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¶ getting a new desk
I switched desks yesterday. I only moved about 20 feet, and my new desk is in the same room as the last, but it was a momentous occasion.

The room that I'm in is a large, cavernous open space that houses about 15 students. It's divided into two sections, separated by a wall jutting about two-thirds of the way into the room. One half is where the PhD students sit, and the other half is where the MEng (Masters) students sit. When I first moved into my group, all the desks on the PhD side were full, so I got a desk on the other side. Consequently, I was isolated from the other doctoral students in my group and had virtually no contact with them... I may as well have been on the other side of campus. It's not that they avoided me, it's that I was just far enough out of the paths they took in their daily routines that we never had any unplanned interaction. Hanging out with the MEng students was cool, but we have very little in common. Most of them did their undergrad at MIT and still have their buddies around, most are interviewing for jobs and have little interest in searching for thesis topics or attending the latest research talk on state estimation, a bunch of them are working together on the same project so they tend to huddle in a circle - they're great people, but it's clear that we lead different lives.

A couple days ago, I had a rare conversation with one of the other phds and was lamenting my situation, when he mentioned to me that Patricia, one of the students on their side, had just left. Two seconds later, I was jamming out an email to Seth pleading for the desk. Five hours later, it was mine and I was singing victory hymns all night long. The next day, I bade farewell to the MEng students and wheeled my lab equipment twenty feet northeast.

I've been there a day now, but that one day has made me feel more a part of the research group than the three months spent on the other side. Listening to the others debate the existence of closed form solutions to certain Gaussian integrals, getting into a conversation on using Matlab to represent tree data structures, chatting to a labmate about him starting a company to build engines, none of that ever really happened on the MEng side. Even having one of the other doctoral students come over and exclaim, "who are you!?" and me responding, "Hi, I'm Albert... we've met twice" was nice in the sense that I was suddenly in this student's daily routine and that made me feel more integrated into the group.

Plus, the new desk is huge and has a window =P

Re: getting a new desk
Posted 15 years, 8 months ago by amandine • • Reply
a window?! oh how i protest!

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