Monday, March 30, 2009

Goals I Have Set and Achieved

In my life, I have set a lot of goals. I have also achieved some of them:

1. Write a novel- done x4. I began writing in eighth grade, and my goal from the beginning was always to write a novel from beginning to end. I've written a few so far, and some of them have turned out pretty good. I'm working on editing one right now.

2. Do a back handspring- done x a lot. I started gymnastics when I was in elementary school, but I think it was in when I was in fifth grade that I set the goal of wanting to learn a back handspring. It took a lot of work, but eventually, when I was in eighth grade, one day... I just did it. And it was awesome.

3. Get in to college- done x8. I didn't really care about college at all until junior year. I didn't even THINK about college until "College Night" last January. I spent the spring and summer searching and deciding where to apply, and I spent the fall applying to colleges. In all, I applied to 11, and got in to 8. Not bad.

4. Write a paper for school about Harry Potter- done! Although I have written papers and reports about many awesome things (such as C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl books; and Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and Angels & Airwaves), I have never had the chance to write a paper for school about Harry Potter... until now. And I must say, it feels awesome.

5. Record a song- done x several. I love writing songs, and I love recording songs, so recording songs I've written is pretty awesome. I've done it a few times.

6. Get an A in AP Physics- done x1. I had a B+ in AP Physics in Fall term, and I got an A in Winter term! That felt pretty good. I definitely worked hard for that.

Goals I Have Set, but Have Not Yet Achieved:

1. Read the entire Harry Potter series continuously (with some breaks for sleep and eating). Some would say this sounds like a complete waste of time. I say it sounds like completely awesome.

2. Get something I've written published (somewhere... somehow...).

3. Get straight As/A-s one term/semester. In Spring term of sophomore year, I had 5 As (or maybe 4 As and 1 A-, or 3 As and 2 A-s) and 1 B. Last term, I had 3 As, 1 A-, and 2 B+s. I have not gotten straight As/A-s for a single term/semester since middle school. It would be cool to do it again... sometime...

Decisions, part 6 (final)

So today I received in the mail my final college decision, which looked something like this:Okay, it didn't look exactly like that, but that's a pretty good approximation of what the letter looked like. There was also a small blue card where I could check off if I wanted to remain on the waitlist or not.

So, overall, I've been accepted to 8 colleges, rejected at 2, and waitlisted at 1. Considering my GPA is less than 4.0, and my ACT is less than 36, and my extra-curriculars are not that exciting (no national awards or recognition, nor am I a nationally ranked athlete, sorry), I think I did pretty well.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Decisions, part 5; school colors and mascots

Yesterday, I logged on to my Lehigh application tracking portal, and saw this...
I haven't gotten my letter in the mail yet, but supposedly it was mailed Thusrday, so it should come soon (I'm not far from Lehigh).

So far I've gotten accepted to 8 colleges (Rose-Hulman, Rutgers, Case Western, Wash. U, USC, RPI, Carnegie Mellon, and Lehigh) and rejected to 2 (that Institute of Technology in Cambridge; and that Institute of Technology in Pasadena). I think I'm doing pretty well. The only college I haven't heard from yet is Pomona.

Also, I'd like to talk about school colors and mascots.

My high school's mascot is kind of lame (something having to do with the fact that the school was founded before the US-ofA was technically a nation... or something). Our colors are red and black, which isn't too bad.

As for the colleges I've been accepted to-

*Rose-Hulman- Rosie the Elephant; old rose and white.

*Rutgers- knights/raptors/raiders (seriously?); scarlet.

*Case Western- spartans (that is cool); case blue, white, and case gray.

*Wash. U- bears; red and green.

*USC- trojans; USC cardinal and USC gold.

*RPI- the red hawk and puckman; cherry and white.

*Carnegie Mellon- Scotty the scottie dog; cardinal, gray, and tartan plaid.

*Lehigh- mountain hawks; brown and white.

