A trip to the Hindu Temple of Rochester

Being a Brahmin and growing up in an orthodox Brahmin Community, I was, literally, no more 200 meters away from a Temple. Having said that, It has been 6 months since I last went to a temple, this might not seem like a big deal, but a bit of background on myself will make you understand the magnitude of this.

I come from a lineage of orthodox Brahmins and my family is a direct descendant Hindu Saints. I basically grew up learning sacred Vedic literature near a huge temple called “The Parthasarathy Temple” which is one of the 108 sacred places in the Hindu literature. My family is an orthodox brahmin family, although I, myself, am not very orthodox to speak, and visiting the temple daily, as my dad puts it, is as important a duty as attending college every day, and I get reprimanded heavily if I skip it. But of course being bought up in a modern world, I barely orthodox but I do get some peace of mind by visiting temple especially when life gets tough.

TL;DR, my culture’s sacred ancient literature basically says that as a Brahmin, I must do my duties to god every day, not just only when I want to get an A+ in my next midterm or pass that paper I messed up because I had to watch that episode of Game of Thrones before a midterm, don’t tell my Intelligent Systems professor.

Hindu temple of Rochester

Now that you know why it is such a big deal not visiting any for 6 months, let us talk about the trip. It was a New Years day called “Ugadi”, at least that’ s what my roommates called it, on April 6th, different cultures in India have different calendars. So my roommates decide that we take a trip to the Rochester Hindu Temple which was due for a long time. This semester has been a hard one for each one of us, we were being bombarded with projects, assignments, quizzes, and midterms on all sides and we needed a stress buster and this trip came at the perfect time.

The temple was only a few miles away from RIT. The temple was smaller than we expected but on a big piece of land. The architecture was similar to the temple architecture that you would see in Northern India. There were 7 deities in total. The temple’s environment was very calm and peaceful. They also had a wonderful set up of miniature statues that depicted the entire epic of Ramayana. We spent a few hours there sitting and meditating. I felt a tinge of nostalgia which was soon eradicated when I got a message in myCourses dropbox saying I had a project due in 2 day. Overall, I had a wonderful and the trip got me geared up for the final phase of the semester.

Best and quietest places to study on campus

Throughout your time at RIT, you will be searching for quiet and private places to study and complete your projects. I mean, let’s be honest, when it comes to studies the majority of us tend to get distracted a lot. Also, I don’t want some random guy to stare at my computer in a cafe and come to the conclusion that I am pitiful at coding, I mean that’s what I have my TAs and graders for. So, therefore, during my first two semesters at RIT, I went on a hunt to find the quieter and calmer places on campus for a proper study session.

You might wonder, “Wait! Hold up their sparky! Isn’t the library exactly the place for this ?”. Well, the first and second floors of the library are kind of noisier because they are meant for discussion and group studies. Although the third and fourth floors are designated quiet floors, they get filled up very fast and if you are looking for a private place and quiet place to immerse yourself in studies or complete your assignments with the least distractions, you would need to get a spot in the library very early in the mornings. Also with the rumors that the fourth floor of the library is going to be converted into an office, the traffic on the third floor might increase significantly. As someone who is always on the hunt for quieter and warmer places to study at RIT, I bring to you my top 5 picks on the same:

  1. Third and Fourth floors of Wallace Library: I know, I know! After just stating that the library sees a lot of traffic, I post it as my first pick. You might call me a hypocrite, but come on, it’s called a library for godsakes, it has to be somewhere in the picks. Here’s the deal, if you are going to spending long hours, the third and at least temporarily, the fourth floors are the best places to be. The hardest part of using the third and fourth floor is not the noise level but is about getting your spot. My advice would be to go to the third floor at least an hour before lunchtime. I usually prefer the north wing of the third floor that faces Gleason Circle. It’s the least distractive, and the most spacious. Also, the best part is that the library has rollable couches, which you can just drag your and get comfy. There is an unsaid rule about the quiet floors of the library, people would try their not to sit on a table if it’s already occupied. This means, if you get a table, you are most likely to get the entire table for yourself, at least for the majority of the time.  The fourth floor is, even more, quieter than the third but is less spacious. You can, of course, book a study room, but they have time limits and therefore, not suited for long hours.  Another understood law of the library is that the more floors you climb, the quieter it gets.

