Thursday, December 20, 2012

Change




Change is not necessarily a bad thing. People change, goals change, life throws a wrench at you and forces change. The thing is, looking back, I never imagined I would be where I am now. I imagined myself on a completely different career path going a completely different direction. A quote shared with me by a friend recently is live so that twenty years down the road, you won't be where you imagined yourself to be. It's easy to depend on a schedule, to plan every second of the next ten years of your life but a little spontaneity may place you where you need to go.

I recently ran into two boys I had known back in high school. While we were talking I realized that your views of one another were based on what we had known of each other years ago. I thought one was going to be an architect and another a lawyer, but now they were on completely different career paths, as am I. I am no longer the meek, nerdy girl reading books during class. I've grown up into someone who's confident with who she is and not afraid to speak up. I'm not the girl I was years ago, and I won't be the girl I am now several years into the future. I think where I'm trying to go with this is, change isn't necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it just means better things are coming.

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Finding Help

Perhaps this is too personal, but my grandfather passed away this week. It reminded me that we all go through tough times, and you aren't alone if something similar happens to you. What do you do when there is a family emergency?
  1. Tell your professors, especially if there are looming deadlines.  Some are nicer than others. Be sure to talk to (or email) them.  See if you can work out an arrangement for turning work in/ exams. Some will allow generous deadlines, others will require you to abide by the syllabus.
  2. If a professor is not budging, go to the college. However, this needs  extreme circumstances, and I've heard requirements of death certificates and such. Hopefully a doctor's note will work.
  3. On- campus counseling is available and FREE! Don't be ashamed. I've had to go to counseling myself.  For non-urgent matters, go to CAPS's website.  To request an emergency appointment, go here. There is also a number to call for after-hours.
This is often something that people don't discuss, and therefore, don't know how to deal with. Use the resources the university has to offer; your school fees cover the cost.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Grad School Applications (In Progress)

It's that time of year again, Graduate School Applications! It has been very stressful, and while looking over which programs to apply for, I keep thinking, "What did I really want out of grad school?"

I even asked a couple friends, "Should I even apply to grad school? I don't even know what I want yet!'  Many have replied, "I think you should." And I agree with them. However, the uncertainty makes me uneasy and afraid my application won't be strong enough for my lack of direction. (It goes along the lines of never telling an interviewer that you don't know what you want to do).  I've thought about graduate school for 3 years, and in a year, I'm gunna say the same thing. Heck, I've already taken the GRE.  

But I've narrowed down my list of fields like this:

  • Nanotechnology
  • Materials
  • Energy/ Combustion
  • Controls...maybe...
  • Biotechnology...I've read too many medical ethics books...
  • Aerospace
Okay, I could see myself continuing to learn about combustion/ energy. The field is growing pretty quickly, and maybe I could throw some controls in there. 

As my Lil Sis (Nassim) has attempted to remind me, "You have the right to change your mind!", I try to keep this lingering in my frontal cortex before my hypothalamus takes over with my fear response.

So I've been spending my Saturday afternoons/nights working on applications. You'll be so proud of me! Gathering information, writing up my profile, narrowing down schools, narrowing down who should give me a letter of recommendation (which is such a hard decision!), thinking of backups, and finally contacting those people.  Yesterday, I contacted them, and that's another big hurdle that we're all nervous of (What if they say no! You ask someone else, haha). Mission Part I complete.

I was also nervous about who to ask for feedback on my Personal Statement. My mom is a terrible person for this; she'll read it and say, "Yes, that's nice honey." 

BUT I NEED YOU TO GIVE ME FEEDBACK! So....in other words, my mom is ruled out.  Then, I learned that the Student Academic Success Center is willing to read your Personal Statement and give feedback! Thank goodness! Mission Part II complete.

Graduate school applications is such a long process...good thing I know generally what I'm doing...

-Serena

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Current Status


It's my last quarter at UC Davis for my undergraduate degree.  About 2 months ago, I was excited to start school again.  Two weeks ago it hit me; it's my time to leave.  I've had a great 4 years.

Do you regret anything?

I tell everyone the same answer. Think back to yourself in that past moment. Would you have made a different decision knowing what you knew then? For me, that answer is, "No." Therefore, I don't regret  myself in the moment. 

Where are you headed? 

Honestly, I haven't worked very hard to "figure out" my future. You could call it depression, or maybe even laziness. I've spent 4 years worrying about things that worked out. Right now, I call it going with the flow.

The real answer: I'm applying for both jobs and master's degree programs. Which one shall I chose? That will be answered when it comes time to answer it. :-)

What are you going to miss?

I'm already sad that I won't be able to do "Science Fridays" with the local elementary school. My passion is outreach (hence, this blog!), and I'm trying to see how to incorporate it into my new life after school.

Will you continue the blog?

Of course! You can still submit questions. Just because I'm graduating doesn't mean I've lost all of my knowledge of the university, haha.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sorry!

Hey guys,

If you haven't noticed we've been slacking a bit on the blogging front recently. We're both heading into hell week so things have been crazy (like up til 4 am to finish work crazy).

Just wanted to let you guys know we're still here! If you guys have any requests for the blog just remember to email Serena or myself. I'll try to do several blog posts this weekend and just spread them out over the next few weeks that I'll be busy.

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tech Tuesday! : Wizard of Oz GPS Shoes

So what do I do when i'm extremely bored and my credit card is calling my name? I order shoes. Not them high heeled back breakers, these would be nice nike high tops with .....i'm getting off topic. Well, on my search this week I came across these shoes by Dominic Wilcox:


Not only are these shoes classically stylish, but they're the perfect shoe for direction challenged folk like myself. Inspired by Dorothy's heels in the wizard of Oz, one click of these heels and they'll guide you home; all you have to do is upload your destination and you're off. No more wandering down streets attempting to look more lost than you are, miming looking in different directions hopelessly in hopes some poor local will take pity on  you. 

These are currently on display at the London 2012 Design Festival. You can check out his project HERE.

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Resume

It's that time of year again....updating your resume! All of the large companies (especially oil companies) start their recruitment in early October, and September is a great time to add your summer experience and get someone to critique your current style.

Danielle has already done a previous post, but here are some links that I like to look at:

Career Resource Manual, UC Davis Internship and Career Center
This is a GREAT resource! If you need to format your resume or cover letter, or if you need a list of verbs to look from, be sure to look at this. This is usually where I refer people first.

Ask A Manager
One of my favorite blogs. People submit questions (many including, "Is this legal?"), and she answers them. The first time I found it, I was absorbed for a couple of hours.

