is it any wonder

Okay so, new university, substantial culture shock. First off, I joined good old SZABIST, my previous university purely because it offered a program I wanted and it was ten minutes away from my home. Nothing deep and intricate about it, laziness is about breaking down the complicated decisions to a few simple factors and making a quick choice. My new university is quite the opposite, situated in a highly crowded area of the city and the commute’s a killer. I regularly spend an hour in the afternoon wading through traffic and to see how long I can keep the smog out of my lungs by holding my breath.

Secondly, whilst I’m used to classes for a solid three hour block and only once a week per course, new university has 2-3 fifty minute classes per course per week. My initial reaction: Class is over? But it just barely began! How are we supposed to build up any momentum to a discussion in class if ten minutes out of the fifty go by in the small talk and attendance? Sheesh.

Thirdly, in the campus where I predominantly have my classes, there is only one loo. Yes, you heard me, about a half dozen batches of business students and only one loo for each gender. Having spent some time (out of necessity) in the aforementioned single loo, I have found I know far more than I ever  thought I would like to regarding some of my university mates’ ditary and digestive habits and oddities, thanks in large part to girls who walk in en masse and stand in from of the mirror and elect to discuss their bodily functions and the odd malfunctions.

Needless to say, I’m not really adjusting very well. I am a happy creature of habit and change disturbs me. Seems this is the price to pay for a masters degree.

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a new beginning

Yosh! To update from the last post, I have now become an official graduate student and am now enrolled in the MBA program at a highly prestigious university in Karachi. This calls, of course, for the mandatory “first impressions” post regarding my new university and classmateshly prestigious university in Karachi. This calls, of course, for the mandatory “first impressions” post regarding my new university and classmates, something that’s always fun to look back upon a few years later once you’ve actually gotten to know and love the place and people. More soon…

food for thought

To the last few people who still visit: hello! 🙂

Have had a lot on my plate these days, what with the lahori hurricane visiting again and life becomes a whirlwind of things to be done and people to be seen. *sigh* I’m so sick of doing things “for propriety’s sake”. I get enough of this crap from my mother and to have my friends berate me for it as well is just too much, really. When can I start doing things that I want to do rather than things everyone else expects me to do already? Once would think the impending nearly-quarter century birthday would ensure that I would get to make my own decisions about the little things already.

As for the big things, I’ve decided, in a fit of disillusionment and childish tantrum-like anger at SZABIST, to apply to LUMS for an MBA and keep my previous plan of an MS in Social Sciences from SZABIST as Plan B. Deeper down, it may have something to do with the fact that a new city, a new social circle, a completely different sort of people than the ones I’m surrounded with currently may be found there.

I have come to realise my general dissatisfaction with my current old school chums has intensified. All and sundry appear ready willing and able to get married and indulge in wedded bliss. Personally, I would love to put off marrying as long as possible and live the life of a singleton forever but life seems to have other ideas, as it generally does. Sick of constantly wondering if I still even fit in and if I should even bother getting together with them anymore, I shall soon just take the advice of Mike Judge and “just stop going”.

The sad bit is that I’ve gradually come to realize that the one person whose company I never thought I would tire of is now beginning to wear thin. Seems we all become more self centered when our lives become indian movies. Increasingly, I find myself suddenly realizing what company I’m in and wondering why the hell I don’t find other people who actually care about things other than the latest fashion designs and haircuts and who’s just gotten married. I feel like I’ve suddenly been teleported into my mum’s life, her circle of aunties, who can only talk of who is getting married to whom and new clothes.

Bloody hell. Maybe a new city will cure this trapped feeling. Maybe it will just intensify it. Only time will tell. For now, I plan to actually prepare a bit for my LMAT to ensure a better score than last time (which wasn’t so bad in any case).

Imminent Bachelor(ette)-dom

And so, the laptop hunt comes to and end and I am finally the owner of a fine machine to call my own. A graduation present, mum calls it. I call it a gift horse and don’t plan on looking it in the mouth. For the technical-minded, the lappie is a Fujitsu-Siemens Intel Centrino Duo Core 1.8 Ghz, 512 RAM, 120 HDD with DVD R/RW and WiFi.

As luck would have it, it appears my work as a Teaching Assistant (TA) is not yet at an end. SZABIST, it seems, is very interested in revising and improving the syllabus for the BS (CS) degree as much as possible and want information and feedback both from students and teachers, but with the focus on the students. I think it’s a good idea to take feedback from the recipients of any degree about amendments to said degree, but let’s face it: the quality of CS students has been on the decline for some time now and the most vocal gripes come from the corner of the students like myself who want to change the system rather than have to study something they can’t understand. The Coordinator is interested in discovering the reasons for this decline from the students who did choose to enroll, but the conclusion seems obvious: managers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, all these potentially stand to make more money (in the eyes of parents) than a kid with a Computer Science degree, and to some extent they’re right. What parents tend to forget while not so gently steering their offspring in the direction of some potentially profitable degree is that not every kid can be a good manager/entrepreneur/businessman. It takes a certain kind of person to succeed in each field and a kid would stand a much better chance of making it if he were allowed to actually focus on what he thinks he would be interested in and could work at.

At the time of my own enrollment in the BCS (Honors) program, some four and a half years ago, Pakistan was slowly beginning to realize that there was actually a Dot Com Boom (which experts abroad were then calling the Dot Com Bubble and predicting its popping) and that being a Computer Scientist may not just be for weird, eccentric genius types who were always immersed in their machines. As with the study of any field and like any college grad, I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up. I had taken several very varied courses in my A levels and found that programming in C and drawing flow charts came fairly easily to me, and what was even better, it made sense to me! This was the reason I opted to join a CS Program, envisioning three years of drawing improved versions of flow charts and learning how to code more complicated structures. Once into the program, I began to realize that a fundamental part of a CS curriculum is Math and Science (Physics, to be precise). Finding both interesting and doable only when they make sense, I encountered a flurry of teachers more anxious to get the course material over and done with rather than actually try to make students understand the concepts. I also found out that in subconscious retaliation, I was also becoming too stubborn to learn from such methods. What happens when an immovable object meets an irresistible force? You start to flunk out, that’s what. Three years wasted, apparently and no end in sight to the many courses left still to conquer. It was at this period that I truly began to despair and wondered weather it was possible, even at this late stage, to actually switch over to the more harmless seeming BBA degrees. At least there the language spoken was English, not numbers and symbols.
Thanks to the level headed advice of a few good friends and future boss, I endured and finally have reached the end of the road.

The point of this post: I am almost a graduate now! I have but one course remaining on my plate and as soon as the result comes out (and I’m hoping desperately for a favorable one), I shall officially be a Bachelor(ette)!