Woohoo! This past winter break was definitely one to remember- I went back home and got to spend time with my family, worked a little, got my wisdom teeth out, and went to visit my friend in Hawaii. Continue reading
You’d think that as the semester begins to wind down, life would become a little less hectic. For me, however, that hasn’t been the case lately. This past week was a whirlwind of events, homework, and midterms leading up to Thanksgiving break next week.
This year for Halloween, a bunch of my friends and I decided to try see how brave we were by going to Horror Nights at Universal Studios! This was something I had always wanted to do, and going on Halloween seemed like the perfect way to celebrate.
Last night, my sorority held a movie screening on our lawn for everyone to relax after a long week of midterms. We made popcorn and put out blankets on the grass, and it was exactly what I needed to de-stress after this week!
I still find it hard to believe that midterm season is already upon us. It seems like the first week of school was maybe two weeks ago at most, and I was shocked to hear my analytical chemistry professor announce that our first midterm was going to be this Friday. Time to break out those old study habits again. Although I get wrapped up in studying for hours on end sometimes way too easily, I’m always taking different types of study breaks to give my mind a break and get up and move some. With that being said, I figured I’d give you a list of what I believe are the top 10 best study breaks for USC students. Continue reading
“They will see us waving from such great Heights, ‘come down now,’ they’ll say But everything looks perfect from far away, ‘come down now,’ but we’ll stay…”-The Postal Service
It’s hard for me to take a step back and realize that in a few short months, I will officially be a senior at USC. What I have come to realize is that while I have personally ascended in class standing here, so too has the school itself and those around me, in a multitude of ways . Additionally, this place has helped me ascend and reach new heights internally. I couldn’t be more thankful, and I want to take a few lines to explain why USC exemplifies what it means to ascend.
Ascend(v)- to rise to a higher point, level, degree, etc.
USC as an entire entity is so progressive. Just in my three years here, I’ve watched the campus change, myself change, and those around me change, all for the better. In my eyes, these “better” changes have all between characterized by a move forward or “higher” somehow. That’s the part that amazes me. I guess the easiest way to do this, is to describe these ascensions each separately, and then speak to how they all come together for me.
I came into my freshman year at USC as a 17 year-old who thought she had it all together. I had a concrete plan, goals to achieve, and (at least I thought) a pretty good general idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I would major in electrical engineering, and hopefully apply to law school and go on to have a brilliant career as a patent attorney., While I still want to do those things, the classes, professors, people, and experiences I’ve had/met here have shaken and turned my perspective, world view, and self perception upside down. It took me a while to adjust, but I feel like my sense of who I am and what I want to do is so much more informed. Since coming here, I’ve learned that I have so many other interests and talents, and I find myself thinking about new ways (outside of the original concrete goal) to apply those skills in a way that will be meaningful and help me make a contribution/my mark on the world. Recently, I’ve been seriously considering starting my own company after college based around an idea I’ve been toying with. For my first semester here, I thought entrepreneurs were bright people with pipe dreams. However, after founding NOBE, and being exposed to all the LA accelerator programs, and meeting so many incredibly talented people (including many successful and not so successful entrepreneurs and business owners), I am so excited by the idea of potentially creating my own job for myself. I can truly say my world view has ascended, and that is directly a result of my time here. I feel so much more open minded.
Me: Freshman Year. Confident about life plans, not about self…
Me: Now. So Fierce and Confident about myself! But not about my plans:)
Along those same lines, being involved in the film school here has made me really conscious and excited about writing. I came into college knowing I liked to write. That was all I knew about my writing abilities though. Given my passion for film/television/pop culture, I decided to take a screenwriting class here. I knew I couldn’t spend four years here without experiencing our cinematic arts program in some capacity. What I didn’t know, however, was that I would fall in love with the art of screenwriting, learn so much about the actual business of Hollywood/selling scripts and making projects happen, become familiar with script coverage and how to properly analyze stories, simulate actual writer’s rooms in my classes, and gain insight from seasoned vets on how to do these things right. Much like my thoughts on founding a company/being an entrepreneur, I felt also that the idea of people wanting to make their careers either making or writing movies/television was a pipe dream. I know what you’re thinking, I was one skeptical kid! While I have learned that these things are incredibly difficult, I see now that they are possible. Furthermore, it is the fact that they are not easy, and there are no guarantees, that makes them more rewarding. Screenwriting, in particular, has been a great chance for me to discover a new hidden talent. I definitely want to continue to pursue it, and eventually sell a script. Had I never taken that first class, I probably would have never realized this dream or this ability. This new self-discovery, sense of awareness, and lack of pessimism truly exemplifies what it means to ascend for me. Compared to where my mind and heart were three years ago, they are now in a spot with a much better view. My mindset and goals have definitely ascended.
