Jun 13

My Master Thesis Journey…!

Hey guys! Let me tell you something about the most important part of our Masters: Master Thesis. I am just a student like you are now but with a little more experience in the area of Thesis. I started thinking about my master thesis right from the start of my 2nd year…. I know that is a little too early but I was that paranoid initially :-P. I was a little afraid at the beginning so I thought to myself why not start it a little early so as to get a head start. I had decided upon the area I wanted to work in. After having the area of my research decided it was just about deciding the topic for my research. Noooo.. It’s not at all easy. It is by far the most difficult task you might have to do. It involves research, literature survey and basically understanding the topic. It was so difficult in my case that after reading and surveying I was not able to get a clear idea of what i am suppose to do and how much I should do.

Literature survey is tough. You need a patience and you need to invest a lot of your time for this. At times it is a little bit boring but you have to pull yourself towards the final goal. In this part of your thesis you actually get ideas, you might find a possible solution or you might find a topic which will help you in making your task a little easy. I am 3 months away from my defense but believe me yesterday I read a technical paper and I found out something new. It does not mean that I did not read enough but it means that there is so much  scientific material available that you are bound to miss out on it.

After this comes the phase of implementation and damn its exciting!! You are finally going to implement all your knowledge and your literature survey. This is where your thesis gets a first twig. The seed sowed i.e the literature survey has bore a fruit and it has started to grow. The efforts that you have to put in this phase are way more than that of the previous stage. Here it is not like you implement and bam…. it’s done! It requires iterations, literature survey (again) and reiterations.. It is the tasking process in your thesis. Your patience is tested and MY GOD it’s difficult but exciting!. You might become negative and start having doubts about your topic as a whole. Yes! You read that right the whole thesis topic!! But you have believe in yourself your research, your supervisor. You need to keep yourself motivated and see yourself through to the other side.

Here comes the point where in you start writing your thesis down. I would suggest that you do this parallely while implementation phase. It is very very tasking to scientifically write the thesis for a complete day. You can start pinning down notes and literature survey during the implementation phase. It will not get boring and you will be done with quite a lot during this period. I had a backlog which I am yet to complete because I started writing after my implementation phase. I have picked up the pace as of now but still I feel if I could have started a little before to write it would have been much easier. But it is as always you make a mistake you learn from it..

In the end when you look back at the efforts you have put in, those nights you have not slept because you were trying to implement and the code did not let you sleep, the plans you cancelled because you were lagging behind with your work and it brings a smile to your face…. Believe me you have enjoyed doing your thesis. Thesis is more of a process than an outcome or a result. It is about coming up with something new or crazy! It might not be feasible but at least you thought about it. I have enjoyed this journey and although through few ups and downs in my thesis I just kept myself motivated which made me come this far!

Apr 18

Biking in Netherlands!!

Let me just tell you right at the beginning, I love riding my bike. It is one of the best things that we have in Netherlands. Here, the infrastructure, facilities and enthusiasm for biking are on a higher level than anywhere else in Europe. You might have read reports or blogs about biking in Netherlands, if not, just read this one- http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23587916.

As per our basic needs for an individual are concerned, food, clothing and shelter, Oh and I almost forgot…. Smartphones!!! Having a bike is one of the basic needs in Netherlands. It does not mean the public transport is bad but it is more comfortable, fresh, relaxing and for us students a money saver 😛

So you will say all is fine but where to buy a bike. Should I buy a used bike or should I invest in a new one? Well, I had all these questions too. First of all just Don’t just go and get a bike hastily. There are shops, online student groups where you will certainly see one bike offer at least every day. I personally preferred to buy a used bike, there are reasons for it. First, the bikes get stolen, Despite the large number of locks you have for your bike, if it’s your unlucky day… Baaam!!! Your bike is gone and do not even bother searching for it. I lost my first bike from the parking lot in front of the train station! I was shocked, I was under the impression that,’ well train station is kinda safe place to park my bike’ but to my surprise only thing that I found was the broken chain, which I still have it. I have kept it as a souvenir of my first bike in Netherlands.

