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Stream of Consciousness

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One book, a dozen of equations, a few scattered proofs. Matrices, vectors, eigenvalues. One big headache, if you ask me.

Sunrise. Early Monday morning. A warm cup of coffee and a dark blue scarf around my neck. Me, my thoughts, my calculations. My crusade. My sleep deprivation. Why am I doing this to myself?

And yet, the sky (life?) is not dark anymore. It gradually turns pink and orange, a new day is here. Birds start to sing.

Cute, fluffy and orange. A squirrel!

Linear combination of research and study. A graduate school prospectus on the table. With question marks. Blue question marks.

My eyelids are starting to feel heavy. Blink. Once, twice. Suddenly, my alarm goes off. Oh, so here we go again. It´s a brand new day…

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Posted by on 16 September, 2012 in Random

 

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Bicycle Race – Destination: Morality

If you´ve ever been to Holland, you probably know that every Dutch(wo)man more or less lives on his/her bike. They eat, drink, play console games, kiss or even play musical instruments (!) while cycling on the busiest road in town… as if it were as easy as taking a candy from a baby.

Fine. I (just like any other foreigner living in Holland) can live with that. Unfortunately, there is one more peculiar thing concerning bikes present: Yes, you guessed it – stealing bicycles is (almost) a national sport!

Two days ago, my shiny, 3-month-old bike was stolen. I was furious, but the only condolence I got from the Dutch was along the lines “So what? Just go and steal one for yourself!”

So I stopped whining, took a deep breath in and thought: What if everybody stole bicycles from everybody else? What if really everybody joined this craziness? How would that affect the societal morals? How quickly would this spill over to other things (like stealing your super-expensive pen – the Czech president would probably know)? And finally, what makes a crime socially “acceptable”? (If it is just “enough people doing it”, could fraud one day become ok?)

Any thoughts?

 
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Posted by on 9 September, 2012 in Traveling

 

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Getting a Research Internship

There are certainly days when nothing goes as planned: your alarm clock goes on strike (weird, mine says “made in China” but acts as if it was made in France), you’ve burned your breakfast – so far things are going great… Anyway. If you want to get to Grad school, I have a bit of heads-up advice: There are things that actually work!

Since almost all Graduate schools require at least some research experience, this is something you should probably be aiming at while doing your Bsc./MA. Here’ s a short list of tips how to get a research internship – read on!

1. Make sure you know what you want to do. If the answer is “economics”, for example, this is not good enough. Is it micro, macro, finance, behavioral, labour, econometrics…?

2. Find a professor (at your university) with similar research interests. Take his/her class (if possible), approach him/her and ask about the possibility of an internship.

3. If you are asked for an interview, prepare your transcript (just in case) and your CV (at least in your head) – and of course your grad school plans.

4. This professor can become your “secret ally” – he or she probably knows which school would be nice for you, you get get a good recommendation letter if your internships turns out well… don’ t underestimate these benefits.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask about what exactly is expected from you, ask when you don’t understand, ask about your possible wage. There are important questions – remember, it’s always better to ask than to omit something because “it didn’t occur to you”.

So, that’s about it. Simple, eh? Happy job hunting! 🙂

 
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Posted by on 3 September, 2012 in Education

 

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Summer Has Come and Passed

… the innocent holidays can never last/Wake me up when September December ends (…) Here comes the rain semester again… /Green Day/

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It felt like a few seconds – exhausting packing, tearful goodbyes, a short flight, a yellow train and here I am, back in school again. Or actually, still at my desk, there are a couple of hours of my summer left. The sun goes down and the sky turns navy blue. My favourite shade of blue. I look out of the window, the street is empty. Tonight it is just me, my faithful dog laptop and my – huge – bed.

Refresh, refresh, refresh. No one is on-line – of course not. Just my semester starts _this_ early. Loneliness. So this is how it tastes. I have almost forgotten. A fake smile and a suppressed sigh.

My natural phlegmatism wins. “No news is good news.” I finish my tea and turn the light off. And the computer…

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Anyway. How does a new semester make you feel? Are you still free – or are you also being “jailed” tomorrow? Is there something special that awaits you at your school/uni? Feel free to share, your views are welcome 🙂

 
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Posted by on 26 August, 2012 in Random

 

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Board Game Night

…aka “all geeks welcome”. No, seriously, I think this is a brilliant idea. What exactly? Well, here it is: A friend of mine dug up about 20 old board games (including – but not limited to – Monopoly, Scrabble, Carcassonne, Bang, Axis and Allies,…), invited a bunch of geeky people to his place, bought tons of chips, pizzas and litres of coke … and so the party began.

One friend of us, let´s call him Sam, promised to come at five in the evening. Suddenly, it was six and we had no clue where he was. Mark sent him a text. “So, where is Sam?” we asked. “Sam is not responding.” (pause) “If you choose to call Sam immediately, you will lose any unsaved data.” somebody shouted – and that moment we knew that this night would go down in history.

And it did. Kudos to all four boys who managed to teach me Bang in little under ten minutes, a huge thanks to whoever made me that amazing green tea – and an applause to everybody for the fantastic night!

Just a few warnings for those of you who decide to organize something similar in your house:

1. Junk food is good, greasy hands less so (especially when you are playing cards).

2. Tip for fun Scrabble: You are allowed to use only those words NOT found in a dictionary.

3. Have more game sessions running at the same time – you will overhear tons of ridiculous quotes (esp. if you have a group playing Scrabble and a group playing Bang, true story).

4. Invite a lot of people – even if they don´t know each other; after all board games are a great ice breaker!

5. No alcohol. Or at least as long as possible – it is more fun when all the players are able to follow the rules 😉

 
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Posted by on 19 August, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Feeling S-love-nia

Six days of adventure. Six days of pure nature, hiking, and fun. Six days of awesomeness. Welcome to Slovenia, one of the few countries in the world where you can a) meet dozens of super-friendly Germans (true story), b) enjoy both pristine nature and useful products of civilization (viva la fridge!) and c) hike as well as swim in the sea!

In this post I would like to share a couple of my personal discoveries about this amazing country somewhat south from the heart of Europe. Put your rucksack on, fill your water bottle – and don´t forget the sunscreen. Here we go.

1. “Nothing is a problem.” It doesn´t matter whether you miss the last bus or just happen to lose your map – Slovenians won´t call it a “problem”; rather, they will do their best to turn your misfortune into an opportunity (read: a perfectly managed adventure).

2. Excellent ice cream. Slovenians have the best chocolate ice cream ever. Period.

3. Hitchhiking works like a dream. Not only that there are dozens of nice Germans happy to give a poor student in need a lift, but also the locals are there for you (especially if they hear from you how much you admire their mountains).

4. Water, water everywhere; nor any drop to drink. If you go hiking, take a lot of water with you – there is only very little drinkable water up in the (beautiful) mountains (and it´s terribly difficult to reach).

5. Party hard. I have never seen a cocktail with so much alcohol before. Ever. (For those of you going to a little town Bovec – try “Sex in Bovec” in the Bar Cerna Ovce.)

6. Don´t bother speaking foreign languages… at least if you are Czech or Slovak. When I tried to buy a drink, German did not work, English not exactly, but it wasn´t until I tried my mother tongue that I was finally understood… True story.

But in a nutshell – Slovenia is worth every cent and every minute of your time.

 
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Posted by on 12 August, 2012 in Traveling

 

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Tea-Rooms: Czech Peculiarity

Imagine a normal (“Western”?) café. Done? Good. Now throw away chairs and tables (coffee tables can stay). Shut all the windows and hide them behind dark curtains. Put a dark (red) carpet on the floor, add some cushions and little lamps (completely randomly). Play some meditation music, light colourful candles, hire a (“rasta”) weirdo to serve tea… and there you go, a nice Czech tea-room! (Or tea-house?)

Wait, one more thing: The menu, of course: A must is a minimum of 100 sorts of tea (white, green, black, yellow… you get the idea), some exotic (read: exotic for an average European) food (i.e. pita bread, couscous, halvah) and hookah (yes, this). Sure, you can offer some extras, but not that anybody cares anyway.

Sounds like a drug den to you? Well, let´s be honest here: You are not very likely to meet a businessperson politician in a suit here. (One more reason to try it out.) On the other hand, it is a great place to go with your buddies to relax (shisha is a brilliant invention, anyway) – or on a date (because it is dark in here, wink, wink).

However, what I find striking is that such a “café” exists practically nowhere else in the world! (OK, I know, there is one in Glasgow – but based on the Czech model of tea houses.) Why is that? Is this concept really that controversial? Or are other nations simply more conservative when it comes to the way their tea is served? …I don´t know. Do you?

At any rate, it is highly recommended to put it on your “to do” list should you come to the heart of Europe, my home country 🙂

 
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Posted by on 3 August, 2012 in Random

 

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