It seems like yesterday that I was posting about resigning from my company, landing in Aus and starting my course and now I sit reminiscing over the past year and half. Over a period of time my interest in the course and in academics waned. The first semester was all about apprehension. Will I be able to fit in again? Assignments??!!!! Will I be able to do justice to the course. And then bigger issues like will I be able to find a job to support myself or will I end up working in a restaurant or supermarket.
Must say, whether I learned technically or not, as a person the last one and a half years have been a watershed. For once, I was thrown out of my comfort zone, in an inflated economy with a massive loan and jobless to top it all.
The first couple of months, it was all about concentrating on the course, getting used to the pace of the city and the course. One was dead slow and the latter was horrendously fast paced. Then it was about getting a job as I saw my bank balance decrease alarmingly.
By luck or sheer ability or intelligence, I’ll never know, I landed a job in the Uni as a research programmer. First couple of months, which also coincided with the toughest couple of months in my life, I struggled. The Prof I was working for started threatening to fire me as he felt I was not coping up. I thought he was a nincompoop who didn’t know what he wanted. Assignments piled up and then the exams. It was the coldest winter of my life and, many said, one of the coldest winters to hit Melbourne in a long time. Things started taking a toll on my health, my back worsened and I started looking more and more like someone starving in Africa. As if this was not enough things happened that I never even dreamed would happen. But as they say, this also passed.
As the winter passed, spring set in. I moved into a new place with my friend, a place where I had a say in how things could be run. On the work front I decided to take control and turn around things. The break after the exams helped me concentrate on work. To start with, he thought I was hopeless and his research was doomed. I thought he had no idea what he wanted to research on and I was being made the scapegoat. Moving ahead from that was not going to be easy. However, a more focused approach with an understanding of the big picture when working helped me turn things around.
It was also a time when the research I was working on started taking shape. I guess working in a software company with its strict deadlines and clear definition of what needed to be done made it difficult for me to broaden my mind and think like a researcher should. Over the period of the next few months, as we moved from milestone to milestone and tasted success, we realized how grossly we had misjudged each other. A paper has come out and it might be accepted by an IEEE journal. And am now helping the research move ahead.
On the financial front, I managed to take control. Starting from a bank balance in 2 digits, I managed to reach a state where I could fund my own fees in the final semester. The second semester turned out to be cool and easy with the load well spread out. Thankfully things have remained like this, under control over the past one year. I guess sometimes you need something like a wake up call to get you to haul ass and take control.
The third semester remained as cool as the second one with the thesis and an excellent Prof to do it under. The scheduling of the thesis and planning were accurate(not by me, my Prof) and I managed to finish it with only a week’s extension. The only exam’s over and I know for sure I won’t be writing it again :).
And now as the winter sets in again in Melbourne with freaking cold days and freezing nights, I can only hope and wish that this winter will be a lot less harsh on me. The course effectively over, I wonder where I’ll end up and what I’ll end up doing. Hoping to convert a couple of leads. Otherwise I might be facing my second and a more serious phase of unemployment soon.