Hi folks! Been a while since I last blogged, but then, it has been pretty crazy until now. As you can see in the title of this fine post, it has been nearly a month since I landed in the USA and started grad school. It has been pretty exciting so far, but not without its low points.
For those of you who came in late, I have started grad school at the University of Wisconsin Madison, at the Department of Computer Science. Madison is a very beautiful place – you have everything one could ask for – lakes, parks, zoos, musis, cinemas, entertainment! There is a very small problem, though – The weather can change in the blink of an eye – From sunny in the morning to raining in the evening to extremely chill in the night. Though you are forever stuck with not knowing whether to take the umbrella or the coolers, I’d vote it is still a very pleasant place 🙂
We visited the Capitol Building, which is modeled on the Capitol in Washington D.C. There is also a place called State Street here, which is kind of like T-Nagar – endless shops selling everything you can imagine! It will take quite a while to finish exploring this place! For fun, there are lots of activities you can do – so far, I’ve gone sailing, played tennis and squash, watched Kanthasaamy and Unnai Pol Oruvan, and listened to classical western music!
Another curious thing about Madison is its people – The people here are extremely friendly and helpful, and smiling all the time! On the roads, cars stop to let people pass – and not only at signals. Virtually anywhere, if you crossed the road, cars would slow down to let you pass, versus the veetla sollitu vanthutiya? which you would get in Chennai 🙂
The Department is also very warm and welcoming – all the staff are eager to help you. Sometimes it happens that you have no idea what they are even saying, and in such cases, they will come with you and help you out in getting that form filled, or that fee submitted. It’s quite a change from government employees in beloved ceg!
But the difficult part in this whole experience is the staying-in-the-foreign-land bit. Hostellers, I seriously will fall on your feet the next time I see you. Never being a hosteller myself, it has never struck me until how difficult it is to live in some strange place, cook your own meals, wash your own clothes, and still make it to classes and stuff. Somehow the being away from home bit is a serious drain on your energy and you never quite feel like doing anything at all 🙂
Classes have started and are interesting – but also exhausting. The sheer amount of work you need to put in before you appear for a class is huge! I never thought paper-reading would be quite this difficult, or monotonous! Anyone with tips on this, do reply in the comments 🙂
One of the things I sort of get going through all of this is why PhDs are so valued and respected – It will be no joke to go through this for years on stretch with no end in sight.. And to hang on until you get your degree, it will take tenacity and all sorts of mental skills, apart from technical skill! No wonder PhDs make it good out in the real world!
So that’s all the news from my side – friends and juniors who are reading this, do reply in comments with what’s going on. Would be extremely happy to hear from you all! Cheers!