The vacation experience !

I had a great(and a very long one too 😛 ) time writing this one. I’m not adding a (TL; DR) in this because honestly speaking this is just one of those personal posts that was written not aimed at the readers and just because I felt like writing.

Should you read this one ? If I were you, I’d do something that makes better use of my time.

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I can’t believe I’m almost a month into my summer vacations and I’m still stuck in here(in the college). Well, honestly I’m the one responsible for that. I did horrible semester III and IV and I’m having to stay back to clear the leftovers 😉
But the entire experience has been great, something I’d have never thought possible. It’s all really down to the support that I’ve found from my mentor Mr. Vipin Pavithran( or Vipin sir as we call him here). I’m just going to reflect on a multitude of feelings that I’ve been through in these days, the various tasks that I’ve undertaken and their progress. Some of them have even exceeded expectations. All of that and much more follows in this post.

* The Re-do (Do it all over again)
In the semester III, I flunked in the subject Digital Systems and I as a result of which I’m having to the re-do course offered in the same subject. It’s basically a short course, spanning around 20 days and you try your luck at the exams one more time at the end of it. Usually, it’s a lot easier and I was in for no surprise. The final exam of the course was scheduled on the 21st of June and here I was doing anything but preparing for the same. The way I kicked off the course was in itself pretty ominous. I was down with chicken pox when the registration for the course started. Thankfully, you could register for the course remotely and so did I sitting in the comfort of my home. But then, as is the case with any other course, you can’t do them unless you pay the fees and I somehow just totally forgot that part ! What was even funnier was that I didn’t realize it until a day before the course was to start 😮 When the course finally started, I had the guts to attend the first day’s session knowing that I hadn’t paid the fees 😛 As expected, the teacher called out my name in a list of students who were yet to register for the course. On any other day, this wasn’t a big issue, as the registration process can take some time to get all the names in. But my case was totally different. Here I was having not yet paid the goddamn fees for the course and that was something that I didn’t dare to tell my teacher. Finally, I met my adviser/councilor and told her that this is what I had gotten into. I however did mention that I was down with Chicken Pox and that things were lost in translation somewhere down the line. She signed a recommendation letter and then I was to meet the HOD of my department and then get the approval of the HOD of the examination department. The last part of it, i.e getting the approval from the HOD of the examination department was supposed to be the most challenging and I was told by my peers to brace myself to hear some of the most hard hitting words from him. That had me really concerned and since I’m no good in bargaining my way out of any situation, I thought I’d perhaps lost the battle already. Nevertheless, I gathered all the courage and decided to meet the HOD of my department anyways, and her response would give me a good idea of my chances.
I entered her cabin and after lengthy discussions and pleading I was told to pack my bags and go back home enjoy the vacations and come again next year. She said in a way that was so appeasing that I didn’t really mind following here instructions. However, she did say that I could try my luck by asking the HOD of the examination department and if he was okay with it then I might be able to do the course this vacation itself. She also fired a warning saying that “you’ll return back from his cabin at the same speed in which you would enter it” . That was just a way of telling me to expect the worst(and a lot more !). At that point I didn’t really think that going in to his cabin would be a really good choice and that I’d be better off going home and returning the next vacations and finishing off the course. But, somehow I gathered courage and I made my way into his cabin. On the way I would’ve met at least half a dozen students who advised me against doing so. But I decided to go on and I when I went in there was the HOD of the examination department almost as if he was he’d been waiting for me all this while. I greeted him and immediately started off with my explanations for not being able to pay the fees. I must have spoken for about a minute at a stretch when he interrupted to tell me that he doesn’t couldn’t follow any of what I had to say. I started all over again and again I uttered a lot of words and I don’t think he was in a mood to listen to my lengthy explanations and ended up asking me what I really wanted and to which I replied I just want to pay the fees and finish off the course this vacation itself. He seemed a little confused to me but then asked me to consult the principal for this and he was okay with it then I could go ahead and do the course. I couldn’t believe that I’d come out of his room unscathed. That really pumped in renewed optimism in me. I made a quick dash to the principal’s office where again there were similar issues that were again sorted out by my similarly stupid explanations 😛 . Finally I went to the nearest bank and got a demand draft for the required amount and somehow managed to pay the submit it at the fees counter just minutes before it was to close. That’s how the day ended and after 2 days I got my admit card \o/ . It was surreal ! From having been told to pack my bags and go back home to now being admitted in the course it really took me a while to understand the reality. But there I was having won the battle before the real one was to commence.
Thankfully now the course is done and it was a joy ride in every sense of the word ! Unbelievable 🙂

Organizing a MiniDebConf  !
The re-do classes were pretty much non-existent 😛 no classes, no attendance and a damn easy question paper. It was all too easy IMHO. But then the results are not yet out. So let me not give you the impression that I’m gonna be among the toppers. I was just happy with the way the course has panned out. It was very pleasing indeed.

This meant that I was free most of the time during the day and that I’d little else to do. So , I thought of spending my time better. I initially started out by doing some Open Source Contributions and my mentor asked me and a few others to take up the responsibility of conducting a MiniDebConf in our college.  Now I can tell you that organizing something as large scale as a MiniDebConf is no child’s play from the little experience that I’ve had thus far. In the past week I’ve had to dispatch a lot of emails, join and create numerous discussion threads, new documents, wiki pages and organizing other data and it’s only the beginning. But I’m very optimistic and we are a very good team too. We have the support from the college and members of the Debian community themselves  proposed the idea of organizing this event in the college. So there is every reason to stay optimistic.

An Arduino and Raspberry Pi workshop
Apart from all this I’d also enrolled for a Raspberry Pi and Arduino workshop which I’m really glad that I did. I didn’t really stick around all the time. Maybe that’s something that I should’ve done but then I got busy with the examinations towards the end and it was getting a bit hectic too. But overall the workshop was a great success and the thrill of working on a Raspberry Pi really got to me ! It was great and I started looking at ways to run KDE on the same. I don’t think it’d be easy to run KDE on the Raspi’s that come with just 512MB’s of RAM but it’s not impossible. It is possible to run them, maybe you might have to compromise with the performance here and there a bit. So that’s something that’s really got me excited and I’d definitely jump at the chance of using one if I do get it again. The workshop and the sessions were conducted by Vishnu Narayanan and it was real fun not just to attend his sessions but also to get to know him and spend some time with him. We were able to install KDE on his Dell inspiron too \o/

That then were the highlights from this vacation. It’s worth mentioning however that there’s still almost a month for my vacations to end and I hope that the next coming days will be just as fun and enjoyable. To be honest, I see no reason why it wouldn’t be as exciting, if not better since I’d be at home and I’d be able to meet my friends, hopefully follow up on some of the FIFA World Cup 2014 action. Thinking of all that has already got me really really excited. I’ll update this post if something worth mentioning does happen in the final few weeks of the vacation.

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