August 31, 2017. A period when we just finished our Spring 2017 term at UWaterloo. It wasn’t a term similar to I had for any term I had in the past, but I love it.
The research journey is itself an adventure. There were busy moments when I had to stay back at night (for a few minutes) to run a graph in my office that would last overnight; there were also seemingly ‘free time’: not because I had finished my task and had no new tasks awaiting, but because all I could do was to simply sit in my office for a whole afternoon, loaded with frustrations of having my thought processes were screwed up unequivocally while generating insights. The main motivation that kept me moving forward was the anxious waiting before the screen for the running time, and the subsequent lovely moments where I could boast about the improvements on running time compared to the otherwise inefficient algorithms. Thanks to my supervisor Khaled, I also learned to probe the reason “why are some algorithms better than others”.
There’s another reason that I really like the term: finally a term without the toil of assignments, midterms, finals–unlike the previous two terms during which ‘grades chasing’ had driven me to delirium. In the past two terms I escaped Waterloo exactly twice: once to Toronto and the other time to Niagara Falls; in the previous term itself I landed myself at Toronto thrice and Canada’s Wonderland once. It’s no question that my research days could make me stay busy, but at the very least, weekends–the two days out of seven, were completely mine.
Equally interesting were the leisure sessions I had with my peers in the same position as me: work term. These were primarily board games session held at the residential area of two of them, coupled with a few ping pong tournaments with rules uniquely suited for novices like us. The games themselves are nothing special; what’s extraordinary was the opportunity to have fun without worrying about our studies.
To close my post, thanks to the peers who could make me to be crazy together with them with various after-hours activities in my work term, and also others whom I met in UW who made my freshman experience in UW a positive one. Hoping for yet another great terms ahead!
1 thought on “Take Three”
I like your descriptions of your thought process while solving these difficult IMO problems! We don’t see enough of that nowadays — I wish I had something like this when I was studying for olympiads in high school.