Well it has been over a month since my first post, so it is time for an update. I had been wanting to update the blog for a little while but haven’t been able to find the time until now.
Since moving to Waterloo, I have had to cook for myself. As a student there are four main things which I consider when making a meal: preparation time, nutritional value, cost, and taste. It can often be hard to balance these things.
Some foods which I have found to fit these needs well are fruits and vegetables, toast, cereal, oatmeal, rice, potatoes, eggs, and baked beans. Baked beans are a cheap source of protein which goes well on rice and salads.
It turns out that meat is expensive, so I only buy it when I find a good sale. Sometimes the grocery store near my house marks meat products at 50% off when they are a few days from expiry. When this happens, I snatch them up and put them in the freezer. There are a couple of food items which I refuse to give up due to cost, namely milk and cheese. It seems insane to me how expensive milk is these days.
I have had plenty of fun with experimental cooking. I normally prefer to try to create my own dishes without looking up recipes. This could be partly due to the fact that I usually don’t have all the ingredients which prescribed recipes call for. My dishes normally turn out pretty well although there have been a few failures. I made a couple attempts at fried rice which didn’t turn out very well, so I may have to look up a recipe for that one.
The food situation has turned out well overall, although I find that I miss my mother’s cooking. I’ll need to eat my fill the next time I visit home.
Thanks to the suggestion of Ora Steyn, Dean of Science at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), I have decided to start a blog to share my experiences at the University of Waterloo (UW). I feel that this is an excellent way to keep friends and family informed about my life and to help interested students at UFV learn about life as a grad student.
I arrived on campus on Sunday, September 4th and since then have focused on getting settled. I am living in a UW grad residence — a townhouse shared with another student. The unit is quite nice. It is a 25-30 minute walk from my unit to the Math Building. This is longer than I had anticipated but certainly beats the 50 minute commute I faced while attending UFV. During the winter months, the university offers a shuttle service from the graduate housing to stops along campus. I anticipate making use of this service. I also have the option of taking the bus.
I attended orientations for both the Department of Pure Mathematics and the Faculty of Mathematics during the past two days. The one from the Department of Pure Mathematics was quite useful. On the other hand, the Faculty of Mathematics’ orientation was very dry and contained mostly obvious information. For example, a large focus of this orientation was on taking TA duties seriously (not marking while intoxicated, not writing mean comments on student papers, etc) and not sexually harassing students.
UW and UFV are very different schools in a number of ways. The biggest factor is size. UW’s campus size and student population are many times larger than UFV’s. One consequence of this is that many more courses are offered. For example, the Department of Pure Mathematics is offering nine graduate courses this semester, significantly larger than the three to four upper level courses I am used to being offered from UFV’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. This difference becomes larger when you also count graduate courses from the Departments of Combinatorics and Optimization, and Applied Mathematics. My coursework starts on Monday and I will be sitting in on many of these courses before making a decision on which to take. Courses of interest include Measure and Integration, Functional Analysis, Graduate Algebra, and Differential Geometry.
I look forward to this coming year and to sharing my experiences with you. Coming posts will be much shorter and focus on a single topic. If you are interested in following this blog, I encourage you to subscribe in order to get email notifications of new posts. I am sure there is an simple way to unsubscribe if you get tired of the alerts.