        Good thing to note: she always advocates the use of a cover letter...even if it's not required. If I don't have an option, I'll usually upload a resume with the cover letter in the same document....that way, they won't miss it. The only exception: when the application says, "No cover letters, please." I've seen it once.

Look out for resume workshops. Potential places to have your resume looked at:

  • Career Center
  • Academic Advisor
  • Recruiting companies that hold "resume workshops"- I had Chevron look at my resume a few years back. My main tactic: let them meet me and see my qualifications before I apply, hehehe.
  • Friends
       Good thing to note: Please, Please, Please, Please, try your best at a resume before you have someone look at it. It's really annoying to see an un-formatted list of jobs without descriptions, dates, and formatting. The reviewer is reviewing your resume, not creating it from scratch.

Good luck with the job search!
Serena



Monday, September 24, 2012

Looking Ahead

As many of you know, I spent a quarter/semester in Washington DC last Fall. I worked for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

I had a friend who wanted to know a good timeline for officially applying for everything. So here's my timeline of events for large "life" events:

Fall 2010: Decision to take a quarter off in Fall 2011 decided (Washington DC or Co-op elsewhere)
Late Fall 2010/ Early Winter 2011: applied for Washington Program
Late Winter 2011: Acceptance into the Washington Program
Spring through Summer 2011: Applying for jobs/internships in the DC area
Fall 2011: Worked in Washington DC

So, you should plan for about a year in advanced. However, there are other programs and events that take longer. If you are interested in a specific program, it doesn't hurt to look ahead of time.

Also, I know many of you are rushing to graduate.  But just a reminder: it isn't a good idea to graduate if you don't have any job experience. If you can, I would recommend two engineering internships before you graduate. If you can't, one engineering internship is good, but two is better. And if you absolutely cannot land an engineering internship, make sure to have a job. I've seen people who don't have any experience whatsoever (no volunteer, no McDonalds, nothing).

In addition, I would be wary of Summer school. Working and attending school is often a good setup, but not always feasible. Use the summer to build your skills, even if it is flipping burgers. You'll be able to market your skills for punctuality, teamwork, handling money (trust), dealing with customers professionally and politely. It's way more than school will ever give you.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adventures in the CAE, Part I

Last quarter, the subject of high school novels came up. Someone mentioned, "You know what book I loved? To Kill a Mockingbird!" Suddenly, people turned around in their swivel chairs:

"I hated that book!"

"I loved that book!"

"That book was okay...I didn't really get it."

"Poor Atticus..."

"I never really saw the importance of that book..."  

This continued for a few more moments until someone was frustrated enough to say, "To Kill A Mockingbird is about civil rights!"

The CAE got quiet, and everyone put their head down acknowledging that he was right...maybe in that moment, some students finally understood the meaning of the book.

It's moments like these that stick in my head. My combustion homework was no longer important. It was realizing that, again, life goes beyond engineering. Tolerance and civil rights are part of an ideal picture of our world, and we strive for it no matter what our scientific situation looks like... and I think our high school English teachers would be proud.

Times change, people don't.

-Serena

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Adventures in the CAE, Intro

The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Computer Lab at UC Davis is an interesting place where I get my homework done started. The room is called "Computer Aided Engineering," or the CAE. It reminds me of my trip to NASA JPL during my sophomore year in high school. The lab is filled with computers and engineers, and as my mother would say, "has enough brain power to-blow-the-roof-off." There are students in the lab from open to close, some students working in there all day.

Since this room is filled with students from dawn until dusk (and afterward), there are many scenarios that have occurred during my tenure as an undergraduate. This series is devoted to those situations (some serious and some hilarious), but I want to shine a light on the fact that more than engineering occurs in the CAE....actually, we could probably do more engineering....but regardless, the CAE is where one goes to hear people's dreams and aspirations...and college shenanigans. :-D

In the CAE, I've met the following people:

  • the future Naval Officer
  • the veteran (War in Iraq)
  • the comedian
  • the rapper
  • the pilot
  • the person crazy about NASCAR
  • the protester (yes, he was sprayed with pepper spray)
  • the political activist
  • the athlete
  • the mid-life crisis
  • and of course, the girl.
Over the years, I've tried to show people that engineering is more than just engineering. People don't really understand that. So here I stand write this "Adventures in the CAE" series as a witness to show you that life goes beyond the homework, formulas, projects, and all-nighters.

Be sure to look for future posts regarding the CAE.

-Serena

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tech Tuesday! USB Cuff Links

So at some point or another I think every little boy or girl wants to be James Bond, or Lara Croft, or some other international badass with spy gear. While perusing my very extensive list of geeky gear sites I came across these.

USB cuff links. RIGHT?! Just in case you happen to be dressed up for some fancy shpancy event and decide its time to play James Bond. Not particularly useful, they're only 2 gigs each for a whopping $250, but it would definitely boost the Bond factor. They also can function as a wifi hotspot and could be used in a business meeting to bring along documents I suppose.....personally, I prefer my James Bond suggestion.

Until next week.

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Monday, September 17, 2012

GRE Tips and Tricks!: Quantitative: Numeric Entry


The newest question type to the GRE is the Numeric Entry. You are given NO answer choices and must calculate and enter your answer. Pretty straightforward. I only have have a few basic tips to share with you on this question type.

Tip 1
READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY. I cannot stress this enough as this is something I have difficulty with as well. Are you answering the question asked?

Tip 2
Estimate. Make a rough estimate just by reading the question as to whether the answer will be large or small.

Tip 3
DO NOT ROUND UNTIL THE END. Do all your calculations using exact answers until the very end. The instructions will sometimes include an instruction for rounding. Did you follow this? If no instruction as to rounding is provided (double check your answer) enter your exact answer.

Tip 4
Check your solution with Tip 2 above. Does the solution seem to "fit" what you expected the answer to be?

Until next time.

Cheers,

N. Riazi


Friday, September 14, 2012

GRE Tips and Tricks!: Quantitative: Quantitative Comparisons


Let's start with the basics of the Quantitative Section: you have thirty five minutes to answer twenty questions. There are four types of questions: Quantitative Comparison, Multiple Choice with one correct answer, Multiple Choice with more than one correct answer, and Numeric Entry. I will be walking you through each question type. Math isn't your forte? That's fine, we'll help you get prepared enough that when the time comes you'll be doing problems like its old hat. I would also like to mention that should you have any questions to feel free to post your question in the comments below and either Serena or I will get to it as soon as we can.

Ready? Take a deep breath, its go time. 