LaunchPad LA: one of the accelerator programs in LA I have become familiar with. They help companies off of the ground. Will be visiting in a few weeks. LaunchPad is also pretty symbolic as a name…
I am surrounded by people and occurrences who continue to uplift and inspire those around them. Their ascensions from the ashes after a difficult time, through a challenge, or above any issues continually amazes me. This shouldn’t be all too surprising, considering that the 5 attributes of a Trojan are faithful, skillful, scholarly, courageous, and ambitious. While those seem like five nice words associated with our school, that look good on paper and on a statue, you don’t realize how many people truly exemplify these words until you see it happening. Whether it’s something as monumental as a Trojan Olympian overcoming the prospect of never walking again and going on to win a medal, or a fellow Trojan student overcoming the stereotypes of a lifelong leg paralysis and learning how to surf and remain active, or something more (seemingly) trivial like a friend who takes on a subject they have no familiarity with, struggling, and overcoming their struggles, I see acts of ascension and inspiration on a daily basis. On an academic front, several of my close friends here use their smarts and communication skills to serve as tutors in the Viterbi Academic Resource Center (VARC). Whether it be myself or others, I watch them continue to not only ascend in their expertise, but help and liberate others to do the same. The same can be said of almost any professor I’ve had here. After, for the first time in my life, receiving the class low score on an exam, I have a professor (and an excellent TA) who has since met with me weekly for extra help and personal tutoring. Since then, I have been able to ascend not only in my personal understanding, but in my sense of confidence about my abilities to handle that subject matter.
Trojan and Olympian Bryshon Nellum
Trojan and Surfer/Motivational Speaker Patrick Ivison
Basically, watching those around you ascend liberates and enables you do to the same. That has very much been my experience here. Furthermore, it’s an amazing feeling to watch your predecessors continue to exemplify this trait as citizens in their respective fields. Seeing Trojans listed on the academy award nominees list and being inducted into the National Academy of Engineering gives me both butterflies and hope.
For me, watching new buildings spring up around our campus on a regular basis has been more symbolic than anything else. It is a physical manifestation of the ascension I see in myself and those around me. It is a literal representation of an ongoing, and beautiful process for all members of the Trojan family. We find ways to be better, to rise higher than we ever thought possible, to move forward and upward. Our school’s personal brand, professors, and campus resources find the best ways to help us achieve our goals, whether it be through ridiculous connections with the entertainment and engineering industries, centers for fostering innovation, or an emphasis on strong professor-student relationships. We are never satisfied with good, and always strive to be better, to rise above the norm.
Argo-a fantastic film on its own. Trojan Erik Aadahl also received an oscar nomination for best sound editing on this year
We inspire, and we are inspired.
We grow as individuals and as a collective body, while we are here, and long after we leave this place.
We are Trojans, and we ascend.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.” -Marianne Williamson
I’m looking forward to a truly awesome semester and I’d love to tell you about it!
First of all, my classes are amazing. I’m taking ISE 344, Engineering Team Management to grow as a leader and practice building teams with stubborn, know-it-all engineers. I have that class with Cassandra, Melanie, and Brendon, so obviously it’s going to be fun!
Next, I’m taking AME 420, Engineering Vibrations, which, from what I’ve seen so far, seems to be about periodic movements in complex bodies. That class, I’m really only taking because it fits with my schedule
A Cantilevered beam, type of structure statics problem we did this week for homework
My 3rd engineering class is ASTE 480, Spacecraft Dynamics on Tuesday nights from 6:30-9:10. I swear it feels like my head is filled to bursting at the end of the class, and I fall right asleep as soon as I get home. That one seems to be complex math to describe motion, torque, moment, moments, forces, etc on an spacecraft, be it irregular or spinning 3-dimensionally in space. Difficult, but useful.
My 4th major engineering class has me super excited!! Its ASTE 420, which is only for seniors in astronautical engineering. There are 12 of us, divided into 2 groups of 6 for our senior capstone class. Last semester I took AME 441 which is that majors senior design class, but this one is specifically tailored to astro students. The first day, the professor handed out a RFP, or Request for Proposal, for a Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) architecture for space and ground stations!!
Maybe you haven’t heard alot about SBSP, but it’s a big deal for people that are both space nerds and interested in renewable energy. Solar cells on earth are great, but we lose efficiency as light is filtered through the atmosphere. Collecting solar energy in space is 100x more efficient, just due to the amount of sunlight (W/m^2). However, as you can imagine, there are quite a few logitical problems, which include how to get the energy back to Earth in a form that’s not a death laser. And even more importantly, who would fund this, when it’s likely that the payoff from the energy would take at least a decade. I could go on and on, and I will as we write a 80-100 proposal to answer this question. But I’ll keep you updated through tweet and blog (SO EXCITED!)
