Alexa, Play 24k Magic

So so soooo beyond happy to announce that I finally have some co-op news to share with y’all!! Last week I had 3 whole interviews for different co-op positions, and *spoiler alert* a couple days ago I accepted an offer!

It was also kind of crazy to see how fast the whole process turned around for me as well because I literally went from zero interviews to a job offer within less than two weeks’ time. I’ve never done this before, but I’m pretty positive that is not a normal turnaround for co-op. What most people say is that depending on the size of the company and the resources that they have can cause all steps of the process to take varied amounts of time. There are some companies that take several weeks to read through resumes where some take days. I think that after interviewing, the interviewer normally says how long they will take to make a decision. If they don’t, then it is perfectly normal to email and ask.

Now, I can tell y’all what the vibes and support have been throughout the process. So, this semester (Spring semester of my 2nd year) I am in the class “Intro to Co-op” which runs you through applying and being on the job for co-op. The different modules include resume building, applying, networking, interview tips and typical questions, sexual harassment, mindfulness, global co-ops, and finally on the job tips and goal setting. Throughout this class we also attended 3 different panels. The first one was attending presentations about what work people did on co-op, and then we asked questions about their experiences. Next was an employer panel where we heard what it is like from the employers’ perspective and were able to learn more about specific positions available. Most recently, we had a panel with 5th year students about the interview process.

After applying to 26 job postings and receiving one “we have not selected you for an interview” email, I was emailed by two companies (on the same day!) that they wanted to interview me. The validation I felt from those emails was off the charts. I was then again validated when one of the companies said two supervisors wanted to interview me which made me like that company sliiiightly more than the other one.

The first interview I had was with a company called Creative Materials Inc. that works with developing custom inks for different electrical and sensor applications. I think that the interview went relatively fine. It was slightly awkward on my end because I tried to generate small talk, but my interviewer was not on the same energy wavelengths as me. Also, most first interviews are around 30 to 45 minutes long, so as it was nearing that mark, I pointed out the time which I later realized probably isn’t the best move. At the time, I thought I was being considerate, but I now can see how it comes off as disinterested as if I had been keeping track of time. They ended up not offering me a job though which is fine because I don’t think I would have fit in with their company culture that well based on not vibing well with the interviewer who would have been my supervisor.

My second and third interviews were actually at the same company, Nuvera, with different supervisors. They work on hydrogen fuel cells which is what goes into engines. This work interested me a lot more because it is within the sustainable energy field which is what I want to do post-graduation. The first person I interviewed with at this company essentially quizzed me on my circuits and chemistry knowledge which I so was not prepared for and uhh I wouldn’t say I did that well on the circuits questions, but I was pretty solid on the chemistry questions. 

The second interview I had was immediately following this. Thankfully, they did not ask me any technical questions other than to describe something I had made in SolidWorks. Both interviewers in the second call had graduated from Northeastern, so it was very comforting knowing that they were familiar with what it was like to be on co-op. 

One of my friends had also interviewed with the same people as I did, so it was really interesting to compare what we chatted about between our interviews. In the first interview, the interviewer gave me a virtual presentation of what the lab looked like because I asked about it, while my friend had not seen what the workplace looked like. In the second interview, she discussed with the interviewers more about the dynamic from the changes in parent companies, and I discussed how the intra-company communication was. I think that these differences really came from the questions that we asked them, so it was reflective of what our curiosities about the job were. 

Asking questions to the interviewer was something I didn’t realize was even a part of interviews until Intro to Co-op. I have since learned that they are important because a job is a two way street, and it is important that you have all the information you need about the company and position before saying you want to work there. One of my friends rejected 3 offers before accepting an offer because they didn’t enjoy the work that they would be doing. 

I think that asking questions is a really important precaution in order to take care of yourself and be real with acknowledging no this isn’t what I want to do or I wouldn’t thrive in this environment. Alternatively, asking questions can make you more excited about the position and give useful information like the virtual lab tour I received. I then used this additional information in my thank you email to say that despite my lack of technical lab experience, I had worked on coordinating complicated systems in my experience as a stage manager. This thank you email, I’m convinced, is the reason I was hired because I really thought me failing the circuits portion of the interview took me out of the running. That is the supervisor I will be working with starting in July, and I could not be more excited.

