Hey guys! When I first heard of Engineers Without Borders as a freshman I was drawn in by the prospect to travel. But when I joined the club and had the opportunity to live in Honduras, I realized it was much more than just traveling with other engineers and working on projects. It is one thing to experience a region as a tourist, but you do not appreciate the beauty and subtle things that gives a city its identity. Living with the everyday Honduran family and working alongside Honduran workers, I gained a new appreciation for the town. I would even venture to say i enjoyed this more than staying at a nice hotel with full amenities. I realized we, Engineers without Borders, travel to these places not to live the same lifestyle we are accustomed to in California. We travel to learn culture other countries have to offer and in return we bring able hands to assist and coordinate quality projects to benefit a community. Continue reading
Hey Guys! I made this powerpoint when I was a Freshman Academy coach my sophomore year (which is a class you will take your first semester). It’s full of general advice to keep in mind your first year, so I’ll walk you through it.
The first tip is about time management. The biggest tip I’ve developed is to start difficult tasks so that it’s easier to come back to them later.
I always tell freshmen to go to the involvement fair, try out new activities, do the things you’re interested, because you will have free time and it’s good to start getting involved early.
My biggest recommendation for people coming to live in the dorms is to stockpile the snacks under your bed!! Then when you get really hungry but are too lazy to go to the dining hall, you have something. Try something healthy like dried fruit!
In high school if you put in some effort, you can get A’s, probably pretty easily. However, you might be shocked when you find that the average scores in college is a C, and you will probably get one on a major test sometime in your freshman year or all four years. It’s ok, it happens, and then you 1) go to your professor’s or TA’s office hours 2) go to the tutoring center 3) easiest option, just devote a little more time to that class
USC is an expensive place, so there are a few ways to save some $$ 1) rent or buy used books 2) go on an alternative spring break and help some people out 3) get an on-campus job 4) use the student discount card!!
A little joke: “Due to his short, stumpy arms, T-Rex had to give up his dreams of becoming a chemist!”btw, I had to rewrite this whole blog cause my silly internet didn’t save it the first time!!! That’s why its so precise.
I know spring break was a couple of weeks ago but I never got a chance to share about it so I figured I would do that this week!
This year, I decided to visit some of my friends at school in northern California since they had a different spring break than we did. They always visit me because I’m close to home and I wanted to return the favor.
I started the week by going on a roadtrip with my family. Even though I’ve lived in California my whole life, there were a ton of cool landmarks I had never seen and it was a really great time to both spend time with my family and see some awesome places. We started the trip by visiting Hearst Castle which was absolutely stunning. One day I want the same pools he had. I also loved all the amazing art he collected- my parents loved that I was able to explain all the history. Also in the area, because Mr. Hearst used to have a zoo, you can see zebras right off the highway! We continued our drive up the coast and drove through Big Sur, Pebble Beach, and stayed in Monterey for the night. The aquarium was amazing (I love aquatic life). They had a special jellyfish exhibit which was really scary though. We also went to a really cute restaurant in the wharf for dinner that had the best clam chowder. We ended our roadtrip with a day at the Winchester Mystery house and finally made it up to San Francisco.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
I spent one more day at the California Academy of Sciences with my parents and also got some amazing Dim Sum in Chinatown. At the California Academy of Sciences, they had some amazing exhibits, my favorite being the indoor rainforest that housed all kinds of birds and butterflies.
Finally I made it to see my friends. One of my best friends from high school is also an Alpha Phi up at Berkeley and it was awesome to stay with her there and see what it is like. I had so much fun exploring the campus and meeting all her friends, and it was really nice to visit. The next day I visited my other friend who goes to USF and had an equally amazing time exploring the city with her. One of the hardest parts of being at college is missing your old friends and it’s definitely challenging to keep in touch with everyone, so it was great to get to spend some quality time with them. Overall an amazing spring break experience!
This was one of my favorite spring breaks that I’ve had while at USC. It was a hard decision between going to Cabo with the rest of our friends, or taking a Northern California road trip and getting to visit all the places we’ve wanted to but never had the time. Because we’re an adventurous group, we opted for the second choice—best decision ever. I had an incredible week with 2 of my roommates and our good friend. Here’s a play-by-play of what we did:
Friday: My roommate’s grandparent’s house to eat an awesome home-cooked meal and to do all of our laundry and shop for food before the week began.
