First Semester of Grad School – An overview

by Josiah Bonifas, MBA student

A wise man once said “And alas, I take this weight off my shoulders, far heavier than any object I have held.” A quote, which I like to believe, the author wrote in regards to finals week. Every year of College you go into finals week either astonished at how much you’ve learned, or abashed at how little you remember. Often times a little bit of both. Either way, it can be overwhelming as you summarize the learnings of the semester. At the same time there is something special about finishing that last test. You walk out of the room with a feeling of accomplishment, finally relieved knowing that you can truly relax for a bit. Oddly it often feels like there is still some assignment looming over your shoulder, but that feeling soon fades.

For my first semester of Grad school many of the feelings were similar, but there was something significant that differed. The classes in Grad school are conducted to bridge the gap between knowledge and experience. There is a much greater focus on practical use and implementation. You spend four years storing up and building knowledge from undergrad that you now not only add on to, put also learn the practicality of, through case studies and situational analysis. This kind of learning is special, because it doesn’t only enhance your knowledge of the subject matter, it also helps you form a leader’s mindset. For any job, regardless of position, this mindset only helps you. If you are in the lowest position at your job but you think like a leader, then the sky is the limit for you. Because that mindset shows in your excellent work ethic and demeanor, both of which foster success.

It took me a long time to decide to go to grad school. It’s expensive and a big commitment. I wrestled with the decision, and weighed many pros and cons. Maybe I could go and work for a couple of years and then come back or do night classes. Maybe I can get a job that pays for it down the road. Maybe I will never want to go back to school. Maybe I should just go right into it with the 4+1 opportunity. There are so many possibilities. It gets overwhelming. But I think that at the heart of it you come to realize that the right or wrong answer that you’re looking for, might not exist. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and go with it. Life is full of these moments. In June I decided to go with it. Was is the right decision? Who knew if I’d get in on time? Hadn’t taken my GMAT yet, hadn’t even started my application. There were so many questions and “what if’s?”, but I ran with it. And now, as I sit here relaxing on winter break, one great semester into grad school, and one last semester left… I’m glad I did.

From full-time student to full-time employee!

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student

Life is all about starting something and putting it to an end. The rest is uncertainty that makes things work. Uncertainty is an essential part of any phenomenon and it is important to realize this fact. It is important to understand that not everything in this universe can be modeled and there are things beyond the reach of our intellectual telescope. But still, life is all about starting something and putting it to an end, and that’s the best we can do.


To start up with something takes a lot and the journey to the end makes you realize you got more than you gave. It might seem that it’s something you did all on your own. That’s not true. There are countless forces working silently to take you to the designation you are intended to go to. This a tribute to all those forces that helped me to end one of the thing I started.

I came to the United States to learn new things and to deepen the knowledge of the things I knew. All I knew was what I’m going to do but I didn’t have any idea of how I will be doing it. Its not always very easy to start something off when you are 8000 miles away from your land of comfort. I’m glad and respectful for the fact that I landed at a place which eventually never made me feel the it would be substantially difficult to start something that I have never done before. Words will be less if I were to state what I learned from whom here at RIT.

For a graduate student, searching for jobs and internship, when you are already busy with your graduate level courses, can be tiring and unproductive when done in a wrong manner. It is not always that simple to manage your time for your present and planning your future. But when done in a well-organized way the, tables can be turned. It was not me who got an offer letter and ended the search of an excellent work opportunity that will enhance my knowledge and understanding of the academic interests. Rather, it was the skills I gathered from being a part of such an enriching community that helped me fetch an offer.

Its always the knowledge that you gained in the classroom that will make you a sound person. But it’s the “outside classroom” lessons that will help you to get out and find work and make you a valuable person. I would not be wise to say I cultivated the best of my qualities by my own. I owe every single inch of my small step towards success and satisfaction to RIT all the wonderful people it consists of.

