## New blog website!

In the Spring semester of 2015 I will be blogging for the Wentworth website. To keep following me go to: blogs.wit.edu/grootenb

Update February 2017: Unfortunately the above link doesn't work anymore. That's because after the great year in Boston I transferred to the Eindhoven University of Technology, back in the Netherlands. To read the blogs I wrote on Wentworth's website in 2015 go to: http://web.archive.org/web/20150507172819/http://blogs.wit.edu/grootenb/
Now I'm almost finished with my Bachelor in Applied Mathematics and looking for a good Master I want to pursue. Also, I now play baseball for the Oosterhout Twins in the Dutch Major League! (called: 'de Hoofdklasse' in Dutch).

## woensdag 17 december 2014

### Finals

Hello everybody,

The first semester is over! I really had a great time here at Wentworth. I already look forward to the Spring semester, because that's when we're really going to play baseball! According to my teammates and coach we really have a great team this year, so we have a good chance of going far in the Commonwealth Conference.

My previous blog was just before Thanksgiving. So, I'd like to tell you that I had a wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving in New Jersey at my roommate Alex' house. His mom and his brother made so much food! Alex and I ate from it all three days we were there. The turkey, the stuffing, the salad, everything was very tasty. We even had 6 different pies for desert! My favorite was probably the zucchini bread (zucchini is the vegetable 'courgette' in Dutch).

 My beautiful (first) plate with thanksgiving food!
After Alex showed me his hometown, we went off to visit New York City for a day! It was really impressive, everything is three times as big as in Boston. (That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing, though.) I enjoyed walking through the busy (numbered) streets and seeing the Empire State Building, Central Park and Times Square. We also wanted to visit the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art), but that was a bit too expensive and crowdy. Instead we went the interesting International Center of Photography, where we received much discount with our College ID cards. There were some truly beautiful black-and-white pictures by Sebastião Salgado in his exhibition 'Genesis.' I hope I'm allowed to show you one on my blog here.

 Busy Times Square. (Proudly wearing my Boston Bruins hat.)

When Alex and I arrived back Boston by train again, we quickly returned to our old rhythm of:

 doing laundry
 eating delicious subs for lunch
 working out
 and writing mathematical programs and models.
But that rhythm didn't hold for long! Because after thanksgiving break (which was 4 days) there were only 8 schooldays left before the Finals Week started. Of course the final exams were a little stressful, as they covered material from the whole semester. I finished them yesterday and it felt great! I feel like I did a good job on all of them. I will get my grades just before Christmas.

I am writing this blog while I am waiting at Boston Logan Airport for my flight home! I'm really looking forward to finally seeing my family, my Dutch friends and my cat again. (Rik, I hope you took good care of him while I was gone?) I will have to enjoy being home for two and a half week very much, since I'll leave for almost 8 months after break! That's because the Northwoods Summer League Baseball will start almost right after my Baseball season ends at Wentworth.

By the way, this will be my last blog on this website. But I enjoy keeping you guys up to date about my adventures, so I will continue blogging on another website next semester. And that website isn't just some website, it's the Wentworth website! I will be an official Wentworth Admissions Blogger next semester. All my future posts will be available on this website soon: blogs.wit.edu/grootenb

Have a nice winter break, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

All the best,
Bram

## woensdag 26 november 2014

### NWL

Hello everybody,

It has been a while since my last blog, but this should be a good one. I promised a big news item about baseball in my last blog and here it is: I am going to play in the Northwoods League 2015 next Summer! With help from the Collegiate Baseball League Europe where I played last two summers, I have been selected for the team: the Rochester Honkers. The Northwoods League is one of the biggest summer leagues in the United States. Last season, they were the first summer league to draw one million fans in a single season! It could be explained by the huge amount of games that the NWL has. We, the Rochester Honkers, will play more than 70 games in about two and a half months. They are all going to take place in Minnesota and surrounding states. If you'd like to read more about the NWL or CBLE, then click these links.

