Niagara Falls – The perfect getaway for weekend!

I still remember the first time that I visited Niagara falls back in 2011. I was mesmerized by the size of the falls and its beauty. Those memories of falls made me want to visit falls again when I moved to Rochester for my graduate studies. Niagara falls is approximately an hour and a half drive from Rochester and with it being the largest waterfall in the world, we are fortunate to live this close to it. I have visited the Niagara Falls around four to five times in a semester and I can still go there for many more times. The beauty that the falls holds is beyond anyone’s imagination and being a student we all need a place where we can go and forget about all stress and heavy workload.

Recently, I visited Niagara Falls in mid-March. Although, the best time to visit Niagara falls would be during the summer and fall, this place its own beauty during the winter as well. I had always wanted to see how it is to see such gigantic fall frozen. Fortunately, this time I had an opportunity to visit Niagara in winters and as I expected, the visual that I could see in front of me was unbelievable. It was difficult to stand there in cold breeze but the view was so appealing that even in freezing cold temperature, a large number of tourists were at the Niagara falls.

Niagara Falls is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the summer. The falls is in the middle of Canada and the United States. So, on both sides of the falls, we can see the beautiful view of the other side of the falls. In the American side, there is a pretty park when we enter the Niagara Falls. There are flowers and bright green grass which makes the place even more beautiful. Along with the attractions, these are huge souvenir stores where you can find pretty much everything and they all are worth visiting. There are also many places to eat around there. Along with the falls, the Seneca resort and Casino is also one of the main attraction of this place.

Following are the best things to do at the Niagara Falls from the american side,

  • Maid of the Mist boat tour: This is the only boat ride from american falls and the passengers can get a closer look of the falls.

 

 

 

 

  • Cave of the Winds: This allows you to view the falls from the observation platforms and keeps you a little drier. This is the best experience of the American falls. 

 

 

 

  • Niagara Falls state park: This is one of the oldest state park and it gives a beautiful view of the falls and the lush green gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Observation Tower: This extends out from the American side and it is the only place from where both the American and the Canadian Falls can be viewed.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Along with these attractions, there is Niagara fashion outlet very close by. This is the center of attraction for all college students because you can find all brand stores and the prices are very reasonable there.

 

 

 

 

 

All these attractions and beautiful falls makes Niagara Falls the perfect getaway for anyone.

myRITstory- Kaushal Nagar

For this blog post, I decided to cover the RIT story of one of my close friends, Kaushal, who is a true representation of how RIT provides a base for student success with its abundant resources and opportunities through perseverance and discipline. 

Kaushal came to RIT in the fall of 2017 as a Masters student in Computer Engineering from the city of Mumbai and this is what he has to say about his experience at RIT and what he thinks makes the university so special for him.

What did you do for your bachelors back home and when did you decide to pursue your masters?

‘I did my bachelors back in Mumbai in Electronics and Telecommunications. I was intrigued by the concepts of microcontrollers and their functionalities which made me study that more. In due course of time, I was fascinated by the concept of embedded systems and concept of automated remote data acquisition. I dived more into the subject when I started writing a research paper on ‘Automated vehicle surveillance and security’. With a mind fixed to explore the horizons of embedded computing and IoT, I started my application process.’

Why did you decide to come to RIT and what do you love most about it?

‘I decided to come to RIT on account of it’s rich and reputed co-op program coupled with the vast range of subjects offered by the CE department in the domain of embedded systems computing, computer architecture and multiple processor systems. The flexibility and independence to undertake an independent study is something that further excited me to come to RIT. Further, the very idea of being benefited by the guidance of esteemed professors at RIT reinstated my desire to come to RIT.

I like the sense of independence and responsibility that is given to the students when undertaking any course. The flexibility to choose courses as per our interests and the choice to communicate with the professors personally if need be (in regards to course content, approach towards the course, independence while taking the course). The rich co-op program at RIT excites me no bounds.’

Tell me something about what you are doing at RIT?

