Its been a crazy eventful two weeks now since I’ve landed in Pittsburgh. Hurried to orientation an hour after my flight landed, and hit the ground running with lectures that day. I had suspected that the Master of Integrated Innovation program would be quite challenging, but I had no idea; it’s really hard, man!

I have the most amazing classmates, of other designers, engineers, architects, and business professionals. I feel like I am just barely hanging on trying to keep up with them.

Most of our assignments are team projects, and in every class we are grouped in different small teams comprised of people from other fields. In the past, I’ve always disliked group work, but last week taught me differently. My most exciting class is an engineering course, Design for Manufacture and Sustainability. My team and I took apart a toaster, wrote a report on it, and put it back together. I’d like to take the toaster home, since I don’t have one for my apartment, but decided against that when another team plugged their’s in and it started smoking.

Other classes I have include business and design courses. In one of my business courses, I run a company through a computer simulation, and will be graded on how much profit I make. My brain hurts from all the reading I’ve been doing this week, and I’m quickly learning about and discovering how much I absolutely HATE doing accounting! The design class is the least stressful; so far, I just had to sketch an object 100 times.

Pittsburgh was not what I expected either. Living in California all my life, I had expected Pennsylvania to be much colder, but the summer here seems to be punishingly hot and humid. Walking outside feels like a sauna, and I have the AC on every night, or else I can’t fall asleep. (Holding my breath for the electricity bill). Most of the time, I’ve just been staying at home, or hiding out doing work in our department’s studio.

It kind of sucks on the food front. I realize living in California all these years really spoiled me in terms of culinary diversity. I have still yet to find a dim sum place! Also, no good Mexican food!

Overall though, I think Pittsburgh seems like a beautiful city with lots of old buildings and history. The Carnegie Museum is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to be (getting free admission is nice), and they have a really nice collection including Van Gogh, Francis Bacon, and Monet works, and big dinosaur bones. As I’m settling in, I’m happy to begin to call this place home too. 


PS, dyed my hair :)

Brian XiaoComment