4th of July Events in Rochester!

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Sciences and Technologies MS student

Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July? Hot dogs, parades, corn hole, and fireworks – what more could you want? Luckily, here in the Rochester area, we’ve got plenty of fun things to do on the Fourth that will have you feeling festive all day. Here is a list of 10 great events you could go to with friends and family!

The Town of Chili’s Annual Fourth of July Chil-E Festival

Perfect for people of all ages, there’s no shortage of things to do at the Chil-E Festival. They have everything from crafts and food vendors to a car show, plus a parade and fireworks show at 10 PM!

Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures Fourth of July BBQphoto-1496905583330-eb54c7e5915a

If you’re looking for something a little bit removed from the usual Independence Day traditions, look no further! Bristol Mountain’s Aerial Adventures lets you climb around on their obstacles in the treetops, and then you can go back down to the ground to enjoy free hot dogs and refreshments. They even have kids’ courses, so it’s great for people of all ages to have a blast!

 

 

 

Canandaigua Fourth of July Celebration at Kershaw Park

This celebration right on the water is great for a relaxing Fourth of July! There’s a parade in the morning, followed by a community picnic, live music, and, of course, the night is topped off with fireworks. Plus, you can hang out at the beach all day right on Canandaigua Lake, which is always a plus!

Irondequoit Fourth of July Festival

The Irondequoit Festival has a truly impressive amount of events and activities on not just the Fourth, but on the night before as well! You can go to the arts and crafts show, watch street dancers, run in a 10K or 2-mile race, pitch horseshoes, go to a naturalization ceremony, or any other number of activities. As with any good Fourth of July Festival, it all ends with a fireworks display!

Brighton Fourth of July Celebration

There are few feelings better than stuffing yourself with pancakes after a good 5K race, and luckily, Brighton’s celebrations let you do just that! Then, afterward, you can hang out at Meridian Centre Park for food, games, a show by the Skycoasters, and fireworks!

Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration in Greece

We’re in no shortage of 5K races in our area this Fourth of July! You can run this one in Greece at 7:30 AM to avoid the heat, then come back in the evening for performances by Josie Waverly and Orleans before the fireworks!

Town of Henrietta July Fourth Celebration

You can celebrate right here in Henrietta! During the first half of the day, there will be a community sale, then the main celebration starts at 4 PM in the Veterans Memorial Park, leading up to fireworks just after sunset!

sparklers-828570_1280.jpg

Fairport Fourth of July Parade and Party in the Park

If a 5K isn’t quite far enough for you, check out the Firecracker Four Mile Race in Fairport. Afterward, enjoy a party in Perinton Park, with a parade, live music, food, and a bouncy house!

Fourth of July Celebration in Downtown Rochester

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the Celebration in Downtown Rochester! At 7:30 PM, Paul C. Boutte, and the Motown Review will perform, followed by our very own Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Ward Stare. Then at 10 PM, there will be a spectacular firework show!

Holi@RIT

By Goral Kansara, Engineering Management ME 

Holi, the Hindu festival of colors symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It is one of the most cheerful and fun festivals in India. While many students have made this big change in their life by coming to a different country, RIT makes sure that their students do not miss their home country and feel the same amount of joy by celebrating Holi at the campus. The festival was organized by the OASIS student chapter at RIT.

While the entire Rochester is struggling to adjust themselves in long winters and unpredictable weather, RIT students managed to pick a warm day in Rochester and do complete justice to the day by celebrating Holi. At around noon, everyone got together in one of the open areas on campus and there were colors and joy all around.

Holi specifically marks the last full moon of the Hindu calendar’s lunar month, Phalguna. So, it is celebrated on a different day every year but usually, it is around March when it is very warm in India. So, if you were in India to celebrate Holi, it begins with a group of people gathering around and playing drums and singing along with firing wood to symbolize the triumph of good over evil. This is known as “Holika Dahan”. On the next day, all areas and the streets will be covered in colors as people will throw a bunch of colors to each other and also the water balloons.

The Holi celebration at RIT was totally beyond my expectations. There were vibrant color powders as you would use if you were in India. The brighter the better! They made an artificial the water guns were also there. Not to forget the food! There were free samosas too. The entire arrangements were very good and it was indeed a good feeling as people danced their hearts out and played Holi as if they were in their home country.