‘My program is MS in CE. A combination of understanding the hardware and software aspects of various system. My focus is on embedded systems and IoT and real-time computing. I am keenly passionate regarding the interfacing and operations of different softwares (programs) on hardware platforms and their behaviors. This motivated me to take the CE program. The new innovations induced in the h/w-s/w industry due to the advent of IoT makes it all the more interesting to be a part of this field. CE department allows to take courses from multiple disciplines of engineering to hone our skills. I have been taking the Real Time and Embedded Systems course for over a year now. I owe my development in this domain and skills acquired to the amazing professors at RIT.’

Have you done any co-ops while you were here and what are some of your future goals after you graduate from the university?

‘I did my co-op at MKS Instruments, Rochester. I was a part of the Advanced Development Group. I learnt to learn quickly and implement new technology to existing technologies. I learnt to adapt, learn and improve independently. It is a semiconductor industry motivated company. I learned a plethora of new technologies, skills and methodologies there. I had merely heard that engineering these days is cross disciplinary, at MKS, I experienced this and learnt to implement my engineering skills accordingly in a much more robust way. I got to deal with different platforms and OS on board. I took assignments by myself and contributed to the MKS team. I learnt to back myself and take initiative. The technical skills that I acquired at MKS is something that I will always be grateful for. I developed the mentality of an aggressive, multi-disciplinary engineer and learnt to lead by example by taking initiatives. This was an experience of a lifetime for me.

In a few years, I intend to apply my engineering skills developed at RIT at a fortune 100 company by being actively involved in research and development at the institution in the capacity of a technical lead.’

 

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

Korean BBQ in Rochester!

Ever since I moved to Rochester I have been overwhelmed with the sheer number of restaurants that I feel obligated to try. There is so much variety, whether you’re looking for African food, Asian food, Spanish food, there are so many unique and locally owned restaurants to get your fix of diverse offerings. A cuisine that I had been wanting to dive into for a while but wasn’t sure where to start: Korean food. Fortunately for me, there are several places in the Rochester area alone that could fulfill my cravings. I decided to check out Seoul House on West Henrietta road, and I wasn’t disappointed. When we went, it was actually late at night just an hour before they were set to close. But the staff was as kind and accommodating as ever. The decor is beautiful; the inside has a lot of wood accents and beautiful plants placed throughout the waiting and dining area. We were greeted warmly as soon as we arrived, and I noticed throughout the meal, several different staff members came to check on us, look at the baby, and engage with us in a way that you don’t experience in most restaurants. The waitstaff was attentive, very detailed in explaining every dish, and helped us navigate what felt like an endless stream of options at our disposal. In the end, we decided on the Korean

Grilling beef and onions!

barbecue option for two, where they provide you with a whole spread of condiments, pickled vegetables, onions to grill, and of course, beef, chicken, and shrimp to grill on the table. Generally when you go out to eat, you don’t want to cook. But my wife and I had a lot of fun grilling everything. We went a little crazy and started grilling the vegetables too. Pro tip: grill the beef short rib inside of the onion, it will give it a very complex flavor as everything caramelizes. They made it easy for us in terms of preparation, everything was pre-cut and seasoned, we just had to place it on the grill and char it to our desired level of doneness. Several varieties of kimchi were waiting for us and we combined the condiments with everything we had grilled for a truly unique flavor. I can’t speak for the other Korean restaurants in the area, but if you’re looking for a place to try out the cuisine for the first time, Seoul House would be the place to go. They have the friendliest staff, a ton of options, and their food is seasoned so well. We had a wonderful experience there and can’t wait to go back again.

 

myRITStory – DRISHTI BHANDARI

Program: Metals and Jewelry Design, MFA

The journey from NIFT, India to RIT was endearing as Drishti recalls it. Coming from a jewelry-design background wanting to acquire more expertise in her field, Drishti made a conscious decision to join RIT’s Master of Fine Arts program in Metals and Jewelry Design, one of the most reputed metal design programs in the entire country.