I've gotta say, it's impressive the amount of ways there are to say "red". I also think that Carnegie Mellon has the best school colors (I'm pretty sure it's the only school that has plaid as its school color).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Decisions, part 4

Initially, I had three "top choices" when applying to college: that Institute of Technology that's the only Institute of Technology most people have heard of, that Institute of Technology on the West Coast, and that University that is the only university in the country that is extremely excellent in both math/science/engineering and the arts.

After getting rejected from the Institutes of Technology, I was kinda upset, no lie, but I wasn't too upset since I had already gotten in to a few colleges, and plus I had yet to hear from the University, a.k.a. Carnegie Mellon.

So I heard that Carnegie Mellon would start mailing decision letters Friday, March 20th, and would post decisions online either 3 or 4 days after your letter was mailed. Nothing came in the mail Monday, nothing was online Monday either. But I figured I might as well stay up till Tuesday/Today/24th/midnight, because maybe my decision would be up. I'm glad I stayed up, because:
(In case you can't read it, it says Decision: Accept, a.k.a., I got in).

I think that's one of the most beautiful screenshots I've ever seen, ever.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Epicness on Teh Internetz

So, instead of blogging about just one thing, I figured I would create a blog dedicated to epicness on teh internetz- basically, epic websites.

1. Picture Is Unrelated- A collection of pictures that just make you go... WTF? Wtf is going on in this picture? How did this situation occur? Why are these people/objects/animals in this situation? More importantly, why is someone there to photograph it?
2. This Is Why You're Fat- A collection of "deliciously gross food". Most of it looks gross (bacon chili-topper cheeseburger? no thanks)- a lot of it has meat of some sort involved (bacon, pork, chicken, beef, steak...), and I'm a vegetarian. Some of it is humorous (the "porkgasm" is a pig-shaped collection of all variants of pig meat), and some of it is beyond unhealthy (deep-fried White Castle burgers), and some of it simply large portions of normally unhealthy food ("Behemoth Glazed Donut" appears to be a regular glazed donut, except, you know, bigger). My personal "favorite" is "Meat (In) Loaf":
3. Oddee- Oddee is basically a collection of epic lists of awesomeness, whether it be lists of "Most Bizarre Musical Instruments", "Mad Scientists", or (one of my favorites) "Awesome 3D Pavement Illusions", such as the one below.
4. Myspace- zomg, teh myspace iz sew totally epic! lulz. In all seriousness, Myspace is pretty awesome. It was around before Facebook, and it has more members than Facebook. Also, I've found Myspace to be an awesome way to find out about really great bands... and then you can be all "Hey! I know this band!" when you hear one of their songs on MTV. I'm listening to The Mile After as I write this blog, and they are rock/powerpop/pop/amazing.

5. The Click (from The N)- Thanks to The Click, from The N, I can watch Degrassi... WHENEVER I WANT... for free. For those of you who don't know, Degrassi is the best show on television. It's a Canadian Teen Soap Opera/Drama, basically, and if you don't speak Canadian, that means it's amazing. It's overly dramatic, it's stupid, and oh my god, I've seen all 158 episodes, some (er... most) of them at least twice.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Decisions, part 3

So I applied to MIT, knowing it was a stretch, knowing I probably wouldn't get in (but wanting to get in, even so). I logged on to the decisions website today, and was greeted with this screen:

As much as I wanted to get in, I knew I probably wouldn't. I like how they say they're "unable to offer me admission". That's a nice line. It's a pretty stark rejection letter (that's not the whole letter, but I think you get the point)- I mean, gray? Though, I guess it would be kind of mean if there were, like, fireworks in the background or something- "Congratulations on your rejection!"

But later, I logged on to check my decision for RPI (Rensselaer). Not only did I see the following screen, I also heard music in the background!

So, that was a pretty nice thing to see. So far I've gotten accepted to 6 colleges, and rejected from 2. I predicted I'd get accepted at 5, rejected at 5, and waitlisted at 1 (I applied to 11 total). I've already beaten my own prediction!

