Places to Go, People to See

by Josiah Bonifas, MBA student

One of the most common concerns expressed by students, outside of school work, is the struggle to meet new people and make new friends. There are about 18,000 students at RIT, and if you take a look around, quite a few faculty and staff, yet it can still feel difficult at times to break outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. Why is this? Well for starters, it can be uncomfortable. To be quite honest, you aren’t going to like everybody you meet, and not everybody is going to like you. But the more people you meet, the better chance you have of meeting someone that you might realize you really get along with.

When I was a freshman in college, I sat at a random table with a bunch of people I had never met. I was always fairly outgoing and enjoyed meeting new people. After about four jokes that went over everybody’s head, I realized, okay these probably aren’t going to be my greatest college friends. But, I still stuck around and made a lot of acquaintances. For the rest of the four years, we always said hello to each other. And if I was ever eating alone, I knew that I could always go sit at their table. It made me feel more comfortable knowing that I knew people. The next day I sat with a new table of people, and one of those guys went on to be one of my closest friends in undergrad. The Lunch room is just one simple way to interact with others. RIT is such a diverse school with countless activities and opportunities to socialize. There are approximately 300 clubs covering almost every activity you can think of. And if there isn’t one that really clicks with you, you can go out and make one! Go to the different events offered on campus, or pick up a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to learn. It’s all about making the first move. If you always wait for things or people to come to you, you face the risk of missing out on countless opportunities. If meeting new people if something you’ve always wanted to do, research some of the clubs or activities we offer on campus. Trust me, it is more than likely that there are people out there with some of the same interest. I had a coach that always repeated the quote to me, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. A week later he was yelling “that’s enough shots”, but the idea still remains the same. Whether it’s with basketball, leaving an answer blank on a test, or meeting someone new — sometimes life’s about taking chances, and being a little uncomfortable.

 

Winter Break is Almost Here – Maximizing free time

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student

Its hard to find a reason why the fall semester passes with a blink of an eye. It’s like it was just yesterday I had my first class of the semester. Well, time passes at its own pace and there are a lot of constant changes going on around us. The best part of these changes is the beautiful and timeless transition nature makes from the ever-breath-taking spring to the breath-freezing winter. I have always found this world to be the best example of adaptation to changes.

Fall is the season of preparations. Preparation not for facing the worst but for sustaining for the best that’s coming. You can see it everywhere! Just peek out of the window and see the trees who let us know the fall season has arrived. Leafless they are with every single inch of chlorophyll down turned to shades of yellow and brown. No leaves, no photosynthesis, no energy? Do these trees extract energy from the cold of the winter? Obliviously not! They’ve been preparing the whole fall like the squirrel who has started storing chestnuts, seeds and flowerbuds for the coming frozen days they cannot get out in search of food. Preparation plays a key part in self-development and leads us to something better than before and if not better, it leaves us with some useful lessons, always.

Vacations and breaks are one of the best part of any academic journey. They are as important as the requirement of sleep after a whole day of keeping up. It gives you some quality time with yourself. Time, you can invest on self or on the things and ones you love. It’s an historic fact that most of the people don’t realize the importance of time at the right time. Time is a limited resource which everyone should use sensibly. Planning and preparation helps us to use this powerful resource wisely. Many of us might find vacation or break time as time to take physical rest and be a little lazy and that is not a bad idea. But these non-academic intervals can be made as productive as the academic counterpart or may be even more with a little bit of planning.

People have been making great plans with the help of good music, a cup of coffee and the internet. There is a lot to learn apart from the course books. There are interesting sports to play, amazing musical instruments to learn, opportunities to explore the outdoor, wonderful people to meet and what not. Just take the charge of your time. Plan wisely!

It is legitimate to say that if you are older than fifteen you most likely would have heard about Albert Einstein’s famous work of his life, the Theory of Relativity. It is one of the most fundamental formulation & explanation of the behavior of the space we exist in and the passage of time that we experience. It comes among the most fundamental theories which attempts to explain the workings of universe we live in. Yet, it is one of the most difficult topic to comprehend and is generically intriguing and thought provoking. The Theory of Relativity, it is bizarre. And its consequences… they are far beyond that.

