Thursday, September 29, 2011


Ah dear blog!  I haven't abandoned thee!  In all honesty, I've just be SUPER busy.  Really though...these past few weeks have been some of the most hectic of my life.  I've spent the past two weekends in a row off campus (first for the EDCO retreat, then for a wedding) and am leaving in about 8 hours to go to Balls!  In case you don't remember from last year, Balls is the biggest rocket launch convention in America and it only happens once a year!  Rocket lab has been working round the clock to get our rocket, Traveler, ready for launch.  Traveler is "the big one" as they say and is the culmination of 6 years of hard work in rocket lab.  The founding purpose of rocket lab was to build a rocket to reach space and we're finally about to launch a rocket designed to get there!  In less than 24 hours the moment of truth will have happened!

Anywho, a few of the other things keeping me busy are...
Work - my project has been going well so far but has been on a bit of a hold this past week.  I hope to get more done next week.  I try to spend about 15 hours doing work-related things a week.
Work #2 - Supervising the freshman in the AME 105 lab.  This is actually super fun!  I spend about 8 hours a week in the main AME department lab and machine shop working with freshman on building their gliders.  Also, my little sis in AOE is in 105 so I get to hang out with her!
Rocket Lab - Haven't spent as much time in rocket lab as I would like, but I do whatever I can.
Classes - Of course, I'm maxed out on units which means I spend approximately 18 hours a week in class.  Not to mention 3 hours of homework for every 1 hour of class so one can reasonably assume 34 hours of my week are spent doing homework. In case you're keeping track, about 75 hours of my week are already accounted for.
AOE - Chapter meetings and Candidate meetings, unfortunately being off campus means I haven't been able to go to any of the social events so far :(  Plus I'm secretary and merchandising chair, so about 5-6 hours each week goes to AOE.
Ballroom - New for this semester!  I joined the ballroom club!  Sadly, I've missed the past couple weeks :( But normally I go once a week for about 1.5 hours.
Sleep - (HA!) About 6 hours a night (average)

So, if you're keeping track:  Approximately 118.5 hours of my week are accounted for.  Deducting my weekends (since I've been off campus) and 106.5/120 of my available hours in a week are accounted for.  Add in some time for Facebook, eating, checking email, and random meetings, I basically have zero time to waste.  Also, I feel super nerdy for actually calculating that out (it is times like these when I realize how much engineering is taking over my life).

Life has been good though.  Being so busy has definitely been keeping me out of trouble.  I feel like I haven't been to a single party since the first weekend here (before I had homework) but the time I've spent off campus has been super fun and I've been enjoying most of my classes.  Anywho, I hope to get a more detailed post up here soon with tons of pictures from my various adventures and go into a little more detail about my classes and stuff.  I promise I haven't abandoned the blog!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 3 - Errands

Hello All!  I know I start every post with "I can't believe how much time has flown" so this post I'm going with the variation - I kept meaning to post every day this week and time kept slipping past!  (Really guys!)  This week has been really exciting but unusually busy with errands.  I've been running around trying to put together my study abroad application (due tomorrow!), getting stuff organized for AOE and figuring out what I need to do for work.  I'm hoping that for the next couple weeks things will settle down before midterms start.

Monday we didn't have class (hooray!) but I spent the majority of the day catching up on homework.  Tuesday was a crazy day running around campus because I had so many errands to run.  My day started around 8 when I left to print my homework (to turn in before 9) then I had an appointment at the health center, class from 10-4, then I had to stop by the study abroad office to schedule an appointment, the registration building to pick up copies of my transcripts, class from 5-7, then I went to the RA fair from 7:30-9, I also had to print out my homework and turn in some stuff online.  By the time it was 10pm I was so tired I did a little homework and just passed out.  Wednesday was every bit as busy as I had class from 9-2 then I had to run around trying to fill out my passport paperwork and get my passport photos taken.  Then I met with a professor at 5:15 to get a recommendation letter for my study abroad app and hang out at Starbucks for a while (she's really awesome!)  before heading back to my apartment to do Thermodynamics homework with a friend then heading to Ballroom Dancing class at 9.  Class ended around 10:15 and the whole class headed over to Traditions (the bar/club on campus, commonly known as "Traddy's") to hang out and eat nachos.  Side note - Traddy's is awesome.  It's basically half sport's bar with big TVs and a bunch of people hanging out watching games and half dance club with cool DJs and light shows and awesomeness.  And even better, it's on campus!  They're really strict about not letting under 21 drink but it's still a fun place to hang out.  Anywho, needless to say, by the time I got home on Wednesday night I was once again so tired I did a little homework then just passed out. Thursday was less busy because I didn't have anything due on Friday but it was still a pretty long day.  Study abroad advising at 9, class 10-4 (don't forget the math quiz every Thursday!) and 5-7, then tie dying with AOE!  Tie dying is one of our recruitment traditions and everyone looks forward to it every semester.  I was pretty happy with how mine came out.  Check out this picture.