On the 10th of November I went to the NHL game Boston Bruins vs. New Jersey Devils. It was really awesome to experience this and see the Bruins win 4 - 2. I had a pretty cool spot, all the way in the top of the full packed stadium:

 As you can see from the flags, this stadium (called TD Garden) is home to both the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics. You may have seen in one of my earlier blogs that I have also witnessed a Celtics game! They were quite different experiences, but definitely both great.
Last Tuesday, November 18th, I had a great time at the Around the World event. It was an event hosted by Wentworth to provide international students a chance to showcase their country. Together with Mark (who is actually from Romania, but he wanted to help me because he studied in Groningen for a long time), I set up a nice Dutch stand.

 Mark and me at our stand. We also had the Dutch flag hanging on the left side and a table in front of us.  We presented a couple of Dutch food items such as stroopwafels, pepernoten, chocolate letters and drop. Ask me if you'd like to know what these foods are.
On Sunday November 2nd (just after I posted my last blog) Alex and I went to the Open House of the Boston Athenæum. It is a sort of beautiful library for members only. To become a member you have to pay about $200 a year. But they open to the public once a year. It was really nice to see such a quiet place full of history and knowledge right in the centre of Boston.  The beautiful Boston Athenæum.  They even had a couple (very old) imported books from the Netherlands! Other things I have done in the past couple weeks are: checking for new contact lenses, taking exams and presenting my paper. In the Netherlands, I used to wear contacts in my eyes while I sleep. They formed my eyes the right way so that I could see perfectly during the day. I haven't found that in the US yet (for the same price as in the Netherlands...). So lately I have just not been wearing them and sitting more in the front of the class to still be able to read the board. The exams I had went pretty good! That's all I have to say I guess. And my paper about the Fibonacci sequence is finally done. I even received the honor to present what I had written, at the Math Club meeting last Monday. The president of the Math Club told me he was fascinated by my explanation. Oh by the way, I had a great time celebrating my first Thanksgiving with the Wentworth Baseball team last Sunday. We had some great food and some great stories. ;) But the real Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the last Thursday of November, which is tomorrow! So, tomorrow morning Alex and I will jump on the train to New Jersey to celebrate it at his home. I'm really looking forward to it! Maybe we'll even visit New York. The semester is coming to an end real fast. It's only two weeks left until the final exams start! Right after the finals I will fly back home and arrive on December 18th. I won't be home for long, since the Spring semester classes start on January 7th. See you all soon, Bram ## zondag 2 november 2014 ### Halloween Hello everybody, This Friday night was a pretty awesome one. My suite mate Alex and I went on the Boston Halloween Bike Ride, dressed as superheroes. I can proudly say that our costumes were pretty cool. Over our warm sweaters we wore a superman shirt (or supervillain in his case). Then we had a towel as our cape, attached with safety pins. To top it all off, we found our most colorful underwear and wore it over our pants. The bike ride started at Copley Square, where about 700 people gathered to leave at 8pm. Imagine that, a group of 700 dressed up bikers riding through the centre of Boston and Cambridge. We sure messed up the traffic at some times, but mostly people were enjoying it. After the solid 10 miles bike ride, which is about 16 km, we all parked our bike near the Brighton Music Hall. When we walked in, the band Ripe was about to start playing. All seven of them were dressed as pikachu. They played really awesome live music with three guitars, two trumpets, a drummer and a lead singer. After dancing for an hour or something, Alex and I were pretty hungry, so we got a pizza two doors to the left. We checked if the next band was cool too, but we didn't like 'm that much and drove home. I made some video's during the ride. As you can see, there are a lot of people participating. And what is visible on this video is not even half of our parade, I think. School is going pretty good. We received our midterms grades last week and I am proud to tell you that I have all A's! (and one A-). Now, that doesn't mean I did everything perfect. It means I'm in the 85-100 percentages on average. It also doesn't mean that my study is too easy, as my parents immediately thought. I am really learning a lot of new, interesting and difficult material. This week I have another two exams coming up. What I like about Wentworth, is that they are truly helpful in finding a job. Even in your freshman year, they already encourage you to make a resume and search for a good job/internship this summer. I already had a Dutch resume, so I'm translating it to English. Also, I'm writing it in LaTeX instead of Word, which will make it look quite professional. :) Baseball is going good. We're still working out a lot of course. And since a couple weeks ago we started to go hit in our indoor cage regularly. I already used this facility a lot, I love that we're able to hit whenever we want. I enjoyed watching the World Series by the way! It was really exciting until the very last pitch of Game 7. Another baseball-related thing is that I finally put a layer of oil on my gloves. I love the smell when I'm 'nursing' my glove. There is another big news item from me about baseball coming up, but it's not certain yet. I will tell more about it in my next blog! Now I'm going to hit some baseballs in the cage! Oh, by the way, the first snow here in Boston is already falling as I speak. All the best, Bram ## zondag 26 oktober 2014 ### Sheets Hello everybody, You know you've lived somewhere for a while, if you can't remember how often you've changed the sheets. I've been in Boston for approximately two months now, and I really enjoy it. The awesome thing about Boston is that it has a lot of public parks and squares where there's always something going on. For example, a couple days ago, I was on my weekly bike ride to Trader Joe's to do groceries (thanks suite mate Alex for the bike!). Because I rode the wrong way just a little bit, I ended up on Copley Square, where apparently the nice Boston Book Festival was happening. (Pretty logical spot for a Book Festival, since the Boston Public Library is just next to Copley Square.) I'll try to upload a video here, to give you a good feeling of the festival, and Boston in general: In the video I'm standing right in the middle of Copley Square. The wide building at the end of the video is the Public Library. The beautiful church in the beginning is called Trinity Church. I initially wanted to get more on the video, but my phone battery died.. I received a great question from my aunt from the Netherlands after my last blog. She asked about my experience with having to share my room with two other roommates (and the suite with 11 other suite mates). And she asked, even when they're nice, are you able to be on your own sometimes? Well, I can assure you guys, I do have some pretty awesome roommates. But of course, we've also had some issues. The biggest issue so far, which is still going on, is that one of my roommates has lost his keys. So for the past three weeks we have to open the door for him, and he's still not motivated to get new ones. (Okay, that is pretty understandable from this point of view: they charge you about$200 for the three new keys.) The rest of the suite gets pretty annoyed opening the door for him every time. We are having a suite meeting about this issue with our RA (Resident Assistant) tomorrow night.
To answer my aunt's question more fully, I don't have much time alone. I admit that I miss that sometimes. If I really need to be alone or concentrate, then I usually go to our library on campus. It is often pretty quiet and it has some very comfortable chairs and couches, compared to the ones in our dormitory.