Let’s not talk physics and let’s talk life. You won’t be requiring an in-depth knowledge of Einstein’s relativity to prove that comfort zone is fairly a relative phenomenon, do you? Obliviously not! We all have our unique comfort zones and sharing this comfort zone with other people who have the same comfort zone puts us human beings into a category of social beings. We must embrace the fact that learning always starts with the very first step that we take outside our comfort zone. Do what you love, do it a little bit more.

Books your ticket in advance to your destination as the prices are pretty low if you do it at the right time. Make some adventurous plans with your friends. Visit you home, its always nice to share stories you’ve gathered in a new foreign land with the people you call family. Join an online course and learn a new programming language. Search for interesting jobs where you might be a good fit. Invest every single moment on yourself. Plan and prepare well!

Holiday season is here!

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

I can’t believe how time flies! It’s been three months already since I arrived at RIT and the holiday season is now in full swing! Woohoo! Although schoolwork is still keeping me busy, I did have some opportunity to spend time doing some fun stuff before and during the Thanksgiving break, and now I would like to share some of those memories and joys with you all!

Right before the break, I had a chance to see David Carson, a celebrated contemporary graphic designer, at an inspiring design conference called R|ADWEEK. I was impressed by David Carson’s vibrant and bold approach to magazine design and his innovative use of experimental typography. As a visual designer myself, it’s always good for me to sit in a conference hall or have a gallery walk, bursting with new ideas and inspirations. The conference was held in a huge and unique artsy space called ARTISANworks. The place was a renovated factory building with numerous multidisciplinary artworks inside. If you are also interested in looking into some fun, inspiring and entertaining art pieces, you should definitely check out this place!

Then I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with some friends at one of my classmates’ parents’ house in Hastings, New York. I have always been liking the idea of celebrating holidays with some local families and friends while I am studying abroad – I think it’s a part of the excitement of living in a new culture and experiencing new traditions. Other than enjoying the great traditional Thanksgiving dinner at home, we also went to a two-mile-long DRIVE-THRU holiday light display called Lights on the Lake in Liverpool. It was a perfect way to forget about the cold weather and get that holiday feeling before everything kicks in.

Now I am so refreshed and recharged, and I am ready to take up the challenges in preparing for my academic final exams and projects.

It’s all about balance! – Work hard, play hard

by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS student

Even before 9 p.m. a large crowd had gathered at Schramrocks for the fall semester graduate student celebration. The crowd was all set to take a break from their busy lives and never-ending homework.

This party was an event that I organized in my role as a Graduate Senator to the RIT Student Government,  and I had the pleasure of being a host to over 400 students from different majors at RIT. The students had a lot of fun and the menu was chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, pizza and a lot more. There was also a raffle which gained a lot of attention from the students.

By the end of the night students were having a great time and I could personally see and hear them talking about this special event only for graduate students. The students were at the party for over 4 hours and managed to finish the food in half the time and also the dance floor was crowded with students who were dancing to the custom playlist they managed to make me add to Spotify. All in all it was an amazing party which was successful thanks to the awesome graduate community at RIT and I would hopefully post another in Spring soon so spring incoming students have something to look forward to! ☺

Graduate Class Highlight

by Josiah Bonifas, MBA student

For the past few months I have been taking a management class called Organizational Behavior and Leadership with Professor Bob Barbato. A lot of leadership concepts sound self-explanatory to be quite honest, but it wasn’t until the first case study breakdown that I realized the importance and relevance of what we were being taught. This class highlights the characteristics necessary in a successful leader, which can be effective both inside and outside the business world. Being a leader seems straight-forward, but there are a lot of aspects that come together to truly form a great one. Personally, when I go on to work, I want to change company cultures, encourage growth, and help make a difference. This requires certain characteristics. A leader needs to control his environment, understand those that he is working with, working under, and that our working under him. It is not easy to get a whole company on board with your ideas, or to know that you are leading them in the right direction. Every interaction needs a strong degree of emotional intelligence. This means not only being able to manage one’s own emotions but to understand and manage the emotions of others and a group as a whole. A manager will make sure things are operating appropriately, and as a leader will shape the culture. These concepts are the same for friend groups, social standings, and all of our interactions. First we must understand ourselves, and then we must learn how to understand others.