“I always have people curiously coming up to me asking questions about my program as a majority of them come mostly from engineering and computing backgrounds”, says Drishti. “They find it brave and challenging to pursue a field so unique and unheard of”.

Having her jewelry pieces represented at India’s reputed fashion shows, it was time for Drishti to explore further into the field and acquire higher professional standing in her field. After extensive research, she chose RIT because of the impressively designed curriculum and the exposure provided by the department. She was taken aback by the composition of the curriculum that provides broad exposure to metalworking techniques, promises expanded knowledge of applied design, strong perceptual and philosophical concepts and helps develop an individual mode of expression, facilitating her to practically implement her theoretical knowledge from her under graduation into the creation of intricate models. With an existing impressive portfolio, she believed that an advanced degree from RIT and assistance from industry-renowned professors were sure to guarantee her immense success in the design field.

Drishti plans on making the most of her experience at RIT. Along with the comprehensive coursework that requires long and arduous hours in the ceramics and metals lab, she juggles between schoolwork and a fun job at the Brick City Café and believes it is a great way to meet new people and make ends meet as well. From late hours in the lab crafting beautiful designs with her own hands, she believes that the hands-on experience is providing her with a more detailed outlook in the metal design field.

“People back home are scared to pursue their interests in fields that are unheard of because of the stringent rules back here in the US. However, if an individual is determined enough to work for something that they truly love, success comes easy. I would not have found a better place to learn and hone my skills than at RIT amongst the best peers and faculty.”

Lastly, Drishti considers that choosing Rochester Institute of Technology turned out to be a much better decision than she expected. She believes that although it has been one of the toughest things she has had to do, at the end of the day she loves every second of it!

 

 

New to RIT: What to do next?

As intimidating as it is to arrive in a new country alone amidst new people, it is always important to keep a note of the primary things to get done before the Fall semester starts.

Here is a guide on every detail a new arriving student at RIT must follow before the start of classes:

Moving-in

If you are lucky enough to be traveling with companions split the cab expenses when you first arrive at the airport. The university runs shuttles a week prior to the start of classes from airport, train and the bus stations so that people arriving from all over the world do not have to go through the hassle of Uber and all that luggage and can safely arrive at the university.

A majority of the graduate student reside in several off-campus apartments near the university. Thanks to technology and the geniuses working at Uber, is it now easier to get a ride from any corner of the city. Also make sure to stalk up on the groceries the first week you are here and do not forget to explore the wonders that American supermarkets like Walmart, Wegmans, PriceRite etc. have to offer!

A great resource for new students to buy stuff for their homes is the Goodbye-Goodbuy Sale held in the Orientation week. The thrift sale contains every possible piece of item a student might ever need for extremely cheap prices.

New Student Orientation

The new student orientation provides important information of special interest to international students including:

  • Immigration Information on Maintaining Legal Status While in the U.S.
  • Employment in the U.S. (On and Off campus)
  • Health Care and Health Insurance
  • Cultural Adjustment
  • S. Tax Obligations
  • Safety Concerns
  • S. Social Security Numbers

The orientation is where a student receives information about the absolute life at RIT and in the city of Rochester. For international students, this is primary information session that briefs the students about the conduct and policies of the university and also provides the checklist of the tasks that need to be done after first arriving on campus.

  • The first and foremost thing that any new student should do is get their i20s signed from the office of International Student Services located in the Student Union. This marks that the student has successfully entered the university.
  • The second step would be to visit the Office of Registrar in the George Eastman building to get the official University ID Card. This card is useful while entering residence hall, labs, libraries, buying meals, for campus events, and more and is the primary identification when in the university.
  • The next step would be to head down to the Graduate Admissions Office to submit copies of your degree certificate and transcripts in the Bausch and Lomb Center.

The Orientation week is a great chance to finally get in touch with your PAL in person and learn more about the university and the events that are happening all over the campus. It is also a good time to start looking for on campus jobs (either in person or through handshake applications) before the start of classes.

