Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I have a confession to make: I love magazines. I think they're one of the greatest things ever. They're usually cheaper than a book (except for Rolling Stone and Mad, they're usually under $5). They're also available pretty much everywhere- the mall, the drugstore, the waiting room at the doctor's awesome. They're colorful (yay!), and make good room decorations.

I buy a lot of magazines. If I go in to a store that has magazines for sale, and I have money, there's a very high chance that I'll buy one or more magazines. It's kind of a waste of money, but I like reading mindless things. It's kind of fun. I love reading dumb articles about random celebrities.

Now, you should know that there are five main categories of magazines that I am interested in.

The first is "teeny-bopper" magazines, generally filled with pictures of and shallow articles about whoever is most interesting to the "tween" crowd. This includes M, Twist, Tiger Beat, Bop, Twist, J-14, Wow!, AstroGirl, Teen, and QuizFest. Some of them are pretty entertaining. They generally come with a few free posters inside, ranging anywhere from 1 sheet across, to 2 by 2 sheets, or, in the case of the Jesse McCartney poster I have on my wall from a few years ago, 4 by 4 sheets (that's almost 3 feet across by almost 4 feet tall, folks). However, when putting up posters, I am often put in a dilemma- most of these posters are double-sided, and it can be hard to decide which side to put up on my wall- in the issue of M that I purchased just today, there's a poster with Robert Pattinson on one side and Taylor Lautner on the other; and another poster with the Jonas Brothers on one side and Miley Cyrus (and a puppy!) on the other. AstroGirl is interesting; it focuses on astrology, and- uh, I guess how it relates to tween girls? It's basically a magazine full of various horoscopes (like, "What your birthday/middle initial/favorite color says about you!"). QuizFest is basically a magazine entirely full of quizzes- like "What type of guy would you fall for?", "What flavor of ice cream best suits your personality?", or "What new trend should you buy?"

The second category of magazines I am interested in are those geared towards teenage girls (like myself)- these include Seventeen, CosmoGirl!, Teen Vogue, Elle Girl, and (formerly) Teen People. These magazines usually have a wide variety of articles- ranging fashion and make-up and hair tips; advice (on how to deal with boys, mean girls, or parents that don't agree with you). Seventeen also has a different workout plan in every issue (focusing on something different each time- cardio, stretching, leg strength, upper body strength, core/back strength), which is pretty cool. I like these magazines because they have a variety of articles geared towards girls my age.

I also enjoy music magazines- Rolling Stone, AP, Spin. Rolling Stone is pretty awesome- it covers a large variety of artists, which is cool. My 3 favorite Rolling Stone covers are the cover from the 1000th issue, the cover from the 40 year anniversary issue (it was silver and red and sparkly! omg!), and the cover with Fall Out Boy and a shirtless Pete Wentz on the front. Rolling Stone is cool, but it's also pretty expensive for a magazine- like $5 an issue. I also like AP, which seems to cater slightly more towards the music I listen to (without being too "restrictive"). They also have pretty cool covers, and have a lot of good articles. Spin is pretty cool, too, except they focus more on the "alternative/indie" stuff, and while I have nothing against that, sometimes the articles are a little snobby- "alternative/indie is SOOO much better than mainstream".

Another enjoyable genre of magazines is celebrity gossip magazines- People, Life & Style, Us Weekly. They range in quality, but I'd have to say my favorite is People; it's also very widely available (think about it- when was the last time you saw a magazine stand that DIDN'T have the latest issue of People?).

Then there are the magazines that make me feel smart- Scientific American, Popular Science, Discovery, The New York Times Magazine. Scientific American has a lot of articles about current issues and new research in science; Popular Science has a lot of articles about the future, and new ideas about products and scientific things that don't exist yet. A lot of The New York Times Magazine is kind of boring, but the occasional articles on "mystery diagnosis", The Ethicist, and the "Lives" section are all pretty cool. When I read these magazines, even if I don't understand 100% of the article I'm reading, it makes me feel smart.