    North Wing, 3rd Floor of Wallace Library

  2.  Golisano Institute for Sustainability: Ah yes! The best building at RIT in terms of aesthetics: modern look, orange tinge, huge building, but you what’s even better? You could barely find more than 20 people in the whole building for the most part of the day. Looking for a quiet place to do a phone interview? This building is a godsend for that. Unlike the third and fourth floors of the library, where you would need to minimize your talks, this place offers a huge advantage. You can talk more freely and it’s always quiet, sometimes so quiet that you might hear echoes. Also, not to forget the beautiful terrace garden.

    The spacious Sustainability building, RIT

  3. Crossroads after 8 pm: This is my favorite place at this moment. I, sometimes, prefer it more than the library. It has that mild music in the background, food, very spacious, open till and after 7 PM, one of the most peaceful environments on campus to complete your assignments. It’s crazy because it’s actually very spacious and you would not find a place to even sit during lunch time as it will be packed with people, but it gradually gets better as we move towards evening.  Love it especially because you can grab a bite anytime you want.

    Crossroads at night

  4. Institute Hall: Another place close to the sustainability building. Haven’t spent a huge amount of time over here. The third floor is the quietest. I found the place completely by accident, one of my seniors told me to go to the sustainability building to study, though this place was the building, got lost, which was quite embarrassing considering the fact that I was with my crush and half the building was made of glass and literally, transparent and eventually got to the third floor only to find out the next day that it wasn’t the sustainability building.
  5. Lounge at the James E. Booth building: To be honest, the entire building 7 which is made of Booth 7B and Gannet 7A are calm places most of the days. I haven’t personally spent a lot of time in either of these places but was recommended by a senior. I used to go there for the chess club and sometimes found it to be eerily quiet.

Now, there are more places on campus like the Orange Hall which also have lower decibel levels, but I haven’t had sufficient experience with these places to recommend them. Also, there places in the SAU and GCCIS, but they are pretty inconsistent because of the possibility of university events occurring at these places. I don’t want you to plan a study session over there only to find out that it’s packed with people at which point you decide to add me to your hit list (too much movie nights for me).

Bonus: Looking for a place to nap? Fear not, the student government has got you covered, with an exclusive map which also gives you a measurement of quietness. You could convert these places to study as well, but the one problem is that some of these places have a lower number of ports or a higher number of students snoring.

Now, all the places mentioned above are from my own experience. If you believe, they are not as quiet as I mentioned, I recommend the below solution:

 

Graduate Computer Science: Bridge Courses

I have decided to make this post after a ton of questions regarding the Computer Science Bridge courses. This post is similar to an FAQ about the bridge courses and how to handle them from the point of graduate Computer Science. Now, this post is from a perspective of not just me, but from several graduate computer science students who have done all these courses. Therefore, you can also think this post as a collective testimonial.

Before we get into the common questions I get from students, let me give you a brief introduction about the bridge courses and bridge waiver exams so that you have a complete understanding of them.

Bridge Courses: The graduate bridge courses at the Computer Science Department are provided for students so that they are well prepared and have adequate knowledge to handle the “real” and more difficult graduate level courses. Now, this is my understanding, most of the graduate level courses at the CS department will be difficult, will involve a lot of programming and analysis and a lot of application based approach. You might also have to read a lot of research paper, for that, you will need to adequate understanding of Computer Theory, have a sound foundation in Data Structures and you should be really good at one major programming language. This is what the bridge courses exactly focused on: Foundations of Computer Theory, Advanced Computational Problem Solving, and Advanced Object Oriented Programming.

Bridge Waiver Exam: Now some of you might feel that you are already good all the above, that is the reason the CS department, has a bridge waiver exam so that you have a fair shot at proving that you are already ready for the graduate level courses and do not need to do the bridge courses. The bridge waiver exams cover the exact same things as mentioned above meaning you will have 3 exams in the bridge waiver for each course. Now, you need to get at least a B-grade in all the exams. B is approximately 83, this may change, but this generally a B and this is what you should aim for. Now, some people feel or felt that this is a high cut-off, but you should remember this is also the grade that you will need to pass the course itself. The bridge waiver exam will reflect the coursework. Also, this is a common cut-off throughout the US. The GPA you see everywhere throughout your graduate application requirements, that number 3.0 is equivalent to a grade point average equal to B. Now, I will be honest,  personally, I didn’t take the bridge waiver exam, because I am a 2018 Electrical Engineering pass out and therefore, didn’t have any experience in Computer Science but the consensus from others were that it is difficult to pass the Bridge Waiver exam, because the majority of the exam questions are tricky, with a few them being difficult.

