Review of my first quarter at Stanford

Credit: Stanford News []

The first time I stepped into class, imposter syndrome was extremely overwhelming. Not only am I still in disbelief that I am a Stanford student, but I am also officially a graduate student. A few months back I was an undergraduate in Imperial College London, trying to frantically finish up my coursework in Robotics.

The classes that I had planned on taking at the start of the quarter are very much different from my final study list. I wanted to take a lot more theoretical classes to firm up my foundations in my professional interest - Mechanical Engineering. However, after the first week of classes in this area, I realized that I was focusing too much on Mechanical Engineering, and wanted a different exposure, unlike my undergraduate days. So I changed up my study list for the quarter.

My final study list in the Fall Quarter 21/22 is:

  • ME310A: Global Engineering Design Thinking, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
  • CS238: Decision Making under Uncertainty
  • EE178: Probabilistic System Analysis
  • ENGR203: Public Speaking
  • ORALCOMM115: Voice Workshop
  • BIOE376: Startup Garage: Design

Apart from these classes, I met quite a lot of friends at Stanford. Prior to the first week of classes, I joined a 4-days course from Stanford Graduate Summer Institute to be more engaged in the topic of my interest. The course that I was enrolled in was called Exploring Planetary Stewardship: Sustainability Solutions in a Rapidly Changing World. In this course, we mainly talked about sustainability, and how it can be applied to our daily professional work.

However, we bonded beyond our professional interests. Some of us enjoy similar kinds of music, others love cooking and hanging out together. I always thought it was hard to make friends with people of different nationalities because it could be pretty hard to relate with. It turns out that we had a lot more in common than I thought.

Apart from this group of friends which I try to see every weekend, I also met another group of friends in one of the student societies. I met Keith in the gym almost every day, and in one of the mornings, he helped me get through one of the really tough sets that I had to do. I have never thought much about Keith, just an acquaintance that I see in the gym in the morning every day.

The first time I went for the introduction event, I was a little afraid, anxious even. It had been a while since I go to these events, ever since I started my undergraduate about 3 years ago. I got off my bike, locked it, and clenched my teeth to get through the seemingly insurmountable discomfort. My thoughts swirled until I saw Keith. Yes, a familiar face in the middle of a large crowd. And from that, he was the reason why I become friends with more people. I was very fortunate to meet even more of them on the Tahoe trip with them.

At the end of my quarter, I had quite a number of assignments due. I was drowning by the constant flooding of school work that I had to submit on time every week. 10 weeks passed, and I grew to become an even more resilient person than I thought. I promised myself not to overload this amount of work again in the coming quarters; I need more space and time to wander and create innovative ideas!