into to fluids

I’ve been at MiaSolĂ© for four months now, and it feels simultaneously like I’ve been here for years and weeks at the same time. I’m not complaining; I finally know exactly what everyone means when they talk about the differences between working in industry and being in school. I’m learning so, so much on the job, and (this is a weird simile but) I feel like I’m standing out in the rain and the raindrops are the things people are telling me and only the water that stays on my person is the knowledge that I’m retaining. It’s a little (a lot) overwhelming but I’m definitely “getting exposed” – now it’s just a matter of being able to use this knowledge in practice.

Yesterday I overheard my boss-boss asking my cube-neighbor if he had time to do a quick fluids calculation. Paul (cube-neighbor) said he was a little rusty so I perked up and offered to do it. I mean, I did spend 3+ years studying the stuff, so I was pretty confident. I was given the details of the (pipe flow/pressure drop) problem, and was able to bang it from start to finish in less than two hours, most of it spent looking for an equation I didn’t know the name of. I validated my answers and walked through my analysis with a coworker, and happily sent it off to my boss-boss. Before the end of the day it was sent around to the relevant folks and I got a figurative pat on the back. The kicker – it felt amazing to be doing a fluids problem again. I definitely missed that kind of analytical thinking.

But serious question: all I had to do is remember a bit of fluids jargon to do “web research” for the equations and constants I needed. The rest was setting up the problem and spitting out numbers. It didn’t take a fluids Master (pun intended), so did I really have an advantage over anybody else? Would Paul have done it just as quickly?

WELP, doesn’t really matter anyway, since I did indeed get my degree in fluid mechanics, and loved it, and I am happy to see that I am not rusty at all in solving fluids problems :)

(I just remembered how one of my professors in undergrad always talked about how being an engineer was just being aware of all your resources. He said that essentially we’re learning things to put in our toolbox, and the rest of it was just knowing which tool you need in what situations. True facts, more than ever.)

q&a

How are you? I’m alright. Could be better but can’t really complain.
How did you sleep last night? Badly. Recently (for the last year or so) I’ve been a really light sleeper. Any distracting noise seems to keep me from falling asleep. Hard breathing (even when it’s my own…), creaking house, my humidifier, basically anything and everything has been keeping me up. Once I fall asleep I can generally stay sleeping ’til morning, but it’s the falling part that’s been bothering me. It helps to wear ear plugs, at least.
What’s been on your mind lately? Same old, same old. Fear of my unknown future. I’ve had a few interviews for full-time positions but they’re stressing me out more than relieving me.
How’s your RA/gluten free diet? No significant changes. I don’t feel that the diet has helped with the remission of my symptoms. I haven’t had a bad day like I did in December though, which I suppose is a positive thing.
What’s new with you? Besides finishing my MS requirements, nothing really. I’m trying to get fit, hoping it’ll help with um… life. I’ve got a lot of free hours these days so naturally I’m trying to take advantage of all the free time.

done out in deco

…the OPI lavender nail polish, is definitely not my color. Gonna cover it up with some Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday and try out this $1 bottle of NYC matte top coat instead of taking it all off though.

I tried to look up online the differences between nail polish thinners and remover, but I’ve speculated that the ingredients are very comparable and there’s no problem using regular nail polish remover to thin out thickened polishes. I’ve yet to find whether it’d be okay for matte polishes though. My assumption is yes.

IN OTHER NEWS my thesis has been accepted and I will graduate this quarter!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unhappy because:

1. I miss cake
2. Stressed from thesis preparation (due next week!!!!)
3. Have had continuous canker sores for the last three weeks
4. My back hurts
5. Slow communication with my intern who’s computer is broken
6. I don’t have a job lined up for post-grad
7. Knees started hurting when running again
8. My hair is ugly again

CHIN UP. Things will pass. Time will pass. Ordeals will be gotten through because what else?

jerbs

I think if I were a (real) full time student taking two graduate classes like I had originally planned, I’d be having a bad time balancing my research project, job hunting, and academics. But as it goes, with a flexible schedule for research, I’m actually having fun with the job hunting process. I’ve applied to 30-or-so jobs on the UCLA career website, and probably somewhere around 50 jobs online (directly and through Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.) and am going through the interview process for four companies right now. I have a last-round phone interview (before on-site) for a company I’m super interested in tomorrow afternoon, a flight up to norcal for a final round interview in two weeks, and another final onsite interview in Rosemead sometime soon as well. Fingers crossed for tomorrow; that’s the one I really want!