Quantitative Comparisons 


Quantitative comparisons are exactly what they sound like: comparisons using numbers. You are given two mathematical expressions in two columns, A and B. Your job is to compare them and you may be given additional information to help you with this. There are FOUR answer choices and they NEVER CHANGE therefore if will save you a bit of time memorizing them now so don't have to keep rereading them on test day.

The four answer choices are as follows:
A. quantity in Column A is greater
B. quantity in Column B is greater
C. the two quantities are equal
D. the relationship cannot be determined from the info given.

Not only do these answers not change but answer D can give you a hint to your answer. If both columns only have numbers (so no variables) that means that their relationship will not change in which case D will NEVER be correct. If you can show that there is more than one CORRECT relationship between the two columns then D will always be correct. Got it so far? So only numbers, can't be D. More than one answer, can only be D. 

So how do we go about answering these types of questions? I've put together a few tips that will help you answer the question quickly.

Tip 1: Estimate where you can
Often you can do not need to calculate an exact value. Estimate your values and solve from there, it will save you time and often eliminate most or all of the wrong answers. 

Tip 2: Make Column A like Column B
Yes I do realize that's a vague title. What I mean is that if column A is in fractions and B in decimals convert them both to fractions. This will make your math much easier. Same goes for percents and parentheses.

Tip 3: Treat the two columns as an inequality
Treat the two columns as two sides of an inequality and apply math to them to simplify them. For example if Column A says 3x+4 and Column B says 4x+4 subtract 4 from both sides to simplify. This can also help you get rid of fractions/decimals. NOTE: Remember we are treating this as an inequality so do not multiply or divide by a negative number unless you are SURE beyond doubt that both columns are positive. 

Tip 4: Pick Numbers
Easiest trick in the book. Can't figure it out? Pick random numbers (be careful that if given additional information the number you pick qualify) and plug them into the question to solve. Here's the catch, you have to do it AT LEAST TWICE. This is key. Say you plugged in only positive whole numbers the first time but when you use a negative your answer becomes false, you would have missed it if you hadn't checked again. So always for your second Set choose a negative, or an extremely large or small number, or a fraction, etc. The variables can be positive, negative, zero, or fractions.  I'm not saying pick the hardest numbers you can think of; on the contrary I'd suggest you pick easy numbers. Just make sure to be diverse with your choices.

Tip 5: Redo all diagrams if necessary
Unlike the SAT, diagrams on the GRE are NOT DRAWN TO SCALE. What may look like a ninety degree angle may not be one. If the diagram given confuses you in the least then just redraw the diagram to exaggerate the differences so that you have no chance of mistaking angles/sides/etc from one another. 



That's all for today but stay tuned for my next post!

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Being a Girl Comes in Handy

My current internship has me doing all sorts of little projects.  As shown below, you can tell what I do for my job (from the bottom): mechanical engineering, heat transfer, metals, more heat transfer, Microsoft Access, combustion, corrosion, more combustion...As shown, it wouldn't be complete without a graphing calculator!

Anyway, I've been working on creating a database for my internship. Microsoft Access is a program that you can love and hate simultaneously. Since no one in my office knows how to program VBA for Microsoft Access, I was allowed to pick out a book of choice (the large red one above). This book is about 1000 pages long, and I skimmed most of it one day, making notations similar to below.

Several weeks have passed, and I don't know how many comments I've received from my tab assortment. The other engineers will walk by my office, and say, "Holy Moley! I'm impressed! I've never seen so many tabs before!" Now, at first I was confused, because I've seen other instances of this. So I asked my friend, "Why does everything think it is so strange that I have so many tabs?" 

He replied, "I think it's because we're guys...." I'm the only female engineer in the office, and I thought this turn of events was hilarious.  I spoke with one of the secretaries (female) about it, and she laughed, "Well, if we find it once, we're going to make sure we find it again!"

I guess being an organized-female comes in handy sometimes...:-D

-Serena

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

GRE Tips and Tricks!: Intro



So while most students have been enjoying their summers frolicking in the river and going tubing, I have been wiling away my time in coffee shops attempting to tune out the screams of young children somehow not heard by their ignorant parents. What can I say, summer wouldn't be summer without some ups and downs. I am currently sitting in my favorite coffee shop back home listening to some reggae and drinking a soy hot chocolate and reveling in the fact that while the afore mentioned students are in school, I still have more than two weeks left to enjoy myself.

So what have I been doing in these coffee shops besides drinking fancy drinks and flirting with cute baristas you ask? I have been studying up for the GRE. Standardized testing you see, is one of my strong points. It is not so much a test of knowledge so much as a test of strategy. So what's the best way to study for the GRE? Learn those strategies and practice them until they become second nature.

What I will be doing over the next few weeks is sharing with you the knowledge I've gained over the dozens of GRE books I've looked over narrowed down to the KEY strategies, shortcuts, and tips that will benefit you the most. This does not mean that you should merely skim my notes and assume you're good to go. A good many people tried that in high school and it is no excuse to skirt work (plus it didn't work out so well for them. I have the handwriting of a 6th grade boy). Take those practice tests and put those strategies to use until you begin to do them without having to reference my posts.

Good luck future grad-students and I'll see you in the my post.

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tech Tuesday! AppTag Laser Blaster

Ok so I finally decided to make my tech days a weekly thing. Tuesday also sounds a whole lot better than Wednesdays; I mean, who doesn't love alliteration. I considered calling it: Random shit I really want Tuesdays but it didn't sound as nice :)

So who likes Laser Tag? Ok how about who doesn't like laser tag? No hands? Fantastic. So I guess some genius somewhere realized that our generation today spends far more time on their iphones than outside in the real world and decided why not make life easier for the couch loving masses! (I apologize for the sarcasm. I honestly think this thing is incredible. I'm just grouchy from packing).
Let me introduce you to the AppTag Laser Blaster. Imagine FPS (that's first person shooter to those of you out there who can live without gaming systems) shooter games meets traditional laser tag all on the convenience of your smart phone (works for iOS and Android). You can switch weapons, pick up health packs, and keep track of scores via wifi. Pretty dang cool.

Until next week!

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Friday, August 31, 2012

Phillips versus Flathead

Throughout this blog, I've mentioned my feelings of inadequacy toward engineering when I entered college. I didn't know how an engine worked, I couldn't set up a circuit bread board for the life of me, and I barely knew the difference between a Phillips and flathead screwdriver.

I have a secret for you....Most people are in the same boat. Most college freshman might have some calculus or a little bit of physics. However, there are people who will show off, saying "Oh the fluid flow of blah-blah-blah." Or will basically recite what they've heard their parents say from political discussions of engine efficiency...but remember children, political propaganda isn't always correct with its facts.