I would also like to add that I really, really enjoy the Weekly World News, which was a tabloid (I believe it was cancelled. Even when it was still in circulation, it was almost impossible to find- I only ever found it in Long Beach Island and in Gettysburg). Next to Weekly World News (which, by the way, is "the world's only reliable news source"), every other tabloid seems like The New York Times.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


So I applied to 11 colleges in all...

1. MIT- I got deferred and then rejected from MIT, but that's probably a good thing. It just sounds so intense. Plus I'd probably die in the winter.

2. Caltech- Again, I got deferred and then rejected. Again, probably a good thing, considering how supposedly intense it is. Caltech is also really small- less than 1000 undergraduates.

3. Pomona- I got waitlisted at Pomona. I was a little upset, but I got in to 8 of the 11 schools I applied to- which, if you ask me, isn't too bad.

4. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology- The first college I got in to was Rose-Hulman. I cannot even explain how excited I was that I actually got in to a college- it made the rest of the process that much easier! Rose-Hulman seems like a pretty cool place, but I decided against it because the focus is just so narrow (although they did offer me an awesome scholarship!). It's also in Indiana, and not really in a city.

5. Rutgers University- Rutgers was the second college I got in to. I pretty much only applied because my parents suggested I apply (there's also no essay). Rutgers would be inexpensive because it's instate, but I decided against it because it's instate. New Jersey isn't that big, and I want to go far away.

6. University of Southern California- USC is an awesome school. What I thought was cool about USC was that although it's a pretty big university, my major (at USC- astronautical engineering) would have less than 70 people in it. USC has something like 150 majors and almost as many minors. You can major (or minor) in practically anything. It's also in Los Angeles. And the "Trojan Family" was definitely a big draw. But I ended up deciding against USC because it didn't seem like a place where I would fit in... too much emphasis on football, and partying.

7. Wash U in St. Louis- I was totally excited to get in to Wash U- I wasn't really expecting to get in. I visited, and the people seemed really friendly and welcoming. However, it would be expensive, and while it's an awesome place, I ended up not deciding to go there because something didn't feel right. Plus, I had no financial aid at Wash U, so it would be expensive.

8. Lehigh University- What I originally liked about Lehigh was the size, and the course offerings in engineering. They also have this thing called IPD (Integrated Product Development), where engineering, business, and arts/sciences students come to together to design products (I looked on the website, and there were some cool ones- like a new kind of lacrosse stick, and an aquarium filter that's completely silent). I also got a scholarship, which was cool, and (like two weeks before I officially got in) was contacted by and later had a phone conversation with a mechanical engineering professor from Lehigh (which was totally awesome, by the way). However, I decided against Lehigh because it's too close (about an hour away) and it felt really "preppy".

9. Carnegie Mellon University- Initially, CMU was my first choice. I almost applied ED2, but I didn't. I was, however, pretty excited to get in and visit. CMU offers a lot of cool classes, like Physics of Musical Sound and Engineering the Materials of the Future. I also love how into the Scottish heritage they are- their marching band wears kilts, the mascot is a Scotty dog, the official school color is tartan (plaid), and they offer a major (in the music school) in bagpipe. However, when I visited, I didn't really like the people I met, and it didn't seem like a place where I would really be happy. I also didn't like the location, and something about the layout of the campus felt weird. One of the deciding factors for me against CMU was that if I wanted to major in Biomedical Engineering, I could only do it as a double major with another engineering discipline, and I didn't really like that I guess. They also offered me no financial aid, meaning I'd be paying full price.

10. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute- I'll be honest, I didn't really like RPI when I visited. It's cold, first of all. It's also in the middle of nowhere (Troy, New York is hardly exciting- and not necessarily a very "nice" area). But they do have a lot of interesting course offerings, and they offered me a scholarship, which was pretty cool. I ended up not choosing RPI primarily because I hated the location, and it felt like I'd be really miserable there.

