Sunday/Monday – Day 258/259 – #TheNextBigThing

April 21, 2013

A week behind again! Somehow this keeps on happening. I’ll have to do my best to reconstruct it!

Sunday was Fling recovery and I was up early to ensure all my work was completed. I had a stack of things to get through. Had to prepare for recitation the next day, a submission for my security class, final project for networking, physics and no end of stuff for my students! The only break in the day came in the form of my study with Shlomo Klapper, but even he was exhausted.

Monday – I was up early in the morning, around six am to try get ahead of some physics work for my recitation at nine.Things didn’t go too badly but I found the material a bit beyond me. Seems to be a theme in this course.

However, this morning was also an exciting event for me. Samsung was launching an advertising campaign on campus and as part of it they were giving away ten Galaxy Cameras to students on campus with high ‘Klout’ scores and I was privileged enough to be one of the recipients. Thus at nine, I rocked up to their booth in Houston Hall with my photo idea and was handed a brand new camera, replete with 3G functionality and a full Android (Jelly-Bean) operating system. Not a camera-phone but a phone-camera.

The image quality on the beast wasn’t particularly good but it was sooo much fun taking it round and making skype calls from my camera. I received plenty of weird looks but there isn’t much I enjoy more than being the galactic source of some oddity.

Next up was Networking and then Security. The security topic this time was social engineering. I in fact had made plans for a class wide demonstration of this, but that has to be kept under wraps until tomorrows post. Needless to say it was decently clever but slightly mean.  I spent the hour after preparing for my recitation which today was to be located at a slightly different place from normal, Kiwi Frozen Yoghurt! I had decided to take out my entire class given that it was the last chance I had with them outside of the following week’s exam revision session. Semester was fast drawing to a close.

PGC rehearsal and choral society were after, with choral society running really late given that this was our final regular rehearsal before the big concert on Saturday night. An early night after I finished my physics was well in order, my voice still wasn’t up to scratch.

Tuesday/ Wednesday – Day 189/190

February 10, 2013

Approaching two hundred days…  I’ve already been gone more than half a year now. I’m definitely missing home. Despite all the opportunity there are some things that can’t be found at Penn. To the people in Melbourne I love, don’t worry, I’m coming home eventually.

Tuesday was a bit of a nightmare. I accidentally pulled an all nighter, preparing work for the next day. As the hours grew later and later, my work remained unfinished and I just keep pushing myself harder and harder. Rehearsals meant I had only arrived back to my room at around midnight and was already tired.

Wednesday was my first ever OCR experience. ‘OCR’ for those of you not from the states, is ‘on campus recruiting’, a method by which pre-professional students, desperate to be noticed, flirt with companies of (sometimes ill) repute. A fancy way of me saying that it’s essentially on campus interviewing for the financial services industry. This means everyone dressed up in suits, desperately trying to stand out by blending in. My interview however was for a technical position at a firm that though financial  had a number of good notes to their name. Again, if you want to hear more about it, send me a message. For the meantime, I’d rather keep my experiences interviewing with various companies off the public avenue. The interview went well and was mostly enjoyable. I struggled over a few questions but overall I felt I made the right impression. Following that I pretty much slept through my afternoon classes, being still short from the previous night.

That evening I stayed mostly clear of working too hard, as I was a little burnt out from the last few days. To that extent I decided I would go visit a certain friend in Rodin, who had a tendency to clean whenever I came over. I sent her a message asking if she was free and she said she was just on her way back and that she’d shortly send me a text. That done, I decided to work for a while in the Hillel and, after twenty minutes when it closed and I still received no text, I headed to Rodin. There I ran into another friend who I had reason to believe was avoiding me and so, to side-step any discomfort, I removed myself from where I was sitting and went downstairs to see if the pianos were free. Unfortunately they weren’t but I did run into one of the vocalists from Dischord (a college acapella group) who had greatly impressed me at one of their performances and let her know as much. So I sat down to work for a little until my power ran out. Still receiving no message, I decided to text the girl and find out what was going on, she as per usual, was awfully busy and hadn’t time for me yet. Thankfully though, at that moment the piano room was freed up and I had a little time to play before I received a message at 11:30 that my friend was finally free.