Professor Barbato does a great job at highlighting the importance of all of this, and more, by relating it to business scenarios, and everyday experiences. It is a class I would recommend not only for business students, but for any person interested in self-betterment, or being a better leader. We often see traits like leadership as a God given talent, but I believe that it is a skill that all can obtain, and everyone can improve on. Winston Churchill was a terrible public speaker when he first began his role in office, but that did not deter him. He practiced and worked at it, and went on to give one of the most inspirational speeches during World War Two. Any expert will tell you, to be great at something takes practice. Michelangelo once said, “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.” And that is coming from one of the greatest artists of all time.

If you would like to learn what it takes to be a great leader in your life, during your time at RIT, I recommend this class for you. You won’t become an expert overnight, but you’ll definitely be on the right track. Progress excels when two things are in effect; a great teacher, and an eager learner. In the management 735 class of Organizational Behavior and Leadership you will find a great teacher– now it is up to you to go out and learn.

Mental Health: A Little more Compassion

by Ami Patel, Computer Science MS student

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” – Sigmund Freud

We all have our highs and lows in life. Remember that time when you felt completely stressed out about that project, felt anxious, weird, unmotivated, disconnected, but, you came out of that. It was just momentary and you are out of it, happy and cheerful again. But for some people, it may be prolonged, they might need little extra help. Sometimes individuals don’t realize that they need one or they just don’t believe the need of it. Worse is when people notice such kind of individuals, yet, they ignore it. Why? Why shy away from talking about Mental Health? Glenn Close aptly said, “What mental health needs is: more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation about the illness that affects not only the individuals but their families as well.”

I know it’s sometimes difficult to realize an individual or your own self in stress until it embodies into a greater form. The earlier it is addressed, lesser will be the damage. We at RIT are thankful of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) to provide a wide range of services to promote personal and mental growth for overall well being of the RIT Community. It is located on the second floor of the August Center (AUG) and, you can contact them at 585-475-2261. One doesn’t need to be an individual in severe needs, one can visit them occasionally for just a little talk or distress during challenging times. They are there to listen and help you through. Even if something is bothering and you need advice, CaPS is there for you. So, if you feel like, you can visit CaPs, or you can suggest it to someone in need.

Apart from CaPs, you will find lots of De-stress events happening at RIT. So, watch out for those e-mails and make sure you bring your friends along. I would like to mention about a unique Distress event: Bow Wow Wellness. Yes, you read it right. You get to spend some time with the cute, cuddly and snuggly therapy dogs.

If you think someone is stressed, or just a little detached or unmotivated, or just a mood swing, or even if they are less cheerful than their usual self, DO take a step of care and concern. Talk to them, ask them what’s bothering, be persistent in the attempt to help because it takes them time to pour the heart out. Try to gauge the depth of their stress. Take them for a coffee, quick bite, a walk, a game, a workout session, movie, dance, Karaoke or anything that makes the person cheerful. Not everyone needs Counseling Center, sometimes it’s just a bad day or a point in time and all they need is your constant comfort, compassion, tenderness, kindness, affection, and support. They need to know that we care for them and we are right next to them.

“There’s a brand new you waiting on the other side of this madness. Stay, so that you can see what it is all for.”

Visit this extremely helpful page to learn more about the resources offered by RIT to address the concerns: https://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/tigerscare/. Tigers Care. <3

Staying active – A review of RIT’s Intramural and Fitness Activities

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student

Talking about science all of us know how much we have advanced in the various fields of science. Diving deep into medial and biological sciences we have come across various astonishing facts and the working of the home to our soul, our body. Skimming through the countless pages of relevant literature one may say that we’ve came a long way exploring about us. But have you ever tried asking an expert in the sciences of human body about how much knowledge we have acquired of the human body? Well you can expect an answer which revolves around “we just know the basics”.