Year in Review

As the semester comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on this past year. I have learned

Take a walk through the tunnels and you’ll find some great art!

in so much in what has felt like a short amount of time. Not only did I learn a lot through my classes but I have also learned a lot about Rochester itself. I have made friends, ate great food, and experienced new places and experiences. One of the best parts about being an RIT student is not just the classes that I have taken but the memories that I have created. From my first time trying Turkish food to visiting the beautiful parks in the area to watching my first live hockey game, there has not been a shortage of things to do. I have also learned so much in my classes. Before attending RIT, I had not been in a classroom in two years! There was definitely a bit of learning curve trying to ease myself back into the swing of things. Here is what I felt helped me the most getting through this semester and hopefully it helps you too:

photo credit: https://www.ntid.rit.edu/ambassadors/about-ritntid/

  1. Time-management. I cannot stress this enough, as a student, father, and husband, I have had to balance my time and responsibilities in order to be successful at all three. My tip for time management: make productive use of your free time. Now, that is not to say that you should spending every free second studying, what I mean is that use your study time as an opportunity to be focused solely on studying. You should also make time to do things that you enjoy and socialize but do neither in excess. It is difficult but I have found that by finding balance that I have been able to do well at a variety of things instead of just one. 
  2. Connect with your classmates. This is very important because you want to have a social life and people who are going through the same things that you are that you can vent to. It is also great to have a friend in class who can share notes with you, study with you, and help you through your struggles.
  3. Sleep. I know you may feel like that all-nighter will help you but trust me it won’t. You’ll regret it. My first semester, I sacrificed sleep so that I could get more work done. I pulled all nighters and would sleep from 2:00am to 6:00am basically everyday. I got sick repeatedly because of this. It was also not necessary. By learning to manage my time I have been able to get as much work done, if not more and have been getting a lot more sleep. Again, I cannot stress this enough: all-nighters are not worth it.

This may seem difficult at first and possibly even a little broad but I believe these three things are the most important takeaways I have as first year graduate student. I hope this helps you even little bit as you go through grad school or learn techniques that work best for you. Graduate school is not easy but I can say wholeheartedly that it is worth it.

Discovering Rochester

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Science and Technologies MS student

If you’re new to Rochester, there are plenty of spots to go to check out in the surrounding areas! Here is a list of my favorite places to hang out, get away from campus for a bit, or go out for lunch and dinner.

During the past year, I have had the opportunity to go out on dinners and lunches with my friends and discover the great food (and coffee!) that the city has to offer. Some of those are mentioned below:

Han Noodle Bar 

Hands down one of the best place to grab some Asian food in the city. Very affordable, nothing over $13 with a variety of Asian cuisine! Check out the pork belly buns and crab rangoons. You won’t be disappointed. Located next door to Dogtown.

Dorado

Small room vibe, nice outdoor seating on Park Ave. Excellent Mexican food and the best margaritas in town for those of age.

Sultan’s Lebanese Cuisine and Bakery

This place serves Middle Eastern classics like shawarma and savory flatbreads in counter-serve digs with a warm vibe. If you ever visit, definitely try their Chicken Shawarma Pita wrap and Shawarma plate or you can also order this online through GrubHub!

 

Genesee Brew House

Iconic brewery and restaurant in Rochester overlooking High Falls. Excellent burgers, accompanied brews from the oldest brewery in NY if you are of age.

Osaka Sushi

All you can eat sushi, expensive but very fun if you want to treat yourself or go out with a group. It’s about 10 minutes from campus. Side note, all you can eat is about $10 if you go for lunch!

 

Royal of India

There are a number of Indian restaurants in the city but this one has to be my favorite in terms of its resemblance to the food we get back home. They have $10 all-you-can-eat lunch buffets and a special dinner buffet on Wednesday nights! This place is a treat for people who love Indian cuisine. Royal of India is located in Park Point.

If you get sick of the 7+ different places to get coffee at RIT’s campus, feel free to go to some of these locations. These are spots I have picked because they have tables and are study friendly places, with tables available to work at. A quick drive, with a nice place to study off campus and keep buzzing. All are within 20 minutes from campus.

Spot Coffee

Wide open tables which are great for meeting with a group to study or work, great coffee and also good, affordable food as well!

Glen Edith

Smaller building than Spot coffee, but also very good for meeting with study groups or for projects. Very brightly lit and good modern aesthetic.

Java’s 

The original Java’s downtown, so if you like the coffee at Java’s on campus, go check this place out. Also very study friendly, or a good place for a date.

 

Housing Options and Shuttle Services for Graduate Students

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Science and Technologies MS student

One of the most integral parts of the graduate experience is finding the correct housing; from trying to cut on expenses to having more freedom and privacy, there are a lot of on as well as off-campus housing options available to the graduate student at the university that works for almost every student’s needs. I have talked about the various housing options and the shuttle service associated with that community in this blog.

Let’s get right into discovering these options:

 Perkins Green and Riverknoll

Owned by RIT, on the eastern edge of campus, Perkins Green is just a few minutes from the residence halls, academic buildings, Gracies and The Commons.  Apartment residents enjoy other community benefits such as volleyball courts, barbecue, and picnic areas.