Research is also going well (*knocks on wood*) because I’ve extracted some good data from my videos/stills, and just need one more set, a validation, and then statistical reporting before I can finish up the paper! I really hope it’s that time in my life/year when everything falls into place and works out nearly perfectly. Here’s to growing up!

office hours

So I had my office hours for physics lab this morning, and was bombarded by 20 or so students with questions about their labs. Mostly just clarifications about why they lost points, or reading my handwriting, but two students stood out particularly because they were muttering under their breath calling me stupid when I tried to explain why they lost points. Disclaimerish: I graded really hard for this first lab, because if not now, then when? It was an easy lab about uncertainties and error propagation, and most points were lost from missing analysis or formatting issues (units, table titles, ignorance…). The average for the 200+ students was probably around 65 or 70. The class is not curved, but I did tell the professor that if the final grades’ average was too low (it should be around 80) then I would suggest adding 5 points to all students. I’m pretty sure nobody got above 95, anyway.

Student 1: This guy (Indian, short, stocky) comes in asking about why he lost points for connecting the points on his graph. I explained that connecting points on a scatter plot implies that you can interpolate, etc etc, and that it’s wrong. He says, how come I never lost points for it in any of my previous classes? I told him that maybe his previous TAs didn’t care as much about him becoming smarter, and I wanted students to know when their work is wrong. He said, “Are you calling me stupid?” Really dude, really? I’m an adult, and I’m trying to help you become better at writing reports, and you’re gonna pull that on me? I mean, Dasauni from CHAMPs said this to me once when responding to a similar comment, but he was 7 years old so it’s not as out of place and that was bad on me. But in this situation, I’m pretty sure you’re defining your own maturity level by going there. Same guy, same graph, on the x-axis has 10, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 10000 in equal tick marks apart. (Excel does this when you don’t specify a series, or something.) He asks me why he was docked points for his log-log graph. I told him that it wasn’t a log graph, and if it were, then it would be equal increments for each power of 10. He claimed (loudly, annoyedly) that it was a log graph, just not in base 10. I asked him if he really knew what log graph was. “I know what a log graph is, I’m an electrical engineer, and this is a log graph.” Um, no. It’s not. I asked him if he wanted to bet, and he said no. So then I’m right, right? No, he continues to claim it’s a log graph, and I ask him to find one other person who will support him in his claim. He storms out, calling me a stupid TA.

Student 2: I’m pretty sure this guy smelled like beer. At first I thought maybe it was a weird soap or deodorant, but after thinking about it’s definite that he was hungover/unshowered from last night. Also he was wearing a frat bro-tank so… He also voices his lab report woes in an annoyed voice, but I mean, I can expect that because most of these people got D-grades on their first lab worth 12% of their grade. But he starts to get more and more annoyed. I try to explain that some points I can’t change because it’s consistent across all students’ reports, but he just starts muttering to himself and then walks to the other side of the room. From there, he sees his friend and loudly complains about his lab report grade and the unfair TA, yadda yadda, which is just annoying to me because I’m sitting right there and I can hear every word. Sigh.

Everyone else, although concerned about their grades, were more bent on improving and actually understanding why they lost points. I’m glad about that. I really do think I graded fairly but harshly. Better now than later/never. The head TA and Professor are on my side, too, so *whew*.

oops

I’ve been making absolutely no effort to un-jetlag myself. Woke up at 1pm yesterday and noon today. I was planning on going into lab today to get back to work but whoop I guess it’ll have to wait till Monday. No point in re-seeding my tunnel if it’s just gonna have to wait till Monday for testing, right? Right.