It is not a rocket science but for a healthy life, things must be in balance. The forces that drive your life must be in balance. It is important to keep your mental state in synchronization with the physical. There are many factors that play a key role in this. The oldest and the most well-known practices that keeps our mind healthy and our body strong is keeping the body moving. For a scholar, sports & physical working out is as important as academics. Studying can be tiring and there are things that can be done about it. The best thing for me, is to just go to a place where you can show some of your physical skills. Close your books and grab a football. Or get your swim attire and jump in the pool. There is a whole different science out of which you can conclude that any kind of physical workout reduces the stress level by a significant amount.

RIT Intramural activities present more than just the opportunity to be fit. Intramurals is an event people can team up with others competing in groups. It’s not just a sport but a learning opportunity and an event which has significant takeaways. RIT is home to over 2700 international students, so intramural activities provide the opportunity to interact with people from around the globe. Any team game is a serious business and it takes lots of practice, planning, strategizing and team effort. All these challenges bring the team members in close contact with each other which at the end of the tournament ends up in lifetime friendship. Sports is one of the best way to connect to someone because in the sports way of getting to know somebody it’s not just the talking that you do, you get engaged in a team activity, supporting each other and standing physical challenges together, exchanging real-time thoughts and ideas with a bunch of people you hardly know.

Apart from these amazing activities there is also a fitness center with all the state-of-the-art equipment which can help you keep yourself fit and strong. At the fundamental level it is always your determination that helps you, but if you are surrounded by something great there is an induction of greatness. And if you have the right determination and the correct environment you’ll resonate, and you’ll be at the peak. The fitness center is such a kind of place. It not just offers you equipment but motivation and strength.

Anything will be less in appreciation for this place. It has been home to RIT’s best swimmers, runners, basketball players and what not. It’s a place full of success stories, and if not, inspiration and motivation. Health is wealth indeed and I really feel RIT embraces this fact. It is very important for an individual to stay in good mental health. And the first step towards this is the physical fitness. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful activity centre.

It’s fine to close your books. Take a deep breath and let go whatever is stressing you. Go out dance in the dance studio, dive deep and swim in pool, tighten up your shoelaces, get the right music on you Spotify and run on the elevated running track. Stay fit and stay healthy!

Winter is Coming, to Rochester

by Krishna Tippur Gururaj, Computer Science MS student

I am from India, a land where a tropical climate is the norm for most parts of the country. I am from the southern part of India, where temperatures range between 60 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I had never seen temperatures below 32degrees, let alone see snow!

When I received my admit from RIT, I was thrilled to be starting grad school. Family members and friends who were aware of the weather in the Northeastern US used to tell me about the inclement weather that awaited me here but I figured, if it is an inhabited place, it cannot be that bad. I mean, why would humans choose to live in such a climate if it was so difficult to live in.

I first arrived in Rochester in the month of July, a time and weather that I learned later were like rays of sunshine on a cold, dreary winter day! As the fall season started, temperatures gradually dropped from the 70s to the 50s, I soon realized what I was in for in a few months. When the first snow fell during Thanksgiving week, it was such a beautiful sight. That snowfall was unexpected so even though it was not a lot, RIT had given us a snow day and classes were cancelled. I thought that maybe this (about 6-10 inches) was a lot of snow and was the limit, which explained the snow day. I was so wrong! The next few months I saw snow on the ground which didn’t melt for weeks, a snowstorm which halted all movement for 72 hours due to nearly 4 feet of snow everywhere, and a freak windstorm (winds reached ~80 mph) which knocked out power for large areas in Rochester for nearly 96 hours.

The winter months in Rochester can get quite gloomy and take some getting used to. Once the daylight savings were disabled in November, the sun set by 4:30 PM which disoriented me to no end the first few days. The days can get bright enough at times to fool first-timers like me to think that the sun’s warmth could be felt.

I was excited by all the snow the first few weeks, and I was impressed by how smooth life went on despite the climate. Roads and walkways were cleared well enough for commuting to be possible. Eventually, I got used to the snow-covered landscape everywhere I went, and though the cold did not go away till May, I kind of missed it when the summer came around. I guess I cannot wait for the next round of biting cold, snow, thick jackets, gloomy skies, and foggy breaths.