*I would like to add that the above 10 schools are all awesome schools. I respect all of them, and they are ALL fine institutions. For any seniors who might be looking at this who are considering any of these colleges, they are all awesome places (even though I didn't decide to go to any of them), so don't let the fact that I'm not going there change YOUR mind or affect YOUR decision. For anyone who's not yet a senior, don't let the fact that I didn't choose to attend a college change your mind about applying- apply away!

11. Case Western Reserve University- Initially, I didn't know much about Case Western, except that it was in Ohio (Cleveland, to be specific), and it was good for Biomedical Engineering. There was also no supplemental essay on the application, which was awesome. Once I got in (and found out that they were offering me a bigger scholarship than any other college I got in to), I started reading more about it, and it sounded like a pretty cool place. The admissions are "open-door" with regard to majors, which means that basically, now that I'm admitted to the university, I could decide to major in anything, and if it wasn't engineering- let's say I decide I want to major in Chemistry- there's no complicated "internal transfer" process. I visited this weekend, and really liked it. It's definitely a campus, but it's not isolated, which I liked. There's stuff to do within walking distance (museums and botanical gardens, for example), but there's public transportation that takes you to, for example, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. I stayed in a sorority house- I wasn't sure about Greek life at first, but it seems like it'd be a really cool thing at Case. My host is a member of a women in engineering sorority (I'm pretty sure it is a social sorority, not a professional sorority), which is totally awesome. She says she wasn't sure about Greek life at first, but her RA freshman year encouraged her to rush- and she's glad she did. She says it's a really great way to meet people, and it seems like it definitely is. There's also a lot of cool organizations on campus- a capella groups, religious organizations, and a cheese club, for example. Everyone at Case is smart and works hard, but they know how to have fun, too (but it's definitely not a party school)- and (in the words of a current student at Case), "the people that are studying all the time, they want to be studying all the time." Case is also exactly the size I want in a college- not too big, not too small. All in all, Case Western Reserve University is definitely my favorite of the colleges I got in to (the fact that I have a scholarship there is just icing on the cake!)- I sent in my deposit yesterday.

The moral of the story is do well in school and study for the SAT, SAT2s, and ACT. Study. Really. It's not a bad thing. You will thank yourself. Studying and doing my homework (well, most of the time) is how I got in to all these colleges and got several signficiant merit-based scholarships.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Carnegie Mellon; The Pittsburgh Airport

On Monday, I flew from New Jersey to Pittsburgh, to visit Carnegie Mellon. I had no problems getting through security, and my flight was on time. It took me a few minutes to figure out where the shuttle to campus would be, but eventually I got it.

When I got to Carnegie Mellon, I dropped my bags in the admissions office, and then went to an engineering class. I thought the professor seemed pretty interesting, but the other students in the class just looked bored. I met my host and the other girl she was hosting, and we hung out in the dorm for a few hours before going to dinner. Yesterday, I went to information sessions for engineering and science and went to a psychology class (and learned that psychology doesn't interest me).

