Between the Hours: Dealing with graduate school

by Abhisek Dey, Computer Engineering MS student

Whether you are contemplating grad school, about to begin a new program, or already there, this post is for you. It is about the place where one discovers his true self through an exhausting journey of successes and failures which often brings many to their tipping points. But, in the words of Nelson Mandela, “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”.

Deciding to pursue a graduate education is an important step as we have to ask ourselves many questions – is it really the best way forward for me, am I ready to spend the next 2 years or more working on really specific problems? Does the research track enthuse me to work tirelessly on it? Is the advisor I am looking to work under a good fit? Even after we plan ahead, enter grad school and take the beast head on, it does become overwhelming and impossible sometimes to break off the vicious circle. During these times, it is important to remember subtle things like staying focused and time management which prove as invaluable tools to tame the beast.

Just one of those days…

The worst enemy of any grad student is procrastination. Time and again, we find ourselves in a position where we have to complete our thesis proposal, devote hours for teaching assistant duties, complete assignments and projects for the courses, and work on publishing a paper for a research conference all together. Though sometimes, it is not entirely a student’s lackluster work ethic, most times it invariably is. We love to live under a delusion that our responsibilities are trivial and can be done in no time. Closer to our deadlines, we come to terms with reality and make our lives a mess. Eating at regular intervals, maintaining personal hygiene and completing daily chores go out the window!

Appreciating baby steps is a proven motivator!

Having said that, a grad life is rigorous and challenging. Managing a healthy work-life balance becomes increasingly complicated, more so for PhD’s. Discovering a favorite past-time or hobby becomes more essential than ever, just to blow off some steam. Be it watching Netflix or playing a random instrument – trust me, you would need  it. Also, never hesitate to ask for help/advice when you need some. You have to always find solace and encouragement from the fact that many around you have endured the same phase that you are going through. At least at RIT, help is always one email away!

 

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!