Finally it was Monday evening and I set out to my university looking forwards to attending my first class. I was surprised to see the many new faces at school, which consisted of Align students. I had never heard about the Align course our university offers until this moment. Basically it’s a course which students can take if they wish to switch their field of study into something STEM focused, like Computer Science. Our class consisted of Align students who had no undergrad degree related to the Computer Science field but were interested in switching their field of study to Computer Science. We then started exchanging “Hi’s” and “what’s your name, where are you from” all interesting details about our new classmates, many of whom come from afar like myself. It was our first co-op class and all of us were very excited to know what exactly co-op is. Jennifer Youngblood, our Graduate Cooperative Education Coordinator, gave us a brief introduction about co-op and about what we would be learning in class with respect to the co-op program.
It was just a 1 hour class and, as one would expect, time just flew by very fast and the class was over. Days passed and we had so many questions arising almost every day that we would either call, mail or directly go and talk to the Student Services Director, Gina Takasugi. She is one of the most friendly and helpful persons on campus. I used to and even now always go to her whenever I have some queries or have something to discuss about. My association with her started long before I left India – she aided me in submitting my admission documents, enrolling in courses and planning for my visa and travel was all through Gina’s able guidance.
The assignments were what ensured time flew by, I had less time to miss home and more time to involve myself into the subjects I had chosen for my 1st semester- PDP and Network Security.
With a series of ‘First-time’ experiences I want to add the most exciting one to this list – my first on-campus job interview in Seattle for the role of Seattle Campus Ambassador. My first round was with the ever smiling, warm and lively Anne Maria Jacobson, our Administrative Operations Manager and Gina. My next round was with Angela Walmsley, our Associate Academic Dean, she was very pleasant and cordial. Later, on the same day of my second round of interview, Anne Maria came and spoke out the very words that I was eagerly waiting to hear, I was being offered the opportunity to work closer and serve my university better through a job, a role and a responsibility.
I was extremely happy and gladly accepted the offer. It was the first time in life where I understood that an interview is not about someone mechanically asking a few technical questions to gauge how many books I had studied in life, but a meeting where few people seek to understand each other and the job at hand better and decide if the job and applicant are an apt fit and the arrangement is one that would benefit both parties.
On my first day of work, Anne Maria introduced me to all the staff officially. I met Tayloe Washburn, our Seattle Graduate Campus Dean and CEO, not to mention he’s one of the coolest Deans I’ve ever met- he regularly challenges visitors to ping pong matches on one of our two nearby tables! Cynthia and Gulbin, two very helpful ladies who trained me and still help me whenever I have any questions regarding my job, Claire Lewis, Admissions Recruiter, who kindly keeps enquiring if everything’s fine with my job, Connor, our co-op student who helps us with all the blog postings, Facebook group updates etc. and last but not the least Stephanie Pure, our Senior Director of Community and Business Relations, who is calm and perseverant. It has almost been a month since I started working and I feel so refreshed and involved with NEU Seattle through all the quality time with such wonderful people at my campus. I feel more connected with my campus as we interact a lot with our staff, be it any kind of issue, we always have someone whom we can approach.
Before concluding I would love to officially proclaim what I heard of Seattle at the very beginning as fact – Seattle is a beautiful city with beautiful people living in it. From people on the road who guide me to the right destinations and people in college who guide me to a fulfilling destiny and my goals, it is filled with Gurus without whom life would have been lost without realizing the goodness of all that is around me. My favorite part is the travel over a “floating bridge” that connects Bellevue and Seattle. The scenic beauty here enthralls the mind, fills it with calm and a never-ending sense of happiness. It gives hope & glee to a soul which has travelled so far away from home that this wonderful place it is living in, filled with newer terrain, richer buildings and culturally varied communities still feels so much like home – Seattle – a home away from home! Truly!