4:00pm- I left campus on the shuttle to the airport.
5:00pm- I got to the airport at 5:00pm. I checked in, and, before I went through security, checked the list of departures, and saw that my flight was delayed. I figured it would probably only be an hour or so late, but called my mom to let her know. I stopped to buy something to eat (a slice of mushroom pizza from Sbarro- yum).
5:35pm- I got to the gate. Moments after I sat down, one of the airport employees announces that my flight (which was supposed to leave at 6:30pm) is now delayed until 10pm. The flight (to New Jersey) that was supposed to leave at 3:20pm hadn't even left yet. After I'm done eating, I start to read Eclipse/Twilight 3.
6:45pm- The flight that was supposed to leave at 3:20pm boards. Once they're all on board, I ask an employee if she knew why the flights were being delayed. She says there was bad weather in New Jersey, which caused all of the arriving flights (arriving to NJ) to become delayed. Apparently, the plane that I would be flying on was the one I could see out the window from where I was sitting (I guess there were just too many other flights that were going in).
7:3opm- I talked to my mom (on the phone). She was surprised at how delayed my flight was, and said I should keep checking with the employees to see if it might leave earlier than expected. I checked; still 10pm estimated departure time. There's a Ben & Jerry's in the "food court", so I got a scoop of Cherry Garcia (my favorite).
8:00pm- Still 10pm estimated departure time. I called my mom to check in, and she said that according to the airline's website, my flight was now getting in at 10:30pm, but according to the employees, that was incorrect. I have two books, an iPod touch (and free WiFi!), a notebook, and a cellphone, but I'm pretty antsy. I've been sitting in the same seat for a few hours now.
9:20pm- The employee announces over the loudspeaker that it's time to begin boarding.
9:30pm- I gate-check my duffle bag, and bring my messenger bag onto the plane with me. I get settled in my seat (there was nobody next to me, which was nice), and read Twilight 3. The flight attendant says we won't be moving for awhile.
10:00pm- The plane moves! We get to the runway, and we start going kinda fast, but we don't take off. The flight has been pushed back... again. So I hang out on the plane, reading and conversing with other passengers.
10:30pm- The captain tells us (the passengers) that he'll have an update for us on when we'll be leaving in an hour, but he doesn't know yet what time we'll actually be leaving. After a few minutes of reading (and a phone call to my mom to let her know what was going on), I asked the flight attendant if there was a possibility that we would get pushed back even further at 11:30. She said it was a possibility.
11:30pm- The captain announces that there are 30 or 40 planes "ahead" of us (that is, 30 or 40 planes that need to fly to the same airport we're supposed to be flying to), so our flight has been cancelled. The plane is driven back to the gate, and we get off. I call my mom, and she instructs me to book a flight for the next day (4/22- today), and to see if I can get a hotel voucher so I have somewhere to sleep.
11:45pm- The airport employee announces that there is another flight that is going to Texas that needs to be boarded before she can help any of us, so we all wait in line. My feet are tired, and I want to sit down, but I also don't want to lose my place in the line.
12:00am- The flight to Texas starts boarding. Once they're all on board, the employee starts helping people book flights and gives them information about hotels.
12:30am- I get to the front of the line. The employee books me a seat on the 8:30am flight, and prints me a boarding pass (I got a window seat- yay!). I explain my situation (I'm a minor traveling alone; I don't have a credit card) and ask where the nearest hotel is, and if I can get a voucher for it. She says there is a hotel at the airport, and they don't normally give hotel vouchers when it's a weather problem (usually only if it's a problem with the aircraft), but tells me to wait for her to finish booking flights for everyone else so they can figure something out.
1:00am- The employee is done booking everyone else's flights. I explain my situation again, and she gives me a hotel voucher. Then, she directs me to the hotel. The hotel is literally attached to the airport; I didn't even have to go outside. I check in to the hotel and go to my room, where I get ready for bed.
1:30am- I set two alarms (in addition to a wake-up call) to make sure I got up, and went to sleep.

(Note- I do realize that I kind of... switched from past to present tense. Whatever.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why You Should Be A Vegetarian

So I gave up eating red meat in May 2005, and I became fully vegetarian (gave up poultry and fish) in October 2006. I think you should become a vegetarian, too, and here's why:

1. It's better for the environment. One, livestock produce HUGE amounts of methane, which is a pollutant. Two, it requires less land to produce equivalent amounts of soy (or other vegetable) than beef (or pork, chicken, etc.)- remember that those cows have to eat, too, and they eat a lot. Three, it requires less energy to produce equivalent amounts of vegetables than meat- something like 10 times the amount of energy required to produce 1 pound of soybeans is required to produce 1 pound of beef. Four, it requires less water. Also, because eating vegetarian uses so many fewer resources (land, energy, water), if everyone cut back on their consumption of meat, we could seriously grow enough food to combat world hunger. Being a vegetarian is sustainable. Eating meat is not.

