How lucky are we to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard!

Posted on by Avneet Kaur

Categories: blog and student posts

As our RGSoC journey is near its close, we can’t begin to express how heart-wrenching for us, it is going to be to bid our farewell. While RGSoC has been in itself has been a transforming experience, it also more importantly for us, had a greater impact, of validation in our lives. Apart from being a delightful experience, it proved to be a much needed boost to our confidence, that we are marching the right way forward towards establishing ourselves in the field of Information Technology and Computer Science.

RGSoC became a home for us. It became part of our lifestyle. It taught us things that we won’t be learning back at our institute or school. It proved to be a support-system for us, that exists even after the summer’s over.

RGSoC for us was more than just about contributing to an open source organization, learning to code, dealing with errors and getting your patches merged. It was about the process we went through while achieving them. It is a journey of self-discovery, of making mistakes, reflecting back, realizing and learning from them. RGSoC leaves us with a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going. It added flight to our wings.

Professor Dumbledore sums up the moral of RGSoC in a sentence: > “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

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Our supervisor - Nada (Top), Rupal (bottom left) and Avneet (bottom - right) (source: Screenshot from Hangouts, Avneet's phone camera - Moto G4 Plus)

A word of gratitude

With Love to our supervisor and friend Nada:

We are ever so grateful for the continuous support of our lovely supervisor Nada. She has been a friend and guide, and we have learnt so much from all that she shared with us. We will definitely miss having our weekly calls and discussions with her. Thank you so much Nada.

The Chapel Community, Our mentors and coaches:

We were able to embark on this wonderful journey due to the endeavours an constant encouragement from our mentors Michael and Ben, our forever helpful coaches and guides Louis and Engin, and also our other lovely coaches Ian, Lydia, and Sarthak to whom we are forever grateful. There were so many times we were stuck and needed guidance, and our mentors and coaches always came to our rescue. They helped us to explore topics, completely unknown to us and devoid of our understanding. More so, as guides they helped us to tread on the correct path.

And this is the main reason why our goodbye’s wouldn’t be easy, and our heartfelt gratitude, never enough.

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Words of encouragement from our coaches. They always come to our rescue!(source: Screenshot from our communication with the chapel community on Gitter)

The RGSoC Organizers and the community:

The RGSoC community has been simply wonderful, we got a chance to make new friends and learn from their experiences. Right from the day, we received the acceptance email from the organizers, it has been a magical experience. We are ever so grateful to the RGSoC organizers for giving us this opportunity. And we hope that with your love, endeavours and encouragement, many other girls like us can have this metamorphic experience.

What we learnt this summer

The goal of the project was to develop a Parallelized and Distributed Radix Sort. It has been a mind stimulating experience with loads to learn owing to the challenges that came our way. Starting from a simple version of Least Significant Bit radix sort, progressing over to a recursive Most Significant version, and then trying out various ways to parallelize the algorithm, and finally looking at how to make the sort work in a distributed manner using multiple locales. The work involved trial and experimentation on the code and comparing execution time of the various versions of the code. Our codes went through numerous iterations of feedback from the coaches and mentors which helped us improve immensely. We learnt about the art of performance testing to be able to evaluate how well our code is performing, and along with that being able to point out what parts of our code need to be optimized for improving overall performance. We are in a position to say that we have a fair understanding of what seemed like big words like Parallelism and Distributed Computing, to us in the beginning of summer.

Due to the constant encouragement of our coaches and mentors, we are no longer afraid to ask for help and have learnt that no question asked is silly. They were always ahead of us in extending the helping hand, and responding quickly to our queries on the gitter channel. We learnt about how to collaborate as a team, working on different tasks, while keeping track of the overall progress. We learnt the importance of effective communication and the art of being patient while testing and writing code. We are thankful to them for providing us such a positive environment to be able to learn and grow along the way.

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Team Sectumsempra - Avneet (left) and Rupal (right) (source: Avneet's phone camera - Moto G4 Plus)

Our Personal Experiences:


All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time. ~ Mitch Albom

As I reflect upon my journey, I did ponder upon how I had a myriad of experiences associated with it. In a few words If I have to sum up an important lesson that I learnt, that of acceptance, and realising that only then can I rise, if I know that I fell, the following quote best describes it:

“Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.” ~ Dr. Seuss

And I resonate with it because along with the numerous of iterations of code that I wrote, came with it numerous iterations of self validation. Atleast that’s how I thought it was. But it is only now that I have gained a more insightful perspective, of being able to accept that I was pushing my boundaries all the time. It was only through the continuous feedback and guidance from our mentors and coaches, was I able to improve. Working with the Chapel community made me feel like I’m a part of something exciting, and that was the sole reason that I was motivated till the end. I did learn a great deal, enough to figure out, I have definitely loads to learn still. I did come out as a way more evolved person than I was before. I purely saw each an every code I wrote, the fixes and everything, as a window of opportunity. And looking back, I wouldn’t want to spend my summer any other way.