So as a result, I will continue this blog showing you what some common tools are. I assume you don't know, and you shouldn't be embarrassed asking.

The Phillips Screwdriver
See how the tip of the screwdriver is a cross? Yep...that's pretty much all you need to know.

The Flathead Screwdriver
See how the tip is...well...flat?  As a way of remembering the difference between a flathead and Phillips, I usually think, "Flathead...tip is flat...and Philips is the other one." Fairly easy.

And now for shoes and giggles:

The Allen Wrench (or Hex Key)
These little pieces of metal come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  They are also one of the most important pieces of hardware when constructing Ikea furniture...when you move out of the dorms, you'll know what I'm talking about.  Just make sure you remember how torque works, make sure to hold the long end of the Allen wrench when using it (see my Testing Serena's Strength or Why Engineering is for Men blog posts for an intro to Torque).

That's my 2 cents for the day. Feel free to request or show other tools that are your favorites. For moving out of my apartment this last week, all of the tools are used are included above...plus a scissor (the most important tool of any college student), but I'll refrain from lecturing about the importance of a scissor.

-Serena

*BTW, the links in this blog post link to other blogs that show how to use tools (other than the ones shown above). They actually look very interesting! Feel free to check them out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Integrity and Values

As many of you know, I've had a fair share of good, and unfortunately, bad employers. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I definitely know a thing or two about when to run...and honestly, I've made the correct decision only a few times. But here are a few words of advice to look out for:
  • You don't have the job until it's in writing....and you pass a drug test. In the past, I've had recruiters tell me they will hire me, and I'll never hear back. Be excited that they may want to hire, but remember, nothing is for sure until you get that job offer in writing.
  • When a recruiter yells at you, reconsider employment. The goal of the recruiter is to weed out recruits and encourage their best candidates to accept employment. Remember, it's a marketing scheme. When you interview with a company, the recruiter should represent the company in the best light. If they aren't treating you with respect (without even hiring you), how will they treat you later?
  • Know the laws of the land. I've accepted employment with a group that ended up doing some border-line, if not, illegal things. For instance, not paying the last paycheck, forcing us to work through lunch, and again, and not treating their employees with respect. My former coworkers and I joke about how awful it was, but all of us have learned not to put up with it. Know federal and state employment laws and make sure to know the terms of your contract if you need to quit.
  • Be aware of too-good-to-be-true "promises" made by a recruiter. There's a good chance it's not competitive.  I know of one company (not to be named), that will say to its recruits, "Well you will work more hours, but we pay you better than other companies." Or one line close to my heart is, "Well, we are paying for your housing, so we're reducing your pay." Sounds like a good deal? Don't sign the employment contract right away, and make sure to ask your friends about their perks and pay ranges. 
  • Rash decisions can be bad decisions.  If a recruiter is having you make an employment decision within a few hours (this has happened to me), they probably aren't respecting your time; it's more likely that they procrastinated and have to make up for it by using you.  Think the decision through and ask your parents, friends, professors, and advisors if it's a good idea or not. 
  • Never say, "I need to talk this through with my parents," although you probably will. You are a grown adult.  Say instead, "I need to think this through, I'll get back to you by ____ day."
  • And finally: if a company is unwilling to negotiate until it comes to the final point where you are denying employment, be wary. This has happened to a friend of mine and me on two separate occasions.  Both of us mentioned our intentions very clearly from the beginning: "If I can't do/go/get ______, I'm not going to accept employment."  These particular companies said, "There's no way we can do that," although it may be very reasonable (like location, increased pay, job duties- minor items).  It got to the point where I said, "I cannot accept for insert reason here. Thank you for the opportunity."
I will mention that in the day and age, it's hard to be picky, and you may have to grateful. But think your decisions through. Know what the competitive rates are (ask your friends or more experienced students), and know your qualifications. Also, know that it may be hard to find another job. So make sure to think it through!

-Serena

Happy Design Wednesday!

No, that is not a new thing. I just wanted a cool name to call me drooling over cool tech online.


Check out the new Bend desk!  Imagine modeling or creating digital art on this thing. Not having to worry about your bamboo tablet not syncing correctly with your screen or having to pen something in then upload it then deal with photoshop not recognizing part of your piece; everything is created in one place.

I want one of these; well....one day when its not so bulky. Until then I will be content with my extended screens and tablet making it impossible to see my desktop.

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Monday, August 27, 2012

Autodesk Education Roadshow


Autodesk Education Roadshow at Yale University

So a month or so ago I had the opportunity to be a part of the Autodesk Education Roadshow. Me and a couple buddies helped build the model of the Rallier Roadster. We got to go out, see the car, and get to know the people who built it and it was an incredible experience. The team is now traveling the US in it visiting schools. Find out when the Roadster will be coming to your school here.


In addition me and my friend Eric got interviewed about the vehicle and about our work on it which you can see here.

I am so blessed to have been able to be a part of such an incredible project. Has the Roadster hit any of your schools yet? If so what did you think?


Cheers,

N. Riazi
Autodesk Platinum Expert
West Regional Manager

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Want That Hair

So I (and every other persian I know) have been overflowing with pride after Bobak Ferdowsi, the Mars Curiosity Flight Director, helped land the rover. I've had the international satellite hooked up while I've been home and every one of my home channels have been raving over him. I personally cannot get over that hair . After the event he has apparently become an overnight heartthrob.

"Instant fame led to a NASA Needs More Mohawks  Tumblr dedicated to him, a rash of online marriage proposals , a string of meme photos of Ferdowsi at mission control, and loads of adoring fan art. " (source)

My favorite meme of these being:


So I just wanted to say how happy I am seeing someone from my country involved in the same field making history. Kudos to you Bobak and best of luck in the future; hopefully that'll be me someday. 

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Monday, August 6, 2012

Values

So if you read my PhD post, I talked about what I value in life. We all value something. But what's different between us is what we hold in the highest regard.

Throughout my undergrad, I wanted to simply find a job within a company, and hopefully, align my values to the companies. But with 3 internships (but basically four), I've realized that you can't do that. Some engineers are lucky, finding a company that aligns with their values on the first try or unconsciously. But your values are part of your integrity, which you shouldn't give up.

Although this is an extreme analogy, Nazi Germany required many people to either surrender or defend their integrity.  Some still defended their values, and were placed in dire circumstances due to their unwillingness to join the Nazis, and some were even killed. We still respect those people 70 years later.

