So, I’m not going to lie – being an Engineering major is a pain in the butt! It’s a lot of hard work and long hours – only to realize that the best work you have turned in was only good enough to be “proficient”. That’s right, five hours coding in MATLAB and a few more hours trying to crash-course Linear Algebra to use MATLAB, and you end up with the letter “B” for “Baby, you’re just not good enough” – and you try to make yourself feel better by ending that sentence with a “yet”, but you are just not sure. And every single time I type “you”, I actually mean ME.
ME 18 is Intro to MATLAB/LinearAlgebra
“Do you know why they call it ME 18?” (Sean)
“Because you need to be 18 in order to get fucked!”
People only tell you of the dangers of Introduction to Mechanical Engineering, ME002. That’s because the only people that tell you about it during Freshman year are the ones that changed majors from Mechanical Engineering after taking it. Everyone who passed it comfortably has no time to talk to freshmen.
And you know that it’ll get harder as you take more classes, but you just don’t really realize what that means until …. you take those classes.
Just kidding. It’s college. Of course we try to have a social life. However, it’s costly. We have to sacrifice some fun time during the weekdays to catch up on homework/practice that deals with long formulas that look like sentences written in a different language, only to get answers that are more complex than the problems themselves. And when you don’t give up free time……you give up sleep, or all chance of succeeding in your major.
Reactions from people (and cute girls) when you tell them you’re an engineering major:
It’s actually a hobby
And this is me before I even become exposed to Upper Division courses! wooooh! Can’t wait!
All for the love of……..a secure job? good pay? stable future? nope! Those are cool, but not really.
Kickbacks – They’re better than Parties 😛
My week began with a Lunch on Monday, with people I never really hanged out with. I sort of just met them in our English class during session 1 and only had occasional conversations. In the end, however, we all ended up planning lunch on Facebook, and it came to be. It was the first time since the beginning of Freshman year that I ate with people I didn’t know that well, and it was really refreshing.
Later that night, we met up to eat at the Salted Pig. Wooow! This place was amazing! It didn’t look that great from the outside, or even coming in, but had extremely savory food and exceptional service!
I’m not going to lie, it was expensive ($20 per main dish), but the Halibut Collar was worth every dollar. I’m not so sure about Fernando’s Burger and Fries, but he seemed to like it.
Later that night, one of the chillest kickbacks I have ever been to. One would probably not expect it to be the case because, well, I didn’t really know anyone there that personally; but sometimes it’s exactly what you need – a kickback with people who you don’t know that well. One of my favorite moments of all summer will probably be the time we all just sat on the edge outside of the Lothian dorm, two floors above the ground – having conversations that are only possible to have during our teenage years, with the Arctic Monkeys AM album playing in the background. Mondays aren’t all bad, who knew?
One of the best parts about college, without a doubt, is meeting new people 😀
and I’m definitely glad I got to meet Fernando, Joanne, and Vanna
I was lucky enough to have gone to another kickback on Friday, this time with people I had bonded with beforehand – my fraternity brothers: Jesus, Andrew, and Stephanie, and Jonathan – my pseudo frat brother. It was definitely a different experience, since we were all comfortable with each other. The night started off with White Chicks. The dancing began when Latrell started dancing, and it continued for hours. I’m not exactly sure when we decided to blast the forgotten Best Hits on YouTube, or when all the guys took off their shirts, but the fun lasted – an intimate fun with close people that was much needed. What was that saying?
“Live for the nights you won’t remember with the friends you’ll never forget”
Work and Motivation Hanging out with friends and everything is great – but it’s important to do it in small doses and not lose sight of why we’re really in college. The reasons vary from person to person, but there is a crucial commonality – To work your butt off! And with schoolwork, it isn’t even about working hard, because doing just this will get you nowhere. It’s about working smart and hard – as effective and efficient as possible. OMG is this exorbitantly difficult to do! Even when knowing the magic equation:work accomplished = (time spent) X (intensity of focus) it is almost impossible to apply it continuously.
