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.


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!


N. Riazi

Funny Friday

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

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

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

Happy Friday!


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 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.


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.


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, 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.


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.



N. Riazi

Sunday, June 10, 2012


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).


You Won't Know Until You Ask

Image Courtesy of the

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'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