And thanks for all the fish

So it has come to an end – our eight week adventure at Stanford University. And what a ride it was. Now that the dust has settled a little, it’s time to conclude the events that transpired and close this blog in my part. Staying true to the style of this blog I will shoot from the hip and try to bind the paragraphs together somehow.

Let’s start from the beginning. When we got to Stanford, everything was big and great, almost unbelievable. The sun was shining, lecturers were good, buildings were massive and we were surrounded by people in the exact same situation. Like in any good adventure, there was promise of unexpected things and excitement in the air. So we threw ourselves head first to the school work and other activities.

Throughout the summer there was always a lot to do. Another set of problems to solve, another guest lecturer to go to listen to, another trip organized by either the staff at Stanford or by the students. Come to think of it, there weren’t that many days that didn’t have something new to them, which is very different from normal, every-day life.┬áNow that the activities have ceased, I’ve been worn out, but in a good way. Come to think of it, this summer had more events than several past summers combined.

Getting back to the beginning, there weren’t many people I knew beforehand. Even the people from Aalto I had only met twice and the other few hundred I hung out with during the summer I had never heard about. But now I can call some of them my friends, and I sincerely hope that our paths will cross later in life. It’s a small world, so I strongly believe this will happen.

What about the academics then? Well, I enjoyed my studies a great deal. The problems were challenging, the teaching was well organized and thorough and my courses turned out to be very interesting. Were the courses flat out better than what I’ve had in Finland? In a way, yes. The lectures I found to be very good, but I missed the tutorial style teaching as well. I wish the lecturers in Finland would show the same amount of enthusiasm to their subjects and teaching that was apparent here. And on the other hand, I wish the students would also demand more from the lecturers and actively work towards a better course. This is also something I myself have to thrive to accomplish.

Oh and I passed my courses with flying colours- now only to transfer them back home.

Academic endeavours are not the only thing that make this summer memorable. As I said, there were a whole slew of other activities that we took part in. No point in iterating over them again, just read through the blog entries I wrote. Some things I didn’t write about, but those are for my private use only.

In all, there were a lot of new, wonderful experiences. Even though the eight weeks was not that a long time, it fit a ton of stuff I’m going to appreciate the rest of my life. Things like critical thinking, various social skills and not to forget the language skills acquired from speaking a foreign language a lot.

Words fail me to some degree – I feel it’s impossible to compress the eight weeks to a short blog post. I had so much fun over the summer. Also at this point it’s appropriate to thank Aalto for such a chance. Hopefully I can give something back in the years to come.

I will close the summer and the blog with a little thing we heard on the very first day at Stanford. A very convincing looking grey bearded professor, whose name I’ve forgotten, gave us a speech. The speech was about Stanford and what it was. Stanford is one of the biggest campuses in the world, one the best ranked universities in the world, a former horse farm and so on. But he closed his speech with the fact that I will loan now – Stanford is the place we went to school in the summer of 2012. And that’s exactly what it is, as long as one remembers that going to school is all kinds of other things than gathering dust in a library.

That’s all from me. I’ll be on vacation until school continues in September. And who knows what awaits then? New academic challenges? New friends? Another blog maybe? I’m keen to find out.

If anyone reading this feels any need to contact me, try my Aalto address, miro dot nurmela at aalto dot fi.

So long,