My first reaction to trying to work more efficiently was to seek motivation, and motivation I found. If there is anyone that could motivate, it is Tony Robbins. That man could motivate a rock into moving. And I found myself completely energized and productive…for the first few hours, then coming back to Tony Robbins, almost as an addict. Before I knew it, I was spending more time listening to Tony than I was actually doing work. I had fallen into a deeper hole than the one I was trying to get out off, and ended up doing absolutely nothing that day. Later in the week, as I was reading other blogs, I ran across this in Raw Thought:
The irony, of course, is that the books are totally useless unless you take their advice. If you just keep reading them, thinking “that’s so insightful! that changes everything,” but never actually doing anything different, then pretty quickly the feeling will wear off and you’ll start searching for another book to fill the void. Chris Macleod calls this “epiphany addiction”: “Each time they feel like they’ve stumbled on some life changing discovery, feel energized for a bit without going on to achieve any real world changes, and then return to their default of feeling lonely and unsatisfied with their life. They always end up back at the drawing board of trying to think their way out of their problem, and it’s not long before they come up with the latest pseudo earth shattering insight.”
Aaron Swartz finished his entry by proposing:
Don’t let that happen to you. Go out and test yourself today: pick a task just hard enough that you might fail, and try to succeed at it. Reality is painful — it’s so much easier to keep doing stuff you know you’re good at or else to pick something so hard there’s no point at which it’s obvious you’re failing — but it’s impossible to get better without confronting it.
This advice is great, but for studying purposes it isn’t really satisfying. So now I’m left with the question: How can I get better at intensifying my focus while doing my schoolwork, and work hard continuously? This isn’t very different to what Cal Newport has been trying to cover, so maybe I’ll start there and see if I can come up with a solution that works for me by the end of the month.
Raising Awareness: Food Ethics In my last entry, I went over some of the injustices done by America’s current food industry.
Today, I want to challenge my readers to reduce their meat consumption:
You’re mission, if you choose to accept it (for all of those who get the reference 🙂 is to substitute a dinner this week with something vegetarian.
It’s easier to do if you try to cook something new or exotic. Here’s a few dishes that seem manageable. Do it with friends, or just have fun trying it yourself.
I have already limited my diet to three meat dishes a week – and if I can, I try to make it fish. It’s difficult at first, I won’t lie, but it becomes easier with time.
I’m going to accept my own mission, and take pictures to put it in my next entry – hopefully I don’t start a fire again (yeah, it happened not so long ago).
How does reducing meat consumption mean that you’re eating more ethically?
I’m not saying eating meat is unethical, or that we should all strive to become vegetarians. My argument is that because of our high demand of meat, the production of it has become unethical. Chickens are “raised” to gain so much breast that some can’t even stand up. They live in dark sheds where sunlight doesn’t come in, and they are all so cramped together that they can’t even spread their wings. We eat so many cows that their farts (yeah, no joke) and waste is actually harming our environment (we got so used to hearing this that we do not actually grasp the severity of this anymore). Actually, most the animals we eat live in such horrible conditions that they all have to be vaccinated “just in case”.
The leading factor of all this is the over-consumption of the average American consumer. So eating less meat will lead to less production, and fewer impacts.
Anyways, meat tastes better when it’s not eaten every day. (There was this exaggerated glorious taste in my $20 Halibut after a week not eating meat all week).
I know…what would the change in diet of a single person accomplish?Change doesn’t happen overnight, it begins one step at a time, one person at a time. So… it’ll be a start 😀
Friends It has been an interesting month altogether. I took two college courses in the first session of Summer, and am currently taking one for session 2. I managed to do well in my classes, but I think my biggest accomplishment has been to make some really cool and loyal friends – true friends. I wasn’t so sure that I would meet anyone during summer, mostly because the classes only last 5 weeks, in which the professors make sure to bury the students in homework. However, I was able to make friends with some really cool people. In my English class the person I got along with the most was Mufid – although he was going through Ramadan, he was always on top of his work and encouraging others. We had some interesting moral debates that always ended with a joke and both of us agreeing that it would be best for us to get back to work on the paper that was due the next day. It was the first time that I studied for a non-technical course with someone, and I was glad I did. In my religious studies class, I also met a lot of fun people, but the ones that I know have my back are my fellow Engineers – Chris, Jesus, and Joseph. Even though we do not have any classes together this session, we still find time to hang out. We work out in the gym, and they’re always pushing me and encouraging me (since I’m the weakest haha). They have honestly been helping me out more than I’ve been helping them, but hopefully I’ll be able to repay the favors sometime soon.