My 5th engineering class is ENGR 100, Honors Colloquium, and I have the honor this semester of being the student moderator. That means that I find speakers who are interesting to me and ask them to come lecture for an hour to the ~100 Engineering Honors students. The class is an hour every Friday, and I look for speakers who do exciting research or have helpful career or life advice. The first one last week was very interested. One of the criteria for the series is to have a 3.7 GPA (which I barely managed to keep all the way to my senior year!!)
Finally I’m taking the infamous USC Film Symposium class and see movies before they’re released and then hear from actors and directors and costume managers and etc. about the film
Other than my classes, I’m still the President of Society of Women Engineers and have so much fun and learn alot weekly with our general meetings and the great people in the club.
I’m a member of the Equestrian team and am showing my horse, Fast this weekend and then traveling to Arizona next weekend to try and win some ribbons!
I’m singing in a recital choir for one of my friends who is a conducting student.
I’m a TA for AME 341, Mechoptronics.
AND……. I’m going to try to make the most of my last semester at an amazing school so I don’t regret missed opportunities. Wish me luck, and Fight On!
Alas, the final week of classes are over and done with! This week was jam-packed with final papers, presentations, and projects. In my technical entrepreneurship class, Brenton and I gave our final pitch for the opportunity/venture we’ve worked on all semester to actual investors sitting in on the class. That same morning, I turned in my final piece of script coverage (worth 50% of my grade!) in my script coverage and story analysis class. The following day, I gave a final group presentation to my technical writing class (WRIT 340), presenting on a revised after school program for an accelerated, bilingual, local elementary school our class has been working with. The principal came to hear our presentation, and even brought some of the kids with her! The kids were energetic and adorable, and the principal seemed genuinely excited about some of our ideas. I’ll keep you updated next semester if our program ideas get implemented:) Thereafter, I worked some late hours to complete my final electromagnetics problem set, and a mini-project on solar cells for my semiconductors class. I also took my final surprise quizzes in my international business law class and electromagnetics discussion section. It was definitely not a week of “coasting” by any means, but it was very rewarding.
My teammate and friend Jonno at the elementary school we are helping!
Looking back on the academics aspect of this semester, I am rather proud of myself. I proved that I could handle a demanding schedule of 6 classes (and LSAT studying for part of the semester) with everything else I’m involved in. I know I still have finals to survive, but overall, being in 6 classes for the first time really helped me get a grip on time management (only took me 5 semesters, right?) and realize how much potential I have as a student. I’ve admittedly never been the greatest electrical engineer, but this semester I feel as if I have gotten so much smarter. I see myself understanding concepts taught in earlier classes so much better than I did at the time. I have become more competent in my abilities to independently solve problems in my EE classes. I am taking a greater interest in my courses and becoming much better at visiting and getting to know my professors during office hours. In a sense, I really see myself getting in tune with my major and using the pre-requisite classes to do so. It was a wonderful semester, and I’m a little sad to see it come to an end. To go out on a high note, I spent my first evening after classes ended watching foreign films. I haven’t been able to watch as many movies this semester (I’m a huge film and television nerd) as I would have liked, but I tried to make up for it this weekend:) My favorite was probably Klown, a Danish film about a man’s ill-fated quest to prove to his pregnant girlfriend that he is capable of being a father. Rumor has it that Todd Phillips (director of the hangover) is spearheading an American version of the film. That will be interesting…I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has a slightly twisted and open-minded sense of humor…
The Three Stars of the Film
However, I’m not back to the final, finals grind. Today I began the grueling process of finishing my 50 page Writing 340 proposal (a documented form of the presentation given on Thursday), and revising the article I wrote for the Illumin engineering magazine as part of the class. Starting tomorrow, I will need to finish these things as quickly as possible and then move on to studying for my three finals. I look forward to the challenge, and an opportunity to showcase all that I’ve learned in my classes. However, I did give myself Friday evening and Saturday as a last opportunity to get funsies out of my system. I attended holiday parties/21st birthdays galore, and indulged in all my fave local eateries (e.g La Taquiza, Manas, etc) for one last time before locking myself up.
Me and Anjali at our friends’ holiday party! Zach and Gavin were among the hosts:)
Smizing so hard as per usual
I am all about this dress…$40 on black friday!
Looking forward, I take my last final on Friday. I then have a day to pack, and on Sunday I leave for 3 weeks in India! I am so excited because I haven’t been there for 6 year! My family and I used to go every other year growing up, but once I started high school, it was difficult to make it work. This India trip will be unique, because my family will not be doing the usual bit of staying with family and relaxing. We are temple hopping all over India and staying in hotels rather than with family. I think it will be an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to document it. I also can’t wait to shop and devour delish Indian cuisine. The exchange rate is rather favorable:) Look forward to a post in the New Year with my various adventures, dining experiences, and purchases.