***EDIT 3/15/09- I just found out that I got a nice merit scholarship from RPI. Hey, it may not be my first choice, but that's still cool!***

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lifeguard Training

I have always liked the pool and swimming and being in the water. So in 8th grade, my mom looked in to lifeguard training- turns out you have to be 15 to take the class. In 10th grade, I was old enough (15), but I was recovering from knee surgery and couldn't swim breaststroke (like, at all- and one of the requirements to take the class is that you have to swim 100 yards breaststroke). In 11th grade, I could almost sort of swim breaststroke, but I had wayyyy too much homework.

But I figured that this year- senior year- would be a good time to do my lifeguard training. The classes are 5:30-9:30pm, Tuesday and Thursday, so not much time for homework (or tv watching) on those days.

I arrived at the pool at 7:30pm last Monday to take the pre-test. I was totally prepared to swim 300 yards continuously (100 yards free, 100 yards breast, 100 of either) and swim 20 yards, surface dive, grab a 10 pound brick, swim to the other side, and get out of the pool within 1 minute 40 seconds.

It turns out we also had to tread water for 5 minutes without using our hands. This wasn't on the website, but whatever. I have a "secret" for easily treading water without using my hands- I use the eggbeater kick. I learned how to do it when I took synchronized swimming classes at the YMCA (when I was in 3rd grade, for all of... a few months). It's so much easier (at least I think so), because you're "sitting" in the water, as opposed to just being straight up-and-down vertical.

I passed the test, thankfully, and the next night, I went to the first class. So far, it's been going well.

Class #1- We spent a lot of time in the class room, learning about safety and things. In addition to "lecture", we watching Red Cross lifeguarding videos, which I'd say can be accurately compared to Driver's Ed videos. When we got to the pool, we learned 3 different entries- slide-in entry, stride jump, and compact jump. We also got to jump in and swim with the rescue tube. The rescue tube is the red foam thing that lifeguards always carry that looks like this:Rescue tubes are actually extremely buoyant. These things can keep you and two (or three) of your buddies afloat- making them very helpful for rescues.

Class #2- We learned more about safety and general procedures and "patron surveillance" (that's the technical term for watching people in the pool). When we got to the pool, we practiced rotating (that's the technical term for when one person's shift ends and the next person has to come and take over).

Class #3- In the classroom, we learned about procedures in case of an emergency, and rescues. In the pool, we learned how to rescue both active and passive drowning victims at the surface, fake-whistle and all. In addition to learning how to rescue, we each had to take turns pretending to be the victim. It's kind of weird "pretending to drown" when you're not actually, you know, drowning.

Class #4- We took the first written test, on basically everything we've learned so far (thankfully, I passed). Then we learned about more types of rescues in the video. Once we got to the pool, we learned how to actually perform multiple victim rescues, and shallow-water submerged victim rescues. Being one of the victims in the multiple victim rescue was interesting. My fellow victim and I basically had to be on top of each other ("Grab each other around the neck!" the instructor said. or something), which was awkward. Doing the submerged victim rescue was challenging, as you have to let go of the rescue tube to get the victim, then put the tube under the victim. Luckily, I was able to do it.

Next week, we're learning about first aid and CPR- we already got our "student first aid kits" and CPR masks- and probably AED, too. In addition to getting "lifeguard" certification, I'll also become certified in first aid, and CPR/AED for the professional rescuer. Lifeguarding and first aid certification is valid for three years, and CPR/AED for the professional rescuer (as opposed to normal person CPR) is valid for one year. Last August, I was certified in CPR/AED for the professional rescuer, but I've pretty much forgotten, well, everything, so it's good that I'm getting certified again.

There will be a written test for CPR/AED/first aid, and then (at least) one more written test (final exam) for lifeguarding (on the last day of the class). On the last day, we'll also have a "practical exam". I'm kinda nervous for that, but I'm glad I'll (hopefully!- assuming I pass) become a certified lifeguard.