2. It's better for your body. Humans aren't naturally designed to be carnivores. Also, a vegetarian diet will be lower in cholesterol (a vegan diet will have something like zero cholesterol). You can get plenty of protein without eating meat- in fact, most people get too much protein, believe it or not. Vegetarians and vegans also eat more fiber- most people don't get enough fiber. Also, you have a lower chance of getting food poisoning (while it is possible for vegetables to get contaminated, when was the last time you heard of someone getting sick from undercooked brocolli?).

3. It's better for your conscience. What I mean is that eating meat is wrong. A vegetarian saves the lives of about 90 animals per year. That's not insignificant, if you ask me. Animals are also abused and treated horribly- I won't go in to the details here, but check out the "Meet your Meat" video, or have a look around GoVeg or ChooseVeg, and you might understand why I feel the way I do.

4. Tons of awesome people are vegetarian- including (but not limited to) Alicia Silverstone, Andy Hurley, Avril Lavigne, Ben Franklin, Benji Madden, Billie Joe Armstrong, Billy Idol, Billy Martin, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Brad Pitt, Carlos Santana, Carrie Underwood, Charles Darwin, Coretta Scott King, Davey Havok, the members of Good Riddance, Henry David Thoreau, Hitler (supposedly), Jane Goodall, Jeff Beck, Joaquin Phoenix, Joel Madden, Lenny Kravitz, Leonardo daVinci, Lisa Edelstein, Liv Tyler, Moby, Morrissey, Mr. Rogers, Natalie Portman, Olivia Newton John, Omar Epps, Orlando Bloom, Pamela Anderson, Paul McCartney, Pete Wentz, Pink, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ruben Studdard, Sir Isaac Newton, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Travis Barker (formerly- supposedly he started eating meat again when he was told it would help speed is recovery after he was severely burned in a plane crash last September), Vincent Van Gogh, Weird Al Yankovic, and yours truly. Check out Peta2 for some videos and interviews with some of these people on why they're vegetarian.

There are also tons of yummy vegetarian foods. Everything from Morningstar Farms is yummy, but I'm a big fan of the Maple Sausage Patties, the "Chik Patties", and the corndogs (note- everything from Morningstar Farms is vegetarian, but most of their products do contain eggs and/or milk). Amy's is another good vegetarian brand- I'm a huge fan of their pesto pizza, and Indian dishes (note- Amy's does not use eggs, but some of their products have milk). Lots of snack foods are vegetarian (but beware of anything with gelatin- i.e. Jello, Junior Mints, marshmallows- or rennet- i.e. many cheeses). Vegetables are also yummy. Supposedly, they're pretty healthy and good for you, too. Oh, and don't beware tofu- when cooked right (press the water out before hand, and avoid microwaving it if possible), it's not only delicious, but good for you, too.

How do you become a vegetarian? Well, there are a few ways people do it.

1. Give up all meat right away. This would be a hard transition, but you're pretty likely to stick with it (less likely to go back).

2. Give up red meat first, then poultry, then fish. This is what I did (mostly- I gave up poultry and fish at the same time). It worked well for me.

3. Decrease your consumption of meat. For example, let's say you eat meat (on average) twice a day. You might start by eating meat only once a day, then every other day, then twice a week, then once a week, then never. This works well for some people, but if you're not fully committed, it might be hard, since you might find yourself "cheating".

Whichever way you choose, I do think you should become a vegetarian. By being a vegetarian, not only will you be more awesome, you'll be helping the environment (vegetables use less resources and produce less waste), the animals (a vegetarian saves the lives of about 90 animals per year), and yourself (a vegetarian diet is, arguably, better for you).


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

IB Visual Arts... done!

So I've already blogged about IB Art, possibly more than once, but guess what- I won't be blogging about it anymore, because guess why- I'm done with IB Art.

Yeah. As amazing/awesome as that sounds, it's kind of sad in a way. I put a lot of effort into it, and spent a LOT of time doing art. When I was putting my work out for the exam, it completely covered three tables and two benches, plus I had a ton of stuff laid out on the ground, plus I had several pieces on the wall, and that's not even counting my photographs (I didn't spread those out).