It has been a process of preparation, waiting, anticipation, and finally success as I secured my first co-op. I am incredibly grateful to my co-op advisor as well as Intro to Co-op instructor as they were both always available and ready to answer absolutely any questions that I had and guided me through this process. It honestly still feels so surreal that in 3 months I will be working a full-time job?!?! It’s definitely not the conventional college experience, but I think that it will very much help me feel more secure about what post-graduation life will be like.

What Makes College Fun (part 2)

I present to you the highly anticipated part two!

One thing you gotta know about me is that I am obsessed with a bargain or doing things for free, so I adore the Resident Student Association (RSA) because they offer so many awesome experiences and it is all covered by our residence fee. So, I guess as my dad always used to say, “It’s not free; it’s included.” Having it included though is all the more reason to take advantage of it because you’d be paying for it anyway.

I will now make my way back to the point. I primarily was a member of RSA as a member of Hall Council, a group of people who plan events for their residence hall and coordinate discounted sport and theater tickets. I was still on the email list, so I was able to be notified of events that they held. Right at the start of the year, they were going on a retreat, and I had started to get a little bit cramped in Boston; so, of course, I wanted to spend a weekend out in the woods with a bunch of strangers. To be fair, the bunch of strangers part was a little daunting, so I asked a couple of my friends to join me, and most of them didn’t want to give up their weekend to be not partying, but I was able to convince two of my friends to join, and we had an absolute blast. It was an amazing weekend where I got to meet a lot of really cool people and play the game Werewolf for the first time!

Another fun event that was ~included~ with the resident fund that I attended was grabbing lunch at Qdoba and going to an escape room. What I love about RSA is that all of these events that they run are available to any on-campus residents, so it was really easy to ask my friends to go because it did not require any sort of club membership.

I spent much more time working on Hall Council than being a part of RSA specifically. For similar reasons of enjoying RSA, I loved being on Hall Council with the extended benefits that being on Hall Council allowed us to dictate what the events we ran were and how the money was spent. Our first event of the year was a Halloween event where we hosted “Trick or Meeting” to both hand out candy and help people in the building get to know each other because East Village is a big place. We then held a couple different food related events and a sticker design competition that had to be cut short because of COVID. So, I would very much recommend tuning into what your Hall Council sends out because they probably put a lot of work into planning it plus there is probably free food or cool things that come about from it!

A club I just joined is WRBB radio as I just got a radio show (quick plug for my insta @theconglomeratewrbb)! Essentially most of the club work is having a one hour show once a week, but the Slack for the show is really active where people are sharing their music choices and supporting each other’s shows, and it’s just a really cool space with a whole ton of different people that are all able to connect with just the common vibes of having a weekly show. I also find student radio a really interesting platform to listen to, so I would super recommend saucing a listen to wrbbradio.org and get a vibe of what some of the students’ vibes are through music and the different commentary they put out!

Before coming to Northeastern one thing I had never heard of was this sport called “broomball,” and it quickly became one of my absolute favorite things. For those of you who like me did not know what broomball is, it’s a sport you play on an ice rink but instead of wearing skates you wear your sneakers and you hit around this mini soccer ball using a paddle. I added a picture of my roommate and me to visualize the vibes a bit. The rules are similar to soccer, and it’s honestly just a fun time of sliding around on the ice. But how do you do this at Northeastern? Well it’s simple. Through the intramural sports league there’s a broomball option and you only need 8-12 people to form a team. I first was introduced to it because there is a required minimum of two women playing at a time, I was in the hallway outside of my room and someone on my floor needed another player for their team, and I was like why not. Even though I didn’t know anyone else on the team, I had an absolute blast with it. My second semester I made a team of my own and once again had so so much fun, so I cannot wait to get back to campus and back on the ice!

This is getting to be super long again so cheers if you’re still reading and curious about what else can there even be for one person to do and still have time for school, but no worries because I’m almost done.

Finally, how could I post a blog post on my Husky Ambassadors blog about clubs and organizations I’m involved in without mentioning Husky Ambassadors??? Not to choose favorites or anything, buuuut HA has introduced me to so many awesome people that I must say I absolutely cannot imagine my college experience without it. Also, because I want to have as many experiences as possible to share with prospective students, HA inherently encourages me to be a more outgoing student and take advantage of as many opportunities presented to me as possible. In addition to a good bargain, I also think it is very important to be grateful for what life has presented to me and talking with prospective students encourages me to always be mindful of all that I do at Northeastern (good or bad) and how it is helping me develop my identity and prepare me for my future. I’m also objectively one of the most extroverted people that I know, so to be a part of an organization of a bunch of other really extroverted people is so so awesome.