So I've started to make a list of what I value, and some of it is very obvious. Here is part of my list:

  • Meaningful work. not copying papers for the sake of copying papers.
  • Education. I need to continue learning. And I want to continue teaching and mentoring others.
  • Heath of the mind, body, and spirit...it should be encouraged.
  • Openness to alternative and interdisciplinary solutions. It really irritates me when other engineers scoff when I talk about social interaction and trends.
  • Social encouragement. Others flourish when they have friends and feel welcome. I know I do, and I love to see people excited about the above.
  • Building up the next generation. It makes me so happy when I see young kids excited about science...and I want to be part of that mentoring and encouragement.
Those are just a few. Although they seem similar to "what-everyone-values," it's not. Write down your own list. What are you proud of? What gets you up in the morning? What makes you work harder during the 2 o'clock slump? 

Find out what you value, and then find a company. Trust me, you won't become a disgruntled employee (I've met many even in my few internships of experience, haha).

-Serena

Thursday, August 2, 2012

To PhD or Not PhD. That is the Question!

I haven't been posting as much lately, and that's probably due to the fact that I'm working full time (AND HAVE WAY TOO MUCH FREE TIME!). Hahaha, getting A's in school is much more difficult and time consuming than getting "Good Jobs" at work. I've been watching too much of the Olympics. hehehe

I'm at the end of my undergrad career, and I basically have 1 more engineering class to take which I'm super excited for. It'll be the only main challenge I'll have with an awesome professor I had during Winter Quarter. Other than that...I'm taking stupid general classes, and I'm trying to pick out the most "useful" so I'm not bored out of my mind this fall.

But, actually, I've been struggling a lot with whether or not to pursue a PhD program.  As many of you know, I will be applying in Fall for graduate school.  And I'm thinking of not pursuing a PhD...here's how I did my research.  First, I thought about this blog, where I spill wonderful advice to current or future engineering undergraduates. I figured, "Well there's gotta be a few engineering-female-phd-professor-like blogs out there." Well I found several. And I realized that the PhD (and the later career) is surrounded by data. Creating data, analyzing data, finding more ways to create data. Which, it may be for some...but maybe not for me.

I was thinking about what I value in life... and I've seen myself promoting the creation of something "useful" from that data. That's the whole reason why I became an engineer! Notice: I know having the data is important...but I see myself using it rather than creating it. So therefore, I think having a research background is important. But I've seen the PhD in a new light, and it's re-affirmed what everyone's told me. The lead scientist I worked for at NASA said, "Serena, we need people who can find meaningful information and trends from data." I always saw the PhD as a stepping stone to doing something "useful" with that data. But I've realized...I can do something "useful" now, and the PhD would be superfluous for me.

I'm still on the journey of life...but these are my observations so far. :-D


-Serena

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chicago!


So some of you have probably been thinking dang, Serena's been posting a lot. That Nassim chick is such a slacker. Well, I have an excuse haha. I've been taking summer classes and am now in training for my Autodesk Position in Chicago.

SO much has changed since lat year. Our numbers have gone from 30 to 150. We have 75 here this week. There's one more mech-E girl here! I've also gone from the bottom of the ranking to the top now with my role as Platinum Expert/West Regional manager.

So what do I have to share. I've been getting tons of goodies (maybe we'll do a giveaway!) and been learning new software to come back and share when I get back home. I've toured Chicago Architecture, I've successfully broken my favorite (new ><) bag. It's an amazing experience. I'm also getting two projects 3D printed right now!

Anywho, just wanted to check in, I'll be back with some meaningful posts whenever I get back to my nice California Weather.

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Programming

With my new internship, I've found myself doing something that I never really considered enjoyable...until now. People always asked me, "So, do you like programming?" I was always stunned at the question, because I had taken one programming course (until my Senior year of college), and I replied, "Well, if there's an application, I probably would like it more. Before, the "application" was trying to find a sequence of numbers line up in a certain way, or somehow creating a Christmas tree while using a for loop (which I thought was such a waste of time).

However, this last Winter quarter, I had the opportunity to program more in Matlab. (Now, I understand that "real programmers" don't consider MatLab a real programming language. But it's very useful for some applications.) Basically, we had to model how a spring-damper system would move based on a certain input. For example, viewing how a rider would move up and down based on how-stiff-the-spring-was and how-strong-the-damper-was. It was a lot of fun. We got to model a motorcycle going over a bump (I know it sounds super simple...but it's not.)

For my current internship, the interviewer asked if I knew Visual Basic (another programming language). I replied that I knew MatLab. Basically, he laughed, saying that people (at least in the company) don't use it, but said I could probably pick up Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA.


So my first week at this new internship, I was given a database project using Microsoft Access.  It's like taking Excel to a different level by creating multiple dimensions of relationships between cells. (For instance, a customer is linked to a product, but different customers are linked to multiple (but different) products). So for the last month or so, I've been learning how to program behind Microsoft Access using VBA. My first three weeks kinda looked like picture below...basically, I had no idea what was going on. But boy! Was I grateful to know how to use for-loops, do-loops, the need to define variables/data types...and so on. I didn't need to learn how to program logic. Instead, I could concentrate on the syntax (basically, the specific triggers for the language) in order to create the program.


So next time you're complaining about how-much-you-loath-programming, think about if you would hate it so much if there were a decent application attached to it. You may change your mind. (Not to mention that you may, simply, be required to program...whether or not you like it!)

-Serena

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Scholarships

Summmer's here, and I know what's on everyone's mind: I gotta pay for school in the Fall.


I was poking around on the SWE National Website, and I saw the following link.


It's definitely much more intuitive than it's been about 4 years ago, and I suggest that many of you girls (including Seniors in High School) to check it out.

If you need some advice on writing scholarship applications, let me know in the Comments section.

-Serena

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Astronaut!

You know what's cool? Stephen Robinson (a former astronaut) is joining the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering faculty at UC Davis. Professor Robinson is a fellow Aggie, and is looking to give back to the place where he jump started his career.

For the article and *pssss* information on which class he's teaching, see this article.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Busy Syndrome

I've started my third internship about 3 weeks ago, and I really like this job.  My hours are from 7-3:30, and when many of you say that 7am is waaayyy too early, I just think back to my NASA schedule....waking up quarter to 5 with a total of 2.5 hours commuting...did I also mention that I was taking two classes? Comparatively, this schedule is nothing (in terms of energy/time drainage).

Looking back at my high school and college years, we spend so much time striving for better and better grades and activities...to the point that they aren't fun, but for some reason, nothing is more important than the next step (college or a job). During high school, my day started at 6:30 and sometimes didn't end until 10.  Honestly, I don't know how I did it. College isn't as busy, but it's still tiring as ever. I guess my schedule looks a bit similar, but instead of required physical activity, I'm doing required studying....which saddens me at times.

