best cookies ever

I just saw pictures from when I replanted my moss and comparing what it looks like now…I can truly honestly say that I am a fail gardener. My moss (Theodore) is very nearly dead, and only barely retains his color. It is possibly due to the fact that nowhere in our apartment is there any direct sunlight. So sad. :( My poor Theodore.

In recent news,

  • I am now 20 years old, the big two decades! I feel slightly intimidated by my own age, and can feel “maturity” creeping up on me. We went out to eat pho and then came back for Anastasia and lemon meringue pie… The weekend before my birthday, my parents came down to visit me and take me and a coupe friends out to dinner. We went to this hip and cool “California French” restaurant in Venice called Joe’s Restaurant. Pretty good, especially since I haven’t eaten out in awhile.
  • I ACED MY 150A MIDTERM. I did really well, 93/100…and the average was 75. I’m really proud of myself and am going to totally ace the final, too! Fluid Mechanics is so interesting :) I’m going to start emailing professors starting winter quarter to try and do same research in the field. Hopefully the profs will see my enthusiasm and accept me. Oh yeah I also aced my CAD midterm, but that was a joke, so whatever.
  • I got my sandstone coasters in the mail, which means that I can get started on my project. For those of you who don’t know already, I designed an indoor garden thing during my industrial design class at RISD a couple summers ago. Making a prototype of this thing will be the first step in the creation of a real portfolio, which may or may not take me to grad school in the field. It’s all a big “We’ll see” at the moment though.
  • Yesterday was the BruinLife yearbook staff retreat. We went kayaking at Marina del Ray, then had a beach bonfire at Dockweiler beach. It was pretty chilly when the sun went down but the bonfire was fantastic and I had a lot of fun with the new interns :) Pictures on facebook!
  • Today Layla and I went to Westwood to go shopping for shoes. I’ve been looking for a pair of booties to replace the ones I got last year (around this time) from Urban Outfitters…but alas, I didn’t find anything fantastic enough. But I did find a cute and inexpensive pair of heeled oxfords. :) They’re pretty comfortable, so maybe I can walk around campus feeling cool and north-campusy. I also almost bought a pair of dark blue pumps… but I didn’t. Maybe next time.

I just realized for the upteenth time that my new year’s resolution to create one work of art a month died out really quickly. :( Oh, the woes of a college student. BUT baking delicious cookies is a great way to make any dire situation turn into a better one! So here’s the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies ever. I wish I could include a picture, but we ate (almost) the entire batch already. We made them yesterday.

YOU NEED

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (important to not oversoften)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (the ones that are for melting have a better texture)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
4. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt.
5. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by smallish spoonfuls onto non-stick or slightly greased pans.
6. Bake for about 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are slightly browned.
7. Enjoyyyy! Because they are deeeeelicious!

time

Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. (Maybe I’m not.) Maybe this is reminiscent of my entire sophomore year.

So today, I forgot to turn in my lab because I was working on the 2009 Commencement magazine. It was due at 2:30pm, but it completely slipped my mind until 5:15, when I finally got out of the office. I freaked out until I finally got back to my dorm, and immediately emailed my TA an apology and my lab attached. She emailed me a few minutes later, totally okay with me turning it in during her Friday section. Thank goodness she was okay with it… but seriously? How did I forget?

I won’t deny that being part of BruinLife is detrimental to my college career. But at the same time, while I know it makes my grades suffer and study-time diminish to near nothing, I also see how it improves my experience as a college student. I’ve learned so much from being Editor-in-Chief that I almost-blindly let myself fall into an extra year of the job. I know that if I stick with it, I can learn so much more, and that what I get from my experiences will help me in the future.

But what happened today brought about a good point. If BL is inevitably pulling down where I stand in terms of academia at UCLA, then is it really worth anything? I wouldn’t be part of BruinLife unless I were a student at UCLA. I wouldn’t be at UCLA if I weren’t here for the intellectual stimulus. If I let BL take over my college experience as a whole, then isn’t that missing the point?

When it comes to yearbook, I see a direct impact of my hard work. Physical layouts are printed out and completed, books are sold, copy articles are written and edited. The big success at the end of the year, in the form of the published book, is amazing, but there are countless points along the road that remind me that I’m working hard. On the other hand, it takes weeks and weeks of studying and lecture attending for a midterm to roll around, and then another week to get my grade. Another month later, and I find myself being forced to study for my final exam. Completing my homework just isn’t as satisfying. And I see that this as a fault on my part. I need to take my classes as seriously as I do yearbook. I hate the word, but the obligation I have to my Student Media publication should be just as serious as that with which I approach my schoolwork. It should be, but clearly it isn’t. I soared and produced the 2009 BruinLife, proudly, but what of my grades? Shitty. Cs in almost everything. At the end of every quarter, my GPA takes a hit and steps down just a little bit more. A few more quarters of this (read: one more year of being EIC, maybe) and it’ll be leveling out just above that 2.0-mark. I know it’s not worth it. But I know that this is what I’m doing.

I need to learn to manage things better. I need to set my priorities so that in the future, I won’t look back and regret the way I treated my classes. When I look back, I don’t want the sole thing that defines my college career to be yearbook. Sorry, but no. I want it to be, well, the entirety. But if I know that’s what I want, it’s time to step it up. Balance things out. Right now, this is who I am. I’m the EIC of BruinLife yearbook, and that’s it. Maybe that’s not what I want. It’s what I do, but that’s not the only thing. At the same time, though, if it’s not yearbook, does that mean it’s mechanical engineering? Something tells me I want that even less. Engineering is so difficult, but I chose it and am running with it. But in two years, would I rather look back and think to myself: “Wow, I can’t believe I really studied that much engineering.” Or will I think, “Goodness, I spend so much time on BruinLife.” Where’s the middle ground? How do I compromise to guarantee that after I graduate, the only way I’ll define my college career is with the words, “Wow, I did so much and still had so much fun”?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need to learn how to study again. I need to remember what’s important to me not just right now, but in the future. Sure, I may not need to strive for that 3.5 engineering GPA, but I don’t want to consider all the time I could have (but didn’t) spend on improving my schoolwork. I have to stop gypping my academics, because they’re just as important as extracurriculars. Extra. They shouldn’t come first, even if I think they should.

Next year is going to be different. I promise.

(I’m at UCLA to earn my bachelor’s. It’s about time I show that I deserve it.)