Classes Affecting My Actual Life? Whaa… I guess this is how the Humanities differs from Engineering. It isn’t about getting objective answers using formulas and theorems, it’s about arguing and understanding subjective concepts by thinking critically about them, and enforcing your position with evidence. This kind of teaches you how to investigate and find answers for yourself. It’s a nice skill to have, but at the same time becoming less ignorant forces one to make some uncomfortable life choices. I almost became Vegan. Yeeaahh. In English we investigated the current Food Industry and the effects of factory farming; we read The Ethics of What We Eatand I immediately considered not eating meat – ever….seriously. I wrote a few argument papers about it. They weren’t well-written enough to get an A, but I do want to create awareness about this topic so here are a couple of excerpts
The egg-hatchers are kept throughout their lives in extremely confined spaces (an area of an 8” by 11” piece of paper) where their uneasiness and discomfort is seen as they exhibit a “range of behavioral vices that can include cannibalizing her cage mates and rubbing her body against the wire mesh until it is featherless and bleeding” (Pollan). This is just a little worse than what the “broiler” chickens go through – …
It’s not only chickens either; pigs, cows, and even the workers are being treated inhumanely.
Is it too expensive to shop ethically?
In a society where it is cheaper to be unethical, when does price over-rule our ethics and our responsibility? When should we be more concerned about the economic impact of our choice on our individual lives, than the impact at the greater scale?…
Right now there is only a mystique of the unethical food being cheap, but when we add up the environmental costs, societal costs, health costs we can see that it isn’t so.
Actually, by buying less meat, we would be shopping more ethically.In reality, we don’t need to eat meat once a day, or even once every two days – there are other sources of protein out there that are cheaper and that are do not products of animal cruelty. Also, by buying less meat, we save on money. Being vegan is one extreme, but buying ethically raised meat once or twice a week would be a nice middle ground. Just ask for it in your local supermarket, or if you want it almost guaranteed go to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or Fresh and Easy 😀
Since I started reading, I have limited the amount of meat I consume, and it’s not that big of a deal. It’s completely manageable. I would like to encourage others to do the same, or at least try – so that we can build a better world one bite at a time (<– so cheesy haha).
What is Life? Why I’m not Religious… I’m non-theist. That’s how it is. I wanted to be Christian, I even tried to convert myself (secretly) last year, because I like the Christian community at our school, and because I wanted to have more in common with my friends. So , I decided to take course 101 – sort of like an introductory “course” on Christianity sponsored by Acts 2 Fellowship. Actually, I finish the course next Tuesday (yay!). Since I have started taking it. however, I have realized more and more why I am not a Christian. I agree with many parts of the Bible, and I feel like the text has so much wisdom in it. It serves like a moral compass, and it makes you think about your actions. It allows for reflection, and encourages positive change. Yet, there are there are a few things impeding me to accept it wholly. One, (from what I was taught recently) it is impossible to reach God’s kingdom of Heaven if you do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. That doesn’t make sense. According to my mentor, a person who has committed many sins and repented (and is Christian) will have a greater chance of entering Heaven than a person who has lived a morally strict life (and is not Christian). That’s basically saying God’s eternal love and compassion is restricted to a single religion which primarily dominant only in the Western World. (SHM). Second, having faith means accepting God’s teachings as they are, almost blindly. Although I agree with most of Christianity’s morals, I cannot understand why homosexuality is a great sin. So many dear friends of mine are gay, and I have talked to a few that have suffered because their own religion does not accept them, or because religion has caused other people (even loved ones and close friends) to mistreat them. I just don’t get it. Homosexuals do not act much different from Heterosexuals, some of them are just a little but sassier. And it’s not that it’s a sin that bothers me as much, but that it is a poorly defended sin at best. Whenever I ask anyone why it’s a sin, most of the time I only get “because it says so in the Bible”. What pisses me off is that people just adopt morals – the rule guide of how one lives one’s life – without questioning, experiencing, or discussing them. Where Christians shun moral relativism, I tend to defend it – because only through discussion and questioning will we be able to find truth. Finally I can’t be Christian because I have no interest of going to Heaven or having a relationship with God, even if they do exist. I don’t like thinking there’s a higher authority over my life than myself, and maybe (just maybe) my parents and grandparents. Also, an eternity of pure bliss just sounds…boring. So, for the moment, I’ll pass on Christianity, but I am now more interested than ever to explore and learn about other religions. If I have time this summer, I would like to finish reading the Bible, and move on to the Quran that’s been sitting with the other books I have yet to read.