Riverknoll is located on the west side of campus just minutes from the academic buildings and academic computer labs.

There’s a shuttle dedicated that runs on a definite route solely for Perkins as well as Riverknoll that houses a majority of the undergraduate as well as graduate students. The best thing about Perkins is that the apartments are being completely furnished for the coming Fall 2019 semester.

Perkins offers one bedroom as well as two-bedroom apartments whereas Riverknoll offers one, two and three bedroom apartments and townhomes(unfurnished). To find out more about the amenities and pricing at Perkins and Riverknoll and to have a look at virtual rooms, visit these links:

https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/perkins-green

https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/riverknoll

 Park Point and The Province

The most famous destinations for graduate students have to be Park Point and The Province. With campus proximity and furnished houses, these communities provide flexible lease options to undergraduate as well as graduate students who prefer commuting to the college on a regular basis. The best part about living in these communities is that both of them have their own shuttles running all day!

Surrounded by restaurants, gym, clubs, bookstore, state-of-the-art recreation centers, swimming pool, hot tubs, volleyball and basketball courts etc., Park Point and The Province have several more facilities like flexible floor and lease plans, roommate matching services, numerous community events, technology facilities, smooth application process and 24-hour service staff.

For more information on Park Point and The Province, visit these links: https://www.americancampus.com/student-apartments/ny/rochester/park-point#faq

https://www.americancampus.com/student-apartments/ny/rochester/the-province

Rustic Village and Brighton Village Apartments

For students who prefer their privacy away from the campus and are looking for cheap housing options, these communities serve their requirements pretty efficiently. These properties are situated within almost 3-4 miles to the RIT campus; this makes walking to campus tedious, however, there is a direct shuttle (MCC Annex) dedicated completely for these communities. Located in Brighton, these communities offer close proximity to various prime locations in Rochester (UofR, RIT, MCC, Strong Memorial Hospital, etc) and have various cheap apartment-style options for students. For more information about them, visit these links: http://rusticvillageapartments.com/RochesterRegion/RusticVillage.aspx

https://www.apartments.com/brighton-village-rochester-ny/jw364k4/

(The Brighton Village apartments were primarily known as the Crittenden Way apartments)

Global Village

The newest residence complexes situated in one of the best parts of the campus is Global Village. Global Village provides upper-class students with a global living experience and community. Global Village prepares students to enter the culturally diverse and changing workforce through unique activities, and a worldly living environment.

In addition to suite and studio style housing with lounges, community kitchens, meeting spaces, and laundry rooms, the complex also features a number of services just a few feet away. These services include the Global Village Post Office, Global Village Cantina and Grille, The Market at Global Village, Shear Global Hair Salon, and Shop One Fine Art & Craft Gallery. Also featured are a beach volleyball court and a mixed-use plaza offering year-round activities with heated outdoor seating, a small stage area for concerts and student programming, fire pit, and water feature.

For more information, visit here: https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/global-village?show_desktop_mode=true

RIT Inn and Conference Center

The RIT Inn & Conference Center offers upper-class students a premium living experience.  The RIT Inn is located off campus proper at 5257 West Henrietta Road. These fully-furnished state of the art center provides premium style apartments and bedrooms that are gender inclusive and equipped with wireless access, standard cable and TigerTV, ethernet jacks, fitness center, indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, telephone service, business center, dining facility and state of the art lounges. The center has a shuttle dedicated solely for this area called the RIT Inn.

For more information about the Inn, visit this link: https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/rit-inn-conference-center?show_desktop_mode=true

River Meadows

The River Meadow Dr. is situated along the boundaries of Rush-Henrietta Central School District which is approximately a mile away from the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. River Meadow is situated right along the lines of the University Commons and provides great options for students who are looking for renting their own partially furnished four-bedroom houses. Although RIT runs no shuttle service for this community, its proximity to campus and cheap housing options makes it a favorite for some students.

To find apartments on the River Meadow Dr. you can visit this link:  https://hotpads.com/79-river-meadow-dr-rochester-ny-14623-smp6qe/pad

University Commons

University Commons is located on the west side of campus the newest complex is just minutes from the heart of campus. Suite-style housing offers students their own private sleep room accompanied by a common living room, kitchen, and two full bathrooms. Situated right alongside the Global Village you can walk to class through the UC without any hassle. There is also a shuttle dedicated to the UC and several other residential complexes on the campus called the B-Lot Campus Shuttle that takes you all around the campus.

For more information, visit here: https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/university-commons?show_desktop_mode=true

 

To find out more information about the bus schedule and the shuttle service, visit this link: https://www.rit.edu/fa/parking/transportation/bus 

 

 

 

 

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

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!

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!