It was a little more yellow-y than I had hoped, but none the less, I was happy with it!

Friday was a much more chill day.  Thankfully I only have math class at 10 then honors colloquium at 1.  I hung out in Rocket lab for a little while between classes (but didn't really do any work) then headed over to my lab afterwards for our group meeting.  We still haven't heard back from the manufacturer of the mandrels I'm supposed to use about the layup procedure so I haven't started making any samples yet but I plan on cutting carbon fiber on Monday.  Hopefully the manufacturer will get back to us about the specifics of how to use the mandrels soon because I really want to get started!  And I also don't want to just "wing it" when it comes to the layup.

On Saturday I finally submitted all my paperwork for renewing my passport!  The stupid office is only open from 10:30am-3pm (super inconvenient for my class schedule) and you have to have an appointment.  At least it's just across the street on the west side of campus so it wasn't too far to bike.  Anyway, what with my passport submitted for renewal, my recommendation letters turned in, my essayed finished, and copies of my transcripts bought, I'm done with my application! And it's probably a good thing because the application is due tomorrow.  I just need to stop by the office, turn in all my completed materials and then hope for the best!  I'm probably going to turn in an application to one back up program (but I can use mostly the same essays and nothing else needs to be redone) but that application isn't due for two more weeks.

Saturday was also GAME DAY!!  The game had one of the most exciting endings ever.  During the first half we were leading by about 10 points but in the second half Utah started coming back to bring the score to 17-14.  With only 18 seconds left, Utah was on its forth down and only 1 yard away from a first down.  After the play, it was initially called short but after review and re-measurement they called it a first down.  Then they reset the clock to 20 seconds.  At this point, Utah was on the 41 yard line.  They decide to go for a field goal and BAM, USC's 6' 7" offensive tackle Matt Kalil blocks the kick sending the ball right into the open arms of cornerback Torin Harris who ran like crazy for a 68 yard touchdown.  SO INTENSE!!  The whole student section was going crazy!!  The idiot refs took away the points for "illegal celebration" (what the heck is that anyway?) but two hours later they gave us our points back for an official final score of 23-14!  It was such a great game!!  A little too close for comfort, but we were all proud that our defense held through all the way till the end.  For your viewing pleasure, I have included pictures!

They were giving out flags to commemorate 9/11.  I thought they looked good in my hair!

Roommates at the game!

We had four F16s fly over after the national anthem.  Having the flag in the picture was totally accidental but I kind of like it.  Go America!

As for today, I'm just trying to catch up on homework and we had candidate initiation for AOE!  We have nine lovely candidates this semester.  After initiation we went out to lunch in Lil Tokyo and got some delicious lunch!  Oh how I do love avocado rolls...yum.  Take a look at our beautiful candidates:

As for now, I'm off to go work on statics homework with a friend.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Second Week Madness

Hello All!  I can't believe over a week has passed since I last posted.  This week really flew by without my even noticing.  Classes are starting to get into full swing which means homework, homework, and more homework.  Well, really not too much yet, but there's a lot on the syllabus which basically means I have a lot to prepare for.  Thankfully we have a 3 day weekend so I can get a head start!  As far as stuff going on in my life, recruitment started this week for AOE!  So far we've had quite a few potential candidates at all our events which is very exciting.  One of which is a freshman in aerospace!  I'm super excited I might not be the only aero girl in AOE anymore.  We still have a few more events but by this time next week we should have candidates!  Yah!