The Animation Show of Shows Night

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

On November 9th, I went to a special screening called Animation Show of Shows in Carlson Auditorium. The show is an annual traveling selection of award-winning animated shorts that are from all over the world. As a visual communication designer who has majored in film and media in college, I am a huge fan of this kind of event. You are exposed to so many new ideas and eye-opening art pieces, which really make you think.

The show has been going on since 1988. The curator of the show, Ron Diamond, who is also the founder at Acme Filmworks, is so passionate about watching and picking fine animated short films. I was so impressed by his story of spending a whole 7 years on restoring a 1963 animated film Hangman in high resolution format, just because he saw the film when he was young and deeply loved it. Now with funding they raised on Kickstarter, the team is able to share fantastic films with the world.

Some of the shorts presented were from some amazing studios and artists such as Inside Out director Pete Docter, Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant along with John Williams. Here are some links of the animated films or their trailers that I really enjoyed from the show:

TINY BIG by Lia Bertels (Belgium)

DEAR BASKETBALL by Glen Keane (U.S.)

ISLAND by Robert Löbel & Max Mörtl (Germany)

UNSATISFYING by Parallel Studio (France)

THE BURDEN by Niki Lindroth von Bahr (Sweden)

OUR WONDERFUL NATURE – THE COMMON CHAMELEON by Tomer Eshed (Germany)

If you didn’t attend the event this year, I highly recommend attending next year! It’s just so fun to sit with friends and family at a show that would take your love of animation to another level! If you enjoy and want to help The Animation Show of Shows, please show extra support for the event!

And their official website is: https://www.animationshowofshows.com/

A sneak peak into my life…

by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS student

The clock is ticking and the blog post is due in a few hours and I am running across campus to get to the library and finish my work. As I dash through the cold air to start working on the post, I bump into friends who wave and smile. In my head as I try to find a space in the library, I scold myself for procrastinating yet again and continue to open my laptop whilst thinking about my topic for this week.

After several debates with the little angel and devil on either side of my shoulder, I make up my mind to write about an average week in my life. Well the first thing I can think about is my classes and considering the fact that my major is Computer Science I have to really speak about the copious amount of homework that we are given every week. Out of the three courses that I am taking this semester, one of them is research intensive course and other two are high level graduate courses that require me to spend a lot time apart from the class and homework time. My days are filled with me reading research papers in the domain that I am working on and also working on an open problem which would help me validate my learning. If I am not in my classes or reading research papers as I walk across the campus, you will find me working on campus at either the Library or the Graduate Enrollment offices. The best part about working at these places is that you get to work with amazing people who are less colleagues and more friends. If I am working at the library, I get to work with a team that takes cares of the daily functioning of the library and if I am at the Graduate Enrollment office, I work with a team that is trying to help prospective students in understanding if RIT is the right fit for them. The thing that stands out to me at either of these places are my bosses who treat me as an equal and a friend. There are days when I just drop by their office and chat about life and they are always there to help me or just listen to me babble about my life.

Finally, as an elected representative, Graduate Senator, I work with the Student Government to represent the entire graduate community at RIT. In this role, I work with various offices/committees at RIT like the Office of Graduate Education, Co-op Services, Graduate Council, University Council, etc. It gives me a chance to be a voice for the graduate students at RIT and present the issues at the council meetings or to the heads of the offices/departments. Although it has been a very short time since I started working in this role, what makes me truly passionate about my work is knowing that I help improve the experience of graduate students at RIT. Although it sounds like I have a lot on my plate, never did it stop me from going out with my buddies on a Friday night or watching the latest superhero film (I am a Marvel Fan, Shhh..!). In my 15 months of being at RIT, I transitioned from a graduate student who used to be overwhelmed with homework to a graduate senator who is overwhelmed with homework and a lot of other work. During this transition, I made several friends and learnt things that I could have never learnt in any other place. All I want to say is that, graduate school is tough but you can always enjoy as long as you plan your time well. Umm, I am pretty sure I am running late to my next class so I got to run (*so much for good time management*).

Ciao!