-savers giving us free food, accomodation and even rides to the nearby stores. My apartment is one among 9 others. Everyone there is Indian. All of them. Taking an average of 6 per house, there must be close to 50-55 Indians living there. It didnt feel like US even for a bit. Indian faces all around, hindi,gujrati, marathi in the air and smells of masalas and tadkas from every kitchen. Tumlin is one hell of a little India.

The place is fantastic. The department is every bit that I dreamt of. Glass foyers, sparkling floors, comfy sofas, just like the lobby of a 7-star hotel. The entire campus is fantastic and it lives upto its reputation of being in the top 5 engineering schools in the US. Only thing, it was very HOT and that automatically meant people were clothes-less here. I never saw anyone (boys or girls) wear anything below the knees. It was very hot and the UV is supposedly strong here so lot of sunscreens adorn the racks of every store. You have maps and trolleys to get around and a hundred odd places to eat around here. The cuisine is global with tacos,burgers, nachos, salad bars, pizzas available all over. The students are mostly Indian or chinese ( as expected) and everyone right now is really friendly helping around with stuff.

Thats about the description. I will upload pics once I get my own connection (hopefully tomorrow). I got to go back and scourge something for dinner from my stock of sabji and daal. Its been a busy week with orientation sessions and registrations and paperwork sessions.

PS:The swimming pool was the one used for Olympics in 1996. Man, I can’t wait to jump into it right now!