Until then, I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Enjoy it, and come back rejuvenated and ready to go in the New Year!
Much like the Oscars and Grammys honor the best works in cinema and music respectively, the first half of this blog will be giving awards to the best aspects of my past semester. Let’s get the ball rolling.
Weekender against Stanford. Good friends, good times.
Toss up between Radovich/Franke Mech-Op combo and Prof. Lynett in Fluids. Although I genuinely enjoyed all of my professors this semester, these two classes/professors really stand out in my mind.
AME-341AL – Mechoptronics aka MechOp. Although I spent more time than I care to imagine writing up the Mechop reports and working in the SAL computer lab, this class was incredibly interesting and well taught. From learning how to write scientific reports and utilize Excel to understanding op-amps and digital logic, this class was a fantastic hands-on engineering heavy class. Looking forward to the second semester of it already!
Parent’s weekend definitely takes the cake in this category. Got to hang out with my entire family and had a great tailgate for the USC football game.
Gameday fight on!
Parents Weekend Tailgate
With USC being located in one of the premier music hubs of the world, I can see almost any artist I would ever want to see. This semester the intimate Coheed and Cambria show at a local record store and the trappy, bass pounding performance put on by Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder label stole the show.
Meeting the lead singer of Coheed and Cambria at a nearby record store after seeing them play for free.
The crazy light show from the Flying Lotus show at Club Nokia in LA Live. It even got a write-up in Wired magazine (http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/10/flying-lotus-live-show/)
Best Movie Watched
Yet another competitive section for this prestigious event. At this point, it’s too close to call, with Skyfall and Looper tying for the win.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt + Emily Blunt + Bruce Willis = WO
Let the sky fallllllll, When it crumblesssss, We will stand talllll, Face it all together
Bayou Annual Christmas Party
Happy Holidays from the Bayou! Can you spot the 8 engineers??
As for my winter break plans, I’ll be heading home to my lovely hometown of St. Louis for the first time since summer to spend the holiday season with family and friends. I’m looking forward to seeing my dog and eating at all of my favorite restaurants.
Pappy’s Barbeque…nom nom
After New Years, I’ll be heading back to Los Angeles for my flight to Honduras for Engineers Without Borders. Over this January trip my project, Corral de Piedras, will be doing extensive surveying and community interviews in order to determine what our best course of action will be for the upcoming semesters.
The team standing in front of our work after the December 2011 trip.
Since we finished our past rainwater catchment project last March, we’re essentially starting over from scratch with a new project. Although it’ll be challenging, I know that myself and the rest of our club is really looking forward to ushering in this new phase for EWB-USC
Well, that’s it for me this semester. Hope you’ve enjoyed my posts, and I’ll see you in the New Year!!
One of my favorite spots to hang out in the USC area is L.A. Live! L.A. Live is about a 10 minute drive down Figueroa Street…I have friends who have even walked there. I’ve heard that one can also take the metro down there, but I haven’t tried it yet.
L.A. Live has a lot of cool stuff:
1. The Staples Center: A large venue for sports, music, and other events. Lakers home games, Clippers home games, L.A. Kings home games (my favorite Stanley Cup Champs!), and tons of awesome concerts! Just to name a few artists who I know have played there in the last few years, Maroon 5, Muse, Usher, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, and more. In addition to the Staples Center, there a couple of smaller music venues that also have big artists from time to time.
2. Restaurants: There are also some pretty good restaurants at L.A. Live. Last week, my roommate and I saw USC football center Khaled Holmes at the Yard House….we couldn’t resist getting a picture with him! There’s also ESPN Zone, a fun place to go have dinner while watching various sports games being shown.
3. A movie theater! This is the movie theater I always go to with my friends. They have a pretty good movie selection, comfortable seats, etc. Whenever it’s opening weekend for big movies (Harry Potter movies, Hunger Games, Twilight, etc.) we always preorder tickets to see the show at the L.A. Live theater at midnight!
4. Random/Seasonal stuff: They have a lot of interesting stuff at L.A. Live throughout the year too. For example, every December they put up a huge light up Christmas tree that changes colors. They also put an ice skating rink out. It’s definitely a cool place to go feel the holiday spirit! In addition to seasonal activities, they also have random events: concerts put on by radio stations, movie premieres, wrestling matches, etc. It’s really cool to be so close to so much going on!
One of my favorite things about L.A. Live is that it’s always packed with USC students and alums! Especially after home football games! L.A. Live is a great place to go hang out if you want to get off campus. Plus, it never really gets old. There’s always something interesting happening.