As some of you may have seen on facebook, I've been to an NBA game with my roommate Ryan this Wednesday. It was awesome to see the Boston Celtics take on the Brooklyn Nets, and win 100-86. The most spectacular play was this block by Jeff Green: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgKqJDrcpFw#t=11 (his last name is a nice coincidence, because the main color of the Celtics is green).

For school I've been writing essays, papers and proofs. The midterms of last week went pretty well by the way. It turned out to be only one big midterm exam for Calculus 1. We had to calculate derivates of about twenty different functions. I've been doing that for a long time in high school already, so I passed the test quite easily. You only pass it if you achieve 80% or higher, because they want everybody to be able to calculate derivates. In the coming weeks, we learn about integrals (also called antiderivates). That's also something I have done in high school. I hope Calculus 2 will be a little bit more challenging next semester.
My other math classes are already challenging though. In Discrete Math we finally started writing mathematical proofs, which I find pretty enjoyable. In my Applied Math class we are talking about a method to solve mathematical models. And we're using the program MATLAB to apply that method, which is called the Simplex Method by the way.
Another interesting class I have is Computer Science. We are learning the programming language C++. I didn't have any experience with programming before this class, but I am able to follow the material pretty well. I find it fun to write my own programs with the skills we learn.

Baseball is going good as well! We're having a lot of strength training nowadays. I go to the gym at 6 am every morning with the captain of the baseball team. My suite mate Alex has joined us too, so were having a great morning every day.
I look forward to going to New Jersey with Alex for Thanksgiving. Even though that's still a month away, Alex made me buy my train ticket early. That was probably a good idea, because the prices for a Round-Trip were already sky high.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog, I will go watch the MLB World Series now!

All the best,
Bram

## zondag 19 oktober 2014

### Midterms

Hello everybody,

After another two weeks since my last blog, it's already the middle of the semester. We already had a couple tests, quizzes, exams, essays and papers, but now the midterms are coming. I will tell about some exciting things I have done in the last two weeks.

I got my first American haircut, in a real barbershop. I would say that it goes by twice as fast as it does in the Netherlands (just like dinner at almost every place around here by the way).