Aaron Swartz: Founder of Reddit He is one of my heroes. For anyone that actually reads this, please see the film The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. This is a man that changed the world. This is a man that won the battle, but unfortunately left this world because of the war. For those of you who do not believe, because of unawareness or due to choice, that we are in a state of oppression, WAKE UP! PLEASE! We are continually being taken advantage of as a people, and most of us are not fighting back. It is extremely difficult to find time to care, especially since we are all busy to get ahead in our lives, but it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that we do care,and that we ACT. When talking to my friends, we identified that some of the biggest issues of our time revolve around water, energy/climate, food, and the inequality of opportunity at a global scale. When thinking about his, I get this feeling of helplessness, and the thought having an inevitable destiny crosses my mind. I mean, what can a single individual do? EVERYTHING IN HIS OR HER POWER! Like Swartz did. R.I.P. Aaron Swartz
We live in the best generation! This is a generation of exponential technological growth and of great moral discovery. We have learned from the successes and failures of our past, and are able to change the present. We have had such tremendous impact on the world in these last 20 years – it’s completely unbelievable, but along with the good, the bad has also been present. What’s so great about our generation is that we’re the ones that have the freedom to not choose a path at all, but the opportunity to create a completely different road towards the future – and we have the resources, and the highly capable people to do it! We are living in the most exciting time period of this world Gotta love it!
I’ll end this with one of my favorite poems (since I do not know many) that unfortunately has been repeated an annoyingly number of times
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
These are the times when I want a job the most. Summer is here, and I want to eat out with my friends, but I want to do it with my own money – not my parents’ money. I haven’t gotten a job yet, but I’ll be applying to the campus library and to local food venues Saturday.
Classes began three and a half weeks ago, and it’s moving incredibly fast. I have no idea how I managed to stay on top of my work (sort of), or how I have attended all my lectures and discussions. This is the first quarter I do not miss a class in the first two weeks. It feels really good; I feel proud. I met some really cool people this Summer (interestingly most of them just happen to be engineering majors), which I didn’t think would happen – I mean me meeting people.
I am becoming a less noisy person during this Summer. I am not as … talkative. I’m learning to listen to people, and it has changed my respect toward people in general. Everyone just seems really interesting! They do interesting things, they’re part of interesting groups, and they have interesting thoughts. AND IT’S EVERYBODY. It has made me appreciate the experience of ‘meeting’ people a lot more. I just want to to talk to everybody, and listen about all the cool things that they are doing.
Funny story: In the beginning of Summer I was an atheist. Then I read Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions and my whole world got turned upside down. I was contemplating life and society, and I was just entirely confused. I kept on contemplating my beliefs, and I got back to square one: atheism…until today. It turns out the term I have been seeking all this time that best identifies my religious views is ‘non-theist’. The difference: Atheists negate the possibility of the existence of God(s) while non-theists do not. Yaaay! I have found out a little more about myself!
A Funnier Story: The people I was living with and I got kicked out by the landlord at the house I was originally staying at. It was weird, and a little sketchy. Apparently, the guy who collected my rent money had to go on a business trip. He told us about it beforehand, so we were expecting it. What we weren’t expecting, however, was that he wouldn’t pay the electric bill, OR THE RENT! We were also not expecting that the guy would not answer to the 1000+ (obvious exaggeration) phone calls, or the infinite amount of messages we sent him. We even threatened him with going to the police. We didn’t because it might have been a misunderstanding, but I liked to think about it when I didn’t have control over the darkness at 8pm. Yeah…for a 21st century college student, electricity can sometimes rank above water in the hierarchy of needs. It was painful, but it made me appreciate electricity and air conditioners a whole lot more. I still haven’t gotten my money back. I was able to contact the guy afterwards. He says it’s a misunderstanding. It doesn’t change the fact that I had to move out to a house further away or the fact that he hasn’t given me the money back; he says he will, but I like to remind him every day anyways. But I met some cool engineers at the house I’m currently staying at, so everything turned out for the better.
The blog update has been long overdue, but life sometimes is so awesome that it leaves you too tired to blog. Sometimes it’s not that awesome, but you’re too tired anyways. I guess what I’m trying to say is that…I’ve just been lazy 🙂
Morals of my 3-week adventures: – Never infer the worst of people. It is easier to do in Summer, because it is just too hot to keep your head cool, but it leaves you feeling really bad. I have honestly imagined a few people getting ran over (and not dying), for the smallest reasons. And when you look back at it, it’s really regrettable – even if they were only thoughts.
– When your attention is not being sucked by electric gadgets and gizmos (your phone would fall under the category ‘gizmos’, new thoughts are born. These thoughts change your life. I only went about a week without electricity, and I came out feeling like the Dalai Lama.
