Of course, having a good first day as a graduate student is bound to be a poor predictor of the whole graduate experience: everybody knows that nothing but syllabus-reading ever happens on the first day of class. Nevertheless I am glad to have had a good first day in the computer science MS program today.
I was more excited than I thought I would be to be on a crowded campus again, watching the students bustle around, listening to freshmen try to find their classes, smelling slightly more than the usual perfume on passing females. I was little better than the freshmen though, since I found myself looking for a nonexistent room 3718 in the Talmage building (it was actually in the library).
My bag was very light as I walked to campus, since no textbooks yet weighed it down. I thought to myself how nice it would be if it could be so light all semester. But alas! For textbooks are almost invariably spine-bendingly heavy.
But, miracle of little collegiate miracles, my professors announced today that they will not require us to purchase any textbooks. This is certainly one of the perq’s of studying computer science. Is any other field so easily accessible on the Internet? My databases class, for example, will rely on a combination of Wikipedia, book chapters in PDF format (provided with permission of the publishers), and other articles and websites. So it is my wallet, not my bag, that feels a wee bit heavier than it otherwise would have!
So, the rest of the semester entails learning about databases and machine learning, deciding on a research area and advisor, and getting started on some research. As of right now, one day in, I’d say things are looking pretty good.