With that said, I've found this summer to have a substantial amount of free time...and free time I don't know how to fill. I often get like this, especially after finals week.  Final week consists of studying, eating, complaining, and sleeping (if, possible) until it's over. Typically after my last final, I just lay on my bed, and say, "What is the purpose of life?" simply because I don't know what to do with my time.


These last three weeks have been tough too. I basically was waiting on an income, so I didn't have money to work out or go places. I was basically forced to stay at home. (Well it wasn't as bad as I explained, but I'll get to that). I ended up resorting to many tasks that I put off during the school year, such as the following:
  • Finding ways to eat cheap (which ended up being a lot healthier)
  • Deep cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and my bedroom
  • Watching TED...I'm telling you, I have the TED virus...
  • Watching Netflix...I had already subscribed 
  • Reading books...Yes, they still exist
  • Riding my bike
  • Trying to eat my freezer food by making "new recipes"...I hate being broke, lol
  • Watching the Olympic Trials
  • Sleeping...a little too often
And you know what? It's been a good, relaxing experience. Because I didn't have a lot of money, I forced myself to stay home and relax for once.  I recently got my paycheck and spent some of it on small splurges (such as a mani/pedi), but I also took the time to wash Sally and clean the house again. I look forward to reading my books, and spending some time just to watch movies.  I do, however, look forward to buying my summer gym pass, because I'm in desperate need of a long swim....and I'm also sick of freezer food. It's nice not being super busy for once.

-Serena

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I made it in the Washington Post!

See that link there? That one line just boosted my ego for the week. Hard work does pay off!

http://doc.mediaplanet.com/all_projects/10657.pdf

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Monday, July 2, 2012

Balloon Lamp

I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about the design aspect of engineering as something I may want to go into in the future. As a result every time I see something cool I stop and think to myself, someone engineered that. Someone designed it all from aesthetics to efficiency, etc. Just some thought's going through my head as I try to figure out where my lifes going to go now :)

Check this out; this balloon lam by CrousCalogero is beautiful, unique, and kid friendly.
Enjoy,

N. Riazi

Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Women Still Can't Have It All

I found the article below via the Women in Wind Energy Facebook. It was very enlightening to where we, as women, stand within the workforce, especially as you consider having children and whatnot.


Personally, I like the new Princeton policy on "family leave" especially since both men and women have family and may need to care for a child, spouse, parent, etc., and some people decide/can't have children.

-Serena

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Sister


My sister and I are totally opposites. I'm taller; she's shorter. I've got stick-straight hair; she's got curly.  I'm into engineering, math, and science; she's not. (There's a reason she calls me Carlton, and I call her Hilary, both from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).

Although she's entirely opposite, she accepts me for who I am.  She doesn't see anything wrong with me, as I do her.  We're unique in our own special ways, and accept each other without even realizing it.

For example:

My sister had a mentor who was asking Sarah about her latest visit to Davis.  Her mentor asked: "So you're sister goes to UC Davis. What is her major?"

Nonchalantly, my sister replies, "Mechanical Engineering."

o_0 "....does she like it?" Her mentor asked, as if it were a very....nontraditional thing (which it is-> I wouldn't be writing this blog otherwise).


"Yeah. She likes it a lot. She's working with NASA right now." 


Now, it's funny that my sister doesn't realize how different engineering is for females, and I love that!

One of my theories for having such low numbers (for both males and females) in STEM is the perception. I've told my sister this. We need more people to support who we are as scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in order to increase the numbers.  My sister has proudly joined the ranks as one of those people, who encourage us through school to get us to where we are.

-Serena

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Up!

How many of you have seen Disney Pixar's Up? Raise of hands? Ok, so how many of you knew that National Geographic actually recreated the house and flew it using balloons to 10,000 ft? Cool, eh? Engineers do have fun :)

Check out the entire article here: http://enpundit.com/2012/floating-balloon-house

Cheers,
N. Riazi

Monday, June 18, 2012

Finished!


So at long last I am done with finals. Brought my A game on 3 out of the 4. I have my fingers crossed for the last one. :) I don't know what to do with all this free time! Freedom? Sleeping til noon? Having more than an hour of gym time?! blasphemy! I've watched like 10 movies in the past day and I'm already bored with it. I need to find a hobby I can stick with (i tried knitting over winter break, not pretty). I've been wanting to take another dance class in something I'm not familiar with (ballet or salsa or something) so we'll see how it goes. My best buds are all around this summer so it is going to be pretty dang epic. Anyways, this post was supposed to have a point so I'll get to it haha.

During the summer it's hard to keep track of what you're doing and it's the most awful feeling getting to the end and feeling like its wasted so I always make a list of fun things I want to get done this summer so I don't get caught up between classes and a job and find the next few months pass me by.

Summer FUN list

Get my license! It's just sad to be my age and still not have it.

Get job-save up for a semi-crappy first car

Go to a zoo-I have never been to one...well in the US and I would love too

Theme Park! - roller coasters and water rides and churros oh my

Music Festival/Concert- I used to go to concerts every few week back in high school and I literally haven't been to one since.

Dance!- I am going to get back into dancing. I can't even hold my turtle freeze anymore how sad is that.

GO TO THE BEACH-one of the benefits of living in nor cal is.....nevermind I really can't think of any. Damn so cal-ers and their sparkling beaches. But I shall go! If nothing else I will coerce someone into making an impromptu Tahoe trip with me.  muahahah

Anyways get out and enjoy your summer! Do something crazy you've never done before or have been putting off for ages. You only live once.

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Sunday, June 17, 2012

iPhone Inspiration


A few weeks back, I found this picture on Tumblr, and absolutely fell in love with it.  The picture is of an real female astronaut (sadly, I wouldn't be able to tell you who), and her face is so inspirational.

I decided to put the picture as the background on my new iPhone....every time I look at it, I remember why I became an engineer in the first place, and I'm re-inspired.  Her look of intrigue, yet knowing little, is how I feel almost every day.  This picture, honestly, keeps me going every day. 

Do you have any cool pictures that keep you going?

-Serena

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chain Sculptures-Young Deok Seo

Korean artist Young-Deok Seo has created these beautiful 3D chain sculptures I thought I would share. I've attached my favorites but check out the link for the rest.

Let me know what you think.