Book for Foundation in Computer Theory

Having done the bridge courses, I would say having a really strong understanding in important Java and OOP concepts like Java Strings, Multi-threading, Networking, Streams, Inheritance, etc. will help you clear the Advanced Object-Oriented Programming exam. I would recommend reading Java Documentation from Oracle for this particular exam. Now for the CSCI-603: Computational Problem Solving, according to me is the easiest of the 3. Having a good foundation in Data Structures and common algorithms like sorting, tree traversal, graph traversals, etc. along with the basics of python will be enough to pass the exam. For the Computer Theory exam, be strong in Automata Theory like designing DFAs and NFAs, Proof Writing, CFGs, Regular expressions, Kleene’s Theorem, Pumping Lemma, CFGs, PDAs, Turing machines. I would recommend reading the “Theory of Computation by Michael Sipser”, sometimes a question will be provided straight out of this book. I have provided a link to all the materials used for the bridge course as well waiver exam at the bottom of the post.

Here are my top ten tips for your bridge courses:

  1. Start off strong, this is very was very important at least for me. I am usually not a very confident guy. It’s usually because whenever I get confident, I jinx myself and everything goes bad, like really bad. So, I checked my course structure, saw most of my courses had the same weight for the midterms and the final. I did well in my assignments, worked hard for my first midterm, and, aced it. This gave me a bit of breathing space and much-needed confidence that I can do well in CS courses considering that was the first CS exam I had ever written
  2.  Target the first midterm, this reiterates my point of starting strong. Doing well in your first midterm will put you on track of getting a good GPA and probably boosting your scholarship or getting a scholarship. Trust me, seeing a good score after your first midterm, will relieve you of your initial jitters. The first midterm will be the easiest of the 3 exams you will have. The concepts will only get tougher as you go forward, you will need to have a buffer so that even if you tend to lose marks down the line, you can still get that magical A grade. I know who didn’t perform well during the first midterm, few of them barely made it and some of them stare retaking the course, even though they did improve in the other exams. In short, target midterm-1, it will be easier, will give you a boost towards a good GPA.
  3.  Do not lose marks in the assignments, this is the golden rule for bridge courses. You will have enough time to plan and do well in your assignments, they carry a good percentage of your marks, they aren’t difficult if you attend classes regularly. I would say not to lose more than 3 marks overall in assignments, ideally not more 1 mark, which is possible. Personally, the only assignments I struggled with where Computer Theory ones. You will have a grading session for every Java Assignment from CSCI-605 where you will have to explain your design to your grader.

    Comp Sci Mentoring Center, 3rd floor of Golisano CSCI Building.

     