I went up to chat with her and she made me tea, before letting me know that she had something to tell me. She struggled a bit with it before it came out that she’d been seeing someone and was both nervous and excited for it. Just as she’d gotten that out of the way, there was a knock at the door and, who was it but the boy in question! She giggled madly, and I smiled politely, tea in hand as the boy at the door walked in a little bewildered and nonplussed. I stay round to befriend him for a while before heading back with a smile on my face, happy for them both.

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday – Exams – Days 137-139

December 17, 2012

I had experienced multiple exam periods before, but none so stressful as what I experienced at Penn. Possibly one of the most stressful weeks of my life and, unfortunately I lacked the perspective to step back from it.

The week didn’t begin so badly, with a few major projects due Tuesday but no exam till Thursday. I thought all was well as I’d planned ahead and completed most of the projects. Monday held two PGC gigs, both of which were pretty awesome. The first of those being a performance at the top of the Huntsman building, on the eighth floor, never seen on regular occasions by students. One could tell the event was of higher status than some of the others by the flashy catering provided and the seemingly unlimited supply of pepper steak being carved up for the guests. Our performance however, was less than stellar and I’m not 100% sure we earned our keep that time. However, we had a chance to redeem ourselves later in the evening with the President herself, Amy Guttmann.However before that there was coding to be done in the break and candle lighting at Hillel with a brief appearance by President Guttmann.Amy Guttmann Lights Chanukkah Candles


Following her speech there was a performance, as below, by the Jewish acapella group on campus, the Shabbatones.

Following that it was again, a short period of study and work before a trip to the fantastic Presidential Holiday Party at the house of the President herself.

Line to the Party

There was a line out the front reaching a decent way back and understandably so, for on the other side the beautifully adorned building was a back garden filled with desserts and holiday treats. However, the Glee Club was sequestered to a side room to await our performance.

PGC Waiting

We waited anxiously for the entire crew to arrive and when they did, we sang our bit before spending time mingling. It was during this period that I managed to snag a photo with the President, one for the wall.

Holiday Party with Students

After all this hubbub I planed to work a little and then sleep early. Unfortunately, a few small issues with my code ballooned out and ending up taking me till the early hours of the morning, programming in Engineering, Moore 100. Around me students with bleary eyes were all focused on the same goal. Completing the assignment by 10AM Tuesday. Many fell by the wayside or more literally, fell asleep.

Tuesday morning I slept through most of and the evening was spent in a mixture of coding and revising. Today was also the day that the family visited Penn and I spent at least a little time showing them around before my recital at 1PM where I sang fly me to the moon. Email me for a link to that video.

Different project this time and lots of math catchup for the algorithms course.I seem to be doing this more frequently, but another significant event this past week was another interview, this time for an on campus position of ‘Teaching Assistant’ or TA (tutor) for the algorithms course. This applied extra pressure on me to do well on the exam to prove myself. The interview in fact went excellently, and the interviewer Val Tannen, had a few words with me after that were most encouraging. It was then on Tuesday I received notification that not only had I succeeded in being offered a TA job, I was to be given a tutorial/section/lab to teach because of my strong performance. This made me nervous a little but I was more than happy to accept. In the evening I went for a delicious dinner with my parents before arriving back on campus a little after nine PM to get back to work. However at around ten PM I received an SMS from JHo, my Glee mentor, wondering where I was at auditions, and then it hit me, I had forgotten my audition slot half an hour beforehand for the PGC Spring Show! The moment I received that message I grabbed my coat, some sheet music and, sprinted as fast as I possibly could, over to Platt Student Performing Arts Center where I was the last person to have my audition and, though I was a little stressed out I felt it went relatively well.

Wednesday was a non stop day of study, almost without pause and the study went well into the night where I helped out a few friends with their questions. Unfortunately for me, I never remember that when I manage to help others for an exam, I often doom my own performance….

© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney