Wilson’s NSE Blog

Thursday, August 26

The Journey to A&M

It may seem crazy to want to drive down to Texas from my home just outside of Washington D.C., however, it was the only way to get my car down to Texas A&M besides spending thousands of dollars to ship it down.

To make this drive less of a hassle, my father and grandfather were kind enough to drive down with me, also, we decided to split the drive into four days and make the most of our experience.

Day One – D.C. to Great Smoky Mountains

This drive ended up being our longest as it was a little bit over seven hours, it was also probably the most boring for me since I have seen the Virginia landscape many times in my life. When we made it to Sevierville (the gateway to the Smokies), the driving had paid itself off. This was my first time seeing the Great Smokies so I really enjoyed seeing some big mountains on the east coast.

Day Two – Sevierville to Nashville

The second day of our journey we used as a sort of break day (it was only a three and a half hour drive). As it was for every place we visited on this trip, it was my first time in Nashville. The only things we really wanted to do in Nashville were to visit the Parthenon and eat some vegan soul food (my dad is vegan and I am vegetarian). The food definitely did not let us down!

Day Three – Nashville to Hot Springs, Arkansas

After our refreshing break in Nashville, we had another fairly long drive ahead of us in the six hour trip to Hot Springs. Honestly the highlight of this day was eating some fake Memphis BBQ sandwiches at lunch time. The main claim to fame in Hot Springs was that Bill Clinton grow in the area (also we saw a pretty cool display spring that had water at around 140 degrees coming from the ground).

Day Four – Hot Springs to College Station

This was the second longest drive of our trip as it was around six and a half hours, also little did I know I was in for quite an adventure around Tyler, Texas. After we had stopped to get lunch at a which wich, we were pulling out of the parking lot when all of the sudden we hit a fairly large bump and my trunk flew open. We were able to stop on the side of the road a few hundred meters ahead and close the trunk, however as I had feared, my two computer monitors which were on the top of the pile of stuff I had in my trunk, had fallen out. By the time we had turned around and went back to where it had happened, the monitors were no where to be found. Someone had scooped them up, whether good intentions or not I will never know (either way they were probably broken from falling out of my trunk). After this whole roller coaster experience, the rest of the drive was smooth sailing and we made it into College Station!

Great Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, Tennessee
Vegan soul food in Nashville, Tennessee
My Grandfather and I outside of the welcome center in Texarkana

Sunday, September 5

First Week of Classes

I survived the first week of classes here at Texas A&M! Well, it wasn’t all that hard since I didn’t really have any thing to do in the classes besides learn the syllabi. I also got used to the (at the moment) scorching hot walk to each of the classes that I will be doing five days a week for the next nine months. Even though I did bring my car, I wasn’t able to get a parking spot on the campus, plus I don’t believe it is worth spending hundreds of dollars to save maybe 5 minutes of my time.

First A&M football game

This was probably the highlight of the week, as I am a huge sports fan. Despite this being the highlight to my week, the day started out kind of rough. When I woke up in the morning I was sweating and I worried that I had contracted some sort of sickness. However, when I went over to the thermostat in the front of my room I saw that it was 80 degrees in my room! I checked to see what the thermostat was set to and it was still set to my average night time temperature of 68 degrees. So, I then put in a maintenance request for the AC to be fixed. After a few hours of waiting for someone to come and fix the air conditioning, I decided to go the leasing office to ask them how long it would take for someone to look at it (it was 85 degrees in my room at that point). They told me that a few other people were having the same problems and they had one maintenance worker going around fixing it. I then just sucked up the heat until it was time to leave for the game, in which I was just hoping it would be fixed by the time I got back. The game itself was a blast (mostly the second half). It will definitely take me a few weeks to get used to all the chants and traditions at the football game, but I feel like people could at least tell that I was trying to fit in to the Aggie tradition (especially since I bought the $15 shirt special to this game). Once the game was over I checked my phone and saw that I had gotten a text message from the leasing office saying my maintenance request was complete. This helped not ruin my night since I was standing in the 90 some degree heat at the game for hours as well. Overall, my first week of classes and my first football game at A&M was a blast!