-Listen to people! LISTEN! It’s amazing! People are amazing! Maybe not all people, but most people. Also, meet new people! It’s tough to break the ice sometimes, but it is so worth it. Some awkward moments might come up – they are inevitable. I forget people’s name 2.5 seconds after they tell me, and I have to ask for it again. Luckily, everyone so far has been cool about it (and a lot of them also forgot my name 2.5 seconds after I told them) so it was only somewhat awkward. But what’s life without awkward experiences?
I woke up at 6:30 am today – fully energized ready for battle! Right off the bat I knocked out the toughest tasks; I ate my frogs one at a time. I was able to build a resume and apply for a job, then right afterwards, I applied to three small lottery scholarships. (I’m saving the long essay scholarship for tomorrow).
I finished around 12pm, just in time to go eat some Korean BBQ in Rowland Heights with friends. Best I ever had!
I went back to my college, picked up a book I needed for Monday, then took the bus home to rest. A few hours passed, and then I started reading other blogs to get ideas for this one
I looked over the time-log app I installed in the morning, and saw some surprising results. I was not productive at all today!!! gaaaahhh!!!
Actually, as I am typing I am able to observe my absence of productivity. Before this, however, I honestly thought I had accomplished more throughout the day.
Today was quite the experience because I got to hang out with great friends and because I got to test out time-logging.
This is a blog about my college experience, so I thought I would share about my successes, failures, and about any advice that could maybe help other clueless undergrads who are also struggling to find themselves in college.
My Success: I tried something new (time-logging) and I learned from it. There are a few ways in which I’m planning to change my use of time now that I know where it’s really going to.
My Failure: If I would have done this earlier in my college career, I could have identified the problem of continuous idling a long time ago. I would have been able to at least try to change my habits, and probably would be (overall) a more successful person.
My Advice: My first advice would be to try time-logging, if only for a day. I can almost guarantee that you’ll learn a little bit more about yourself and how you spend your time. The key is to be diligent with it throughout the entire day.
My second advice is to write down everything that you plan to do in the day after you eat breakfast. Write down the specific actions/tasks and the specific times you want to accomplish them. I did this throughout my entire Freshman year of college, and I have to admit it is one of the major reasons why I was able to achieve a 3.5+ GPA thus far. This is mainly advice for those who are looking to improve their time-management. I got this and other useful tips from Cal Newport, author How to Become a Straight-A Student and blogger of Study Hacks.
My last advice of the Day:
Enjoy your friends as much as possible. I spent two hours eating cheap KBBQ with what I consider to be some of my closest and most entertaining college friends. They definitely make life better, and I can’t imagine my university life without them. They made my week!
(Hope this isn’t too cheesy)
It has been 6 days since I officially finished my first year of college. I moved out of my dorms and I almost didn’t have a place to stay over the summer, since I wasn’t going to go back home. I ended up finding a cheap place to stay four miles away from campus. I took it right away, without know anything about it because I was going to be kicked out of my dorms that very same day, and later found out it was a frat house. When I came in there was two beer pong tables out in the living room, iconic plastic red cups, and beer bottles everywhere. It was understandable since it was the weekend after finals week, but my mom was staying with me for the night and she felt uncomfortable. I was embarrassed for two different reasons: 1)My mom had to stay with me in a frat house full of strangers and there was no way for me to make her stay more pleasant. 2) My mom had to stay with me in a frat house full of strangers and there was no way that was a good first impression on my new housemates. Luckily there was no party that night. Actually, I didn’t see anyone that night. Even the guy that gave me the keys earlier that day wasn’t there. It was somewhat of a relief.
I later realized that only two guys are staying here this Summer. One I met as he walked out three days ago, and I have not seen him since. Today I found out it was his responsibility to pay for the water bill this month; I found out only because he didn’t pay it and we had no water today. (Don’t ask how the bathroom trips went). The other guy, Danny, is the one that is in charge of mostly everything that goes on around here. He’s been really cool so far – definitely made me feel welcome.
Now I’m starting this blog on his kitchen table, wondering to myself how I even came to this. I already decided I’ll stick to the blog though, so updates will happen whether I have followers or not. However, I do wish to gain a few followers sometime this summer so this doesn’t become just a personal online diary.
Fun Fact of the Day: The only blog I follow is Study Hacks by Cal Newport. Other than that, I have absolutely no clue what a blog is or what it’s supposed to be.
I’ll leave as that for now and find out more about blogging tomorrow. As you can tell, I am a procrastinator like many other college students.