*Disclaimer: Readers, this is an unusually long blog post, revealing the whims and fancies of Gradlife. Weak-hearted, homesick grad students and alumni living away from home should reconsider reading this. Also, I have not been paid by CMU to talk greatly about it. It is special all by itself and doesn’t need any promotion*
While clearing out some junk from my laptop, I accidently stumbled upon the old files of Bombaygirl Talks which made me open WordPress. It has been two years since my last blog post and I don’t intend to write more apart from occasional photo blogs of places I travel to. Time and again I have been asked why did I stop blogging altogether, reasons being: firstly I realized I was a pathetic fashion blogger, secondly I love to be behind the camera instead of being in the front and lastly, after moving to Pittsburgh, life has gotten really busy.
My journey from applying for a master’s degree to actually studying in a grad school has been precarious! After a chaotic attempt to fix my wrong application (thanks CMU CEE for waiving off the fees on the second application), relentless search to find my lost i20 (DHL found it in Beijing after going through the CCTV footage, ask no more), being stranded due to a plane crash and 9 hours spent on rescheduling my flight, I could finally make it to Pittsburgh (trust me CMU is worth all the pain!). My life has always been about second attempts and thus I jokingly put it as ‘successfully making it’ to VJTI and CMU rather than simply getting admitted.
An adventurous journey like this commensurated with life long lessons which I learnt (am learning) during the entire process of traveling alone and now living alone. A pampered single child, born and brought up in the lap of all luxuries was suddenly thrown out to set her own world like a responsible adult, which included cooking food, doing laundry, buying groceries, paying bills, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning (I have an OCD for cleanliness, thank god my roommate has it too!). The journey from living with parents to living alone can be easily described by mom cribbing about inflating prices of Kothimbir (Corriander leaves) to me cribbing about the prices of Cilantro ( a fanciest possible name for the common Corriander leaves to suit the marked price: $1.22 at Giant Eagle).
My happy-go-lucky, wow-so-exciting, crazy pictures on Facebook and Instagram does have another side too. Since the last two years of my life, I had been chasing Carnegie Mellon University, but now I chase moments to spend time talking to friends and family over Facetime. If it had not been grad school, I would have never appreciated India, my family’s love, dal-chawal, Mumbai’s sun, Darjeeling’s snow, Cadbury dairy milk, chocolate Modaks, Karanji, Puran-poli, Vada-Pav, Mumbai locals, lunch gatherings at VJTI quad, and numerous other small things, the way I appreciate them now. It is very easy to cope with up continuous work and no sleep for a week, what is really difficult is coming back to an empty house and calling it home.
Nevertheless, Pittsburgh has been an amazing city to start my ‘real life’. With the most absurd weather patterns, it also houses vintage Presbyterian churches, 447 differently structured steel bridges, prettiest parks, lush trees (which looks absolutely beautiful even in winters), cutest houses, perfectly placed streets and avenues (yes, the city has been planned with grid system of roads <3) and not to forget adorable dogs, bunnies, deer, and foxes (you can see them all near my University!).It is undoubtfully important to mention another city which was my pit-stop: Boston! Never in my life have I ever seen such perfectly placed wharfs. I managed to take a few shots while landing, but Boston definitely requires a second visit only for capturing its surreality and especially its neighboring state Vermont.
Apart from pretty places, Carnegie Mellon makes Pittsburgh even more interesting. Unlike Reddit/Quora posts, I would paint a different picture of CMU to you. Yes, it is immensely hectic (especially if you have 5 intense courses), you lose many hours of sleep but here hard work is directly proportional to ‘sweeter’success stories. Neither have I studied so much in the last 21 years, nor did I actually use my brain, but CMU made sure I do both. With all the loving teachers, you would never really want to leave CMU (can I get a PhD offer, please?). It is very difficult for a core engineering student to land a job, but no matter what CMU is my Hogwarts and it will always be my Hogwarts! 🙂
This might be the last blog, till then Happy Holidays 😀