My first game at Texas A&M (vs Kent State)

Monday, September 13

Second Week of Classes

Finished with the second week of classes (and really the first week of actually having homework). Didn’t really have too much going on this week except for a few homework assignments and the career fair. The career fair was available to attend in person on Wednesday and Thursday with a extra virtual day on Friday. With my class schedule, it would have been hard to attend the Wednesday and Friday sessions, plus the main company I wanted to speak with, NVIDIA, was only available on the online session Friday. I was able to attend a meeting to learn more about the company and was able to fill out some forms about myself (which included my résumé and what positions I would be interested in). Other than that, there wasn’t too much going on since the football game was away this weekend. The main highlight of the weekend had to have been trying this new taco place, Velvet Taco, and watching NFL games. Of the four vegetarian taco options they had at Velvet Taco, I tried the Nashville hot tofu and the Beer battered cauliflower. They were both amazing!

Vegetarian options from https://www.velvettaco.com/core-menu/

Monday, September 20

Third Week of Classes

This week I would say is when the classes started to actually ramp up. I had a few quizzes this week and a programming assignment that took between 6-8 hours. However, as the classes have been ramping up, I have been acclimating to the new lifestyle and have become closer with some people in my classes. I actually ended up meeting up with someone who is in a few of my classes and studied for our math quiz. We also ended up meeting up later in the week too, this time to study for our programming class. Besides schoolwork, the thing that made my week was my favorite team the Baltimore Ravens winning in one of the most exciting games I’ve watched. Since I am used to watching the games with my dad, we were texting throughout the game whenever a big play happened (which was quite often in this game). Overall, I think I made big progress this week in actually becoming an Aggie.

Tuesday, September 28

Fourth Week of Classes

Just had my first exam today, not sure how it went yet. I don’t think the test was overly hard, however it was early in the morning and the room it was held in was around 80 degrees! This made it pretty hard to focus and lead to me being kind of tight on time during some questions. Other than the exam today, not too much happened in the last week. As many of you know A&M lost their first game of the season last weekend, and the Ravens made the recurring theme of giving their fans a heart attack each week continue. I tried another new Mexican restaurant last week with some classmates who claimed it was a necessity for Aggies. I think the place, Fuego, lived up to the hype. I got a breakfast soft taco with eggs, cheese, and mushrooms, and two soft tacos with corn, pico, onions, guac, grilled peppers and cheese. The food was also way cheaper than Velvet Taco and came with a lot more.

Tacos from Fuego Tortilla Grill – via https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g55649-d1906423-Reviews-Fuego_Tortilla_Grill-College_Station_Texas.html#photos;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7&ff=332817284

Tuesday, October 5

Fifth Week of Classes

The last week or so has definitely been the busiest I have been since I’ve got here. Within the past week I have had two exams (and I have one more tomorrow), have applied for some internships, and completed a ton of homework. I think when this current week is over, I will get to breathe a sigh of relief. Also, this weekend I get to see Texas A&M vs Alabama, which at this point I’m not sure is going to go well. Either way, it should be an entertaining game and a much needed break from the past few weeks of non-stop schoolwork. Haven’t really got to try any new food places in the past week, I hope to try this burger place that is near here within the next week though.

Tuesday, October 12

Sixth Week of Classes

As many of you probably already now, A&M beat #1 ranked Alabama last week! The game was great and all, however right before the game started I was walking through the parking garage when I realized my car was missing. My first thought was “Ok hopefully I just got towed for some reason”, because the other option was way worse. After mulling what to do for a while I figured out the apartment complex had an after hours hotline since the leasing office closes at 5pm on weekends and it was already about 7. So I called them and a lady was able to give me the towing company’s phone number who then assured that they had my car. I then had to uber to where they were holding my car and pay a hefty fee to get it back. At that point I was not very happy but when I got back to my room I was able to watch the second half of the game which was able to brighten my mood (if you don’t know what happened A&M won on a last second field goal). The next day I went to the leasing office to discuss why my car had been towed (it said unauthorized vehicle on the document at the towing place, which I found funny because my car is completely authorized). I asked the front office if it was because my sticker was on the back of the car instead of the front, in which they replied maybe, however that isn’t a reason to tow. So I am now working on getting my money back from the towing company since they don’t know why my car was towed (either they didn’t see the sticker or they towed the wrong car altogether). Overall, it was a pretty crazy weekend!