The week before the classes also marks the RochesterGlobalConnection Welcome Picnic event held at one of the heritage spots in Rochester where new international students from UofR, RIT, MCC and Nazareth College come together for lunch engage in great activities and get to interact with the locals of the city.

Department Orientations are held separately by all colleges and provide specific information about the student’s program of interest, tours of the college, personal interaction with the faculty and advisors and provide more information about the classes and the college in general.

SSN

Every year ISS plans an entire day wherein the students are taken downtown to apply for their Social Security Numbers. The office also provides loads of instructions on how to apply for it, what all documents are needed to apply for it and any other documentation help that a student might need.

Tiger Walk & Ice Skating

One of the finest orientation events is the Tiger Walk held at the Quarter Mile in the university wherein new students all take a round of the entire university with the band playing and faculty and parents cheering the students all along the walk. It remarkably highlights the true spirit of the Tigers at RIT and also a fun way to explore the campus and meet new people!

Enjoy some Ice Skating at the Frank Ritter Ice Arena during orientation week. Public skate hours are available for members of the RIT community and the general public.

Resource Fair

The Resource Fair allows new students and their families to get their questions answered, meet with staff members, take care of business, and get information regarding the resources and services available at RIT and in the community. Students can also get mobile phone Sim cards, get their bank accounts set up and get loads of free goodies!!

Explore the campus

The Office of Graduate Education offers hour long, student-guided walking tours of the academic, athletic, and campus life facilities. They originate the Bausch and Lomb Center, #77 and can be arranged with advanced notice.

The Orientation Week is the most fun time on campus with the sun glistening and cheers all around the campus. Make sure to be on the lookout for emails from various departments and organizations for awesome orientation events on the campus all week long!

Good Luck!

College Student Hacks for Wegmans!

One of the best parts of going to school in the Rochester area is undoubtedly all the Wegmans locations that are available. There are so many, for literally every occasion. Although each Wegmans stocks the same products, for the most part, each one has their little quirks that make them special. Several Wegmans locations within a short drive of RIT even have restaurants built-in.

The Pub at the Wegmans in Perinton

In the Perinton location, there’s the Pub, great for bar food and fried foods. The Pittsford location boasts the burger bar, and across the street is the “Next Door” restaurant. If you have the emotional strength to deal with the parking lot at the East Ave location, your reward can be trying out their Italian restaurant, Amoré. Because you will seriously need some comfort food after trying to secure a parking spot there. It will test you in ways you can’t imagine. But it is worth it. Some of the Wegmans locations have blessed us enough to have side lot parking (shoutout to the Calkins road location), usually located near the cafe entrance. There are fewer spots available but it typically gets less traffic than the main lot, and the spots are much closer to the cafe entrance compared to the main ones, so in weather like this (I’m looking at you, -20 degree windchill!) it really does make a difference and the feeling return to your toes much quicker when you’re not parking so far away. If you hate traffic, like I do, you can go at 9pm when it’s less hectic. Hey, you can even go at 11pm. 3am! Nothing is stopping you except for your own limitations because Wegmans is one of the few grocery stores that remains open for 24 hours. Don’t expect to queue up to the sub line or get some fresh soup if you’re rolling up to the store at 2am, but they will still have all of their prepackaged items available, and of course, the groceries, which is why you’re going in the first place right?

Speaking of subs, AKA submarine sandwiches for those who don’t know, Wegmans happens to make delicious ones. They make hot and toasty pressed subs as well as the cold ones. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: that delicious bread they use? It’s actually the same bread that they use at DiBella’s sandwich shops. So when that sub craving hits and the DiBella’s can’t be found, Wegmans has got your back. If you decide to be an adult and prepare your food instead of just buying, Wegmans has so many things that they do to make it easy for you. Need some carrots spiralized for that veggie spaghetti you’ve been telling yourself you’d try to make for the last 3 weeks? No problem. Got a whole chicken you want to butterfly, but don’t have the giant meat cleaver at home or the willingness to send poultry juice flying all over your kitchen with each hack of the knife? Wegmans has you covered. For pretty much anything. I haven’t been able to come up with something yet that they won’t do for me.

