bright yellow seeds
dropped on the table mat
’quite corny, eh?’
The semester is ending and I am getting lots of emails from my students on how to get the most out of the summer break. So here’s a little list, in no particular order, (which I might keep on expanding later on) outlining some of the things that might make your summer productive.
- Make a study group: Find some fellow thetas, pick up a tough, interesting book (Knuth anyone?), distribute chapters/topics and teach each other. With the right people, it can not only lead to much geekish fun, but will also help you in the coming semesters (and for the rest of your life)
- Enroll in an online course: Interested in finding out Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets? Want to learn about developing innovative ideas for startups? Register yourself in one (or more) of those free online courses which are offered at websites such as Udacity and Coursera. Most of the content is awesome and you can most definitely find a course of two no matter what your interests are.
- Make a game: Yes, a proper computer game. Like those arcade things that you (used to?) play in childhood. Pac-Man, Qix, Ludo, Chess… You can find lots of tutorials and course online (see point 2). Challenge yourself and make a game for your cell phone. You know enough programming to do that. All you need is a platform and a good idea!
- Finish a reading list: Find a book list (or two) and read all those books! The library is your friend (and so are Galaxy, Variety and Readings bookstores)
- Write something: Start with a sentence. Do it multiple times. Make a paragraph. Do THAT multiple times. Make it a short story. Blow it up into a novel. People write novels in one month, you have two!
- Do an Internship: Call that uncle (your daddy’s friend) or the bhai jaan (your brother’s friend) who have their own shops/software houses/ factories. Ask them for an internship. Work for a few weeks and see how the world REALLY functions. It will be one of the best lessons you’ll ever have. (Keep watching the university notice board for opportunities)
- Make some money online: If you are really good at something, there might be people out there who are willing to pay you to work for them online. Find your niche and earn some gadget money!
- Catchup on programming: So you barely passed your programming course? Well that is over now and it’s probably time to catch up and really learn something yourself by doing some small projects out there. It just might prepare you well enough for the next semester! Who knows!
- Take a hike, Literally: Do not, (and I repeat, do NOT) miss out the small excursion trips arranged by the university. Or if you don’t like their destination, arrange one yourself. Nothing freshens up the mind more than going to the mountains for a week or two and walking your worries off.
- Learn an instrument: Anything you always wanted to learn! Oh and coursera has a guitar class going on these days.
- Start a sport: You don’t have to be really good to play a sport. So what if you can’t hit a yorker or dribble a basket ball without looking. Start doing it regularly and you’ll get good enough to really start enjoying it.
- Volunteer: Find a good social cause. Volunteer for it. Or teach a working kid how to read/write. (Sadqa-e-jaaria)
- Learn a new language: Python? Even a kid can learn it and its fun too! Or you can be non-geeky and find a natural language to learn (German? French?). Learn while you can and you won’t regret it later (like I do).
- Make Art!: Even if you don’t know how to… Get inspired and start making your own stuff. Play around with Paint if you don’t want to get your hands dirty with acrylics and brushes. (All images in this post were created using MS Paint in 2-3 minutes)
By personal experience, I can guarantee that most of the things in this list can be done in parallel and can do wonders for your social life
I was walking through my department library today and some old thickly bound volumes caught my eyes. They turned out to be archives of the official journal of the University of Cambridge dating back to the late 19th century. I picked up the 1905-06 journal and look who I found there!
(you can take a look at where he lived in Cambridge here)
Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!
~ Lewis Carroll
During his undergrad (if you can call it that), Iqbal read at Trinity College, Cambridge. By current definition of the phrase, he was a ‘mature student’. He stayed at 17 Portugal Place.At that time, the house might have been college-owned, but I can’t confirm that.
It’s a smallish house with a narrow street on one side and a wider one on the other. The wider street opens up in Jesus Green, a large ground. The house is a 5 minute walk away from the river Cam.
I wish I could go and live there for some time, just to check if creativity is influenced by proximity to greatness, even if it’s time-shifted. Without going into any more details, here are some pictures.
Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Escribir, por ejemplo: “La noche está estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos”.
Write, for example: “The night is shattered,
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.”
El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
~ Pablo Neruda
(P.S. Quoting Neruda doesn’t mean you are in love… Being in love doesn’t mean you should quote Neruda)
(P.P.S. The images go with the lines. I just took the pictures)