The actual IB Visual Arts HL exam consists of 2 parts:

1. Candidate Record Book (CRB)- the CRB consists of a "portfolio" (where you include 4x6 pictures of 12-15 of your strongest pieces, plus 2 pictures of your "body" of work; for me, one of the hardest things was actually coming up with titles for everything... not as easy as it sounds!), a "candidate statement" (~300 words; basically an artist's statement), and 25-30 pages photocopied from the Investigative Workbook.

"But wait!" you say. "What's an Investigative Workbook?" Well, I'll tell you. The IWB is a hardbound sketchbook with a black cover. It's kind of like a "journal" of your artwork. You're supposed to have a balance of the 3 types of pages- studio/process/visual (your own art- how you make it, talking about it, etc.; when I did a painting, I would take a picture of what it was I was painting, and then include pictures of the painting as I was working on it, and wrote about what techniques I was using), critical (other people's art; I was doing some splatter-painting last year, so I read up about Jackson Pollock, and got some pictures of his work), and socio-cultural (relating something that has to do with your art to society and culture- I had entries about Converse All Star sneakers, the history and development of pointe shoes, and CBGB & OMFUG; all things that were important to some aspect of society and culture). The page requirement varies by school and teacher, but my teachers required us to have 15-20 new pages as a month as a junior, and 10 new pages a month as a senior (I was rarely under the limit, but often over).

I ended up having 291 pages in all- I completely filled one "volume" back in September, and had to start a new one. It's actually kind of amazing. I estimate I used at least 5 or 6 glue sticks, plus probably 2 or full rolls of double-stick tape, to make my IWB. At first, I was having trouble deciding what pages to photocopy, but I ended up photocopying more than I needed (of course I only included 30 pages).

2. One-on-one Critique- This was actually kind of scary. Basically, I laid out all of my work (!!!) in the gallery at my school, and talked about it with an examiner for 45 minutes. She asked me questions, but I definitely had to be prepared. I had a hard time seeing what she was thinking, because her face didn't really show much expression. Anyways, I think I did a good job, but I don't really know, since I won't find out until July. IB exams are scored from 1 to 7. I've done a lot of work (and I think some of it is pretty good!), but there are definitely people who are better artists than I am. Very, very few people receive 7s.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A complete list of 20 of the best songs... ever

This blog is a complete list of 20 of the best songs... ever... or at least some of my favorite songs. They are in no particular order.

1. "Hanging By A Moment"- Lifehouse, No Name Face

2. "Revolution"- The Beatles, The Beatles

3. "Hold On"- Good Charlotte, The Young and the Hopeless

4. "Meant To Live"- Switchfoot, The Beautiful Letdown

5. "The Adventure"- Angels & Airwaves, We Don't Need To Whisper

6. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"- U2, The Joshua Tree

7. "Welcome to my Life"- Simple Plan, Still Not Getting Any...

8. "The Middle"- Jimmy Eat World, Bleed American

9. "Smells Like Teen Spirit"- Nirvana, Nevermind

10. "I Miss You"- Blink-182, Blink-182

11. "Blitzkrieg Bop"- The Ramones

12. "There Is"- Box Car Racer, Box Car Racer

13. "No It Isn't"- +44, When Your Heart Stops Beating

14. "Lights and Sounds"-Yellowcard, Lights and Sounds

15. "Memory"- Sugarcult

16. "Jaded (These Years)"- Mest, Mest

17. "Wrecking Hotel Rooms"- MxPx, Panic

18. "Unwell"-Matchbox 20

19. "Welcome to the Black Parade"- My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade

20. "The Radio Saved My Life Tonight"- Bon Jovi

Please note that all of these bands have plenty of awesome songs- I only chose one song per band so as to make it more fair, if you will. Note that I haven't included the albums of all the songs, since I couldn't remember and didn't feel like looking it up.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Term

So basically, spring term of senior year is going awesome so far.

