Monday, September 28, 2009

Week One

That's week one of ten (1/10). It has been intense. I didn't know shopping for classes could be so exhausting. It felt different from MIT. I think it's because I'm shopping for classes in 3 or 4 different departments and always feeling intimidated by the 3rd year PhD students who are taking the class. At MIT, you know there's always a few of those crazy smart people in your classes no matter what. But this is a different kind of crazy smart. I feel like I'm intruding into these PhD student's fields of expertise. Anyhow, I'm settled on my classes. Mostly because I got tired of getting up so early and just gave up on giving some of these classes a second try. Basically, I'm taking 3 class + 1 seminar and auditing 2 more classes (so far). I'm not sure if I will actually have time to audit these classes but we'll see what happens.

Turns out, all my classes need Matlab. Being as cheap as I am, I decided to download Matlab from MIT and VPN into the MIT network to use the software. I'm not sure buying the student version is worth it. The student version seems to be missing some critical components. Anyhow, my new computer is fast so it's fine in handling all this computation but then it died. Yeah, here's the story of how it died.

So on Wednesday night, I spent 70 minutes on the phone with Dell people trying to figure out what's wrong with my external monitor. Before getting on the phone I had been playing around with the self help for the longest time. The problem was that there were horizontal streaks moving up the screen, especially for gray colors. After being transferred around in India, they finally figured out that my computer came with "gold" support. This "gold" support allowed me to be transferred to someone who is actually a technical person and spent a lot of time with me trying to figure out what's going on. Eventually we decided that it was the laptop's VGA adaptor that was acting up because the screen works fine with my old laptop. This is really bad because that part is connected to the motherboard and they need to replace the entire motherboard.

So I scheduled a time for Friday morning for the Dell technician to come. Friday morning arrived and I waited around forever. The guy arrived at noon (I have class at 1:15pm). He said he can't park outside (permits only) so we ended up doing everything in the parking lot on top of his trunk. I knew this was a bad sign... Anyway, the guy seemed to know what he was doing and proceeded to take apart my computer. He basically had to take everything out. (Actually, I really think it's just the VGA adaptor. Not sure the motherboard is in fault here.) All this didn't take very long but then the computer refused to turn back on after everything was in place. In fact, it started to turn the fan on and off but the display didn't show anything. After a while, it was pretty clear that something major was wrong and the guy said he would schedule something for Monday where he (or someone else) would replace the entire computer.

So now I guess it's lucky that I have another computer. BUT I had been trying for the longest time to get my old computer to connect to the residential wireless and failed. I called up my RCC (the guy who's supposed to help me with residential computing). Just my luck, the guy was leaving for Santa Cruz. He helped me register manually but then my registration didn't go through. Normally, he would continue to help me but he had no internet access on the beach. So I called up two other RCC before I finally got someone who actually helped me out. Something with overlapping registrations.. It was just one huge mess and I finally got Internet again on Saturday.

Luckily, not all of my weekend evolved around computer issues. Friday night there was a huge grad party at Rains. There was beer, glow sticks, chips, and dancing. It's so great to be so close to the action because I only had to walk to the next block to get home afterwards. Met a whole bunch of people. It was pretty fun.

Saturday morning, I went running and then went with Shuo and Meihsin to two lunches. That's right, two! We went to this Chinese student thing where people actually spoke Chinese. They ordered real Chinese takeout with seaweed and such (not those Americanized Chinese food). And then we left after a little while to go to the Asian American BBQ at Rains. There were burgers, hot dogs, and ribs. It was pretty awesome. I ate too much! I sat around chatting with people. I was really afraid that I wouldn't see any of the people I met during the first week again but turns out I see a lot of these people pretty often.

After eating 2 lunches, I was all set on doing homework for 4 hours but then as I was getting my internet issues resolved, a friend of mine called. She's from MIT and I haven't seen her since we both got here. So of course we chatted forever and then she wanted to go to the shopping center. And... of course I went with her. She seems to be a little lonely since she lives in Lymen where people are not as social and she doesn't have a bike. It took her 30 minutes to walk to this side of campus.

I got back at 6pm and went straight to the football game. All students can get into football games for free. Stanford has a stadium. It was really fun to be cheering with everyone else. Not like that one time I went to watch an MIT game at all. There were a ton of families, people selling food, cheering leading squad, band, and even a half time show. Big score boards with LCD screens. It was a lot of fun even though I didn't really follow all the plays.

And... after that, Meihsin convinced me to go to a bar with her and some of her bio friends, where I ran into Joanna, who I had just been to the game with. Funny how these things worked out. We stayed at the bar forever chatting. This totally destroyed any intentions of me studying on Saturday.

Sunday is less exciting. I spent the whole day studying. Did laundry. Cooked dinner. Finished a lot of two psets. I really hope my textbooks come soon. Really need them.

1 comment:

djue said...

sounds ... so normal!

hope you're doing well, lucy :)