I know that was a lot to read through, but hopefully I have given y’all an insight to a small slice of the club/org life that we have going on here! I truly would not have had as fun of a time in college as I have had without meeting and spending time with the variety of people that I have through all these activities. The college experience is what you make of it, and there are so many opportunities around available to take advantage of!

What Makes College Fun

So I was looking through my previous posts trying to decide what to write about because I feel like I’m too early in the coop search process to start blogging about that quite yet (aka that will be my next post), and I realized that I have not talked at all about all the clubs I’m in! Even though Husky Ambassadors is my passion, I am also involved in a couple other clubs. The list has varied between my first and second year, so I’ll cover all the organizations I’ve been a part of.

Starting off is the Black Engineering Student Society (BESS). As a mixed person, I do struggle to find a place that I feel like I fit within the Black community, but I can so confidently say that I feel absolutely at home in BESS. There is so much love and support between the members in both each other’s academic and personal lives. My first introduction to BESS was at an admitted students’ overnight allllll the way back in March of my senior year. It was really nice to be brought into the community so early on, and I still chat with my overnight host to this day.

My second introduction to BESS was then at the Summer Bridge Program which was during the summer between graduation and starting college. While the overnight was a great introduction in forming a connection with a current student, Summer Bridge was a great introduction that brought together a bunch of incoming first year students and allowed us to start to form our class community. At the start of the week, the mentors told us that we would find our closest friends in all of college at Bridge, and I’m not going to lie I was skeptical that one week would do so much. I am happy to say that they were 100% right as I’m still really close with a ton of people who I met that week, and we have helped each other through so much of transitioning to college and the rigor of classes and many many social dilemmas.

Now to get into what the club is actually like once you’re in school. Each of the club meetings vary from professional development to academic advice and even social tips. Some professional meetings we’ve had were resume reviews, analyzing each other’s social media presence, and information sessions with employers. Academic advice has been in meetings like study tips as well as weekly Zoom study sessions for people to come and get help. In terms of social, just the other day we had a Valentine’s Day themed event with Boston University, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, and Wentworth Institute of Technology where we all got to mingle and play games with each other in a series of breakout rooms. We also have a semesterly battle of the majors where Chemical and Bio Engineers assert their dominance over everyone else (for legal reasons this is a joke).

As BESS is a sub-club of the Northeastern Black Students Association (NBSA), I also attended a couple other events that connected across all of NBSA. One was the annual “kickback” where I’m pictured below with my friend Frida and a caricature that was drawn of us. Another club meeting I went to was where we played Black Jeopardy which if you ever play Jeopardy with a club you’re in, then you’ll quickly find out that it gets veeeeery contentious. This is when I tend to sit back and watch the drama rather than participate in it.

Another club that is under the umbrella of NBSA is Sisters in Solidarity (SiS) which is a club that is essentially a safe gathering for Black women and non-binary people to chat and connect about a bunch of different things. One meeting that I particularly enjoyed last semester was a poetry for healing workshop where we went into breakout rooms with a topic to write a poem about and worked with the other people in the breakout rooms to write poems. Our topic was generational trauma, and you can find all the poems made in the meeting at this Instagram link! You can also look through their Instagram and get a feel for all the different topics discussed at each of the club meetings. (https://www.instagram.com/p/CF2PKFuHKnm/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link)

So, I just realized that I’ve gone on forever and ever about the “NBSA experience” I’ve had, and I don’t want to make this blog post too too long. So, I will make a part 2 to chat about some of the things I do outside of being specifically relevant to my Black experience on campus just to break it up a bit so stay tuned! I guess this was accidentally very fitting for Black History Month so cheers to that.

Sweet TBT to My First Year

Hey bloggees (is that a word?)! I am currently writing but also celebrating because I was accepted to be an Honors Living Learning Assistant (HLLA), and so from my excitement about that I thought why not take the time to talk about my first year living experience a little bit! 