Saturday: The adventure begins! First stop: San Francisco for St. Patrick’s Day. We didn’t make it in time for the parade, but we still had a great time in the Marina district afterwards. We met some really awesome people while out and about, and (shamefully) had chipotle in Union Square for dinner.
Sunday: Shopping all day in Union Square! They have the biggest stores, and pretty much everything we could possibly want. We of course stopped to take pictures by the green fountains and some of the touristy shops. Then we packed up and headed to our next destination: the pear ranch.
Monday: Day 1 in the middle of nowhere. It was so relaxing to have a nice little house to ourselves and just hang out. We even played board games..pretty crazy. My roommate’s family owns the pear ranch, so we were free to roam around and hang out on the dock nearby. The town we were in only has a population of 500, so it was nice and quiet.
Tuesday: We headed to Nappa Valley and explored some awesome vineyards. We tasted at three different places, the best being Robert Mondavi Winery. The property was huge and beatuful, and they had several cool tasting rooms. It was rainy, so we chose not to do the bike tours of the vineyards, but that’s definitely something I’d do if I ever go back!
Wednesday: Off to Yosemite! We stayed in a big log cabin that was conveniently located right next to the indoor pool and jacuzzi. We signed up for a night hike that first evening, and got to explore the woods when it was pitch black (with flashlights). Our guide was a tree expert—I never thought I’d learn so much about trees in my life.
Thursday: We hiked a three-hour trail that was of course all uphill. It was a great experience, and we were sufficiently exhausted after! We also had to see the famous Yosemite Falls and get pictures.
Friday-Sunday: More relaxation time at my other roommate’s house in Fresno. We watched about a million movies and shopped near her house. A great way to end a relaxing yet adventurous spring break!
I usually hate taking breaks from school. I love USC and Los Angeles so much that I very rarely want to leave. However, this Spring Break, I looked forward to Spring Break because my mom and I went on a cruise! The two of us had never traveled alone together, so I was really excited.
The cruise started on the first Monday of the break, and carried through until the last day. The ship left out of Miami, so on the first day we spent some time in Miami before getting on the ship. The next day was a day at sea. My mom and I sat by the pool, played cards, and ate non-stop at the free buffets.
The next day, we docked in Roatan, Honduras. I had never been to Honduras before, so I was really excited to see it. The beaches were absolutely gorgeous, and the people were beyond friendly. I even got to speak to them in Spanish, which was exciting! My mom and I spent the day at the beach, and I left with a pretty awful sunburn!
It was a really fun way to spend the break from school. I got to relax a little in the sun, eat some amazing food, and spend time with my mom! But, of course, I’m thrilled to be back at USC.
For my spring break, I flew home to spend time with my family. I loved getting away from the bustle of Los Angeles for a little bit and enjoy life at a slower pace for a bit. Also, my birthday was the 22nd, so family drove up to Lake Tahoe for the weekend to celebrate in the snow!
When I got home on Saturday night, I went right to bed and slept in late on Sunday . I went on a nice hike with my family and that night, my mom BBQ’ed up some chicken and tri-tip, which was delicious. For my birthday, I went shopping at the mall and bought some new dress shirts and business attire. Hopefully, I will end up having a job this summer, so I will have somewhere to wear all these fancy clothes to!
On Wednesday, I went out to lunch with my grandpa and enjoyed spending time with him and telling him about life as an engineering major. He was a professional engineer for over 40 years, so I enjoy talking to him about his experiences and learning about the outside world of engineering.
My dad and I always try to do some outdoor activity together over break, so on Thursday, we went on a 10 mile hike along the American River. The weather was great and I enjoyed getting some exercise and being outside of the city.
On my birthday, I went out to brunch with my family and I had a mimosa to celebrate my 21st birthday! Later that day, my family left the house and headed up to Lake Tahoe for a fun birthday weekend. My mom got a condo up in Squaw Valley and out our window, we could see the ski runs. It was so cool being within walking distance of the chair lifts!
On Saturday morning, I woke up early, and my dad, sister, and I headed up the mountain for a great day of skiing. It was nice in the morning, because it was not very busy and ski lift lines were non-existent. We went up my favorite chair first thing – Siberia Express. I like this chairlift because at the top, you get a great view of the snowy Sierras and Lake Tahoe. It was neat standing at the top and looking out in amazement. It was also an incredibly clear day, which just made it that much better.