We had intramural football in the weekends. It was really fun to play American football with my baseball teammates. Later I also played football with my roommates. To make the game a little less aggressive we played the version called "flag football." So everyone has three little flags (lintjes) attached to their hips with velcro tape (klitterband). If a defender pulls a flag of the hips of an attacker, it counts as a tackle.

Another cool thing I didn't tell you guys yet is that almost all my roommates now know how to say "good night" in Dutch. So every time I go to bed nowadays, I say: "weltrusten", and they reply with their best version of that.

Furthermore, the paper I was talking about in my last blog has made some real progress. I have found  the formula to calculate every number of the Fibonacci sequence right away (so without having to add all the numbers, where the Fibonacci sequence is based on). This is what the formula looks like:
To make such a nice mathematical expression we use the program LaTeX. This is the code you would need to type the formula:

F_n = \frac15\sqrt{5} \cdot (\frac12 + \frac12\sqrt{5})^n - \frac15 \sqrt{5} \cdot (\frac12 - \frac12\sqrt{5})^n

It seems a little difficult, but if you start handing in all your math homework in LaTeX, you will learn how to use it. (We are also strongly encouraged to google something if you don't know how it works. We are told that knowing how to google, is a really important skill for now and later.) If you're interested in the rest of my paper, let me know!

Last weekend was a nice long one, we had Monday free because it was Columbus Day. A Dutch friend of mine who is currently studying at Cornell came over to Boston. We used the long weekend to explore Boston really well. Here's a list of a couple places we went to:
• Fenway Park
• MIT
• Public Garden / Boston Common
• Freedom Trail (which is actually a great route along some of the oldest buildings of America)
• Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
• New England Aquarium
I've made a map in Google Maps with all the nice places on it. If you're interested in that, also let me know.

I hope everything is going well in the Netherlands. I'm kind of missing the "pepernoten" this time of year ;)

All the best,
Bram

## zaterdag 4 oktober 2014

### Being Dutch in America

Hi everybody,

It's been another week and I feel like writing another blog. This one will be about my experiences as a Dutch person in America. The first thing that stands out is all the measurements. I seriously think that the only measurement we share is time. Imagine if that would be different.

Another example is the cheese slicer. I have finally found one in the Stop&Shop, it's actually pretty nice designed, but I think I like the Dutch "kaasschaaf" better. Here's a picture:

Furthermore, talking English all day is of course a good exercise for later, but it sure was a big relief when I could finally talk in my first language with another Dutch person here in Boston. After we emailed a couple of times he was happy to sponsor me for the Wentworth Baseball practice camp in Florida in the Spring Break. I'm really looking forward to that!

Something that disappoints me a bit is that people around here aren't really interested in the MLB Playoffs. I know that the Red Sox didn't make it this year. But it's crazy that there are about 10 sports channels on our cable TV, all with College Football on instead of the Giants - Nationals game (which by the way is still going on right now).
I did get to see the Wild Card games, the AL game Royals - Athletics was awesome with the walk-off in the 12th inning.

Our own Fall Ball is unfortunately over already. We had about a month of practices and a couple of games. Now it's getting too cold and rainy outside, so we're heading inside. We have two strength and one yoga workout per week. But the best thing is that Wentworth has an inside batting cage which we may use for free any time we want. (Except when other Wentworth Sports team have practice in Tansey Gym.) So I've been hitting a lot of balls the last couple of days!

My academics are going good as well. Some classes are more difficult than other, but they're all pretty interesting. The most difficult class is called: Methods and Topics in Applied Mathematics 1. As it implies, it's only for Applied Math majors. My other Math classes (Calculus 1 and Discrete Math) also allow students from other majors, such as Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering.
For that difficult class (which I would call Modeling by the way, because we're making and discussing a lot of Mathematical Models) I now have to write a paper about a subject which we were free to choose. I chose the Fibonacci sequence. It seems a simple subject where most of you probably already have heard of. But I'm going to try to find a formula which can find any number of that sequence without actually having to add all the numbers in the sequence.
Oh, and we have to write our paper in LaTeX instead of Word. That's kind of the professional Word for Mathematicians. Has anyone heard of it?