So, one of the huge things for me my first year was my Living Learning Community (LLC). I know that LLCs vary between Honors and non-Honors housing so full disclaimer that I can only personally speak to my Honors LLC experience. My LLC was Outdoor Adventure, so yes it was exactly what it sounds like. A couple of the things we did over the year were touring an arboretum, kayaking, apple picking, skiing, and we almost went ice skating, but it was too warm. 

After meeting Erika at Summer Bridge (previous post reference), my next round of “first college friends” were from LLC events. It also helps that you live on the same floor as people from your LLC, so we had all mingled a little bit during move in, but the first time we all got to really hang out was at the LLC launch event where we toured the Arnold Arboretum. There had been a floor group chat that was made by our resident assistant (RA) about a month before we all got to school, so I already kind of knew some people and already had some beef maybe. And by beef I mean there was a small group of people who denied the existence of the state of Wisconsin. Since being from Wisconsin is about 40% of my personality, this was very clearly upsetting to me. Speed walking away from the haters had me run into one of my now best friends, and I eventually brought “the haters” over to my side to also become another one of my closest friends. 

Another key bonding area for my first year was surprisingly the dining halls. Anywhere you go, dining hall food is dining hall food, but it can also be a source of connection and a lot of fun stories. Because there is a wide range of food always available in our buffet style dining halls, I would often finish off my meals with a nice dessert waffle. Inspired by my creations, one of my friends challenged me to a dessert waffle competition. No one can say who won (it was me ofc) but we both had a ton of fun being really creative about it. 

Another side to the dining halls is that it does really expose people for their eating habits. In my case, I was ~mildly~ judged for occasionally eating my pizza and french fries with ranch. One of my other friends eats their bananas with the skin on. We all have our quirks. No one wanted to join me in my pizza and ranch combo (even though it comes highly recommended but maybe just for a Midwestern palate), but I had to experience eating a banana with the skin on, so my aforementioned hater turned friend and I tried it out as pictured below. Was it that bad? No. Would I ever do it again? Also no. It’s really just the texture of the skin that is off putting. But college is all about trying new things, and it resulted in this fun story I can share with y’all.

Socializing 101

This past week was Thanksgiving and despite it being a fundamentally flawed holiday, I’ll still take a moment to say that I am extremely grateful for all of my college friends. So, strap in for a quick blog where I talk a bit about my first-year social experience.

My very first Northeastern friend I met in an incoming first-year group chat (I know kind of cringe) where we bonded over a love for the ridiculous show, Instant Hotel. We chatted in the group chat from the moment it was created and all through the summer where we were able to first meet in person at this program called Summer Bridge. Summer Bridge is a 5-day program for incoming first year Black and Latinx science and engineering students to create a community before starting in the fall. This is also where I met a lot of my other good friends, but I don’t have space to talk about everyone here. Bridge was an absolute blast, and it was really nice to go into the year already knowing a couple of people who were going to be on campus. We were super lucky to live in the same residence hall and have a couple of the same classes our first semester which made it super easy to become best friends!

Most of the friends I made were not through the incoming first-year group chat, but rather during the first couple weeks of school when people are especially outgoing. It’s the perfect time to make new friends because we’re all starting this new chapter in our lives (I know it sounds cheesy but it’s so true). There were a couple times that people had their doors propped open, and I literally just poked my head in to say hi and ended up chatting for hours. Also, you can hear whenever people are talking in the hallway, so there were several times when I was returning from my room after a club meeting or something, I’d pass someone in the hallway, we’d start talking, then a couple other people would hear us talking, and they’d join us and eventually there’d be like 10 people in the hallway chatting about whatever.

For the introverts, I’d say that it is still fairly easy to make friends the first couple weeks of classes because there are so many events going on to bring people together as well as clubs are in full recruitment mode which is always a great place to make connections with people that have common interests. In engineering, the first-year class Cornerstone also does a really good job of having us all get to know each other and create connections. We do three projects throughout the year, and I’ve developed some really good friendships just from the amount of time that we have to be working together on the projects. Below is my first Cornerstone group where we made a lawn game to be accommodating for people in wheelchairs.