My classes have been, erm, less than challenging, which is actually quite nice. I don't get much homework, and I haven't learned much. In AP French, we're reviewing for the AP exam- our homework is (usually) exercises in the AP book (I do the exercises, but the answers are like on the next page), which we go over in class.

My English class this term is Children's Literature, and we've been reading fairy tales. We've had two quizzes so far- one on "Hansel & Gretel" and "Rumpelstiltskin", and one on "The King of the Golden River" (sidenote- you've probably never read "The King of the Golden River", but you should... it's really, really good). And I got a perfect score on both of them. I also wrote a paper on Harry Potter. Thursday, we drew pictures with crayons (I drew a picture of the maiden in "Rumpelstiltskin" offering Rumpelstiltskin her necklace in exchange for spinning the straw into gold).

In Research & Experimental Design (the class I have now since Biotechnology was only 2 terms), we're designing our own experiments- mine is having to do with swimming speeds.

In IB Art, we're preparing for the IB Art exam, which is actually intense, but the hard stuff is basically done now. I also put up my senior exhibit in the art gallery at school.

In AP Calculus, we're done learning new stuff, so we're basically reviewing for the AP exam.

In AP Physics, we're also reviewing. Last week, the teacher said to the class, "I don't know how I'm going to give you guys grades. I don't think there's any reason to have a test." No test, but now we've had a few graded AP practice problems (which aren't too hard, since a lot of them are problems we've done before).

Health class isn't too bad. One of the assignments is to demonstrate a "life skill", and mine is ironing. I don't have to actually bring in an iron (that would be... awkward?), it's mostly about teaching the steps.

Last weekend, I visited Washington University in St. Louis, and it rocked! The first organized activity we (the engineering students) had was a design challenge- we were given a bunch of materials (plastic bag, duct tape, balloon, paper bowls and plate, Play Dough, aluminum foil, foam, felt, construction paper, rubber band, ribbon, straw) and a pint of Haagen-Daz vanilla ice cream, and we had to use the materials to keep the ice cream cold (without putting it in a refridgerator). My group's design actually worked- wrapped in various materials, with a balloon taped on top, the ice cream barely melted, even after being left out for almost an hour.

I visited a biology class, which was pretty cool. I also got to see five labs- an electrical and systems engineering lab, a mechanical engineering lab, a mechanical engineering/ fluid mechanics lab, a classical chemical engineering lab, and a chemical/environmental engineering lab. I bought a sweatshirt and some stickers at the bookstore (and got 15% off, thanks to being a pre-frosh). The Wash U campus is really, really nice. I think the style of buildings is called "collegiate gothic". The architecture is very college-ish. No ivy-covered buildings, though.

While at Wash U, I also met a lot of really cool people. I liked getting to meet other pre-frosh, and the current Wash U students I met there were really nice, and seemed to really like it.

I did like Wash U a lot, but I'm still considering Carnegie Mellon, USC, Lehigh, and Case Western (and I've never even been to Case Western).

So basically, I have like 15 days left of high school. It's actually kind of awesome. I am so incredibly excited to graduate. I can't wait to go to college.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


So my computer has been having problems lately. So far I've spent over 4 hours total on the phone with tech support, and I've talked to 8 different people, all with heavy accents (some French, some Indian). I've walked through a few of the same procedures multiple times, and now they've decided they're going to reinstall my Operating System. I didn't want to lose all my files, so I bought a 1.5 terabyte external hard drive (that's 1500 gigabytes... my computer's hard drive is either 60 or 80). Even with EVERYTHING from my laptop (music, pictures, word documents, program files) on it, it's still less than 5% full.

Now, I'd like to give some advice to anyone and everyone who reads this blog:

1. When you buy a computer, buy the biggest hard drive available. Also, buy a USB flash drive (2GB should suffice) for any time you need to make documents "portable" and internet isn't available or you don't want to rely on email. Also buy an external hard drive (that's preferably larger than your computer's hard drive) and back up EVERYTHING on it. Even if you already have a computer and aren't planning on getting a new one soon, you should still buy a USB flash drive and a larger external hard drive. Having everything backed up will make your whole life easier if, say, your computer crashes, or you have to get a new hard drive.

