Today was Orientation day for my PhD program at the University of Southern Mississippi.
I had arrived in Mississippi (with a stopover in Memphis which sadly had no Elvis sightings…also no Bubba Elvis sightings either) yesterday. The flight was nice, delayed about 40 minutes, but otherwise uneventful. I did have some issue with my luggage. Apparently the Gulfport airport only allows luggage to spin around on the belt 3 times. After that they take it away. So it took a little while to track it down. Then on the way to the hotel I went the wrong way. So what should have been a 15 minute drive from the airport to my hotel took about 45 minutes. But thats ok, I got to see a bit of Gulfport. The drive on Highway 90 is really nice. The water on one side and the other side has a few lovely houses. Otherwise there are just open spaces where trees and houses use to be. So its beautiful, but sad.
So today was Orientation. I had to be there at 8am, which is way too early, but they had food. Of course no one knew they were going to have scrambled eggs, waffles, beverages, and a fruit tray (tons of good food for lunch also). Basically today was spent filling out forms, finding out the basic info for the program and what you need to have and do, meeting the faculty, getting an ID card, and getting 3 citations books (which everyone was already told to buy. Grrr…so a bit miscommunication was going on between the faculty). I visited the bookstore, which was very small and disappointing (no funny stuff, but I did get a t-shirt).
There were about 14 new students today at Orientation. My fellow PhD student are very nice, very smart, and very cool people. A good group of people. I was a bit concerned, because you just never know what type of group you are going to be thrown into.
The instructors seem nice and helpful, and open to students asking their 101 questions. So thats good. But we will see if it continues 🙂
After Orientation, I walked across the street from the hotel and walk along the beach and into the water. When driving up the highway, one see people out cleaning the beaches (they are in that highway worker bright yellow), trucks and a few areas that have fencing around them. But the beach infront of my hotel is nice. No oil. No smell. No people. I saw a few birds.
For supper I went out with a few PhD students to a restaurant called Shaggy’s. It has a beach shack theme and its on the water. Buffett was playing on the radio and you can sit inside or outside. The food was good and everyone had a fun time.