Throughout all of it even if you don’t love the first group of people that you meet, you’ll be totally fine meeting new people and shifting your group. I personally am not one to stick to one friend group but am more of a “floater” and I’ve found that to be a really easy way to socialize. Even after the first month of school, I still was making new friends just from studying in a common room and having random conversations with other people around. Or if you like some weekly show like the Bachelor or Survivor, there’s normally other people around who want to watch it and weekly watch parties can be huge. I have definitely learned that you are not obligated to hang out with people you don’t want to because there are so many amazing people around that you don’t need to spend your time around people you don’t vibe with. That being said like 95% of people on campus are super cool so you can’t go wrong most of the time.

Something that I wish I was slightly more conscious of during my first year was keeping in touch with friends from high school. Unless your high school was straight up not a good time, it’s always nice to keep in touch with one or two people outside of the Northeastern bubble even if it’s just to remind yourself that the world does not exclusively exist within campus bounds. Sometimes it can feel like campus is everything which can be good in moderation. I found that it really helped to talk to non-Northeastern people if even just to get into a different headspace for a bit. Plus, it also makes returning home for breaks less awkward. Of course, also don’t be completely encompassed by your old life because then that’s difficult to enjoy college because it really is something to take advantage of.

Now that I am primarily at home (thank youuuu global pandemic), it is definitely very different socially than what I’m used to, but I still manage to keep in touch with my friends. I like to think it is similar to what it would be like if I was on coop to a degree. Not having daily communication with my friends has been a bit of an adjustment, but I just try to remind myself that talking to someone 365 days in a row is unrealistic anyway. Most of the times when I talk to my friends it ranges from simple things like sending a TikTok or a meme to doing mental health check ins or just replying to snapchat stories. It will be interesting when I’m actually on coop to see how it differs, but hopefully for my first one I’ll be in Boston and able to actually see my friends after the good ole 9 to 5.

Boston Is Chalk Full of Potential Adventures

Hey y’all! As we have this crazy warm weekend, I’m reminiscing about all the adventures I went on my first year, so I thought I would share some of the reasons I love going to school in Boston!

To start, Northeastern specifically is in such a solid spot in the city because there are two T stops on campus, one for the orange line and one for the green line, so the accessibility to go places is very much there. With this helpful public transportation also comes so many places around the city to travel to and take advantage of, and if you play your cards right you can do it for free or at a very low cost. As a Northeastern student, we have a special deal with the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) so that we get free tickets! The MFA is also basically across the street from campus, so it is really accessible. I personally do not frequent museums, but I still found myself going a couple times just to go check out what was there.

Another free opportunity that might be less known is through the BPL. Anyone can get a library card at the BPL with proof that they have received mail in Boston, and they even hand out postcards that you can send to yourself for this proof. Through the BPL you can request free/discounted tickets for different places around the city. My friends and I were able to reserve 4 free tickets to visit the Boston Aquarium which was such a fun time! This is also when not having classes on Friday came in very clutch my first semester. I’ll spare showing you all the pictures I took on the visit, but here’s a photo of one of the main sea turtles because turtles are objectively the best animals.

For the sporty side of my Boston exploration, I was able to go see several Bruins and Celtics games for just $5 per ticket! Sounds crazy I know, but through the Resident Student Association this is possible. About twice a month, my residence building’s hall council would send out an email with a google form to sign up for tickets which were first come first serve. I was on the hall council, so I got to be the behind the scenes of it all which had pros and cons to it. Cons were that people would cancel at the last minute, and I’d often have to scramble to fill that missing ticket spot. Pros were that I often could be one of the people to fill the missing slot hence being able to go to so many games. This is another time when public transportation pulled through as the TD Garden is just about a 20 minute T ride away from campus. I am very much a Wisconsin sports fan, so it was interesting to go to games at TD Garden and participate in their slightly different stadium traditions. I also love just being a part of a crowd and having a team to cheer on, so going to these games with my friends made for top tier memories.

One of the other exciting things for me was coming to a bigger city where artists stop for concerts!! I love Milwaukee, but most often if I wanted to go to a concert, it would have to be in Chicago which was a little bit of a hassle to get to. Much less of a hassle was when my friend and I got to see LIZZO in concert, and it was just a couple T stops away at Agganis Arena at Boston University. Just remembering that I was in the same space as Lizzo, even if it was 100 feet away and with 150 people between us, leaves me speechless. On the way back, my friend and I ended up walking because all the people leaving the concert were really packed into the T, and it wasn’t as bad of a walk as you’d think and helped to develop more of a mental map of Boston.