 

Graduate Class Highlight

by Josiah Bonifas, MBA student

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

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

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

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

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winter is Coming, to Rochester

by Krishna Tippur Gururaj, Computer Science MS student

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

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

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

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

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

The Animation Show of Shows Night

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

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

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

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

TINY BIG by Lia Bertels (Belgium)

DEAR BASKETBALL by Glen Keane (U.S.)

ISLAND by Robert Löbel & Max Mörtl (Germany)

UNSATISFYING by Parallel Studio (France)

THE BURDEN by Niki Lindroth von Bahr (Sweden)

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

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

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

A sneak peak into my life…

by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS student

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

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

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

Ciao!

Just a City Boy

by Josiah Bonifas, MBA student

Born and raised in New York City (sorry South Detroit,) life started to look a lot different when I committed to play basketball at Houghton College, a small liberal arts school in upstate New York. I remember the drive up when I was first getting dropped off. We stopped seeing civilization a good hour before reaching the school. It was an endless scene of fields, farms, livestock, and the occasional Amish buggy. I vividly remember thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”

The first month was the most challenging. Other than the general struggles of making new friends and adapting to college, there are a lot of cultural differences between living in a small town and living in a city. For starters, everyone says hello. I always thought that I was a polite person for smiling if I made random eye contact with a stranger, but this was a new extreme. I kind of liked it. It was a little act, took minimum effort, but for some reason made you feel slightly more at home.

People also seemed kinder, and had a genuine interest in you. There wasn’t a big rush, or an urgency about everything. It was very different for me. I had developed habits that were completely opposite of this kind of living. My walking and driving never quite adapted. Eighteen years in the city and you develop a speed walk that’s the equivalent to a regular man’s jog. My friends were often telling me to slow down through ragged breaths. As for driving, I can’t count the amount of times someone drove with me and never asked for another ride. It’s the fast and furious in the city, the yellow cabs are merciless…

There are countless other examples of cultural differences that I encountered, but they all came together to paint one big picture for me. We have all experienced life differently growing up. Our countries, families, environments, religions, and homes, have all played a role in the way we view things. As we experience these different cultures, there are a lot of important things to learn from the way other people view and do things. At the same time, going somewhere new will often show you things about yourself that you might have never noticed. It doesn’t have to be a new country or change of scenery, it could simply be a different group or new friend. Regardless of what’s new, enjoy the different perspective, embrace it, and learn from it. There’s no better time than now.

7 Things to do this Thanksgiving Break

by Ami Patel, Computer Science MS student

Staying in Rochester this Thanksgiving? Worry not, we got you covered. Here’s a list of things that you can do if you aren’t going home. If you make it to the entire list, or want to share your experience at one of the events, please share your story with us at gradstudent@rit.edu.

1. RIT’s Global Unification
Happening this Saturday, November 18 from 7 pm – 9 pm, Global Unification is the largest multicultural event here at RIT. Immerse yourself in the vivid performances from various cultural clubs and experience the spectacle that highlights the cultural and ethnic diversity at RIT. Check out the event details.

2. Concert: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Staying in Rochester and not attending a concert? That’s un-Rochester-like. The American rock-band, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, is having a concert at the Blue Cross Arena on Wednesday, November 22. How often you get to hear them perform live the Wizards of Winter or Sarajevo/Christmas Eve? Event details here.

3. Thanksgiving Meal at The Commons
Don’t feel like going anywhere? Get to The Commons on Thursday, November 23rd with your friends and savor the traditional Thanksgiving Meal prepared with love and warmth by the wonderful chefs. Hours: 12 pm – 5 pm.