It was somewhat icy in the morning, like usual, but by noon, the snow started to break up. We headed over to the Shirley Lake area and did some skiing on Granite Chief. After a great lunch at Gold Coast, we headed out again. When we go skiing, I am going to take full advantage of the WHOLE day, considering how expensive it is. Around 2:00, we headed over to KT-22, which was a good change of scenery and had some great snow. To finish off the day, we headed up Headwall Express, which has some of the hardest skiing on the mountain. It is not hard because of how steep it is, but because the slopes are not groomed, and you have to ski over moguls. This is pretty challenging, and I have to admit, I went fairly slowly (unlike this guy). After that, I was tired, so we headed down the mountain run back to the condo. That night, I had an AMAZING new york steak at Plumpjack Restaurant (I highly recommend it).
On Sunday, we headed out and I flew back to Los Angeles that night. I had an amazing spring break, with downhill skiing being the highlight, obviously… I enjoyed getting some time off, and am now counting down the days until summer!
Enjoyin a nice walk with the fan
On a hike along the American River
Right outside our condo
Looking out at Lake Tahoe from the top of Siberia Express
Over the past week, USC had it’s spring break, giving students a break form school. A lot of my friends went to various warm locations (Mexico, San Diego, Florida, etc.) but I decided to visit one of my best friends from high school. It so happens that she had her spring break then too, goes to a college in Colorado, and had a friend who had a place in the mountains near the ski resorts. So, I spent my break skiing! Perfect timing too since all the resorts happened to get a lot of snow (“fresh pow”) while we were there.
Beautiful view of the mountains covered in snow on our way to Breck
All in all I got to ski A-Basin, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Vail. My favorite was definitely Vail probably because while we were skiing there, it snowed at least 6″ and the back bowls were amazing! They were filled with untouched fresh snow that was knee deep, which is a first for me especially considering I learned to ski on man-made snow on a hill near Ohio :’(.
On our way to Vail: it was snowing like crazy so traffic was pretty slow. But, all was good
Fighting On through the snowstorm at Vail
At Breckenridge, we skied the bowls for a little bit (including the one at the mountain’s peak) before turning our attention to the trees. Going through the trees was a lot of fun: the snow was untouched and not icy at all, the trees blocked the wind from nipping at our faces, and, needless to say, we had to be wary of running into ones as we navigated through them. And, I enjoyed the trees here more than in Keystone since there weren’t as many steep moguls here.
Getting ready to ski from Breckenridge’s Peak. We had to hike a little ways from the ski lift to get there!
A-Basin was also fun for the same reasons as Breck and Vail even though it was a sizable amount smaller than them. What made Keystone appealing was that they had night skiing meaning that instead of having to leave at 4:30 like other slopes, you could stay until 8 and ski a couple of runs. AND they shot off fireworks on the weekends!
Photo Op in front of A-Basin
While the snow made the skiing (and my spring break) wonderful, it also had an effect on my travel plans. On Friday, Denver got hit with another snow storm that lasted through Saturday. So, my flight was delayed by 4 hours ! And, unfortunately, I didn’t find this out until I got to the airport. But, a little How I Met Your Mother and doing my EE355 homework made the time fly by!