I enjoy keeping you guys up to date. How's everything going in the Netherlands? You can reply below this blog :)

See you next time,
Bram

## maandag 29 september 2014

### It has been a month

Hi everybody,

I'm excited to write this fifth blog for you. I got some requests for pictures in my blog, so I've collected a bunch of 'm. By the way, I was planning to write a blog every Sunday, but sometimes that doesn't work out (especially when you're playing 14 innings of baseball on a Sunday). Nevertheless, five blogs in my first month here at Wentworth; you don't need Applied Math to figure out that my "blog-schedule" of a blog per week is going pretty well ;)

I'm having a great time here in Boston, enjoying baseball, study, the city and the extraordinary weather. Yesterday we played two games of 7 innings against Stonehill College, and I got sun burned (on September 28th! (in Boston!!)). It was 30 degrees Celcius (86 Fahrenheit) this weekend. I've been told that it is going to be extremely cold here.

The games yesterday went pretty well. I played the second game, in right field. Made two nice catches and hit three hard balls. One of them turned out to be a hit. I also pitched the 6th inning, allowing no runs. My fellow teammates asked: "What kind of Dutch ball were you throwing out there?" I said: "Oh, that was just my 2-seam fastball, it was moving today."

So, now I will give a summary of my time here at Wentworth by the use of a couple pictures I took.

First of all, does anybody know what this traffic sign means? It was one of the first signs my mom and me saw when we came here. She explained to me what it meant, because she had seen it before in San Diego.
If you want to know what it means, send me a message :)

This is the beautiful entrance of Wentworth Institute of Technology (building Wentworth Hall). I have  my Computer Science classes in there.

All the famous Red Sox players (plus Jackie Robinson) on flags at Fenway Park!

This is a Boston Duck Tour vehicle riding in front of the Massachusetts State House. A couple days later we took a Duck Tour with all the new international students. It's an amphibian vehicle, which means that it can also go on the water! A few students (include me) got to steer the vehicle when we were on the river Charles.

This is the home of two other major American sports. I've been told that the Bruins (ice hockey) and the Celtics (basketball) play in this stadium called "TD Garden." I'm definitely going in there once!

The library of Wentworth. It is a nice place to study, although it can be a bit noisy when it's busy. The chairs are a lot more comfortable than the ones in our dorm rooms.

Needless to say, we are hoping to add a Baseball Championship title to this beautiful closet.

Applied Mathematics introduction; we had about 10 minutes to get a marshmallow as high as possible, by using 20 spaghetti strings and tape that barely sticks.

The nice and high Tree House Building on our campus. If you're ever lost in Boston, try to find the big orange building and you can walk home.

I wanted to get those weird American tables on a picture. You know, the one where the seat is attached to your desk. I thought that was only a American high school thing. I'll have to get used to it.

Go Leopards!

The beautiful Quad in the center of our campus. Almost every day there are some people playing catch or throwing a frisbee (which I of course participate in once in a while).

People playing Quidditch in the Boston Common. It is the oldest park of America (the sheep of the colonists used to graze here).

(A part of) the Boston Public Library.

Proud to wear my Wentworth Baseball cap!

There are a lot of colleges in Boston, but very few of them have football teams. So we all cheer for the Boston College Eagles. The athletics of other colleges get to work at football games, selling mostly hot dogs and water, to earn some extra money. Our salary goes to our baseball team, so we can go to a Training Camp in Florida in the Spring Break (when it's probably still snowing here).

Unfortunately, we don't have our own baseball field on campus, so we have to take vans or a bus to practice.

A night walk through Boston with three of my suite / room mates.

My side of room 003C.

We had a team run through Boston. And of course you have to run through that big fountain when it's hot.

Watching the Red Sox - Rays game from the Green Monster! I initially had a ticket for the grand stand seats in deep right field. After a couple innings, I went to go get a snack. Then I just walked over to take a look from the Monster, and a nice Canadian guy said: "Take a seat, nobody's sitting here." So I was able to watch a few innings from this historical place.

Watching the game with my friends from the grand stand in right field.

Towards the end of the game we went down to the backstop and got to see Xander Bogaerts really close! He is a Dutch third baseman / shortstop of the Red Sox (he's initially from Aruba).

These pictures sum up my first month pretty well! I hope you enjoyed them, and see you next week (or two).

All the best,
Bram