4. Enjoy some Southern food at Cracker Barrel
Cracker Barrel is an interesting place where you can enjoy classic homestyle Southern food along with shopping gifts for the Christmas. Their Country-store-like shop has all the fun merchandise that takes you down to the childhood memory lane. Make sure you go through their Music collection and don’t miss to check out those antiquities hanging around in the store and the restaurant. The hash brown casserole is a must try. Location: 2075 Hylan Dr., Rochester, NY 14623. Hours open: 7 am – 10 pm

5. Remember Rembrandt at Memorial Art Gallery
What about time-traveling 5000 years in art history? Memorial Art Gallery has a permanent collection of more than 12,000 objects ranging from medieval to contemporary times; including works by Rembrandt, Monet, Homer, Cézanne, Matisse, El Greco, Cassatt, William Congdon. MAG includes a large number of women artists from era’s when sexism made participation in arts educations an exception. George Eastman’s collection is a must-see along with their current exhibition of Wendell Castle Remastered. Did you know that student ID can get you admission tickets at a reduced rate? I know you are excited. Here’s the location: Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, 500 University Ave, Rochester, NY 14607

6. Black Friday Shopping!
How can shopping not be part of this list? Drive or take an Uber to Eastview Mall-30 minutes drive from RIT-located in Victor, NY, is a great place to shop all those fancy brands along with enjoying some food with your friends. Don’t forget to buy yourself those warm and cozy Christmas themed plush pajamas. Location: 7979 Pittsford Victor Rd, Victor, NY 1456

7. Marvel vs. DC?
Marvel or DC, Thanksgiving is the time to support both. Watch Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League and, get into a debate again. No matter what the debate is, I’ll still be a Marvel fan. 😛

Happy Thanksgiving!

RIT’s Career Fair – Tips to Succeed!

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student

There are places which can make us feel good and there are places which makes us feel energetic. What can be a better sight than seeing bees harvesting the nectar from the beautiful flowers of contrasting colors. Or walking around the university campus on a nice evening with an orange sun shining over your face from the best possible photographic angle. Turn your head and you’ll find smart individuals with their individual personalities shining bright as the sun. Individuals known as students. Recently the RIT campus changed to a place where you’ll see grown up people in nice & decent attire and a folder in their hand. It’s the career fair day! It might be a life changing experience for some. For others it would be a lesson worth embracing. Long story short, it’s a big day for students!

Career fairs can be a chaos if not planned properly. Many factors must be synchronized to make it work for you. Prior information, planning and a little bit of insight is always helpful for tackling what’s coming. With of pool of more than 250 companies coming in, career fairs themselves test your managerial skills before any prospective employer interviews you. Following are few of the key things to be kept in mind for making this chaos work for you.

Plan everything prior to the big day! Shortlist the companies that suite you. RIT’s website and mobile app can be very handy when it comes to shortlisting. Prepare a general introduction and work on it. Read about the companies and the work they do. Figure out about what positions they are offering. Learn about the specific skills the employer possibly will be looking for.

Prepare a specific and relevant resume. It is always good to have a general resume. What will help you getting a call for a position is a specific resume. Make sure that your resume has enough matching keywords the employer is looking for. You have to present your skills differently to different employers. Although it may be the same set of skills you’ll be putting in your resume, customize the layout and content to meet the employer’s needs.

Managing your time is essential! You will not be the only one engaging in nice conversations with the representatives. It is quite possible that there will be a line and delay in a few of your shortlisted targets. For a career fair running for 6 hours it’s a good estimation that you’ll be spending at least 20 minutes with one of your shortlisted companies. This gives you an upper limit of engaging with 9 companies if you plan to attend the fair for 3 hours. The previous paragraph will help you saving a significant amount of time here.

Be professional and enthusiastic! This really helps even if you are not good at your coursework. Showcasing a little bit of humor always makes you memorable. Talk as much as you can about your interests and doings which can be relevant and make an impression on the representative you are talking to. Ask them question about what positions they have. Even if there is nothing you fit into, ask about the possibilities of you being useful.

Getting through day one is easy! The reason behind this is, most of the representative you’ll talk to on day one probably is not the actual recruiters. You just have to be good at presentation to get an interview call which you can manage with the expertise you have in your field.

Career fairs are the very first steps towards the big and competitive world outside the RIT campus. It’s a day that teaches you how to seek an opportunity and a lesson on how to improve if you were not able to. It’s a day that makes you wear formal shoes & taste how it feels like presenting yourself to the world. We all face extraordinary challenges in our lives. The realization of the beauty of standing those challenges starts with this day.