Wednesday, October 20

Seventh Week of Classes

This week I was able to have a nice and relaxing week, at least compared to the last few weeks. For the first time in nearly a month, I had a week without an exam, also I seemed to have less homework then usual this week. The extra free time allowed me to try a few new restaurants on campus. One of the places I tried “Abu Omar Halal” is a Mediterranean restaurant. I ordered a falafel sandwich which I really enjoyed, also it wasn’t too expensive which was nice. The other new place I got to try this week was “Piada”, an Italian restaurant. From Piada I got something called a “power bowl” (which was actually more Mediterranean as well) that had broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, pickled onions, over quinoa with harissa and yogurt drizzle. This was also really good, and I will likely go here quite often as it was a quick counter service restaurant similar to Chipotle in style.

The “Power bowl” from Piada

Wednesday, October 27

Eight Week of Classes

Parents weekend! Well, not officially but this was the week my parents decided to come visit. My parents flew down last Thursday night and we were able to go and see Austin for the first time on Friday. In Austin we did a bus tour in which we were shown the main highlights including the river, the state capital building and the many food trucks that call Austin their home. I really enjoyed Austin as it seemed like a haven for younger people who are trying to make their name heard in their respective careers. After we got back to College Station, I showed my parents around the campus and we were able to see the South Carolina vs Texas A&M game in person! Unfortunately the game wasn’t very close but we still were able to enjoy it. My parents then flew out on Sunday after we went shopping in the morning. Classes this week didn’t have too much going on as in most classes I had to prepare for the three exams that I have next week.

Us at the State Capital Building
Us at the Game

Saturday, November 6

Ninth Week of Classes

This week was definitely the busiest week of the school year by far. Matter of fact, it was probably the busiest week of school I’ve ever had. It started off on Saturday in which I had a coding project due which took most of Friday and Saturday to complete. Then I had another coding project for a different class due on Monday which took most of Sunday to complete. Next I had an exam on Tuesday which I was studying for on Monday. Followed by another exam and more homework due Wednesday. Finally, on Thursday I had yet another exam along with a take home quiz and another coding project due. After all of that I was finally able to relax some today. Next week should be a lot less busy as I only have one coding project and one exam.

Sunday, November 14

Tenth Week of Classes

Not too much going on in the past week, the main focus was one exam that I had on Thursday. The exam actually ended up being way harder than I thought it would be, but whatever can’t change how I did on it now. Other than that I mostly got to relax following the extremely busy week. I tried a new Mexican place Friday night called Taco Cabana. They had a big menu of Beyond Meat items. I ended up getting a two taco, rice, and beans combo which was pretty good but sometimes I feel the Beyond Meat kind of overpowers the other aspects of the food. I was also able to watch some more sports games this week since most of my work was done by Thursday night. The ravens ended up losing to the dolphins which I was not expecting, and then A&M lost to Ole Miss as well. However, my favorite basketball team, the Wizards, are somehow at the top of the Eastern Conference which many people were not expecting. Overall, last week wasn’t too bad and next week should be even easier as I don’t have any more exams until finals.

Sunday, November 21

Eleventh Week of Classes

This week was a nice, slow paced week where all I had to do was some math homework and two programming assignments. Compared to how the last few weeks went this felt like nothing. The main focus for this weekend was what classes to take next year. For some reason even though I am considered junior level, I have the latest time slot available for registration which is tomorrow starting at 5 am. I have some of the classes I want to register for picked out, but I am not sure which ones I will get into since of the late registration time. Other than that, this week should be pretty fun since Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday! I am also really excited to go and visit my friend in Oklahoma over the break and see him for the first time in almost two years. I may have to do some Thanksgiving cooking on my own for the first time since he is not vegetarian. I mean I usually help make the Thanksgiving food but I’ve never had to actually make any of the stuff all on my own. Any ways, it should be a fun time and I will update everyone next week!