So almost exactly a year ago, I shared my views and opinions about the meaning of being a female engineer/my experiences here at Viterbi. I really like that blog, and I think my message is pretty clear. To give you the Cliffnotes version of it, my stance has always been “Do the work.” No matter who you are, just do the work, and you will get what and where you want in life. That view hasn’t changed much, and I think I stand by it. USC in particular has never made me feel any differently for being a female engineering student vs. anything else. I first and foremost see myself as a student. Thinking about it now, I am one of three female students in my EE348 class (it’s a small class). But that’s not something I ever would have noticed without thinking about it too much. Furthermore, I see all the people in Viterbi, and even more specifically in my major/year, as a small family. When looking at this family, I don’t typically tend to see gender as a huge factor in my perception of it. I just see a group of people I love and with whom I share a large part of my life:)
Those things basically summarize my attitude on being a female engineer (i.e. it ain’t no thang). Outside of that, I think I have really embraced the reality of being a female in Viterbi. While I don’t typically notice the male:female ratio at our school (which is pretty great btw! 38% females in last year’s incoming engineering class), I do know that I have a lot of guy friends! I personally have always enjoyed having male friends, and being an engineer at USC is the perfect balance of having plenty of ladies around, but always having guys around to appreciate my sense of humor etc. A little bit about me: I love sports (basketball, football, and tennis in particular), and I love discussing professional and college sports. Needless to say, I’ve always had easy access to friends in my classes knowledgeable on and passionate about this subject. I also have a very colorful, Judd Apatow-like sense of humor, which I feel is generally well-received by males. In my study groups and the like, I kind of take on the role of entertainer to get all of us through the night. Yet, while exemplifying some of these more traditionally not-so-feminine qualities, I’m a total girl when it comes to my sense of style. On a typical day, you will find me walking around campus and Viterbi wearing a flowy dress, my hair wavy with moroccan oil (a product I recommend to all my friends of all genders), and a matching hat and wedges. I love being able to brighten up my classrooms with both my personality and my fashion choices:) In this way, being a girl in Viterbi is kind of the best. I feel very appreciated. It’s not that i get any special treatment or anything like that, but I do feel noticed for all aspects of my existence: intellect, leadership, humor, and style. I hope that everyone gets that feeling from being here, but being a particularly colorful female really reminds me of how awesome this place is. In one day, I can walk into a classroom, recap last nights game and this week’s trades with some of my friends, get a few compliments on the newest addition to my hat collection by others, and still lament about the sheer volume of work left to be done with everyone else.
Viterbi Ball with some of my fly ladies. I’m surrounded!
I’m in this basketball group w/friends on facebook where we all talk about anything NBA. Look at the top bar. 10 members, I’m the only girl:) But I don’t mind! They appreciate my insight
Being a female doesn’t solely define my role here, but it certainly is a big part of who I am and how I am perceived. I try my best to reflect the notion that being a girl who is into technology, programming, hardware systems, sports, and (sometimes crude) humor doesn’t necessarily mean that a ton of other assumptions can be made about who I am, how I look, how I dress, how I act etc. Every person here is so special in their own way. Ladies (and gentleman), if you decide to join the Trojan family, prepare to meet tons of people with really interesting, passionate personality types, and prepare to have others appreciate those things about you.
Now, to conclude: a photoshoot put on by me and my EE ladies in the desert during spring break (bet you didn’t see that one coming). This is what being a Trojan lady to me is all about! Being an engineer, making nerdy jokes, having fun with all my friends, expressing myself through my musical and clothing choices, loving the Lakers and Rafa Nadal, and just being fierce etc. Let me know if you have any questions, and fight on!
I just got back from an awesome vacation to Disney World and the Florida Keys with my Family for Spring Break 2013! It was truly magical.
I love Disney’s commitment to their themes.
DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney had DDR X2 unlocked in unlimited free play mode. I love DDR and almost died of joy.
We stayed at the Art of Animation resort and the decorations were Disney Concept art and it was awesome.
They have Fix-It Felix, Jr. arcade cabinets and they did a great job designing and aging them to look like they are from the 80′s. So much so that they convinced my dad that it was an actual game, despite him living through the 80′s…
The Florida Keys were beautiful and relaxing after Disney!
In addition to art, they had some amazing gardens with scenes from the Lion King set up. See my sister posing in the Elephant Graveyard
Now it’s time to get back to school for my last few weeks of Senior year! I have a bunch of fun, packed weekends now that my Grad-Level FDA Regulations class which met on Sundays is done and I finally have 3 day weekends!
This weekend I’ll be heading to my friend’s house for Easter with my freshman year floormates, as is tradition. It’s basically an annual floor reunion.
We take a family portrait each year on the stairs. Priceless college memories
One major event I have to look forward to is Relay For Life. I used to be president of the club that planned Relay, but I stepped back this year so I could co-preside over the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, but that just means that this year ASBME is going to have a fantastic team and stay the full 24 hours!
This is one of my favorite events each year
At some point I’ll also be heading to San Diego to visit friends, and then before I know it, my parents will be here to visit me before graduation and help me pack!
Mixed in with all of that, I will of course have lots of projects to work on, like my C++ programming class and medical device design elective project. I’ll also be pumping out 2 new day-in-the-life videos each week (featuring Radhika, Kat, Warren, Pedro, Sam, and Zach G), and we’ll be hosting two Live Chats for you on 4/14 and 4/28, so stay tuned here to get all the content we can give you to help you see what student life is like in Viterbi!