Decisions, part 2

So I realized that I never actually posted a picture of my rejection letter from Caltech. Since I can't get a photograph of the actual letter, here's the email I received ~5 hours after I got the letter:
However, late Wednesday night, I logged on to check my application status for Washington University, and this is what I saw:
I was TOTALLY excited to see that, because guess what? My college counselor initially identified Washington University as a "reach" for me- my grades were below the average for accepted students from my school, and Wash U also doesn't take a whole lot of people from my school (last year, 10 people- out of a class of 100- applied, and only 1 got in). So basically, I was TOTALLY PSYCHED to see this!

I'll be getting "big envelopes" in the mail soon from Wash U and Case Western- and hopefully, from some other colleges and universities, too.

I'm doing pretty well, admissions-wise. I've already been accepted at 5 awesome places. Hopefully, I'll get some more acceptances, but even if I don't, it's all good. I have to make a decision by May 1. Right now, off the places I've been accepted at, I'm not really sure which one I would go to. But I guess having several good choices is a good problem to have, right?

***EDIT- About 3 seconds after I posted this blog, the UPS guy arrived, with... a large envelope addressed to yours truly, from Washington University! Yay!***

*****EDIT2- A few hours after posting this blog, the mail came, with... a large envelope addressed to yours truly, from Case Western! I opened the envelope, and inside was a folder with a letter paper-clipped to the front. That letter congratulated me on my acceptance to the university, and offered me a significant merit scholarship. So basically, I'm ecstatic.*****

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An Institute Of Higher Education That Happens To Be Located in Southern California

Last March, I went out to Los Angeles with my mom to visit colleges. My mom's company has headquarters out there, and I was on Spring Break, so it seemed like a good time to visit some colleges (especially since I knew I would prefer a warm climate). We planned to visit that awesome liberal arts college whose mascot is the sagehen, that engineering-focused college that is technically a liberal arts college where my cousin attends, that college where the movie "Fired Up!" was filmed (we were there while they were filming it), and that insitute of technology that just rejected me.

The day we got there, I was pretty exhausted (I had to wake up at like 5am NJ time). I went to my mom's LA office with her, and she worked while I read (or something). We went out to lunch with some of the people from the office, and it turns out that one of her coworkers went to the University of Southern California, and knows someone who's a student there now. The student at USC showed us around, and it was pretty cool. Originally, I said that I definitely wanted a small(er) college, but I liked USC, because, in the words of my tour guide, "Pretty much anything you want to do, you can do it at USC." It was my first college visit (not the first time I had ever been to a college, but the first time I had actually visited for the purpose of knowing that I might apply). USC's campus is really nice (though, the surrounding area isn't great). When I was there, I picked up a copy of the school paper, and one of the front page articles was about a physics professor who went skydiving, and I was immediately like, "USC is cool."

So I applied to USC. USC, it turns out, has these awesome merit scholarships that will cover 1/2 or full tuition. I didn't expect to qualify for any of those, so when I got the letter in the mail saying I didn't qualify, I didn't really care.

This week, I received some email and snail mail from USC regarding (need-based) financial aid ("make sure you submit your FAFSA!" etc.), so I made sure to tell my dad. I heard that some people had already received their decisions from USC, and I hadn't. I was worried it might mean that I was rejected.

Then, today, I was watching television, when I heard my dog bark like a psycho, which meant the mail had arrived. My dad told me to check the mail. I saw a large white envelope from USC, and when I opened it, inside was a folder that looked something like this:

I hope you enjoy my artistic rendering; my camera still isn't working, so I couldn't actually take a photograph. Some day, I WILL get my camera fixed. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Decisions, part 1

So after my Caltech decision made me feel kinda like this, I decided that I must have hope that I wouldn't get the same response from everywhere else.