Last but not least, Wegmans makes it so easy for you to save money. Their store brand is as high quality as anything in there, and significantly cheaper. Just as an example, their Wegmans brand organic pasta imported from Italy and specialty balsamic vinegar and olive oils are such high quality and at a reasonable price point especially when you look at other brands and what they expect. Wegmans also offers digital coupons through their Shoppers Club program that are easy to sign up for and redeem. This is another one of the many things that makes Wegmans a great place to shop for college students because of how much they truly value their customers.

Parking at RIT

by Yingshan Wu, Visual Communication Design MFA 

Credit: Tianna Mañón

RIT is immense, How can I choose the parking place?

RIT have 10 main parking places around the academic buildings and 3 parking areas nearby dormitory area. All parking lots have convenient, reserved, general zones for you.

They are:

D Lot and N Lot nearby gym and playground

E Lot, F Lot, G Lot and H Lot are popular and huge areas that work for the main academic area in RIT. They close to the MAGIC Spell Studios, library, facility, campus employees offices and SAU (the campus center). In addition, if you are student of

1.The E. Philip Saunders College of Business (Max Lowenthal Hall)

2.The College of Art and Design (James E. Booth Hall)

3.The College of Science (Thomas Gosnell Hall)

4.The Kate Gleason College of Engineering (James E. Gleason Hall)

This 4 parking lot also can be the nice place to park your car.

J Lot and T Lot are shared work of main academic area, the STEM student also can parking in those lots as well.

S Lot is another giant parking place for people to go to Global Village, Munsell Color Science Laboratory, University Services Center and The E. Philip Saunders College of Business (Max Lowenthal Hall)

R Lot and U Lot are small size parking lots,  If you are lucky, in ice hockey game day please go to the U Lot early, it super close to hockey field, The Gene Polisseni Center.

Although Riverknoll Apartments, University Commons Apartments, and Perkins Green Apartment have their own parking lots, the L Lot, K Lot and C Lot are parking places for the students who live in the Residence Hall buildings (A, B, C, D) and who are working in Student Development Center.

RIT provides those main parking places, which is super helpful to students’s campus life.

 

 

IST Labs at GCCIS

The Golisano College is housed within a three-floor, 126,500 sq. ft. facility that features stunning architecture coupled with state-of-the-art research facilities.

There are 13 classrooms, 12 studio teaching labs, and 16 dedicated labs at the College, offering access to the study of every major computing platform. The College’s dedicated Security Lab is isolated from the rest of the campus’s networks to allow the in-depth study of viruses, firewalls, and other computer vulnerabilities.

The Lab Assistants are responsible to manage the Cage. The cage is basically a hub that stores a plethora of hardware that the students can lend for their classes or projects; it is also the place where the labbies sit and take care of the multiple labs in the IST department.

The labs at the IST department are as follows:

  • NETWORK LABS
  •  Networking Lab
  • Systems Administration Lab
  • AirGap Lab

  • SECURITY LAB

  • DATABASE LABS
  • DB Small Lab
  • DB Medium Lab
  • DB Large Lab

  • OPEN LABS
  • Grad Lab
  • Open Lab and Tutoring Center

  • MAC LAB 1 (CS Dept)
  • MAC LAB 2 (CS Dept)

Additional labs include an Entertainment Lab for 3D modeling game and interactive media development lab, a Mobile Computing and Robotics Lab for the research and development of portable devices; and an Artificial Intelligence lab dedicated to the understanding of human reactions and processing.

