This post was supposed to come out long back. Anyway, better late than never.
It has been
4 weeks ~4 months since I’ve come here, to Tucson, Arizona. This place is was astonishingly hot! Landing in the peak of Fall, I should probably not be expecting this place to be like Bangalore, least of all, when I knew this was a valley city, surrounded by hills and having very low humidity. Lot of people have said that this is the worst part of the year and it gets surprisingly pleasant in a month or so. I sure am looking forward to it. [It did become pleasant. I'm loving the weather now]
First week of Grad school has passed smoothly. There was hardly anything to make it a bumpy ride. Barely into the first week, we were looking at a long weekend, thanks to Labor Day. It gets warmed up pretty quickly after this, they say. Well, it better get warmed up. That’s the whole point of coming here in the first place! [It did warm up, revved up my brain more than it was used in a long time, and thankfully so!]
Experiencing this (higher) education system firsthand has really been a new awakening. It is amazing how the “one-size-fits-all” system of education is desisted here. Each student has the choice of learning what he wants as per what his long-term goals are. If there are no goals, they say that going by the tried and tested path laid out by a few seniors is a safe one to follow. After all, who cares what kinda job one lands into as long as it keeps you contented and pays you well. [Well, being in an education system that decides what is good for you didn't do any good to my decision-making abilities. I'm still confused about my career plan, even though if not as worse as earlier in life]
Things that are both good, and bad, at the same time happen a lot. Almost immediately after we land here, we fall into the habit of being judgmental about many things here. Specifically, the people. We brand them as Chinese are like this, Mexicans are like this, Indians are like this and so on. It really spoils the mood of being in an International setting, where we have the chances of our lives to find things about the big wide world firsthand. [This mindset is slowly receding.]
We become stereotypical and ask for directions. Right from streets, to food joints, to courses, to professors, to research activities, to job referrals etc. I hope that everyone realize that one size doesn’t fit all and the future is not far off when we come out of the needy shells and get ready to embrace things at their face value. I am happy that a few of my colleagues here are embracing that attitude already.
One of the best things that has happened after being here is an initiative called International Friends. American families in Tucson have come forward with this initiative to get to know students of different countries, thereby hoping to know more about how cultures are. I had been invited to a dinner like that and had a good time talking to my hosts.
[Added on the day of posting from here on.]
As it has been quite a while since the first draft of this post went into a slumber, I am delighted to update a few things here.
I got a research position in the university and I’m happy being an “employee” as well as a student at the same time. I’m not missing my days at Samsung/KPIT anymore. Feels awesome to experience and share it.
I had a wonderful Halloween and a tummy-licious Thanksgiving, thanks to my International Friends hosts Louise and Pam.
My cooking skills have improved. Oh damn, that would be an understatement!! I cook great enough to keep my easily bored taste buds on their nerves.
Semester is getting to an end and it is unbelievable that time flies so fast. Lots of activities lined up for the last few weeks, right from term papers, lab assignments, home works, projects and final exams. The ride is about to get adventurous!
Wish me Luck.