Last night, I tried to check the status of my Case Western application (did they receive all of my admissions materials? have they made their decision?) and it said that the application tracker was down. So I went to check the status again today, and was greeted by this *beautiful* message:
In case you can't read it, the important part says, "Congratulations!... you have been admitted to Case Western Reserve University!" So yeah, I'm pretty happy right now.

Also- That Institute Of Technology That Hasn't Yet Rejected Me will be posting decisions this Saturday, at a minute before 2pm. Oh, come on. 3/14 is pi day, and they're doing it at 1:59 (pm). Pi is 3.14159.... I was excited about that little fact, I don't know if you were. But seriously. 3/14 at 1:59... that is cool.

Monday, March 09, 2009

molly out loud

So in 7th (or 8th?) grade, I was doodling during French class on the back of my notebook. I decided to write all of the letters of my name "on top of each other", and came up with what would eventually look like this:

In the summer between 7th and 8th grade, as I was preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, it was decided that my favor would be perfume for the girls, and cologne for the boys. I wanted a cool "name" for the perfume, so I decided on "m.o.l."- short for "molly out loud" (the boys one was m.o.l. for men). The perfume labels had a pink, Andy-Warhol-style flower on them, and the cologne labels had a sailboat, or something.

Eventually, molly out loud, along with the logo used above, became "my" design for clothes and stuff. In 8th grade, I began designing t-shirts for concerts, using both Zazzle and my own great artistic talent (fabric paint and sharpies, mostly).

Around the end of 10th grade, I stumbled upon the Neighborhoodies website. I LOVED the designs, and really wanted one... but a hoodie like I wanted would cost over $70. So I figured... I might as well make my own hoodie. This hoodie was the first piece of "molly out loud" clothing. I embroidered my logo on the front, sewed a zebra print star on the back, and lined the hood with zebra print fabric (same fabric used to do the star). Here's a few pictures of me rocking that hoodie.

As you can see, it is quite an awesome hoodie. It took a long time, though:
-First I had to fix some of the holes in the hoodie. Okay, I did kind of a messy job of that.
-Then I printed out my logo, and pinned it on to the place I wanted it to be, making sure I had stretched the fabric taught in an embroidery hoop.
-I traced the pattern of the logo on to the hoodie. That actually took awhile.
-I embroidered the logo. That took FOREVER!
-I printed and cut out a star.
-I pinned the star to the back of the hoodie, and traced it on to the zebra fabric, then cut the star out of the fabric.
-I sewed on the star. But I didn't just do it once. No, I made sure to double the seam- so it would be strong (and it's held up perfectly for almost 2 years).
-I traced the inside of the hood onto the zebra fabric, and cut out 2 identical (but "opposite") hood-shaped pieces of fabric.
-I hemmed the fabric.
-I sewed the fabric to the inside of the hood, again doubling the seam.
It was quite a labor, but it was a labor of love. I don't recommend sewing while in the car (it's just... not a good idea), but I do recommend sewing while sitting on your butt, watching television.

"molly out loud" has expanded, so to say. I've made a few more clothing items since then:
-magenta t-shirt with black spray-painted logo, and white t-shirt with blue/green/yellow spray-painted logo
-white t-shirt with black spray-painted logo and "molly out loud"
-And now, I'm working on a purse, which is extremely awesome. It's made out of 2 old t-shirts (and a bunch of thread...). The outside is light heather gray, the lining is periwinkle blue. The front of the purse has a bunch of awesome quotes/sayings on it, written small, in different colored sharpies. I also sewed on my logo in periwinkle. The back has one quote, written larger, and "molly out loud". Inside, there's a cellphone-sized pocket. I also sewed in a purse snap. The straps are periwinkle, and once I sew them on, I'll be done. I've spent a lot of hours on it so far, but I like doing it.

In other news: I got rejected from Caltech. Oh, well.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Why can't I live in California?

Sometimes, I wish I lived in California.