Last Minute Spring Break planning destinations

Spring break is an entire week to relax in the middle of the semester and if you are not behind on your assignments you deserve to treat yourself with a relaxing time. With a small or large budget, you should take advantage of the Rochester’s near locations to plan a trip or just enjoy what the city has to offer. Here are some popular spots for spring break:

New York City

Is a 5 hours trip in a car, but it totally worth it, especially if you haven’t been there yet. New York city is a popular spot to go on and off spring break but since you have several days off it makes it more ideal to go there and be able to enjoy it without having to rush your trip. I have been there twice for a few days and I want to come back to keep knowing more about this exciting city.

Brooklyn Bridge

A lot people know someone living already in New York, perhaps they could let you stay in for the break and you could save that money. The hotel could be very expensive but thank God, there is Airbnb where you could find a spot according to your needs.

If you happen to be there I can recommend to go to the museums like The Met, The Moma, Madame Tussauds. Another day could be go to China Town where you could take a picture of your aura as I did. Also, eating pasta, gelato, taking a good cup of coffee with some cannoli https://foursquare.com/top-places/new-york-city/best-places-cannoli at Little Italy, or walking through Brooklyn Bridge. It sounds like a lot but is feasible, I did all that in just 5 days. If you plan your days before hand, you would get the most of your trip.

Ski Resort

I know is Spring break but we are in Rochester so Skiing is a legit way to spend this break. Get together with a group of friends and plan a few days trip in any of the resorts we have close by. A season pass is the best way to go but if you don’t have it you also can find ways to save some money. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive, you could adjust the amount of days and share expenses with your friends like renting the car to travel, renting the gear and sharing the hotel.

Bristol Mountain Winter Resort

Over the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York 58 miles (1 hour 7 minutes) away from Rochester there are Bristol mountain, Holiday Valley which are popular resorts for skiing. Both offer discount for groups and other activities besides skiing like Winter Carnival dining and spa.

If you are an inexperienced skier is better if you go with a friend who knows and could teach you how things work but if you don’t these places offer lessons that you can take and make you more comfortable on the snow. As a graduate student, you will be in Rochester 2 to 3 years tops so take advantage of this time, the location and the weather. Yes! you are reading correctly, you can enjoy this weather as well.

Niagara Falls

I haven’t been there yet but just seeing the pictures that the scenery is breathtaking and being so close to it you don’t want to miss it. Niagara Falls is a collective name for 3 waterfalls that are place in the international border between Canada and the US (New York State).

Niagara Falls

From largest waterfall is Horseshoe Falls, then next close in size is American Falls and the smallest one is called Bridal Veil Falls. Horseshoe and Bridal Veil falls, both lie on American and Canadian borders, while American Falls is completely on the US side. So, if you are an international student, you don’t need a Canadian visa to visit. This is also a destination worthy to spend a few days there, from 2 to 3 days. If you enjoy outdoor adventures this destination is for you. You just have to dress accordingly for the weather at this time of the year, for spring break week is not so bad and you will be able to see the waterfall in movement.

Niagara Falls are located 19 miles (34 min) north-northwest of Buffalo City and 86 miles (1h 28 m) away from Rochester. If you are able to go for 3 days you also could make a quick tour through Buffalo City. I encourage you to visit the link niagarafallsusa.com and see the possibilities around this destination.

Rochester

If you don’t have the budget or the time to plan a trip you still can enjoy the city of Rochester. I just have been here for a semester and a half and I have been busy in grad school of course so I haven’t been out that much, but from what I have experience so far, I could recommend you my favorite places here in Rochester, The Strong Museum and The Playhouse. Both places are incredible fun, you could spend hours there exploring and playing. They are design to make you play and be creative.

Strong Museum of P

If you can, also try to talk with a local, they probably could recommend you other places that are not listed in this link https://vacationidea.com/destinations/best-things-to-do-in-rochester.html Even when is a small city in comparison to others, Rochester offers a number of fun things to do inside the city. Talk to your classmates that are not traveling and plan different activities to do together. We are in the middle of the semester and you just went through stressful midterms, you need time to do something fun outside school.

I wish you a relaxing and amazing spring break!