  4. Computer Science Mentoring Center: You will find tutors over here where you can who will help you understand the course material. They won’t solve your homework, don’t even try. They will easily know a homework question when they see one. They will clear the doubts regarding homework and point you in the right direction, they will definitely not give you the answer or solve it for you.
  5. Don’t take quizzes lightly, I lost my marks in quizzes, I hate them because I am poor at short-timed tests. At first, it will feel like you have just lost an insignificant portion of your marks until it accumulates and screws your GPA. A lot of my friends, myself included, lost marks in quizzes especially in CSCI-603: Computational Problem Solving. Remember, you need to score 93 and above to get an A and losing 2 marks in Quizzes out of 10 means you cannot lose more than 5 marks in 2 midterms and a final.
  6. Time management: I had previously written a blog post based on time management and its importance in graduate studies. I, personally feel a lot of people who struggled with the coursework weren’t able to properly manage their time. The major difference between those people with the 4.0 GPA and other people, is that they had a proper schedule and were wonderful at time management (you would occasionally see that “All I touch, turn to gold” person, ignore them).
  7. Ask questions, if you have a question ask it in the class. Don’t worry about that super nerd who gives you a condescending stare indirectly saying “That’s so obvious.” Screw him! Hopefully, you won’t have any in the class. You are paying money so that those concepts that aren’t obvious to you, become obvious. You are paying above $5,000 so that you can ask these questions. The professors want you to ask questions, there is no such thing as a silly question, that’s a myth. This obviously doesn’t mean you can interrupt class ask questions about Game of Thrones. Also, your TAs and Professors, will hold office hours, use those timings to clear all your doubts to be it assignments or lectures. Sometimes, even when you don’t have doubts, go to office hours especially before the midterm to watch other people asking doubts. This will help you learn.
  8. Take notes, not everything will be there on the lecture slides. This is because there will be people who will never attend lectures if this were the case.
  9. Attend classes regularly, there will be classmates who you will see only during the exams. Just because they are making a bad choice doesn’t mean you need to. As I said before, not everything will be in the lecture slides. You pay to learn from the Professional who has come in to teach a bunch of eager students wanting to learn, the last thing they want to see is that half the class have decided to go AWOL, which just means that searing passion and interest you talked about in your Statement of Purpose just went AWOL too. Also, it is kind of disrespectful towards the Professor. You wouldn’t have attendance for most of the courses but inform them, at least for the sake of being courteous, if you can’t make it.
  10. Work Hard, if you follow this tip alone, you don’t need to worry about all the above. Study regularly, you will see the results. RIT is a university where students who work hard will not be let down.
    Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Why should I do a bridge course? 

A. You do a bridge course because you didn’t pass the waiver exam, which means you aren’t prepared for the actual graduate level courses which will be more difficult than bridge courses. Imagine a scenario where there were no bridge courses, many people end up struggling in the graduate level courses, some of them fail the courses and decide to drop out of the program altogether because they didn’t have sufficient foundation. Disastrous scenario! You may think about decreasing the difficulty of the coursework, this would lead to a decrease in the quality of the content being thought, which the professors would never agree on. Students to RIT because of the quality of the coursework, you don’t want the quality to go down. Quality is what you are paying for. To avoid such a scenario, the bridge courses were designed.

Q. But but, I have tons of experience and have already done all these in my undergrad?

A. Then you can pass the bridge waiver. Also, let me tell you a real-world example, I know a senior who had 7 years of Software Development experience, worked in a fortune 100 company, still didn’t pass one of the bridge course and retake it. Now, he works full time at Microsoft. This is what he said, “The bridge courses where really an eye opener, I would have definitely failed poorly in the higher level grad level courses without them.”, I had this conversation with him when I joined RIT. He also said that without the bridge course, professors might have toned down the difficulty level and hence, the overall quality of the other advanced courses, especially in a scenario where if many students aren’t well prepared for it or most of them might end up withdrawing or failing the course.

Q. But I have heard the waiver exam is difficult to clear?

A. That’s standard the Computer Science Department has set for you, they want students to be at that level before they go into the higher level graduate courses. That’s the standard your professors want you to be at.

Q. What are the advantages of taking the Bridge Course?

A. Ah! Now you have started asking the right question. The main advantage is you will be well prepared for your advanced courses. The bridge course will also give you the time to settle in a new place and a new country if you are an international student. Apart from that, bridge courses will be directly helpful in your interviews. Trust me, this is something that almost every CS will agree on. Also, remember that Bridge Course GPA is counted towards your final CGPA and scholarships. Your bridge courses will be much much easier than your higher grad level courses, getting a solid GPA in your bridge semester and will also help you boost your scholarship.

Q. Can I do the bridge courses any time during my tenure at RIT?

A. No, you cannot. Whatever bridge course you have been assigned must be completed during the first semester. Unless you get special permission from the program director.

Q. Can I do another subject along with the bridge courses? 

A. Depends on how many bridge courses you cleared using the waiver exam. If you have cleared zilch, you would most likely not be allowed to do more than 3 subjects during the first semester, hence you cannot. If you have cleared one or two or all of them, set up a meeting with the program director and ask on how you should proceed, he will be able to provide proper guidance, since it is your first semester.