Cheers,

N. Riazi


Friday, June 15, 2012

How to Pull an All Nighter....Effectively

We've all been there, the night before a big project is due, the day before a midterm you just haven't had time to study for, the coding you put off until the last minute because you partied a little to hard the day before. You know what I mean. While I do not in any way recommend pulling all nighters, I understand they are sometimes inevitable and I've compiled some tips that help me make it through the night and actually take in information.

Organize: put all your study material in one place and organize it how you plan to study it, this way you don't have to worry about the fact that you can't find certain notes later.

Ice water: it'll keep you awake, keep it close at hand

Naps: only if you must and only then for 20 minutes and have someone else on hand to wake you up. I personally know I cannot wake up to an alarm clock so i usually take my naps in the morning when my roommates are heading to class so they can wake me up before they go.

Exercise: If you find yourself reading the same information three times without comprehending it's time for a break. Get up and take five minutes to do some excercise. Put on dance music and jump around, do some burpees, do lunges down your hallway. I sometimes just get on my bike and go on a 10 minute bike ride, the cold air'll wake you up. Alternatively I like to go to the gym and study on an exercise machine where there is no chance of my falling asleep. We had a 24 hr gym by my house when I was in high school and that's how I got through taking a full college load on top of high school my senior year.

Caffeine: only if you really can't live without it and even that drink strategically. I make a huge pot the night before and stick it in the fridge then i drink it throughout the night. Not a huge cup at once so I'll crash but I fill up like 1/5th of my mug with coffee/creamer and sip it over the next hour and repeat throughout the night. If you plan on sleeping stop this an hour beforehand. I would honestly say leave off the caffeine if you can, especially if you have an exam, for project's you just turn it in and no one really cares but you need your brain awake and functioning for your exam. Try iced herbal teas instead.

Sleep: If you can try to get at least 2 or 3 hours of sleep at least. DO NOT do this right before you need to go to class, you'll wake up sleepy and feeling unprepared. Do it at the 1/2 way or 2/3's point of your all nighter. MAKE SURE you set alarms or coerce your roommate into waking you up.

Food: snacks help, I stick to crunchy snacks full of protein that'll keep me up. Lay off the heavy carbs, they'll just make you sleepy. I do flax chips with tofu cream cheese, protein drinks, peanut butter and apples, etc. My sister used to live off of fried egg sandwiches during finals. Whatever works for you.

Light: I take every light that can be spared in the apartment and stick it in the living room. It keeps me awake.

Cold: Leave the windows open, don't use a blanket, you'll get goosebumps and be unable to sleep. You can also try putting ice cubes over your eyelids for a few seconds. Cold showers also help or just splash your face with cold water.

Fear: I hate being alone; I start imagining noises and get super paranoid. So to keep myself awake sometimes I'll watch 10 minutes of a horror movie to keep myself somewhat paranoid so  I couldn't fall asleep anyways.

Music: Choose your music wisely. Lyrics usually distract me so I go with movie soundtracks, there's usually enough variety to keep me awake. I can't do classical, I just associate it with somewhere comfortable I should be sleeping. Techno/trance is also fun just make sure to grab something without lyrics. My last resort is usually heavy metal, it's kind of hard to fall asleep to. 

Talk to yourself: no ones watching. Say the information out loud then make yourself repeat it without looking down at the paper. Act as if your giving a presentation or a seminar and are having to give the information to an audience who knows nothing about what you're taking about. Explain the process/problem/definition at hand. A friend of mine used to do a different accent (theatre major) for each one so she'd remember them as southern/english/whale (finding nemo!)/canadian etc.

Hope these help :) I've got a final in 2 hours so I'm gonna go put a few of these into practice. Wish me luck!


Cheers,

N. Riazi

Funny Friday

Finals Are Over!!!! So here's a comic:


It's funny Friday! I found this on 9gag.com (if you haven't already started....don't...it's addicting!)

Anyway, they have tons of engineering memes and comics, but it's not just for engineers. It's pretty awesome.

Happy Friday!

-Serena

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wearing Shorts/Dresses

Image Courtesy of Zappos....I really like that dress, maybe I should get it.

The downside to getting a degree in engineering is the inability to wear shorts or dresses to school. Or having to over-analyze what you wear to school.

Maybe some of you are confused. As one of the very few females in engineering, I realized early on that I get....um...looked at....because I am female. Which is fine....but can I please wear my shorts/dresses in peace? My clothing isn't anything out of the ordinary on the UC Davis campus.

So here's my letter to the engineering boys:

Dear Boys,

Please don't act like you've never seen a girl before when I'm around. I see you everyday. I talk to you everyday.  Just today, I'm wearing a dress because I want to feel pretty and like a girl. Or I'm wearing shorts because it's 95 degrees outside, and I didn't want to bike in jeans. So please stop drooling. It's very obvious, and  it's really making me and my friends uncomfortable.

Thanks,
Serena

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Serena's Life Update

Hi Everyone,

It's amazing that I've spent a good 6 months writing in this blog. I'm surprised that I've been able to compile enough thoughts and ideas to create 6 months of material.  Keep bringing your questions and insight. I love it!

My life as we speak:

  • Mentorship, Mentorship, Mentorship. I try to be mentored, and I try to mentor others. This blog has definitely helped. But volunteering for BigSis/LilSis, Project Aspire, STEM for Girls, and volunteering with a local 6th grade class has been VERY fulfilling.
  • My Senior Design Project is finished!!!! I'll have to update you on the project once I get the chance for pictures and stuff.
  • I found a job! I'll be interning with the Coen Company this summer working on combustion systems. Sounds like a great experience. I'm really excited.
  • I was able to reconnect with my Ebay mentor. Remember when I got to visit Ebay a few years back? Well, I found out that she got promoted to CTO of StubHub. Very exciting. I hope to stay in touch over the years.
  • I have one more quarter of school left! Yep...the real world is approaching. And it's kinda scary, kinda exciting. Life is starting :-D
  • I have the TED virus.  I've been trying to figure out what to do with my life...and TED has definitely been a great help. Did I mention that my Senior Design Group named our project TED, as well? I'll have to get to that in the next blog post.
Keep bringing your questions. More and more often, I see freshmen and sophomores (and sometimes juniors) who are asking the same questions....I just refer them to the blog....I need to make some business cards like ASAP.

-Serena

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Do Something This Summer

Image Courtesy of Sanderling Heathcare

I would love to work for Sanderling Heathcare. Actually no, I think the picture above is really funny....but it looks like a fun place to work, haha.

Anyway, to the point- Do something with your life this summer! 