These were just a small number of the things I was able to do all in my first semester at college and all together at a pretty low cost for high quality memories. 

Brazil but Make It ~Online~

Hey y’all! As I’m wrapping up studying for midterms season, I thought I’d take the time to reminisce about the summer when it was warmer, and life was more relaxed. This past summer I participated in an online Dialogue of Civilizations to Brazil. For those of you that don’t know what a dialogue is, it’s a 4-6 week program over the summer where students go with one or two Northeastern professors abroad and take two classes with them. I think this program is really cool, and it’s actually one of the reasons I decided to commit to Northeastern because I’ve never been overseas before. So, the opportunity to go out of the country with a group of my classmates sounded amazing. Here’s a link to the Global Experience Office in case you wanted more information about dialogues and other global opportunities at Northeastern! (https://www.northeastern.edu/geo/dialogue/program-overview/)

The dialogue was all about sustainable energy which matched great with Brazil because they have a lot of natural resources and have done a lot to take advantage of those. I took two classes called Conservation Principles and Energy Systems. Both of these classes were able to count toward my degree which was a definite plus because I was able to get some of the abroad experience while paying the same as I would have to take the classes regularly. The classes component of the dialogue goes just as any typical class goes, but with the added bonus that some of my classmates in Energy Systems were also from Brazil!

Every Friday we would have a different culture experience. So, a few of the things we learned about were the demographics and history of Brazil, geography, music styles, famous and influential people, Brazilian cooking, and Capoeira (a dance style martial arts). These really helped to bring the Brazilian experience through the screen for us. My two favorites were the most interactive experiences where we had a cooking class and the martial arts lesson. In the cooking class, we made pao de queijo and brigaderios. Pao de queijo is basically a cheesy bread which was really interesting to make because it uses tapioca flour instead of wheat flour because that is what is more common in Brazil. The brigaderios were AMAZING to make because they’re basically chocolate truffles. They were both fairly easy to make and we also got to learn about the history of them as well as learn more about Brazilian cuisine. I wish I had taken pictures to show y’all, but alas the yummy memories are just on my taste buds. I still have the recipes for them, so if I feel like foraging for tapioca flour again, I’ll be able to make those.

I’ve always been intrigued by martial arts, but Capoeira is something I couldn’t have imagined. The way it was described to us was as a sort of dance fighting style of martial arts. I think what really made this experience fun for me was that my friend and I FaceTimed during the Zoom call, and we could see each other’s attempts and reactions to the moves in our respective cramped bedrooms. This is one of the ways that Zoom is a great way to try new things because I didn’t have to have my video on, so I didn’t have to care about other people seeing me awkwardly try to do a circle kick, and I could just have fun with the lesson.

In some of the other cultural lessons, I honestly learned a lot about Brazil, and I felt kind of bad for not being as aware of global history as other countries are. I kind of knew but wasn’t consciously aware of Brazil’s involvement in the slave trade and how much that has influenced their current culture and demographics. Like how Carnival is technically from Afro Brazilian culture, but it’s just considered to be Brazilian, which is the same with Capoeira. Learning things like that really made me wish that I was able to go there in person to really be fully immersed in the culture, but I still appreciated the exposure to know about the culture so that if I get another chance to go, I won’t be going in blind. On that note, the cultural lessons also reminded me that there are cultural differences that we need to be conscious of when going to another country, so it’s important to be properly informed.

Another aspect of the class that really enhanced the online experience was working on a group project with my Brazilian classmates. The final project for the class was to pitch efficiency improvements to a paper company, Suzano, which is based in São Paulo. This honestly was a really daunting final project, but like everything else in college, as we learned more about energy systems and how to make things more efficient, it started to come together and make sense. During group meetings, we would all work on the project, but we’d also chat a bit about our different cultures. It was mostly them telling my friend and me about Brazilian culture because the whole world kind of knows about American culture. These were such fun conversations as we got to go deeper than some of the in-class lessons and share stories and such. I also have a playlist of the songs they recommended that I still listen to sometimes. (I’ll drop the Spotify link! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5YoazakMpCGeVxB4r5AeAN?si=MLTGMrQjS6GDn9CakrNq7Q)

First Month Back and Oh Golly

I hope that everyone has had a great return to the academic grind in whatever way you are returning! It has definitely been interesting adapting to this new model of learning in a way that is safe for everyone.