Q. What chances do I have of clearing the waiver exam? 

A. It depends on your skill-set. Very few people clear it, but I believe the fact the many of my senior passed down this idea that only a few people can clear it, sort of acted as a mental barrier and people kind of gave up before they attempted the exam or just didn’t take it seriously thinking that they would not be able to clear it. Remember, the mountains are there to be climbed. I will tell you this, you prepare well and work hard, you can clear the waiver exam. Just think of it as your final exam (or the board exam as they used to call it in my country) and give it a real shot. Remember even if you don’t pass the waiver exam, having a solid preparation for it will give you a head start for the bridge course.

Q. Can I waive the course off by taking it in some other university or institution? 

A. You still would need to give the bridge waiver exam and clear it. If you don’t, you still have to take the bridge course for the first semester. So basically, it doesn’t change anything.

Q.  I am switching my major to Computer Science, how should I handle the bridge courses?

A. Don’t worry, I was in your shoe, I am not a complete nerd and I did well. You can do it too, probably even better than me. Try and get some idea of the materials you are going to learn before the start of the semester. Read every day, manage your time and don’t over stress yourself.

ConnectNY – consortium of libraries.

Q. What books should I buy?

A. Honestly, you don’t need to buy one. I never did. You can get one from the library. If the book is not currently available, use the ConnectNY program at the Wallace Library to borrow books from libraries of other universities that are also a part of the ConnectNY program. ConnectNY is a consortium of libraries in New York. You can use your wallace library RIT account for the ConnectNY. Make sure for any course you take, you have check with both RIT and ConnectNY before you buy one.

Q. I am struggling with the bridge course, what can I do? 

A. Work harder! Use the professors’ office hours to work on your problems and clear your doubts. Use the mentoring center. Get some good sleep and eat well.

Q. But the entire class is struggling?

A. This is a rare case. If this happens, talk to your professor as a group. He will deal with it.

Q. I heard professors might sometimes curve your grades, is this true?

A. Erase this from your mind this instant. You rarely get curves for the bridge courses. There was this myth floating around during my first semester that professors will curve if many people are struggling. Many people did poorly in their first midterm and hoped for a curve. Most of them had to retake the entire course because guess what? There was no curve. You perform badly, you have to acknowledge it and work on it. Simple. My roommate missed an A by 0.2 and would have got 40% scholarship if he had an A. He asked the professor for a curve, he got shut down.

Q. Do I have to choose my specialization or cluster in my first semester?

A. No, you don’t, you won’t and you can’t, unless you have a passed all the waiver exams. Also, there is no predefined thing such as choosing a cluster, it like a metaphor. The simple rule is that if you want to do a particular specialization, you have to do the prerequisite foundation/introduction course from that cluster. If you don’t do that, you cannot take other courses from that cluster and this applies to all clusters.

Q. When is the bridge waiver exam? 

A. You will get an email about it. It’s usually after graduate student orientation and before the CS orientation.

Q. How is the registration for the bridge courses done?

A. The registration for the bridge courses will be done by the Computer Science department. This is an exception for only the bridge courses. Hence, you won’t get to choose professors for the bridge courses alone.

I hope, this post answers a majority of your question on bridge courses. As I said I will be providing you with the links here. Have fun and also study hard!

Bridge Test information: http://spiegel.cs.rit.edu/~hpb/public_html/Bridge/

Resources:

CSCI-661: Foundations of Computer Theory – Book

CSCI-605  Advanced Object Oriented PRogramming: http://spiegel.cs.rit.edu/~hpb/Lectures/2181/605/index.html, Java Docs

CSCI-603 – Computational Problem Solving: http://interactivepython.org/runestone/static/pythonds/index.html

Mentoring Center: https://www.cs.rit.edu/getting-help

RIT Library Database and ConnectNY

Time and Stress Management

Before we start off, I would like to say that this post wasn’t just constructed from my own experience or opinion but after talking to a lot people, coming from different professional and educational program, people who have either struggled to adapt to their new grad life, people who are moving so easily through the program that it’s almost unfair, (seriously do you guys have some kind of a cheat code?), and people who have altogether quit. Don’t worry too much about the last case, they are few and far between. One thing, I want to you guys to recognize is that Graduate Studies is like going to the gym if you think just going there and starting at the treadmill will magically make you more fit, trust me been there done that and it doesn’t work. Similarly, just attending graduate school isn’t going to make you magically an expert unless you put in the work. Graduate School is a guide and means of achieving expertise. Also, to my fellow international students, remember that you are in a new country, a new environment, so don’t worry if it’s hard at the beginning, it is supposed to be and your professors will understand that. At RIT, every graduate department has tons of resources that will help you grow, every program has been designed carefully taking the needs of the students and the current trend in the field into consideration.