2. When applying to colleges, don't get hung up on one particular school, especially if it starts with H, P, Y, D, B, C, M, or S, and it's in the north-east or in California (a.k.a. the ivy league schools, MIT, Caltech, and Stanford). Because if you don't get in, you'll be pretty upset. It's also good to apply to several "match" and "safety" schools that you actually like and can afford. Also, don't apply to a college if there's NO chance you'll go there.

3. Don't screw around in high school. Pay attention in class. Take notes. Do your homework. If you need an extension on an assignment, don't be afraid to ask for one. Take the SAT and ACT. Whichever you take first, if you do really well on it, there's no need to take the other. At the same time, have fun in high school, and don't stress out too much.

4. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes when traveling. If you're traveling by plane, try wearing slip-on shoes (not clogs or sandals, but something like Uggs or slip-on sneakers that stay on your feet) so you don't have to untie and retie fifty times. Don't overpack, but don't underpack. Would you rather carry around a heavy bag, or not have something you really really need?

5. Read. Every day (or night). I don't care how busy you are, you do have time to read, even if it's only for 10 or 15 minutes before you go to bed. Read books. They will make you smarter, or at least you'll expand your vocabulary. Reading won't kill you. In fact, reading is cool. Really.

6. Don't be afraid to try something you've never tried before. It's okay to join (or tryout for) a sports team even if you've never played before. It's also okay to join a club, or take a class, to learn something you've never done before. It's also okay to try a food you've never tried before (like, I never thought I'd like artichoke hearts or eggplant, but they're both delicious).

7. When calling tech support, it is ideal to have a phone that has clear reception (so a house phone might be better than a cell phone) and one that you can put on speaker phone. Also, if you have a problem with your computer, don't call tech support if you only have 1o minutes to fix it. My problem may be more complicated than some, but I've already spent 4 hours on the phone with tech support, and it hasn't even been fixed yet. When you do call tech support, make sure you're situated somewhere comfortable, and (if you're using a laptop) near a power supply.

8. Become a vegetarian, if you aren't one already. Because vegetarians are smarter, more attractive, funnier, and more creative than non-vegetarians. Actually, none of those have been proven. But vegetarians are more compassionate and caring, and health-conscious.

9. Be true to yourself. Don't be afraid to admit that you like something that may or may not be cool. I like math, and I also like some bands that I've heard aren't "cool". I also don't always dress the way "most" people dress. I dress the way I want to dress.

10. When putting posters on your walls, remember that if you tape one poster over part of another poster, it may rip when you try to take it down.

11. Don't put aluminum foil in the microwave. It's not a good idea. Also, when you microwave soup, do put plastic wrap over the top, but not too tightly. That's not a good idea either.

12. Be nice to other people. Don't be a jerk. Contrary to popular belief, jerks aren't happier. Act polite. Know how you should (and shouldn't) act and what you should (and shouldn't) say to people younger than you, people your own age, and people older than you. Don't be fake (see #9), but do be cordial. It's not cool to have no manners. But at the same time, don't be uptight.

13. If you travel a lot (camp? boarding school/college? vacation), label anything you own that has value to you. You don't have to label every sock you own, but you should label anything that's expensive (computer, iPod, cellphone, jewelry, musical instrument), anything you need to survive (medications or medical devices), or anything that has sentimental value (family heirlooms, etc.) with your name and some way to contact you (email, phone, or address... just in case it gets lost). Or just don't bring these things with you at all when you travel.

14. Have multiple email accounts. One should be simple and not immature-sounding (something for school, college and job applications, etc.)- like, "". One should be for personal use- "". Some people like to have even more accounts (one "just for junkmail", one to use for signing up any accounts, one for contact with friends, etc.).