Thursday, August 26, 2010

First day at College


  Today was my first day at college. I woke up early, had bath (that's like twice this week. hurray!), chose neatly pressed clothes (pressed because they were still not taken out from my baggage), combed my hair, even applied hair oil! With full expectations of studying in an international university i walked in the piercing heat towards my class from my apartment. Until now the campus would look empty but since classes start today it was full of people. Lots of races - American, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and occassionaly European. I was all smiles about UTA that it has so far lived up to my expectation in terms of diversity. Walking toward the engineering building I thought to myself - I am actually in an very diverse and international university. Proud! And then it happened. As I approached the Engineering building, the 2 sets of automatic doors opened up as though welcoming me inside. When the second set of automatic sliding doors opened, the first thing that i heard was: "Aye nimmajji, NH 220 nallo class-u." I thought my ears were ringing. Walked on. Next I heard "be** C**d - aaj teri baari hai khaana bananeka." I was a little startled as to where I had come. Did the doors of Nedderman Hall (our engineering building) have teleporting facility ? because I felt like I had been sent back to some college in Bangalore !! And then it struck me. I am actually in a literaly International university - the Engineering department is full of international students. Okay, full of students from India. "TagoLappa! idyenta experience." I thought. "Ade boLi maga, ade Su** maga... ayyo!"  My diversity dreams were blown away somewhere when the doors of Nedderman Hall opened and the gust of cold air hit me!
  The first class today was Data Mining being taught by Prof. Chengkai Li. He's a nice informal person. He looks younger than me if I stand beside him. He started off with his introduction and then asked us to introduce ourselves. It was consistant. Out of a class of 23, 5 were non-Indians ... which included ONE American undergrad student, and ONE German-American lady who finished her undergrad in Biological sciences - 20 years ago. On my turn to introduce ... I proudly and concisely packed in my 4 yrs of work exp. at Bosch and some opensource thing, etc. etc. I heard random "O" here and there. Not sure  if it was Owww! or Oh! Then the class went on. Prof. Li explained us how his course is organised. He has neatly packaged his course with interesting content that is cutting edge (makes u want to cut ur veins in ur wrist), and state of the art. Taking his course almost looks like bringing on Insomnia for the next 3 months. Towards the end it became clear to me that I have chosen a "rod" subject. As RangayaNa raghu would put it elegantly: "maga, woge ne."
  At 7 pm local time, I had another class. Now this one is amazing - everything about it. Starting from the classroom, to the professor. It is called "DBMS Modeling and Implementation Techniques." In short we call it DB2. It is taught by Prof. Elmasri. Yes, the same DBMS Elmasri whose text book we had tried to mug up and vomit in the 5th sem VTU examination. It was quite a feeling to sit and listen to a lecture from a person who authored one of the books we studied in BE. Guess which textbook he wants us to use: yupp. his own. Only now its the 6th Edition as opposed to the old fourth edition. Prof. Elmasri finished his Ph D from Stanford university in 1980. And since then he is into Databases and database management systems. He is working on databases more than the time that I 've been alive! That reflects in his teaching. Every word he says has lot of content. It was very tough keeping up with him. In a little over an hour's time, he completely covered Transaction and Transaction processing concepts. Only problem is, it is tough to retain in our minds those one-liners that aren't present in his book.
  I think I am going to enjoy this graduate experience of mine moms, I left my job, amazing family, nice city to come thousands of miles away to live like an alien after being spoilt at home for 25 years. Until next time moms ... i'll let you know about my life over here.

- chetu

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