Graduate School is a guide and means of achieving expertise.

Now, not all graduate programs are the same, in fact, you will come to realize that not every class for a particular subject are the same, as the course structure will vary significantly depending on the professor. With that in mind, although I am a graduate computer science student, I will try to keep this as generic as possible. I am pretty sure you guys are fed up with my ramblings by now, so shall we get into the actual points (and a bit more rambling) that I want to drive home?

Time Management:

This is one of the most essential points I want to convey. You can easily overcome almost 40% of the challenges you will face if you can properly manage your time. You will have projects, midterms, homework, quizzes, research papers, and you will have at least two of these every week for all your classes. Apart from this, I can’t stress this enough, you must spend time studying and reviewing what the concepts covered before and after your classes. Trust me, you would be making your life significantly harder if you think you can do an overnight homework or a last-minute study for your midterms, forget the finals. If you are working on campus, you would need to take that into consideration too. Some of you might think managing time is easy, well unless you have a graduate degree in time management (if it one exists), everyone both undergrad and grad students in the USA struggle with it. Learning when to jump at new opportunities and when to say no to extra tasks is a skill which every academic should develop if they are to avoid going mad. So how do you cope up with this? That brings me to my next point.

Planning:

Plan your work. Most of your project/homework deadlines will be given at least 2 weeks ahead, plan early on how to proceed with them and try to stick to the plan. Most people develop some plan or the other, but the problem actually arises from not being following the plan. So, stick to your plan guys. Also, make sure the schedule is flexible, life isn’t a play with scripts. Something important activity may suddenly come up that must be accommodated. Also, make sure you plan gives you a decent period to rest and is within reasonable expectation. It isn’t reasonable to think you can finish a week load of assignments in two days, so you can Netflix and chill. I have seen one of my roommates try that only to fail miserably where he “Netflix and Chilled” a little too early, only to find he had read the problem wrong while in a hurry to complete the homework. Evaluate your limits before you plan. You may be a slow coder or a fast learner, consider your strengths and weaknesses and make sure your plan reflects that. Make sure you include daily activities like cooking, laundry, and housekeeping in your plan. Make sure you have time for a proper meal 3 times a day.

Every student has access to RIT’s myCourses, where all your deadline will be listed, if not, check your professor website. You can set alerts for your deadlines, most of the times they have alerts by default.

Prioritizing:

Doing a project that is 10 days when you have a midterm in the next two days, is not working smart. You will have to learn to prioritize your work and I don’t mean prioritizing Netflix over an assignment. You might decide to prioritize based on the nearest deadline or based on which homework you feel is the hardest among different courses. Sometimes you can altogether avoid prioritizing if you stick to plan. Setting out enough time in your day to fulfill your tasks will help you with this process and enable you to, when necessary, say “nope, I literally do not have enough time to do that”. Prioritizing is nothing but working smart. Check myCourses regularly, sometimes your deadlines could be postponed thanks to your Professor, at which point you shift your priority.

Procrastination:

Do not procrastinate! Seriously, you will be overwhelmed if you procrastinate even for a day, not joking on this. I have done this, everyone has, and everyone regrets it. Tomorrow always seems like a better option until you see your grade pop up on myCourses.

Stress Management:

I can’t stress this point enough (see what I did there?). Stress is one of the most common hurdles in life and it’s no different in graduate school. Stress is a very important issue as it can sometimes lead to depression if not properly managed. What causes stress in a graduate student? Well, that depends on you, I personally get stressed on almost everything. There are people who don’t get stressed even if it’s the end of the world. I would suggest you to not be in either of those categories. There is no way to avoid it, what you can do is try and manage it.

