The last blog I wrote was in February, introducing the summer plans for 2019. Well, it seems only yesterday that I wrote that blog and yet here we are in May 2019, so ready for the summer! The academic life has not been the kindest, going back and forth on the very aspect of completion. Finally, the decision has been made to finish by the spring of next year, which is a good thing but also means that I am looking for completion of the preliminary exam by the end of September and the final defense by the end of next academic year. With so many things on mind and so much work to finish, it becomes overwhelming to handle. At such times, you get a feeling to leave everything and go somewhere, even for a while. That’s exactly what Dean DePauw has planned for us. I feel somehow this program was planned knowing when the peak of the stress is reached in the graduate education and give the graduate student a break. It is not a vacation per se but a different world at least than what we are dealing with right now. And it is welcomed!
I have less than 24 hours to leave and I am so excited to say Goodbye to Blacksburg for a few weeks. I will be landing in Rome and going to spend a day with the family of a GPP friend in Tuscany before we finally start our this adventure of University hopping in Switzerland (with a detour in France and Italy). I am so eager to visit these universities which are so much different than here in the US and back in India. I was reading about the University of Basel, the oldest university in Switzerland. It is a 559-year-old university, established in 1460 with such a rich history! It started with four disciplines – theology (the study of religion), law, medicine, and arts. Those four disciplines are still relevant and important in today’s world suggesting the university has seen and advanced many of the ideas developed in these fields. This is just one university, there are six other universities on the agenda and I am so pumped to witness all these.
This is going to be a one-of-a-kind trip with many firsts. This is the first time, I am going to travel to Europe. This is the first time, I am traveling for an academic purpose to a different country (and continent!). This is the first time, I am going to travel with so many different people from so many different fields and ideas. And these are just on the top of my mind, pretty sure there would be more; one could guess the excitement I am feeling. Europe, I am ready for you, are you??
Stressed out but mostly excited!