Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Things I Learned in Graduate School and Some Advice

Things I Learned in Graduate School
  1. No matter how much I study or "think" I know, I will never be good at taking tests.
  2. Group projects are bipolar. Sometimes you learn a lot and feel accomplished, but mostly just get many headaches and want to cause some violence.
  3. Everyone has an intellectual limit - I believe it's called a learning curve. I am pretty sure I hit the learning curve about 7 years ago and have skidded along since then.
  4. The more I know, the less I realize I know.
  5. Don't get your PhD unless you really, truly love researching a subject for 5 years of your life. (Thank God I'm not getting my PhD)
  6. Undergrad is way better than graduate school in terms of the experience and the friends. As a graduate student, I pretty much knew where my classes were and where the food was.
  7. Graduate school is not like undergrad. My classmates ranged from married housewives stuck on dependent visas to full-time employees who have been in the software field for 5+ years to international students who are not living with their parents for the first time in their life. Basically, being a student is not exactly their singular identity like it was for everyone in undergrad.

Things Teachers/Professors Should Do
  1. Never make an exam worth 50% of the total grade.
  2. Always be clear on class expectations - not verbally, but written down on an actual sheet of paper or posted on Blackboard/class website.
  3. Don't hand write lecture notes on the white board. Use powerpoint or the zillion of the other tools out there available on the computer. We don't live in the 1980's anymore.
  4. Don't repeat verbatim what's on the lecture slides and then proceed to go through 100 of them. You seriously can't expect someone to learn or get any semblance of anything that way.
  5. Treat students respectfully, don't look down upon them for their lack of knowledge. If they knew it already, why would they be taking the class?
  6. Don't pawn parts of the dirty work of your research project onto students who don't necessarily understand the complexities of the 10 years of work you put into it. That does not make anyone look good.

Would anyone like to add?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the classroom

Please professor, you can't possibly think I can sit still for 2 hrs and 40 minutes and listen to a lecture with black and white slides and NO pictures.

The best learning environment I had: When I was a first year in college, I had a class on the Lawn. It was a cramped room in one of the pavillions. It was one long, rectangular table that everyone sat around. One of the best classes ever. Everyone could see each other and it provided a comfortable environment to talk. For French 201, it was ideal because we simply turned to the person next to us and practiced speaking in French. In my opinion, the traditional classroom should be reconsidered.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

6 more weeks

6 more weeks, 6 more weeks...and then no more school for a really, really long time. at least no more until after I pay off my student loans.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I am NERVOUS. It's my last first day of school. EVER.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

50 Books Every Geek Should Read

50 Books Every Geek Should Read

I highly recommend Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, finally funny sci-fi.

I plan on becoming a UI architect/designer so Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think really made me think about how to approach design (pun intended:P).

Books that Apparently I should have Heard and Read Already

Two series of popular books that everyone and their moms are apparently reading and I somehow missed hearing about until recently.

The Millenium Trilogy: Starting reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, SO INTRIGUING. I am trying so very carefully not to accidentally read any spoilers.

The Hunger Games: Today the 3rd book Mockingjay came out and the blogs are abuzz as people go to midnight parties, etc.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

World Humanitarian Day - Sharing my love for reading

The Room to Read foundation's motto is "World Changes Starts With Educated Children"


That was exactly the premise of Three Cups of Tea. Access to books makes a lot of difference. Increasing literacy is fundamental to helping young people in poverty-stricken areas.

For the Love of Reading

Go to these sites to see how you can volunteer/contribute!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


FOB - is a degrading term for people not up to date on the culture which is an abbreviation for (Fresh Of the Boat.)
meaning you still carry your sense of fashion from your country which clashes with the current countries cultures.

Origin: Hawaii 60's

Local Hawaiians used it to refer to white people who came from mainland US to Hawaii. Its was used a lot by locals and surfers. it was to refer to white people who wasn't up to date on the culture.
ABCD - (American Born Confused Desi) Term used to describe those of the Indian (South Asian) descent who are unaware of or are unwilling to outwardly project their Indian Heritage. The title is typically used by those of the same nationality but who are unwilling or unable to assimilate to a culture other than their own.