Another important lesson, beautifully summarised by the following quote, gives me the inspiration to continue to find my way forward.

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are” ~Max Depree

Every time I tried to work on something new, it did seem difficult at a first glance, but RGSoC and the Chapel community has taught me better to not be deceived by the complexity of things, and keep trying. And eventually, it made me believe, that we all have the great potential within us waiting to be unearthed. This summer has been full of life-altering learnings paving a way to continuous improvement and I will strive hard to carry it forward with me.

I have emerged as a more confident person than ever. All thanks to the constant encouragement and guidance from the RGSoC and Chapel community. Thank you! I am eternally grateful.


The summer’s over already? Are you kidding me?

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Well, it’s never ‘over’. Not yet.

I had to pinch myself to digest the reality. However, looking back at all the amazing things that had happened in the past three months gives me real chills.

When I applied to RGSoC for the first time, I was this doe-eyed sophomore who was trying to figure out the whole concept of engineering and career options at an academic research institute IIIT Delhi. In awe of the many amazing geeks, coders and passionate BYLDers (development society in my college) I met, I wanted nothing more that to be involved in some such cool communities and be doing some cool projects and become a source of inspiration for others, just like my seniors were for me. I used to feel adrift - not exactly belonging, but still with the faith in myself that I chose what’s right for me.

And then in my second year, I came across the RGSoC community and past scholars. Thence, the journey began.

I still remember the date: 17th May 2018. It was the day when searching and reading through a lot of follow up and rejection emails, after three months long wait, I found my Hogwarts letter.

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And ever since then, the whole period have been very rewarding for me. If I try and put them all (the experience, emotions tagged with each one of them, mistakes and learnings and accomplishments) out here, the list will just go on and on. But don’t worry, I’ll keep it brief for you.

In addition to giving us great memories to cherish, it also marked the beginning of our Open Source journeys. We have been collaborating from four different time zones across the world: IST, EET, EDT, PDT. That’s the best part. It was my first time collaborating with people from overseas. And, it has been a great one.

Along with a lot of amazing and thought provoking things we worked on this summer, one thing I learnt during the program that I wish to share with Y’all: It is okay if you don’t know something in advance, everybody starts as a beginner. It’s more about how willing you’re to learn after that. There have been a lot of ‘trivial’ things (although not-so-trivial for me) that I got to learn this summer. There have been times when I used to feel very small about not knowing something as small as “Git workflow” which, apparently, everybody on the Chapel channel was hella great at. But you know what, chuck those thoughts away and ask for help if you’re feeling stuck.

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I promised myself that I am going to make this summer that best summer of my undergraduate for me. Won’t leave any stone unturned. And, I did. No matter how silly and tiring the tasks were, I sailed through them and did my best.

My advice to RGSoC ‘19 aspirants

  • Network: Meet new people and talk to as many people as you can. You’ll never know who you’ll run into one day. It might just be your life mentor, your next recruiter, your potential thesis advisor, or maybe your “he is the one” person. :P Go to conferences, meetups, workshops, attend short talks that your university arranges for you. Talk to the speakers over there, ask for their current running projects and ask them if they can look at your profile and can recommend you at their company or can mentor you. Sounds far-fetched, right? Believe us, this works. It has worked for us, at least. :D

  • Communicate: Be it the application period or the RGSoC internship period, make sure you don’t leave any communication gaps. Be clear with what you want. Be concise while asking for favour or help, but ASK! Don’t shy away.

  • Set the bars high for yourselves: In our experience, we have observed that when it comes to career, expectation bar is embarrassingly low for women. And this is majorly because why we don’t see ourselves being able to match men. Think that you’ll achieve big, and so you will!

Kate Winslet just puts it right:

Kate Winslet advice to women

Source: Youtube
  • Give back and help others: Peer-support is the key learning from RGSoC program. We need to have each other’s back. We need to tell each other that “I’m there for you, to help you.” And, this is how we grow. TOGETHER.

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  • YAS Girl, you can do it! The feeling that “I’m not ready. Not just yet” always clouds us too often. You’ll never be prepared, there’s always be a scope for improvement. But, don’t let that hold you back. If you so want something, go get it. Period.

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  • Party is must!

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  • C’mon, a Dork dance is must. Amy’s style

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Next Steps

We feel that we would now be able to make a smooth transition into the world of open source. We are no more dubious of our selves while trying out to figure out how to contribute to open source and whether what we do would be suffice, we would now definitely just dive right in! And we feel there are no better words to express how we feel for RGSoC than to say. > “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Alvida, RGSoC!

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