Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First semester

The first few months of a new phase in life. It started in August with the orientation for new students. The orientation program itself was interesting and useful. But the semester started in earnest with the start of classes in the first week of September and simply put it was the most fun I have had since the first semester in college 5 years ago except for the friends.

The three courses were very interesting and a bit challenging too. Some of the professors were among the best I have taken courses with. They knew their stuff and knew how to make us understand and enjoy the course material. But the research experience was minimal. Everyone expected us to just focus on the courses. That was an issue I wish to rectify in the second semester. I believe that the mind-set about first year PhD students just focussing on courses in the first year is flawed. Graduate students have to delve into research as soon as possible and the focus on courses should be lower.

The trips to Shenandoah, and Alexandria and the several trips to D.C.were very enjoyable experiences. Participating in various graduate student get-togethers provided some much needed stress relief. I found new hobbies and am really enjoying them.I realised the need to stay fit and also how difficult it is to find someone interested in playing a sport together. But I am working on it.

The only major problem I felt was the lack of good friends. Maybe it's the age. Maybe it's the culture. It was easy to make good friends 5 years ago but here and now it seems that it is very difficult. Now it seems improbable that we will make friends whom we will call friends, not just acquaintances, 10 years down the line. Well you can't have everything, can you?

As I write this on the day before the start of the second semester, here's hoping it is as good as the first one, and perhaps even better.