The intensity and rigor of my classes has really picked up from what it was my first year, so I almost appreciate not having as many social distractions so I can take the time to study rather than having to choose between my friends and school. This semester, I’m taking Organic Chemistry 1, Physics 2, Transport Processes, and Power and Influence. I could spend a whole post going over all that’s gone on in each of these classes, but I will limit each to one maybe two paragraphs.

Everyone knows that Organic Chemistry is one of the hardest classes anyone could take ever, and it really lives up to its reputation. Never before have I read a textbook for a class, but in OChem it’s basically a guaranteed fail if you don’t. I think the main thing about it is that there is so much material to go through, and the best way to absorb it is through maximum exposure. In terms of actual class dynamics, it is certainly interesting to be on a Zoom call with about 170 classmates. I’ll just say that the chat is very active which can be distracting at times but also sometimes comforting to know that other people are also confused about what’s going on. There’s not enough time in class to answer everyone’s questions, so this is why I love to take advantage of office hours and recitation sessions where I can ask questions after processing the information for a couple of days and reading the textbook as well.

Physics 2 is another hard-hitting class mostly because it involves a lot of problem solving and a deep understanding of the topics to navigate the different questions. This class also has a lab every other week and a recitation with a weekly quiz. I really enjoy the class sessions because this is one of my classes that is fully online, so my professor is exclusively talking to people on the screen. This is also the same professor that I took Physics 1 with, so we already know each other and makes me a lot more willing to participate in class. My professor also sends us into breakout rooms which very much helps to process the concepts by talking it out aloud with my classmates.

Transport Processes (which is basically fluid dynamics) is the second chemical engineering specific class I have taken. So far, it has helped me realize more about what chemical engineering is, but I also don’t know if I’ve wrapped my head around the fact that as an engineer, I will be doing math all day. For some reason I thought that at some point I’d move past math, but I don’t know if that will ever happen. I’m not mad about it because I enjoy math, but it seems so surreal that I’ll be applying it for the rest of my life.

Rounding out my schedule is my business class for my Consulting minor, Power and Influence. I was a little bit nervous going into the class because it was my first business class, so I wasn’t positive what to expect. It has turned out to be a really interesting class despite being 3 hours long on a Thursday night. It is my first discussion-based class and probably the most regular social interaction I get all week. I appreciate the new insights I get from discussing topics with people from a different major.

Overall, I do have a really tough schedule (and I think I will for the rest of college), but these are all topics that interest me, so I enjoy putting in the work even though it takes a lot of energy to get through. I’m also glad that this isn’t agony for me to go though because then I would know that I chose the wrong major. Despite the pandemic not being an optimal situation for most things, my professors have worked so hard to make this semester work, and I cannot talk about this semester without also expressing my gratitude to them. Knowing how accessible they’ve made themselves and how smoothly classes run most of the time lets me know how much they care about making the most of this situation and encourages me to come to class with the same energy.

I’m not saying that I’m a pro at anything, but I wanted to add my 10 “Pro Tips” from this past month of what I’ve learned taking classes at home.

Pro Tip #1: Vlogging absolutely everything you do on your Snapchat story is a great way to stay in touch with friends.

Pro Tip #2: Listening to “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” is an instant mood boost.

Pro Tip #3: Dying the ends of your hair does make you feel ~quirky~ and totally worth it.

Pro Tip #4: According to a TikTok I saw, professors can see whose video you pin and all private messages after class. (you’re welcome)

Pro Tip #5: If you have no resources to offer in your networking simulation, typed out stick figures are a great alternative to offer for loyalty.

Pro Tip #6: Don’t say “the beaker” in your OChem lab report because Turn It In will flag it.

Pro Tip #7: If you refrigerate an onion, you won’t cry when cutting it.

Pro Tip #8: Eating pineapples from the can and grocery store cake after midnight prevent mental breakdowns. (Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional)

Pro Tip #9: Cool kids do homework on Friday nights.

Pro Tip #10: When all else fails, it’s okay to lie down, stare at the ceiling, and listen to “Redbone” on loop until you feel better.

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