Today we got to a more formal part of the orientation; the President’s and Provost’s Address. Both elaborated on the history of CMU (which is short in American terms (100 years), but long compared to TU/e (50 years), and on what makes CMU so special.
I’d like to report some things to you about the second part. Carnegie Mellon is in practice just a bunch of departments thrown together. And they’re okay with that. This is pretty amazing: There’s no branding strategy, no five-year policy program… just a couple of departments that are renowned worldwide for their quality. Furthermore, both the Provost and the President of CMU are very proud that every single program at CMU has a certain level of interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinary collaboration is highly encouraged, as is starting new fields of interdisciplinarity. The best thing you can do at CMU is find a unique combination of disciplines and combine them in a clever way.
Wouldn’t life at Innovation Sciences be much easier if our University Board was like that?
After that, I went to the bookstore to buy my books. I got five of them, totaling over $250. Ah, well, that’s life. And I’ll probably learn a lot from them. I’ll set up some specialized pages about my courses, and put the books on there too.
Then we had a five-course etiquette lunch. Just so you get this straight; this is not about learning how to eat :D. It’s about learning how to behave when you’re invited for lunch or dinner for a job interview. I reckon it’s pretty useless unless you’re applying for some top-salary management job at some world-leading company. But it was pretty fun anyway, and on this picture you can see me looking silly and having a really hard time trying to remember the endless list of things (not) to do and chewing at the same time :D.
After that I went for a good bike-ride up at Schenley Park. It’s a really nice place; kind of a forest with a lot of small but steep climbs and drops. It was a 30-km ride, and I was completely soaked when I got home. I only had time for a quick shower, because I had to get back to the university for the Sunset Sight-Seeing Cruise.
The cruise was a lot of fun, the boat coursed up and down the Monogahela River. I met Ajay on the bus, and Jonas (from Austria) and Fahd (from Pakistan) on the boat. It was great to meet them, and Fahd, who’s going to attend the MHCI for his second (part-time) year now, helped us with some answers about the program and the courses. But I especially enjoyed talking to Ajay. You know, I feel that if I’m in a group, I’m doing too much of the talking and not enough listening. When I’m alone with someone, I still talk too much, but at least the other person gets to talk a significant part of the time too :D. When I first met Ajay, I didn’t exactly know what to think of him, but after the clipper cruise and dinner, I found out that he’s a really great guy. He’s calm, thoughtful, friendly and polite. My friends in Eindhoven would probably agree that pretty much complements my behavior (oh I just love to be euphemistic about myself :D).
By the way, I ran into this cute Indian girl a couple of times over the past few days, so I asked her if she’d been stalking me :P. If I run into her again tomorrow, I’ll order her to go out with us :). Ajay told me that would be a rather offensive thing to do in India, so I’m really looking forward to it :D.
Well, that’s pretty much it for today. I think I got over my jetlag, since it’s over two ‘o clock now. No more getting up before 7pm for me, hopefully :D. I’ll put some new photos up tomorrow.