Today, someone called me an ABCD :(. She didn't say it intentionally and quickly explained that she called anyone who grew up in the US that. but it's still derogatory. FOB and ABCD are mean, hurtful terms that stereotype people. I am an individual and deserve to be treated so. I know I am guilty sometimes of grouping and judging people together, which I should stop doing. I try to have some self-awareness that I would like to be treated as a person with unique thoughts and actions and not part of some category. Just saying. Everyone should be aware of the terms they use to describe other people...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

inability to balance

I feel like a waitress carrying way too many trays than possible and trying hard not to drop a single one of them but give them all equal importance and help them reach their destinations. and I would really like to go on a break. I'm waiting for some of the orders for the trays and I and the customer is getting impatient.

Cheesy analogy aside, I really really would like May 12th 6:30pm to be here right now and somehow I should have miraculously aced my final exams and completed all my projects to get straight A's. A girl can dream. I've reached that odd point where I just want to get everything over with. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


I know I said I didn't have time to read. However I decided to make time because reading is one of the few things in my life that keeps me sane. I read Lovely Bones and Three Cups of Tea. Lovely Bones was well-written, but utterly depressing. After I read that I wanted to be a little girl forever.

Three Cups of Tea is fantastic. An inspirational story about someone who takes action and makes a difference in the world. Greg Mortenson was a mountain climber who stumbles across a village in remote Pakistan and makes a promise to build them a school. And he actually does in addition to building 55 more around the country. He sees the power in educating young minds especially girls.

Anyway, I felt like writing in this today because I feel like I am in a daze. I am taking classes with very high-level concepts that seem to go over my head. As if I am in a place where everyone speaks Chinese and I don't understand a word and there is no translator, but if I don't communicate somehow I will not get out of the situation. Maybe others are familiar with this feeling. I haven't had that feeling in a while - I did get that when I was taking these theory math classes in undergrad that made me want to cry on a daily basis. I feel stupid for not understanding, even though I should not. I have a lot of trouble getting through tasks/classes I do not enjoy.

It's times like that when I want to curl up on the couch and watch Psych marathons and eat junk food :P. That does not unfortunately erase the inevitable task but merely postpones it. Wish me luck that I at least pass and it doesn't kill my GPA because I am defined by a number on my resume.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

no time to read :(

This semester has been quite insane, so I have not had time to read :(. I will hopefully get a chance to go back to enjoying books when summer rolls around again!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Basic story: About twin boys born of a forbidden union of a Indian nun nurse and a British doctor working together in Uganda. Who eventually grow up to become doctors. The book was good - I was curious to find out what happened to them at the end. To be frank though, I felt like the end was so cliche and utterly depressing.

What it made me think of: Actually intrigued me to learn more about medicine and biology. I was impressed by the doctors in the fictional book who take such risks in surgeries and procedures in a developing nation during the time of political strife in Uganda.

Something that struck me very personally: The main character and narrator of the novel loves a girl from childhood. She torments him, splits him from his brother, forces him to escape the country because of his affiliation with her, yet he still loves her when she comes to him broken and then also hurts him again. Why do we as people do this to ourselves? Is this blind love? No matter how much a person hurts us, we still love them? I understand this wrt parent-child love, but couple love? Is this desperation? Is this the fear that we have loved a person so much that we do not let anyone else into our hearts? From an objective viewpoint, I thought the protagonist was crazy and deserved infinitely better. Although personally, I empathize - it's a missed signal between the brain and heart that causes a person to do dumb, stupid things.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009 in books

In terms of books for 2009, it was the year I became a fan of Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, Hilary Clinton, PG Wodehouse (genius!!), Haruki Murakami, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jeff Kinney.

Generally, I noticed that I got a lot of non-fiction books about social psychology - trying to understand people. I'll let you know if I ever figure that out haha. The books I read just reaffirmed what I know but kind of denied. We cannot control or change the people around us. The only people who we have that power over is ourselves. We are in charge of our own happiness. We cannot let people define us or let their actions affect us deeply. Nothing comes easily it takes time and hard work and the right environment to grow and become successful (10,000 hours right Malcolm?).

I actually avoided serious, soul sapping novels such as Khalid Hosseini novels (exception: My Sister's Keeper I had to entertain myself on the plane somehow). I was drawn to light-hearted stories like the chick lit and PG Wodehouse and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (Soo entertaining!!).

My reading resolution for 2010 is to read broad and wide topics and try to learn as much as possible about the world :). Book suggestions welcome!