Also, I found out that I got the job as the AME 105: Introduction to Aerospace Engineering grader/lab assistant!  I'm so excited to help out the freshman with their glider projects this year since I had such a great time with it last year.  Plus, it will be a great way to get to know the future of the AME department.

I also met with Dr. Nutt to discuss my research project for this semester.  I'm really excite because I have my own project to work on.  Basically, I'll be working with a brand new mandrel that Dr. Nutt and Lessa discovered at a conference over the summer.  My research will be into void formation in carbon fiber structures with complex geometries.  Basically, we have a rounded triangular prism which we use to shape the carbon fiber while it's being layed up.  I will lay up the samples then quantify void formation properties of different weaves.  To measure the void formation, there are a couple different methods available in the lab.  One method is to examine the sample under an ultrasound to scan for air within the sample.  The second method is to cut the sample into small pieces, polish the sample, then observe it under microscope and search for voids.  I'll be starting out just laying up control samples but the eventual goal is to run some experiments and test ways to decrease the void formation.  I'm really excited about this project because I get to work with some new machinery and some new techniques that I haven't used before.  But, first things first, I still need to learn how to use the mandrels and since no one in the lab has used them before it could be a very interesting experience!  If you're interested in reading more, click here to see my proposal.  It looks pretty legit eh?

This past week I have also made progress on my study abroad application.  I've finished my portion, the essays, but I still had to get the advising form filled out.  I had kind of assumed this was just a formality but when I got in the office I realized that I had met the prerequisites for a lot of the classes I wanted to take abroad.  Unfortunately, they require fluids for everything which is unfortunate because fluids is a third year class at USC.  Anyway, my first visit to the advising office was really discouraging because I hadn't realized it would be difficult for me to find classes I could take.  Thankfully after spending a couple hours at my apartment looking through the course catalogs I found some classes that would transfer to USC and count for my major (yah!).  On my second visit to the advising office I completed the form so I'm one step closer to a complete application!  Which is good because the application is due in one week!

Yesterday was fun because it was the first game day of the season!  Fight On!  Even though the game wasn't the best played, the Trojans managed to pull out a win which was exciting.  There was plenty of tailgating going on and I ended up spending the day with my sorority sisters.  Here's a few game day photos:

My sisters and I at the game!

In addition to all my class and work stuff going on, I've been trying to cook healthy food for myself!  Today I made myself a delicious crepe with scrambled eggs, fresh diced tomatoes, spinach, and shredded cheddar.  It was really really really amazing.  On the side I had a fresh avocado and for dessert some yogurt and raspberries.  Seriously yum.  I took pictures.

The final product:

Preksha and I have also been having a good time cooking together.  We've baked a couple cakes:

And I baked this one for rocket lab (they were quite happy!):

And in honor of game day we made cardinal and gold jello!

Look at the cardinal/gold-ness!  mmm, school spirit's delicious.

So, all that's been what's happened so far this week.  Today I took a day off to relax with friends.  Ethan, Eric, Hunter (Eric's roommate last year), Hunter's girlfriend and I all went hiking in Malibu today!  Eric found a nice trail online which wasn't too difficult but had a very beautiful waterfall at the end!  Here are some pictures:

After finishing the trail, we hit up the Malibu beaches.  It was so beautiful with the cliffs and the waves.  Not to mention the multi-gazillion dollar homes that dotted the coast.  Unfortunately it was pretty windy so it was a little chilly but the sun was shinning which helped to keep you warm.  More pictures (yah!):

Between being outside all day for the football game yesterday and going hiking and to the beach today, I've managed to get pretty tan!  I had been getting a little pasty since I've been spending so much time inside for school, work, rocket lab and everything else.  But alas, weekends are for maintaining my tan!  Anywho, that's it for this week!  I'm going to try and post more frequently so I'm not always writing these marathon posts, but we'll see.  I definitely have a lot to look forward to this semester!