GoodBye 2009

Year 2009 was a mixed year for me.
It did not start with all that bang as expected. Me and Payal wanted to move to USA for furthering our careers and to be together. We chose Univ of Houston, which, to be honest, has evoked mixed reactions inside me. It was my last choice among the colleges I had applied to, but lack of knowledge and money [:-)] landed me here.

The months of Jan and Feb were not too good. I was kept on a very low profile job for my own liking by my company. Survival was the key here. Times were not good after the big collapse of the world economy and I had to hang on to whatever I had in my hand. I was working as a Material Engineer but did all sorts of checking stuff. In the meantime, I also had the opportunity to work on an irrelevant, but interesting nonetheless, assignment involving materials of different kinds in the piping industry. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience.

March and April saw me being pushed out of the league due to increasing financial distress of my office. I was made to do all silly stuff. I was put under some training also including PDS, which was good in a way that I learned a new software. But what is the use of anything when you don’t utilize it, eh?

May and June were completely on the sidelines. Being in the office was so boring that I could not describe it. In the end of May, I told my boss that I was going to resign in June. And so, he also never took interest in me from then on. My bad! June was also the same. Only that I never worked, or even tried to lay my hands on any job even that came my way. I did not want to. All day I would sit in the office and look at maps of Houston and such where I wanted to be after a couple of months.

July was an interesting month. I went to my native place Bhagalpur after a gap of nearly 2.5 years. It was a nostalgic experience for me. Once upon a time, not so long ago, I wanted to settle in this place. Not anymore. But who knows what fate holds for you. I also managed to make a short trip to Mumbai to meet my friends. I stayed at Abhinav’s and enjoyed a couple of days. Neeraj, Mucchu, Nyati and Sue were also able to make it and that added more fun to already lots of fun. I should mention here that I loved the location of Abhinav’s home. It is beautiful. To have such a place in Mumbai is really cool. I like Mumbai as a city and the people are friendly, but the place is very congested. Golu is a lucky guy.

August ushered a new beginning. I and Payal boarded the Qatar Airways flight to Houston from New Delhi. New Delhi is a place I would love to go back always. A city I adore and hate at the same time. Though my adoration will always overshadow my hate because I am an optimistic person in general. We landed in Houston on 11th August. Coming to terms with the new place and culture was not much of a shock. But one thing is for certain. As one of my friends put it once “I have become more of an Indian since landing in USA. I took up Math, Convection and Boundary layer as my courses in college and started my journey as a researcher.

Research. Difficult as it is, my experience with it was not at all good to begin with. I took up research under a very renowned professor Dr. Fazle Hussain. But I was not up to the task at that point, I still don’t know why. And he is not a professor who tolerates lack of motivation in his students. I ended up dropping the research under him in the end of September.

Now I had to maintain a good GPA to get research under another professor. Trina Johnson in my department helped me a lot in this regard. She referred my name to Dr. Ralph Metcalfe for research position under him. I took up the research immediately with him in the area of horizontal natural gas wells, which still rumbles on. Though with not much speed, but yes with a belief that I will go through it come what may! I got my grades for boundary layer mid-terms and it felt great to get 87.

November was another goodish month. I got grades for Convection and it was 82. Still some way to go! Math was a constant threat to my grades. But I fared well in the mid-term with a 29/30. It was heating up all around in terms of the courses. But it was still somewhat cold in the research area. The one thing that I like about my prof is that he never pressurized to do something. He understands that the student has to take care of his courses too. And probably that is why he is a very sought after prof in our dept.

December was nervy. I met the guys at Apache Corp who are going to fund my research. My finals were not so good. Specially Convection. But luck plays a great role in shaping one’s career. I got A in Convection and B’s in both Math and Boundary Layer. I was expecting B+ in Boundary but I am quite satisfied with Math. I ended up making 3.33 for the semester which is not so bad considering that this was my first sem.

2009 was a decent year. I hope 2010 will be great too. Specially for my research. I hope that I can complete my thesis by the year-end. Lots of work to do in the new year. And lots of fun in store, hopefully!


About Pranab Narayan Jha

I am an eternal student, wanting to learn something from everyone. Currently living in Houston, USA. The purpose of this blog is to write about things I find interesting and also, through it, read what other people write and think. Some of my interests are football (soccer), my work which involves fluid flow, learning about India and its ancient history.
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