RIT offers an array of services under the Tigers Care program to help with the stress, if you ever feel overly stressed out or depressed, I would suggest you make use of the services. They offer counseling and consultation, 5 days a week except for the weekends. There are many activities conducted regularly throughout RIT for stress management. One of my favorite stress-busting activity is hanging out with the therapy dogs. They visit the Wallace library many times during a semester. Another method to cope up with stress is to join clubs. There are a huge number of clubs at RIT and they will welcome you with open arms. Most of the clubs have a weekly meeting, join them, make new friends, there is no better way to deal with stress other than to hang out with your friends. Want to take a quick Nap? Look no further than Naps.rit or as I would like to call it, NapZzz. Naps.rit brings you the best napping spaces around campus. Knowing where to nap on campus is perfect for those moments when you need to unwind between classes. You can find more information about these various facilities in the links provided at the very end of the post.

Therapy Dogs at Wallace Library

Be Responsible:

Most of you might be new to Rochester, heck even the entire country. You will definitely want to visit new places, go for parties, enjoy life outside of academics, which you should but remember the purpose you are here for. You will have breaks in between the semester to spend time on your favorite leisure. So, remember to focus on your goals first, achieving them should be the first priority. Success doesn’t come overnight, it comes with hard work and sacrifice. Everything in life follows something I call the “law of equivalent exchange”, one cannot gain anything without giving something in return, success is rarely gained without sacrifices and hard work. RIT is a university where hard-work will not go unnoticed, work hard and you will reap your rewards at RIT. That said, it is also very important to relax when it’s time to. Do not burn yourself out by overworking. Find a balance.

Everything in life follows something I call the “law of equivalent exchange”, one cannot gain anything without giving something in return, success is rarely gained without sacrifices and hard work.

Graduate school is the place where ignorance will not be forgiven. Don’t involve yourself in activities or controversies that you shouldn’t even be near to, like Academic Dishonesty in particular. This is very serious guys, I might even write a blog about it next time. Don’t copy solution for your homework from others or from the internet. Don’t even think about it. Every University in the US has very strict academic dishonesty rule. It is a crime, as simple as that. In RIT, especially in the Computer Science program, if you ever get involved in it, you better start packing your goods because you won’t be staying here for much longer. It has happened to some of my classmates, it happens in every department and in every semester. A huge percentage of your orientation will be based on it. So, you cannot plead ignorance. Therefore, be responsible, if you need help with your homework, talk to your professor or TA, they will gladly help you out. It is better to admit you don’t know how to proceed with a problem statement than to use a solution that isn’t yours and make a career-ending decision.

Aside from the above, sometimes all that is required is proper motivation. There will be days where you will feel tired, days where will not be feeling like getting out of bed, days where you might question yourself whether all this worth your effort. In such cases, all you have to do is think of your purpose of attending graduate school in the first place. Focus on your, focus on your family, your parents, all the sacrifices you did or your family did in order to get you here. Use that as the motivation for your hard work. RIT provides a ton of facilities from start-up incubators to 24-hr labs.

I decided to make this post after witnessing a lot of people failing to find work-life balance. I, honestly, believe this stems from some of the above mentioned factors. It’s ok to make mistakes, you will make mistakes, but you should learn to pull yourself up after each fall. Graduate school isn’t just about studies, you will learn a lot of life that will stick with you throughout your life. That said, learn to enjoy your new grad life, you will learn a lot of cool things, meet a lot of new people and 10 years from now you might look back and smile thinking what the fuss was all about.

Naps.rit

For more information regarding, Tigers Care: https://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/tigerscare/

For more information regarding Naps.rit: https://naps.rit.edu/

Tips for Vegetarians and Vegans

by Aravind Vicinthangal Prathivaathi, Computer Science MS

Welcome to a simple and user-friendly survival guide to all those vegans and vegetarians in the land of limited options. To all my meat-loving homo-sapiens who have mistakenly meandered to this post – no hard feelings guys, love you loads, but not your food choice.

Now to all my Vegetarian friends out there, you are not vegan, especially to those people who come from a country where there is no such classification as vegan established in your roots. Again vegetarian != vegan (have to show my programming skills somewhere). So what is the difference between vegan and vegetarian? Simple, vegans consume no animal products which includes dairy products! So, to all my vegetarian friends out there consuming your body-weight in cheese while telling people you are vegan, time to reconsider your position in the food chain. Also, vegans are people who have made a conscious decision to become.

