Monday, September 18, 2006


Today was my first day of orientation. During today and tomorrow and this whole week I have to attend lots of sessions and seminars and presentations which provide 'resources' for every single thing about your life at Thayer and Dartmouth. These sessions cover areas like those specific to International students. Then there are sessions about your graduate life and studies here. So its kinda informative but very overwhelming. I mean for somebody like me who is new in US; its difficult to remember American names.Hell, I forget Indian names just as well.

One thing which I always complained of in SGSITS was the difficulty of finding information and locating where exactly do you want to go for help. just for the record, Dartmouth is a completely wireless campus and the wireless signal strength, even in the basement is 'excellent'. On top of it, the college has its own e-mail program, the Blitz mail, like Microsoft outlook. But its lot more advanced and has a feature called blitz bulletins (literally). You could monitor them for all the activities that go on around the campus. I'll give some examples: career services bulletin, hockey bulletin, Dartmouth outing club bulletin, cricket club bulletin, graduate office bulletin, international office bulletin Thayer school bulletin and even a free-food bulletin!

Here at Dartmouth they place a lot of importance on academic honesty and integrity. They do not tolerate plagiarism or cheating in any form. A student if found violating the code of conduct may even be expelled from the institute and he may not even get a second chance. Consider this in terms of what it implies for international students. Once they are expelled, they lose their immigration status and they can be asked to leave US in a single day.

There were two (or three??) sessions dealing exclusively with the academic honor principle and there will be quite a few more this term. Initially I didn't understand why are they over stressing the point, if at all they were. I mean the issue is pretty black and white for me. In these cases I always follow my gut feeling. But there have been times during my graduation where 'academic honesty' was violated.

But I soon found out that there are many gray areas where it is not easy to judge between right and wrong. The failure to identify loose ends in the beginning of your research program can lead to severe consequences for all individuals involved. This includes your professor-in charge, your colleagues and of course you.

I feel fairly strongly about these issues. It is going to be very exciting and responsible to be in a questioning role and keeping an eye open for everything that goes on in your lab. Isn't that what science is all about?

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