Grad Life

8000 Miles Away – How did I get here? (Life of a graduate student) #1

There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

It’s funny how sometimes things completely change in a matter of days.

When I decided to embark on the journey of pursuing a Master’s degree from the United States, it seemed like a long process, a far-fetched dream. But now almost a year later, here I am writing my thoughts from Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. And so that this journey doesn’t become a long-lost memory, I will try to capture the rite of passages one goes through while entering a new country. I am hoping this would be the start of a series of articles shedding some light on life as a graduate student.

First, to give you a list of colleges I applied to. I applied to Dartmouth, Columbia, Duke, Northeastern, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, and Stanford in the Master of Engineering Management/Masters in Management Science and Engineering program. Out of these, I got selected for the program at Dartmouth, Columbia, Duke, Northeastern, and Johns Hopkins and after weeks of deliberation decided to come to Dartmouth for my Master’s.

It’s been 3 weeks since I came to Dartmouth and every day has been a memory in itself. Every day I am amazed by the beauty of this place. And every day I learn something new. But if I had to pick my three big takeaways from the past weeks, I would choose the following –

  1. TODO: There’s always so much to do here. Every day I prepare a list of things I want to do and every day I miss out on a few things because something else comes up. Since Dartmouth operates on a quarter system as opposed to a semester system, the courses progress really fast. Besides that, there are sessions and seminars, and mixers, and outdoor activities that one would want to do. Time is a luxury and no matter how much you try you can only do so much in a day.
  1. Classrooms: The classroom environment is very different from what I had experienced before. All my classes here are very interactive. The professors and students engage in active discussion in the class and it’s so amazing to be a part of this setting.
  2. Meeting new people: I believe some of the best learnings on the go happen through people around you. When you meet someone new it teaches you something- some scientific phenomenon, or about some cuisine, or a new skill. I have been to a number of events and I have met a lot of interesting people. It certainly looks daunting to approach a group of strangers, not only what to say. But once you take that first step, more often than not you end up having a good time. You hear about so many incredible experiences. Just last Sunday I met someone who has never been to India but is so fond of Bollywood music and movies. We ended up talking for more than 30 minutes and had such a good time.

I hope the coming weeks are filled with as much fun and adventure as these past few weeks have been and I get to meet more incredible people along the way.

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