My life as a Ph.D. student, S01E01

“… It’s also a fucked up city, but it’s awesome.”

That’s what my boss said about LA when were chatting, before I got the offer.

Honestly, I’ve never expected to see someone like Hao in the academia. At least not as a faculty. He is so unconventional. I still remembered when I saw someone sharing a link to his page on a Chinese SNS site two years ago. People were laughing with admiration.

At that time, I’ve just transferred to Yao-class and haven’t decided to do graphics and do a PhD yet. But now, two years later, I become his student. Life is strange.

For the first time, I’m in the United States.

LA definitely isn’t like anywhere I’ve been. With all those palm trees on the street, it’s like the tropics for me. Surprisingly the whether is not very hot. I’d say it is even cooler than my hometown Shenyang despite way down to the south in terms of latitude. The sun might be burning, but there is not much moisture in the air, so when in the shadows or when the wind is blowing, you don’t feel hot.

And, the sky is blue.

USC is to the south of the downtown. That piece of land is like the urban area of a Chinese county, just orders of magnitude larger, and the campus seems to be the only thing decent. It is about 1/3 the size of Tsinghua, with a lot of buildings packed tightly inside, yet it feels more spacious. The red bricks and white pillars reminds me of the american styled old campus of Tsinghua. Sadly we don’t have here a Jeffersonian Grand Auditorium with a big lawn.

I don’t miss home. I didn’t even have a jet lag and slept pretty well in the first night.

It seems that we have over 300 students from China coming to study CS in USC this fall, the vast majority of then being master’s students. For me, that figure is just overwhelming. Those master’s students are surely coming for the money.

With in years I’d be rolling in cash if I chose to do the same. I’m pretty sure I’m more qualified to earn that big sum of money than most of them. But I just don’t want to go to the IT industry. Or at least I want a more research oriented job in the industry. I’ve never self identified as a developer.

I don’t care about money. I don’t even care about making a super useful software and become popular. I shall only code for something fun.

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