Saturday, September 8, 2012

Minnesota Monologue

The late quarter Moon rises in between Jupiter and Aldebaran tonight at 2a.m., signifying almost a month has passed since I arrived at this city of Minneapolis. Was supposed to go to the Astronomy Public Observation Program at Tate Lab tonight but it was cloudy during the evening – but it cleared up at night. 

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Welcome to Minneapolis - I am Chrono Fong, ID 46xxxxx, studying Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities.

First week of classes are pretty good. Math 2374 actually went straight into the vector parts of what used to be Further Pure 3, not an easy ride as expected lol. The other classes e.g. Intro to C++ and AEM Statics are not too bad also. Our sensei in PE Karate is much older than the profile pic he posted on his dojo website =A= But the most surprising one would be the writing class WRIT 1401 – I was the only Asian in the discussion-style class, where we sometimes discuss a topic and exchange ideas and arguments. It’s refreshing to see intellectual debate going on instead of the usual maths and facts in the Engineering classes.

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International Student Outreach (ISO) is the group I joined right after I came down from the Delta flight – Jeff and Pete hosted me before I moved in to my current apartment 8 days ago. I was treated like family, playing with their children and helping around the house, and it really smoothens the process of adapting to this entirely new place. The ISO hosted many Malaysian students too. Some that I know, especially my housemate Moy, they are kind of like a family to me already, in this home away from home. Being freshman also has some benefits – we get to go to this cool Welcome Week thing, know more people other than Malaysians – just to get a more all-rounded perspective of this city.

Being itchy for some DIY stuff though, I also looked at two Engineering student groups – The Solar Car Project and Tesla Works, who both are groups that do projects related to science and engineering. I’m currently split in between commitment to one of the clubs or possible both of them, we’ll see what comes next. There’s also a plan to join the state-wide Minnesota Astronomical Society – I already contacted their president… we’ll see how that’ll work out too. I can’t wait to go to the Onan Observatory at Baylor Regional Park!

It’s a tight balance, while starting a new life at the U of M while not losing focus on studies and the astronomy interest that defined who I am. To juggle the many hats I have : a student, a project team member, an ISO member, an astronomy enthusiast, a housemate, a fellow friend, an independent adult. Hoping that all will go well during this first semester at the U of M, and of course for many more fun and enriching times to come in this City of Lakes, and in this State of Ten-Thousand Lakes.

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