Mostly, I wish I lived in California when it's snowing. I'm not exactly a fan of cold weather. I hate being cold. I hate it. I hate snow. I don't like playing in the snow (I used to, but then I kinda... changed my mind). Sitting inside and looking at the snow is okay, until people walk on it and it gets all messed up. And driving when it's snowing is horrible. It's kind of like driving in the rain, except it's white (not see-through), and salt trucks on the road cause salt (which looks almost exactly like snow when you're driving) to hit your car and sound like hail. I also hate when the roads get icy. Because honestly, that's just no fun.

I much prefer warm weather. Warm weather is much, much more pleasant (to me) than cold weather. I think there's some correlation between the weather and my mood. I tend to be in a much better mood, just in general, in the summer (when it's warm and sunny all or most of the time) than in the winter (when it's cold and snowy). California- specifically southern California- is warm and nice. Just over 10 years ago, in January 1999, my mom and I visited my cousins (her brother and his wife and children) in Los Angeles. And I went swimming- outside- in January! You can't do that in New Jersey, or anywhere in the northeast. Or anywhere in the north, for that matter.

So when it came time to make my initial list of colleges that I was interested in, one of my stipulations was that it should be in a warm area. Of course, most of the colleges I applied to aren't in places that are warm. Cambridge isn't exactly known for mild winters. And Pittsburgh and Troy, New York aren't known for their great weather, either. But some of the colleges I applied to are in southern California (I'd say southern California is known for a nice climate). Like that one awesome liberal arts college that I'm a legacy at. Like that really big university that has good sports teams, but is really good academically, too. Like that small tech school that's kind of like that other tech school in Cambridge, except smaller, and in an ideal climate.

"That small tech school" brings me to the other time I wish I lived in California. I wish I lived in California RIGHT NOW, because Caltech is emailing decisions at 4pm PST tomorrow. That means that I won't see my decision until 7pm local time. I know it's waiting the same amount of hours, total, either way, but 7pm just feels like a lot later than 4pm. I mean, assuming I wake up at 10am, then 4pm is 6 hours after I've woken up, but 7pm is 9 hours after I've woken up. 9 hours is 3 hours longer than 6 hours.

Also, if I lived in California, I probably would've gotten my actual decision letter by now, being that Caltech is in California (it is the California Institute of Technology, after all).

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Getting ready for decisions...

So as of yesterday, I was assuming I'd receive my admissions decisions from colleges in the following order:

1. RPI, MIT, and Caltech- 3/14-3/22ish
2. Case Western, Wash U, Lehigh, USC- 4/1ish
3. Pomona- 4/5ish
4. Carnegie Mellon- 4/15

I'm a big fan of MIT's admissions blogs. Caltech also has some blogs, too- from the director of admissions, and from various students, talking about their experiences in cooking class, on a sports team (yes... Caltech has sports teams), or in a lab.

Today, I checked the director's blog, only to see:

"We are finishing up the letters and expect to mail freshman admissions decisions tomorrow. I'll post more details once the mail goes out."

This was posted yesterday, March 3. Today is yesterday's tomorrow, which means my decision letter could quite possibly be in the mail already.

I'm kind of nervous, to be perfectly honest. I mean, I do want to know where I'll be getting in, and where I'll be going, but at the same time... this is kind of scary. Where will I get in? Honestly, I don't know for sure. I have an idea (thanks to my college counselor) of where I'll probably get in and where I probably won't get in. I know where I want to get in, and I know where I don't really care about getting in. Luckily for me, the list of places I'll probably get in does overlap somewhat with the list of places I want to get in to.

I know that whatever happens, I'll end up somewhere great. I've already been accepted somewhere- and that might be a great place. But hopefully, I will get in to other places, too. I hope that I'll have a hard time choosing where to go, because that would mean that I have multiple good choices. But I mean, if all else fails, I could always go here.

Oh, and by the way: I have (almost) no homework tonight. It feels so good to say that. It's 4:23 pm, and I think I'm going to go watch television.

***EDIT 3/4/09 9:45pm- I just checked on the blog again... basically, spring break will start off either extremely awesome or somewhat suckish.