me, myself & andrei

30 Jul 2008
...or nothing!

In October 2007, after 1 year of TUC and 3 years of RAU (plus almost 4 months of WSHE), there I was thinking there is only one more year to go at RAU, and then I’ll live my Swedish dream. But oh boy, were there going to be some dizzy months to come! Nifty months :), but still..

So along with the final Bachelor year, I headed towards Swedish admissions for Masters. After just a couple of months, it felt a bit overwhelming from a logistic point of view. And when time comes to organize, :P I take it dead serious

I didn’t get a place at the dorms that scholastic year, and getting a private flat would have been just too much money for too little. So I thought of plying between Galați (my hometown) and Bucharest every week or so, in order to go to courses and exams. Ended up doing 25000+ km by train in less than 10 months..

It was more than ok, despite what people think.

It was great for my peace of mind to have that time off while being on the train, and to read a bit, and just to look out the window and crack a problem or something. The only thing I’m actually as sorry as I am grateful for is being hosted at my friends’ (should I still say Ruxi’s? :P ) for ~3 nights each week. Still need to repay that fully and then some ;) I guess, in a nut shell, this way of handling the situation kept me a bit in a.. soap bubble if you will. I’m not running away from admitting that. I’m thankful to myself for making that decision and for each of the supporters..

But coming back to the admission process.. Here I was on one of these train trips, and I went through my thoughts and came up with a small plan and structure. In the end, I thought that it will probably be a nice resource for others and I published that on my previous blog in late December, despite all the voices that were saying “Why help the ones you’re competing with?”.

Never did help them understand that I’m competing primarily with myself, and secondly with others.

The blog entry attracted lots of comments from my “fellow competitors ;) “ . I went for a holiday month in Poland, and throughout February the comments kept pouring.. So many comments that my blog couldn’t handle it, so I created a Facebook community in April and the rest can be read in the series.

That’s one side to the story!

The other side to the story is something just a couple of people know. The personal one. My road through the admission. Things like the need to cut my CV short :P or spending 3 weeks just to decide who to ask for reference letters :) Thank goodness I started early September-October :) . Then trying to get the stamps from notarius publicus, and translations. But that part was tammed. Organized things don’t usually get to me, no matter their complexity. But arbitrary, voluble,.. not really my style.

One of these arbitrary things was receiving an email, nice email though, mid January from a lovely admission officer at Linköping University as a reply to some questions I’ve sent to the National Admissions Office early November or so. Imagine my surprise getting a reply to an email I’ve almost never sent out. I surely didn’t remember asking those questions.. Having an inside person did help, and I started to ask several things, and I’ve mostly got an answer for each. That was my way of getting an address that can be used with express couriers like DHL. The P.O. box that the National Admission Office provides is useless for most of international applicants.. But let’s stop here! You’ll read all about that in a thorough report ;) Hopefully it will make a change and things will improve.

I think that’s a better way than complaining.

So step by step, or maybe better said as.. from one stressful situation to another :P .. March came.. and on the 18th I got notified that I am 99.99% admitted to [wiki:en:Uppsala_University Uppsala University]. Ivan Christoff was the one to give me the great news and afterwards he proved to be so helpful that it would be hard describe it here. Sometimes a human contact with a relaxed communication style can do wonders! I didn’t give a quick answer to that, as final results were not ready yet, and on top of Uppsala, on the priority list, was KTH. And some time early May (I’m sorry I didn’t mark that day in the calendar :P ) I got the news that I’m accepted at KTH as well. Hurey! and Pfiu.. I’ve said. But since Uppsala made such a bold request of seriously considering them over KTH, even if they were second on my list.. it made the next couple of days a bit tricky.

Now who would have thought that Uppsala would give me such a strong handshake and lock my hand to try to pull me out of KTH? :)

Thing is I’ve been going to Uppsala since 2001, so I practically feel at home there. I know the place around, there’s a nice student atmosphere and Ivan gave me that impression of “We’ll look after you, Andrei!”. He assured me of many things, like there will be no problem with getting a place for instance and that Uppsala may have a bit more perspective in terms of research and prestige. He militated for Uppsala, but in a very reasonable way ;) Overall, he tried to put some sense into me and make the decision between Uppsala and KTH, but he explained that with the funniest expression ever :) :

No matter your decision, you’ll regret it later, Andrei!

The downsides of UU was that the programmes were a bit too much of pure Computer Science for me. I’ve been dealing with that for so many years that it doesn’t get my attention that much. Overall, and that’s just my personal feeling about it, Uppsala - the city and programmes - wouldn’t have challenged me that much. In terms of personal interest I mean, not that I’m a genius and I’d be flying through the course material.

KTH on the other hand, didn’t have that human contact I’d say. It was always hard to get a reply to my mails. Maybe that would have been the situation with Uppsala, if it wasn’t for Ivan. When I was trying to decide between KTH and Uppsala, I managed to contact Susy Mathew. She’s the EMIS coordinator, but she kindly denied my request to call her and have a chit-chat on my personal matter. It’s nothing to condemn, and I can imagine she was overloaded, but there just wasn’t that person to trust. Yet, I like the programme, Engineering and Management of Information Systems, which is the logical follow-up to my Bachelor degree in Computer Science for Business Management and fits my vision a little bit better. There were also some nice people that I knew in Stockholm, plus some other nice people that I met online going to KTH or SU. There was also the possibility of getting a place in the KTH dorms without raising a finger on my side. Despite that, everything else was a bit more challenging.

I guess the programme’s focus and the challenge level, and the fact that Uppsala is close to Stockholm and that I can transfer at some point if needed, or that I can still have Ivan for a fika :P, made me decide to go with KTH.

It’s not a half-mouth decision though. I’m 100% into KTH!

I’m really looking forward to this experience. I actually think that there will be some motivated and genuinely interested people there. I know one person at least, besides myself :P It remains to see the other tens of EMIS students :)

The rest is history, as some would say. I sure hope it will be :)

In the meantime, I’ve discovered that I’ll have a Romanian professor, Lazăr RUSU, and another future professor, Paul Johannesson, seemed really nice through E-mail, though I don’t get his WoW interest :)

I’m thinking which groups I should contact.. I’ll try to get in the orienteering (Kongliga Orienteringsteknologerna - KOT) and the wine-tasting group (Vinkollegiet Collegium Vinorum Polytechnicum - CVP). There’s also an environmental group (rEKO), but it looks a bit like a one-girl show..

Either way, I’ve got a place in Kista Alvingevägen waiting for me, applied for my right to reside in Sweden at Migrationsverket, have my one way ticket,.. things are definitely looking good! :)