Reflecting on Fouriers at CU

For the uninitiated, the title is a pun on Fourier. Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier was a French mathematician who, through Fourier Series, laid the foundation for Fourier Analysis, an important topic in physics, image compression, signal processing and so many other fields, and the title of a required course in the Applied Math department at CU.

I remember moving to Colorado from India in July 2016. It was all so fast that I did not get the chance to think and reflect on my first 18 years in India. And I was filled with excitement and nervousness about what was ahead. Now, my four years in Colorado, and specifically at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has come to an end. It was an unanticipated ending given the pandemic. I did not get a chance to see the classrooms one last time. I did not get a chance to thank my professors in person. I did not get a chance to meet my friends and mark the milestone. And going our own ways, I probably will not get to do all of that for a long time again. As I continue to look forward to starting my Ph.D. at the University of Washington, I found myself reflecting on the last four years. I was flipping through photos and conjuring up memories instead of reminiscing over conversations.

Some Overarching Memories

Here are some themes that I keep coming back to when reflecting upon my time at CU.

Bus Rides: During my freshman and senior years, I spent quite an amount of time commuting to and from campus on the RTD. I cannot remember the number of times I needed to run to catch my bus, the times they wouldn’t let me on the bus because there was no space for my bike, and the countless hours spent waiting for the bus. It was a grueling, and unforgettable experience. The silver lining was that I could take naps on days I had to wake up early and when the days were long.

Campus: Despite the buildings which seem out-of-place, the campus is really beautiful with the mountains in the backyard. I will miss waking up to the Flatirons shrouded in clouds of mist. I will miss the Flatirons burning upon touching the first rays of sun. I will miss evening colors the mountains bring out as I stare out of the balcony from the study room on First East.

HackCU: HackCU was a big part of my undergraduate experience. I found a closely-knit community that I could be a part of. I met people from around the world. And through HackCU, I was able to become a GitHub Campus Expert.

Andrews Hall and EHP: I lived in Andrews my sophomore and junior year. I will dearly cherish my time here, the friends I made, and the many opportunities this place has given. They taught me to think critically about various aspects of my life. In many ways, they have made college a deeply treasured experience. I remember the day I moved in. I was in the music room playing ping-pong. I saw two people there that day who are now two of my closest friends. Incidentally, their conversation inspired me to reach out to professors for research. And here I am.

MCM: The Mathematical Contest in Modeling is definitely an important part of my college experience. Working on a single problem for 100 hours locked in with two other people definitely sounds fun (and stressful)!

Conversations at C4C: C4C, unfortunately, gets a bad rep. You just need to get creative with the food so the unlimited options are no longer repetitive. It is one of my most memorable places with all the conversations I have had with so many people here.

Concerts: I love music. I got the chance to go to many concerts, musicals, and plays over the last three years. Makes sense when one of your friends is also an actor.

Open Mic Nights: These were my favorite, yet anxious-ridden, nights living in Andrews. I played guitar – mostly solo ballads. I also played classical duets with the clarinet. I am still bummed what would have been my last Open Mic Night got cancelled.

Outdoor activities: I was fortunate enough to have friends who partake in outdoor activities. I am told this is a very Boulder thing, by the way. I started rock climbing, hiked a 14er, started biking, and learnt to ski.

Research: A reflection on my undergrad is incomplete with mentioning Prof. Dan Larremore and First Team All Science. I found joy in solving problems using math and this played a huge role in my decision to get a Ph.D.

…and that’s a wrap!

There are definitely a lot more of these memories. Perhaps I could fill an entire book with the experiences and learnings.

Here are some pictures that I took during my time at CU. Clockwise from top right: the hike to La Plata summit, a wintry morning from the Business field, view from the 8th floor of ECOT, bike ride to the top of NCAR, a gloomy fall morning behind Norlin, the first rays of the sun kiss the Flatirons, and HackCU shenanigans (center).


Looking forward, here is a photo of the Pacific ocean from Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, where I will spend the next few years of my life.