I know that many of you are unemployed, especially those looking for engineering internships. The economy is tough out there. However, it doesn't mean there is a lack of opportunity. There are many people I am graduating with who have no experience. Zero, zip, none...and they kinda wonder why they can't get a job....there's nothing to put on their resume! So here are some examples for you to brain storm:
  • Volunteer...anywhere...homeless shelter/women's shelter/non-profit organization/city council/local library/senior center/community center...ANYWHERE!
  • Get a job...anywhere- Coffee shop, book store, donut shop, research lab, IT place, Best Buy, Target, In-and-Out, Kid's summer camp, restaurant...you won't be able to have these jobs once you graduate as an engineer.
  • Start/Join a Design Team/Research Lab. Get some hands on work, and solve a problem from beginning to end. For information on Design Teams at UC Davis, click on the highlighted links. For Research related information, click here and here for previous blog posts.
Do something different (for you), learn something, and think about the following questions for future interviews:
  • How did you work in groups? Was there a problem? How did you resolve it?
  • What are your strengths?
  • (The dreaded one) What are your weaknesses?
  • What are you interested in doing for a career?
So get out there and do something.

-Serena

PS Even if you are taking summer school, try and have a project on the side...whether it be a job, research, design team, volunteer, etc. It'll be something, and will still give you experience.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Staying Positive


I am not the most positive person around. Okay, I take that back. I'm pretty negative. I consider myself a realist, and if reality is negative there ain't much I can do.

But in an effort to enjoy life more I've been picking up tips to happier living. I thought I'd share one of my favorites I picked up from the lovely Serena last year.

So you, yes you, pick up a stick note and a pen. And write down a top list of things that make you happy. Music, food, the graffitied bridge outside your house, whatever. Write it down. Things that you can turn to at any time and know they'll cheer you right up.

Mine looks like this:

Elvis, blue M & M's, Pride and Prejudice (book and the '95 movie, Colin Firth is the perfect Darcy), Marilyn Monroe movies, my sister, 90s music (N'SYNC), frozen New York Style plain cheesecake.

I have a few more ont hat list but I honestly can't find that sticky note. Cleaning makes me lose things.

Now take that sticky note and stick it somewhere you'll see it everyday. Mine is (usually) on my monitor. You can do your mirror, bed post, microwave, etc.

I have a few of these lying around for things I'm grateful for (my family, Elvis), things that calm me down (hiking, more Elvis), things that make me laugh (Ellen DeGeneres as Dory) etc. Seeing these around reminds me to appreciate the little things in life.

Enjoy!

Cheers,

N. Riazi

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nostalgia

Image Courtesy of OldGoatGuide
Yesterday, I was looking around Davis, and I said out loud, "Wow...I've been here for four full years..." I'm not graduating yet.  However, many of my friends are, and I'm close enough to graduation that I'm allowed to have a full case of Senior-itus.

This week is finals, and I don't feel the stress that I normally feel. It's probably after being de-sensitized for the last 11 quarters (Wow! 11 sets of final exams?!). Honestly, I don't know where the time went.

Some tell me, "You should be happy, especially after looking back at all your hard work." Sure, I'm happy. But even through all the studying, drama, sleepless nights, dancing nights, and random shenanigans, I don't want to move on.

I love getting absorbed in my work, (especially tonight) when I tell myself "Oooo I'll only re-start the problem once more...I'll get it right this time...." And I get totally into it! Sure, it's frustrating after restarting about 6 times with each attempt taking anywhere from 10-30 minutes. But it's a puzzle- one of the MAIN reasons why I decided to go into engineering.

Even to this day, I contemplate if Engineering is "Right for me." But I look back to what I did as a child, and although it's a little hazy, I loved putting together puzzles. I still love putting together puzzles! I also loved the math exercises where they had a "student" write out their work, and you had to correct it.  It was definitely a Muahahaha moment.

So am I going to miss it? Of course.
Will I be happy when it's over? Definitely.
So is engineering right for me? Hahaha, I'm still thinking about that. Probably not in the traditional sense...but I'll make it work for my future inspirations and missions. And I'm still that mischievous child who laughs "Muahahaha" to myself when I got something right (and I think I'm the only one).


-Serena

You Won't Know Until You Ask

Image Courtesy of the WorkAtHomeWoman.com

I an so sick and tired of people asking me if they should do something. (No, I'm not...actually I love it). Here are some examples:
  • Should I apply for ____ job?
  • Should I do this program?
  • Should I ask for money/to get paid?
  • Should I network with ____ ?
  • I want to get interested in ____. 
Girls, YES! If it's something you are interested in, THEN JUST APPLY. Here's why:
  1. What's the worst thing they would say? No? I doubt anyone is going to say, "You're fired" or "I hate you, never talk to me again."
  2. You aren't going to receive the opportunity unless you ask/apply.  When you look back on life, you're gunna say, "I should have just applied to MIT...even if I didn't get in....just to see if I could." I still regret not applying to MIT and Stanford for my undergraduate....
  3. What are you losing by applying/asking? Nothing! In one instance, someone was working for free (which happens with research). Sure, you're getting experience...but you aren't going to lose pay you don't even have!
  4. Even if you don't get it, you're name is out there. A few years back (freshman and sophomore year), I applied to every engineering internship possible.  I got a few interviews...but no internship. However, people still recognize me and see how I've grown over the years. Now, I go first on the pile because people recognize me.
  5. If you aren't sure, just apply- you can deny later. Especially with jobs and internships, they expect people to make other plans/ get other internships/life happens. *psss* Also, you're likelihood of getting the ONLY thing you apply for is very small...you're likely not to get it anyway (no offense).
So stop asking me if you should do something, and just go do it! 

My motto: Do everything, but expect nothing. You'll eventually get something. :-D

-Serena

Saturday, June 9, 2012

75 Most Empowering, Inspirational Quotes for Sassy, Kickass Women


Or Men. Inspirational in general. My sister sent this over to me earlier since I've haven't been feeling quite my best. It's a list of inspirational quotes to help you get over those moments when life has ceased pushing you down and is now laughing mirthlessly as you attempt to get back up.

http://www.yourlifeyourway.net/2011/10/10/75-most-empowering-inspirational-quotes-for-sassy-kickass-women/

Here are a few of my favorites:

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. – Maya Angelou.

Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion. -Oprah.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming….. WOO HOO…. What a RIDE!”

Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you – Caroline Myss.

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers. – Maya Angelou.

 Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. – Helen Keller.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. – Anais Nin.


Life is short, wear your party pants! – Loretta LaRoche.


Remember, no matter how bad it gets, there are always blue skies ahead.

Cheers,

N. Riazi