Actually maybe I’m not jetlagged but just relishing the fact that I can be sleeping in. But I will be pseudo productive today, gonna make a timeline for research so I will be done by the end of the quarter.

a bunch of random things

I took this amazingly clear/sharp photo of a dragonfly hanging out with turtles at Caltech’s Throop Memorial Garden last weekend. Stanley, Wesley and I were killing time before our fourth/last session of our motorcycle training class, and I gave them a tour aka showed them the turtles at Tech.

The class (Basic RiderCourse) is an alternative to taking private motorcycle classes and passing the DMV riding test. There was an evaluation at the end of the class, which I guess must satisfy the same requirements as the DMV test, but it is supposedly way easier. The test consists of making two opposite turn U-turns in a box (20 ft x 60 ft), a swerve to avoid an obstacle, an emergency stop, and a 135 degree turn. I pretty much failed the box and passed the rest so I passed! Woooooo soon I’ll have an M on my license instead of a C. Pretty exciting stuff. I would recommend taking the class, especially if you’re under 21, because it was a pretty fun (albeit expensive) weekend adventure. It’s $250 for 21+ and $150 for <21-yo. After taking the class and passing the evaluation, you get a form to turn in to the DMV, at which you take the written DMV test and voila! Motorcycle license! And knowledge about how to ride a motorcycle! In other news, I decided to get my MS via thesis instead of purely coursework. This means that this fall quarter, I won't be taking any coursework and instead be a full time researcher. This extra time will be invested in finishing my research project, and preparing the results for a publication and writing my thesis. Since it's a bit of a late decision, I'm going to not declare my candidacy until winter quarter, for which instead of registering as a student I'll pay a "filing fee" and be an off-campus student who's only thing left to do is turn in her thesis. This gives me a bit more time to figure out what I'm doing for my project, and also I have more of an excuse for not having found a job by March. Yay! My hair is growing out, which means that I have bangs, along which I have fro. I think if I use my blow drier or straightener I can get rid of the fro-ness but I get distracted too easily and I forget to. Whatever, nobody sees me these days except my intern and sometimes my PI. And sometimes Stanley but he says I'm pretty no matter what my hair looks like <3 ALSO useless information that I find faintly significant: I hit the bottom of my MAC gel eyeliner! By the time I reached the bottom of my Bobbi Brown one a few years ago, it had dried out and was annoying to use. But this MAC one has been nice and smooth for at least two years! Good job, MAC. Mos def buying another when I finish. (Plus it's cheaper, $15 instead of BB's $22!) Um another useless thing that I might as well mention as I'm on a roll, is that I got the Essie "no chips ahead" top coat and it seems to work really well. So if you're looking for a top coat that actually works, then I'd recommend it. (Although I haven't tried any other top coat that is specifically formulated to prevent chipping, so maybe it's not better than anything else...)

I tried to email my high school college counselors late last night about a book we had used as a resource for looking up colleges, but I got broken emails for both the counselors from my years at ISB. The ironic thing about having gone to a high school with 500 students and a low student-faculty ratio, is that at international schools, teachers and administrators bounce around from country to country, living the ex-pat life all over the place. In my two years at ISB, I don’t really remember any new teachers coming or familiar ones leaving, so I felt that it was a constant in my present-future life. But no, that is not the case. Most likely I felt that way about the situation because of how things were at Lynbrook – my cousins, sister, and I basically shared all the same teachers. Even though student-teacher relationships at ISB were close knit, it doesn’t really seem to have extended past graduation. On the other hand, I still visit Kitchen-sensei occasionally when I’m back in norcal.

On the bright side, I finally got in touch with my English teacher from ISB by searching on Facebook. So maybe even if they’re harder to find, there’s still the prospect of a continuing connection.

I can feel more than ever the drain of energy in my day to day life – I suppose it’s way overdue that I finish my extended career as a full time student. This summer should be good, as I’ll be working in research as if it’s a full time job. Its necessary, I think, if I want to finish my project by the end of September. After that, one more quarter/two more classes until my graduation requirements are fulfilled!

After that, the direction in which I’ll be headed is undecided. While I work this summer, I’ll apply to as many jobs as i can find and see where that takes me.