With that out of the way, shall we get into the details? That’s just a rhetorical question.

Tip #1: 3 out of every 100 people in the US are vegetarians and 5 out of every 1000 people in the US are vegans, meaning our options are limited when it comes to restaurants and food. Solution? As the friendly neighborhood, New Yorker would say “Don’t worry RIT’s gotcha covered”. You have a decent array of options under RIT Dining Services. Here is my list of favorite places and food from those places:

  • Crossroads: You have a set of vegetarian/vegan options in the grill section of the cafe. Also, you can make a subway-style sub/sandwich/wrap. Here is a hack: you want to make a vegan burger vegetarian? Add cheese and your set. Bonus Points: Just come to the cash register and if you are lucky you may see me working over there.
  • Global Village Cantina and Grille: Mexican style food at Salsarita, get a custom-made veggie burrito or it’s sister versions and you’re all set.
  • Ritz Sports Zone: Go to the pasta section, again a subway-style custom made pasta. Add the veggies and get kind of a weird look from people when you say no to meat. Wait for it to bake and done! Side-note: Do not get swayed by the amount of veggie options, choose properly or the pasta contents will overflow and will get stuck in the oven. Happened to me once and they weren’t happy about it.
  • The Commons: I just go over there for the veggie pizza and it’s worth it.
  • Java Wally’s: I go there for the chocolate chip brownie, it’s vegan and it’s the best brownie in the world. Full Stop.
  • Gracies: Unlimited buffet, there is Mongolian grill, salad bars, etc. For more info go to the link at the bottom of the post.

Tip #2: For restaurants outside of RIT, use the GrubHub or DoorDash app to filter them out. My favorite I-need-cheap-and-good-food restaurants are Taco Bells, Subway, Chipotle, Fastrac Cafe (they have cheap pizzas with unlimited toppings) and my kitchen.

Tip #3: The last option you see in #2 is very very important. For heaven’s sake and also yours, learn how to cook or even better find a vegetarian/vegan roommate who knows how to cook.

Tip 4: Join RIT’s Vegan Club, you can find them on campus groups. If you are a vegetarian pondering on how to join the club, just tell them that you are Vegan who eats cheese (kidding, just talk to the club manager). When you are there and if you see my roommate sitting a corner of a room, go say hi. He is a lonely guy.

Tip #5:  To all those people who are used to eating in restaurants with veg demarcated kitchens, you will rarely find them in the US. So for those souls who are conscious about shared utensils used for both serving meat and veggies, here are some tips.

  • Kindly request them to change gloves if they are serving food by hand. You will see this in Subway or any restaurants/cafe that make subs or sandwiches. Remember to be humble when requesting and don’t forget to thank them after you see them changing gloves.
  • Don’t go too much into the details, requesting them to change gloves is fine but asking them to wipe down the entire counter before they serve you is harsh.
  • It’s kind of re-iterating the last tip but no matter how hard you try, it is inevitable that there is going to be some tiny mix-up, if you see it happening in-front your eyes and it heavily bothers you, you request them to alter it or just donate your food to one of your friends. No matter what happens, don’t throw the food away.
  • Most dining places in RIT and restaurants in the US for that matter have separate utensils, so don’t worry too much but remember a good population of the workers at RIT’s dining services are students, so don’t get angry if they mix up the utensils, you can request them to serve you a new piece of food but never shout or act rudely towards them. There is something called Karma and you know what they say about it.

Tip #6: For groceries, Wegmans and Walmart have a lot of options, there are also Indian stores around where you can get veggie-friendly food.

Tip #7: RIT has a program called RIT FoodShare, go check them out if you have time. They have a wonderful bunch of people working there, they will assist you if you are broke and you need some veggies.

Now to conclude and for those people who just skipped to last, simply remember these few things, most food in the US can be customized. RIT has a decent array of vegan/vegetarian options and join the vegan club to at least give my roommate some company.

For more information on the RIT’s dining services, visit: https://www.rit.edu/fa/diningservices/

For the vegan club: https://campusgroups.rit.edu/rvc/about/

To know more about FoodShare: https://www.rit.edu/staffcouncil/rit-foodshare