So, when I bought a second bike and at the same time I made sure to have 2 locks for it. That is one for each tyre. In my experience, when you lock your bike, you should tie your rear wheel to some sturdy bar or fence that cannot be taken away. Get good accessories for your bike like a set of lights and you carry those with you every time you go out on your bike. As far as maintenance of my bike is considered, it’s a little expensive to do it in one of the shops in case of a puncture or oiling or general maintenance. Most of the people I know do it by themselves, the equipment required for the maintenance can be found in supermarkets or they can be borrowed from friends.  It saves a lot of money if you do it on your own. I always try to do it on my own and I will soon become an expert in it! 😉 See my tool box for fixing the bike.

You can get your bike insured! Yes that is indeed true. You need to keep those documents with you if you buy a new bike and in case your bike gets stolen you can claim your insurance.

Well that is all I would like you to know about biking in Netherlands. Happy riding 🙂

Oh! This is my bike journey-

The lost one-

The new one-

Feb 01

Moving Forward to Quarter3

This blog is mainly about Quarter3. It includes few important points which you need to consider in planning your studies. I am sharing these thoughts based on my personal experiences.

I hope this blog will help you for efficient planning of this period.

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You might feel like, well Q2 was not that fast. You had ample of time but let me break that thought for you and say Q3 is going to be a tough one again, similar to what Q1 was. You are now heading for spring break. But let me remind you that plan your holidays and the days that will come later. You will again have submissions, assignments and completions to do and let it not burden you in the end. It is important to balance your workload during the whole period coming up. It is very short in duration and deadlines are really tight. Try to get a good head start during your spring break!

This quarter is again important because you have to plan the minimum number of credit you are going to complete in coming 2 quarters. I will again remind you about the number of credits to be completed by a student at TU Delft. Link and information for the same can be found here –  http://studenten.tudelft.nl/en/students/legal-position/regulations/modern-migration-policy-act/  It is one of the most important conditions as TU Delft is obliged by law to monitor the study progress of Non-EU students residing in the Netherlands on a study residence permit. The law states that a student studying at TU Delft has to obtain at least 50% of the nominal 60 ECTs credits that is 30 ECTs annually at the end of the academic year.

Q3 is on its way, which is also important because you need to start finalizing and submitting your IEP(Individual Exam Programme). You are expected to submit it by the start of  Q3, mainly for Computer Science students. IEP is pretty important because it decides which research group you are looking ahead to work into or are interested for your Master Thesis. Opting for a specific research group you need to make sure that you have opted for the required courses which are prerequisites of that particular research group.

After the exams of Q2, I was able to understand the research area I wanted to work for my thesis. Then I started exploring the research work going on that area and at the research group at TU Delft. I downloaded the IEP form from the website- http://studenten.tudelft.nl/en/eemcs/forms/forms-msc-programmes-eemcs

Considering the specifications of the courses and credits together, I jotted down the list of courses. My list was made with 4 main aspects as required number of core courses credits, the research group specific courses, the courses I already completed and the courses that yet to be completed. All this helped me a lot in finalizing my IEP. Then the next step was to meet and discuss about my interest of working in ‘Web Information Systems’ research group with the Research Group head. I understood the approach and working methods of that particular research group. Once it was approved, I got my IEP approved from my master co-ordinator along with the Board of examinations.

So guys, gear up and make your own list of courses. I am sure at this point you have an inclination to a particular area in your field of research. Try and gather more information on your interested research group, understand the requirements and plan your IEP! It would not be too early to get in touch with the professors and express your willingness to pursue your research.

Huhh!! Well that was too much wasn’t it? But seriously take a little time to plan and follow it so that you will enjoy this quarter. Wish you all good luck and much success!

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