Sunday, November 28

Twelfth Week of Classes (Thanksgiving Week)

School-wise, there was not too much going on this week which was great. On Tuesday after my morning classes I prepared to fly out to Oklahoma City where I would be meeting up with my friend who I hadn’t seen in nearly two years. The flight was nice and easy since it was less than two hours from Houston to OKC, and when I got there it was around a 40 minute drive to his house. The first full day there we did a mix of relaxing/catching up and having him show me around University of Oklahoma where he goes. The next day, Thanksgiving day, we went to his aunt’s house and I got to have some delicious vegetarian food that his sister and father were kind enough to make for me. On Friday we relaxed for the first half of the day, then went and saw the new Ghostbusters movie in theaters, which was suprisingly good (and we had no idea that it took place in Oklahoma). Finally, on my last day, we got to meet up with his friend who I had only talked with online, and we went bowling for a couple hours. Overall, it was fun catching up with him and his family and I hope I don’t have to wait as long before I see him next time.

The last time I visited him around 5 years ago
Me and him at his house this week

Monday, December 6

Thirteenth Week of Classes

This past week was the last full week of classes, the semester felt like it flew by so fast! At this point, I am done with pretty much all work that is due for each class. The only thing left to do is finals. At the time I am writing this I only have two more days of classes and then one day of pure studying before I have THREE finals on Friday. It’s going to be rough, especially since I have one at 7:30 in the morning. Hopefully I am able to get a nap in before my next test which is at 12:30. After I get through the insane day that Friday is going to be, I think I should be pretty relieved and calm for the rest of the semester. The only thing that will be left is one more exam which is not until the next Wednesday. Also, this exam is the one that I am the least worried about. Overall, as this semester is coming to an end, I am proud about how I have done thus far both academically and in meeting new people.

Thursday, December 16

Post Finals

Just finished finals, and they were pretty hard… It definitely didn’t help that as mentioned before three of them were on the same day. I felt like I had some much stuff jammed into my head from studying that things I already knew were leaking out before I could finish the tests. All in all, I’m fine with just being able to pass the classes as this semester was challenging both academically and just being able to get set up and used to a new environment. I am back home in Virginia now, and can’t wait to update more when I begin my next semester at A&M!

Spring Semester

Wednesday, January 19

The return to College (Station)

After returning to College Station from winter break the first thing I remembered that I missed was the weather. I usually feel the same way returning to Columbia after winter break from my home around Washington D.C, however, this is a whole other level of not having a winter. Although tomorrow is only supposed to be around 45 (which would be a nice winter day back in Virginia) it has been upper 50’s to 70’s since I’ve been back. Anyways, now that I have had two days of classes I believe that this semester’s courses should be more interesting to me than last semesters were (this semester I can take elective math and CSCE courses which are more catered to my interests). Another thing that I realized I had been missing was the food down here, specifically Fuego. I was able to order Fuego for the first time in over a month tonight and it was just as good as I remembered.

A veggie bowl I tried this time with a mexican cream corn, potatoes, fried mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes

7 thoughts on “Wilson’s NSE Blog

  1. The tacos look amazing. And as someone who has grown watching UTexas football I can imagine being overwhelmed at the Aggie games. They are gigantic and, like you said, have a lot of chants and traditions.


  2. Those tacos also look amazing. Last week was exam week here at UofSC and it was brutal. I had 5 exams myself. Hopefully everything will turn out okay with that 80 degree exam you took. Good luck!


  3. It is very unfortunate that they towed your car like that. Not much better than UofSC when it comes to parking. I heard about the game too, the reactions online were hilarious.


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