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Got home...about five hours ago, I guess. Since then I've been reading and eating lunch.

New York was...interesting. We stayed with a somewhat distant cousin, Wendy, who apparently negotiates business deals for JP Morgan/Chase. She lives in a fairly nice apartment in the East Village; she's apparently lived in NY since she left college.

We didn't do much touristy stuff; we did hit Times Square, which I didn't get to see on the summer trip, but only brliefly, because the weather was...disagreeable. In fact, it was very cold (at least to a native Southern Californian) the entire time we were there. I lost count of the number of times I thought Why would anyone want to live here?

Actually, though, besides the weather I actually liked it. The convenience of being able to ride an elevator, walk a block or two, and enter a restaurant is nice, as is the convenience of being able to walk to the street and just wave at a taxi (although the price isn't). The subway is tolerable this time of year, since apparently Hell's fires are turned down outside of the summer months, probably because of the price of natural gas.

I'm not really sure how the interview went. Before the interview, I was handed a short--just over a single page--article on a breakthrough in nanotechnology; I was given a half hour to study the article, then Dr. Harris, a biochem tutor, interviewed me. Perhaps a third to a half of the time was spent discussing the article; the remaining time was spent assessing my knowledge of computers. In the former half, I felt like I made a few mistakes. At one point, for example, he asked me how I thought heat would disrupt the nanotech device; I responded that sufficient heat would break the chemical bonds, and needed some prompting to get to the conclusion he was looking for, that the normal atomic vibration that actually "forms" heat could upset the device. In the computer part, I was a bit weak on the hardware side--I openly admitted that I had no idea how a DAC worked, although the way he treated that, I don't think he expected me to--but fairly solid on software.

I don't have any idea how I did, but that seems to be a pattern--from what I heard, the other interviewees didn't know either. So...well, I figure I'll have use for it sooner or later, so in honor of the weather I dodged by leaving California a day early, I'm going to get an SKS blanket. :^)

Comments

( Read 3 comments — Leave a comment )
caduceuskun
Nov. 14th, 2003 05:45 pm (UTC)
Welcome back, dude! We'll have our fingers crossed for ya.
sinome_maruvan
Nov. 14th, 2003 07:17 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad your interview went relatively well. You should receive your blanket in three days or so. You deserve it. I would have died under that kind of pressure. x_x;
psieye
Nov. 14th, 2003 08:00 pm (UTC)
>> In the former half, I felt like I made a few mistakes. At one point, for example, he asked me how I thought heat would disrupt the nanotech device; I responded that sufficient heat would break the chemical bonds, and needed some prompting to get to the conclusion he was looking for, that the normal atomic vibration that actually "forms" heat could upset the device.


This is absolutely normal and I may go as far as saying it's actually a good thing that this happened and you managed to get to the right conclusion with the prompts. Remember I said Oxbridge interviews were like "Trial Supervisions". They want to see how you think and how suitable you are to the Supervision system. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it was standard procedure for them to keep asking questions until they find one where you don't know the correct answer to, so that they can prompt you to see how you react and 'think on your feet', to see if you can reach answers beyond your current familiar knowledge given some prompts.

In a real supervision, you get a week to do some questions which you hand in before the supervision. It gets marked and you basically spend the supervision going through what you did wrong (and they see if you can reach the right answer first given a few prompts) and better/alternate ways of answering the questions. Good supervisors will then be able to link the material covered in that week's questions to real applications, other material covered previously and/or in different subjects, etc.

In fact, one of my friends said his interview felt 'like he was getting a tuition' because he didn't know the answer to most of the questions. He got in. And we've seen news articles of genius candidates with obscene numbers of exam qualifications (more than double what ordinary candidates offer) who get rejected.



I don't think you'll have any problems in meeting their standards for the academic stuff and your suitability to the Supervision system. But remember there are other factors involved too, like "will you be a good addition to the college life/societies?" and "what non-academic things does this candidate have to offer?" though of course, you can't really take my word too seriously as I'm in Cambridge, not Oxford ^^

I have confidence in you getting an offer :)
( Read 3 comments — Leave a comment )