Saturday, September 19, 2009

Almost time to get serious!

This week has been pretty fun. It's definitely more chill than undergrad orientation but I think I got more out of it. I think on Tuesday night, I was sitting in my room and had a sudden realization that I was sitting there all alone doing mundane stuff like reading manga. It reminded me of Cambridge for a second. In Cambridge I mostly hung out with the other MIT people and sometimes with Caius people. But I didn't really feel like part of the community.

Luckily, I don't think that's going to be the case at Stanford. In the three days since I last blogged (Wed, Thurs, and Friday) I've gotten to know a bunch of people. I always thought that it would be pretty unlikely to make very many friends outside of my department. There was a "speed-friending" event on Tuesday night where I came back unconvinced that I would ever see some of these people again. But that's not true because of mutual friends, roommates, facebook, etc. Anyhow, this paragraph has been very vague, let's get on with what I have been doing for the past week.

Wednesday. Shuo left on her bio retreat plus camping trip and won't be back until Sunday. I biked around town that morning and walked around downtown Palo Alto for a little bit. In the afternoon, I went on a couple of library tours. I thought it might be important since I plan to use the libraries a lot. The first tour started in the Green library which has the biggest collection on campus, mostly humanities stuff. They gave a good overview of how the libraries worked and such. I met someone there who had just arrived from China for a masters in East Asian studies. Very interesting. After that I followed the group to the Engineering Library for a tour of the engineering and sciences libraries. I chatted with an MIT Course 2 grad on the way. The tour itself wasn't very informative but afterwards I walked to an ice cream social with a few civil engineering people. They had Coldstone Ice Cream! yay. I invited Karina (MIT course 2) and Joanna (Berkeley, CEE) over for dinner that night. We talked about random things for a few hours after dinner and visited each other's rooms. Later that night Joanna and I picked up Mahalia from the train station in Joanna's car. We also gave a Structural PhD student who is going to TA some of the grad classes! On the way to finding Mahalia's apartment, we ran into some guys walking around Rains, and we chatted for a while. So, long day.

Thursday. Got up early to go to the CEE orientation. I walked there with Mahalia, Lauren (also MIT CEE), and Joanna. I should have walked my bike over too. Long walk back. Anyway, the presentation itself was not very interesting. It was pretty much the same one that they gave during the preview day. When we split into our groups, I went with all the structural people. We introduced ourselves and I asked if anyone else is doing geo. The room was completely silent... So either I'm special or one of the Stanford coterms is geo. Apparently if you were a Stanford undergrad, you don't get invited to all these grad student welcome things. I thought that was lame. I went to visit the Geophysics department and talked to a professor after the presentations. Now I'm even more conflicted about my classes. So I'll basically be shopping around lots of classes next week.

Later Thursday afternoon, I went to the President's reception. He lives up on a hill. I gave up biking after a while. I met some geophysics students there. The speeches were not all that useful but the food was good. I went with Mahalia and Lauren afterwards to the shopping mall. It took forever to get there because the shuttle made so many stops even though it was full. I got a few things and came back for the Plains of Rains welcome dinner. I met a bunch of people at the dinner, all either Stanford or Berkeley undergrads. Some of us met up to go to the Grad Night Out after the dinner. This is basically bar hopping except that Palo Alto doesn't have very many bars. On the way to the shuttle, we met up with some more Stanford people, which was good since they knew where things were. We ended up walking downtown because there was a huge line for the shuttle. It took almost an hour to walk there. We ended up walking back too. I was pretty tired coming back but I realized that none of these people were MIT and I met most of them only a few hours ago. This made me happy. One of the guys had commented that night that he doesn't understand how Americans can talk for hours about random things with people they've just met. I added that it's okay for them to never get back in touch with these people again. I don't think that will be the case here though.

Friday. I got up early to go to Kaiser to get some shots and xray done. That took the whole morning but everything's done now. I just need to pick up the xray results and deliver them to Vaden and get my entrance medical things cleared. There was an activities fair for graduate students in the afternoon where they also served lunch. It was burning hot in the afternoon and this fair was outside. I walked around with Joanna and we picked up a lot of flyers advertising free food events. After this we went to a safety training by the civil engineering dept which had pretty useless info. I got a strainer at the Rains yard sale for $1 on the way back to my apartment. I got ready to go home for the weekend. Joanna and her boyfriend gave me a ride to the Caltrain station. Turns out, I know her boyfriend from ROTC back in high school. That was like 6 years ago! Talk about a small world.

So now I'm sitting at home again. I'm going to a banquet tonight and then back to Stanford tomorrow. Classes start next week!

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