Evanescent Thoughts

Evanescent Thoughts

One month into the Grad Life !!

with 8 comments

Its been more than a month into the Graduate Life at Univ of Wisconsin Madison for me. The first thing I felt missing from my Indian life is Time.  Back in India, at times, I was pretty much jobless that I would stay up late in the night and discuss some arbit crap with friends on the garnet lawn or watch some TV Series. I actually ended up watching 18 TV series as a part of my Undergraduate Life :P. But once course work started, it was a round robin between Assignments, Cooking, doing groceries and getting used to America !!.

I am not sure if this applies to all other universities in US, but Wisc-Mad needs you to only enroll for 6 credits per semester if you are a TA. Hence my calendar initially was only filled on Tue and Thurs for a couple of hours. And once they let in TA allotments, it all turned out to be messy. I finally managed to squeeze all TA and classwork commitments to just Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  So the long weekend starts on the Friday and lasts till my alarm rings on the next Tuesday morning at 8.00am :P.  Needless to say, there are assignments to be done or some or the other thing that comes up.  Life here is awesome. You have people who are very sweet and polite to you. Doesn’t mean  they actually are in real life. Its just the thing that they have a sweet outer-cover. So you walk into the street full of people, you ll end up with a lots of face gestures wishing you  a good day. In particular, in one of the invited talks, a guy from west coast mentioned that people in Madison are super sweet.

Fall is beautiful. Just a pleasant thing to watch. I was usually this person in India who rarely manages to step outside the 5m invisible ring around a laptop. But out here, the best thing I like to do is go and sit in front of the lake. Madison has two beautiful lakes and since my university and Madison city are a part and parcel of each other,  I am in close proximity to these awesome buildings and places of Madison. The state capitol which looks like a replica of the White House is few minutes walk from my apartment and department. And hence each and every day I go to dept, I feel like I am actually going to work. Doesn’t give you this feeling of you walking inside a campus where every one you see is a student or a person with academic ties.

Couple of funny things I encountered here :

  1. Wanna meet a prof ??, No problem. Just  walk in … Wanna have your hair cut ??  get an appointment beforehand and be there on time. And beyond that, most of the saloons have women cutting your hair and they charge you anywhere between 10 to 20 dollars for a simple haircut. Taxes are also to be paid btw :P. And I had to pay 16 dollars (and ideally supposed to have followed the golden-20%-tipping rule) for just ending up in an Identity crisis at the hands of a woman in a span of just few minutes. The lady who cut my hair was actually perplexed when she heard that hair cut at India cost me like 75 cents.
  2. Cycling is a lot of fun. And you have a separate bike-lane here everywhere. The whole city is actually very scenic to cycle.
  3. Ever since I came to US, I have always carried only 5 dollars in my wallet as Cash. And to this date, I still haven’t used it at all.
  4. To all those who sit in India and act like this crazy calculator that converts  their friends/spouses/kid’s salary in dollars to INR, you wouldn’t be willing to even buy a small candy if you keep doing that over here before spending.
  5. Temperature plays a see-saw most of the time here. It might happen at times, that you see a clear and sunny sky out there and wanna go for a bike ride. You might still end up biking at 8 degree Celsius. Happened to me. So trust me :P.
  6. You gotta figure out clever ways to get your TV episode if you don’t wanna end up missing it or watching it in a tiny 400×300 pixel in your browser.
  7. People take your word for granted here. If you say you dunno who is responsible for this big chunk of data downloaded from your phone eating up your data plan, they just push you up to a bigger data plan free of cost :P.
  8. Beyond seven, anything is not funny at all. So I stop here 😛

Well there actually are many interesting things to put up here, but all that comes to my mind right now is this Lattice framework for compiler optimization which I cant get a hang of.


Written by Sathya Narayanan

October 4, 2010 at 10:06 am

8 Responses

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  1. And the most important thing….. Wait for a few days before you start spending your salary 😛


    October 4, 2010 at 10:23 am

    • yes .. always make sure the money is actually bonded into ur account before u start spending it 😛 .. golden rule ..

      Sathya Narayanan

      October 4, 2010 at 10:42 am

  2. when you get USD 1500 a month, you don’t need to worry about conversions.


    October 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

  3. Machan, we need photos.. And as I said earlier “with glamour”.. Then you can even publish a book about your American experience,,


    October 4, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    • dei .. u want something like that , i can send u in private .. !!! 😛

      Sathya Narayanan

      October 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm

  4. LOL


    October 8, 2010 at 12:27 am

  5. write more when time permits…………its good to read your experience as a student there………also reminds me of my first experiences there 🙂


    November 19, 2010 at 12:59 am

  6. yes .. always make sure the money is actually bonded into ur account before u start spending it 😛 .. golden rule ..

    i like this info

    top indian institute

    May 1, 2011 at 5:07 am

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