Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Hey everyone,

I apologize for not having posted in so long (can you believe it's been nearly a MONTH!?).  I know you all must be very disappointed.  I've been pretty busy with exams and finals.  My Thanksgiving was spent studying, regrettably, but I also wasted a lot of time.  I didn't go to any of the Black Friday sales this year (for some reason, I just wasn't in the shopping mood), but my parents did and they bought me some things.  Isn't that the best?  I didn't even have to ask for anything or wait in line!  Thanks, Mom!

Everything got pretty serious Sunday night after Thanksgiving when my FRI final lab report was due by midnight.  I turned it in a mere 7 minutes before it was due, but I got 50/50 on it!  YES!!!  And then things became even more serious on Wednesday that week with my Physics lab practical (Don't ask.  The average was a 53 for my section.) and Thursday with my last Cell Bio test.  Despite getting the highest grade in my class both on the test and overall, it was a rough week.

But then, there was SURGe FUNDAY on Friday which made everything better!  The desserts were SWEET!! Literally.  Did anyone else have those chocolate pastries?  DE-LI-CIOUS!  I had about 3 before I realized my sugar and fat intake was nearing a dangerous level.  But I worked it off with some bowling at the Union Underground!  Sadly, I did not get any strikes this time, but it was still nice to relax a little before finals week.  That Friday, my lab group and I also went to dinner at Olive Garden.  It was my first time going there and I got the Ravioli di Portobello, which was pretty good, but I couldn't even finish half of it.  Maybe I should have just gotten the Garden Fresh salad instead...

Today was my last day of finals- YIPEE!  I'm just going to say they were fine because I don't want to jinx myself.  As much as I couldn't wait for the semester to end, I was sad to realize on the bus while going home that today would be the last time I would be on campus in 2011.  I came home and didn't know what to do with myself.  Isn't it ironic how we can't wait for classes to be over, only to realize when they ARE over, that we don't have anything to do?  I always feel this way.

But there is a good side to this.  The reason you don't know what to do is because you can do anything!  The possibilities are endless!  At least for a month.  Maybe you want to re-learn OChem and be on top of your game come spring semester (guilty).  Maybe you want to watch movies and read fanfiction all day.  Or maybe you just want to catch up on all the sleep and home-cooked food you missed during those all-nighters in your dorm room.  Whatever you do, I wish you all a very happy holiday season.  Thanks for reading and I'll see you in 2012!


P.S. The title refers to what my Calculus professor would say every day when he dismissed us from class.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Movin' on up...


Since the last time I updated, I have done some fun things.  Wednesday was pretty productive.  Since I was done with all of my exams, I felt unusually relaxed and calm.  I even finished updating my lab notebook!  (I was behind about 3 weeks.)

Thursday was a long and busy day.  I went to doctor shadowing like I usually do on Thursdays.  Did I mention that I started shadowing an internal medicine doctor?  It was kind of slow on Thursday and I got more bored than I usually do, but, nonetheless, the more exposure I get, the better.  No one day is exactly alike at the internist's and I've been going once a week for the past four weeks now.  I went to class like usual and even got ahead rewriting my Cell Bio notes from the lecture that day.  Physics was fun to listen to because we had a different professor sub-in for us.  We've started learning thermodynamics, so it was mainly a review of chemistry (Q = mcdeltaT and all that); the demos were cool.  Did you know that if you put a balloon on liquid nitrogen, then it's volume will decrease and it'll shrivel up as it assumes the same temperature as the nitrogen?  After Physics, I went to lab to do DNA extraction, which always takes forever.  This was the last step of my project for this semester, so I'm completely done!  Now all I have to do is write a final lab report.  (Groan.  Another lab report?)

I rushed through lab so I could go the Science Study Breaks lecture about Sherlock Holmes and ended up getting there about 20 minutes late.  The first professor, Dr. Jim Bryant, talked about all the statistics principles we can learn from watching Sherlock Holmes, like Bayesian inference and deduction.  For example, Holmes says that when you've eliminated everything that's impossible, the only thing left over, no matter how unlikely it is, must be the truth (an example of deduction).  Dr. Bryant even showed clips from an old movie and the TV show.  It made me realize how little I know about Sherlock Holmes, having only seen some clips from the new movie with Robert Downey, Jr.  I guess I'll just have to add that to my Winter Break list along with everything else...

The main reason I went to the Science Study Breaks lecture was because the next professor to speak, Dr. Sam Gosling, was one of my old Psychology 301 professors.  He talked about his research and how you can gather information about someone's personality by snooping around their spaces (bedrooms, office desks, etc).  He tied this in to how Sherlock Holmes sometimes can determine the answer to a crime by looking at the victim's living room or something.  Except Dr. Gosling said that things are not as easily distinguishable as Sherlock Holmes makes them seem.  There are many reasons or explanations for why a person has an object in their room, especially if that object does not relate to their personality.  So you must look at the big picture and not hone in on one particular artifact to get a general sense for what that person is like.

Have I told you how I am now a Classics minor?  I've mentioned my mythology class from last semester and my new-found obsession of Percy Jackson, so this isn't really a surprise, right?  Anyway, I saw Collin at the Science Study Breaks lecture and dragged him to the next lecture I was going to called "Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives".  Now this, was so, so good.  It featured seven actors, consisting of six students and one professor of Classics.  They acted out three scenes from three Greek plays and one scene from an epic poem.  Below is a description for all the scenes:

Ajax by Sophocles - Tecmessa talks to the sailors about Ajax's madness; Ajax's soliloquy before his suicide
Agamemnon by Aeschylus - The Chorus describes the sacrifice of Iphigenia 
Herakles by Euripides - The Messenger describes Heracles' killing of his family
The Odyssey by Homer - Penelope, Odysseus's wife, tests his real identity in the "Great Rooted Tree" scene

Oh. My. Goodness.  These scenes were performed so beautifully.  They are all so tragic, which made this a little hard to listen to, but the actors, most of whom were Plan II majors, portrayed the characters just right.  The lecture and the moderator, Dr. Peter Meineck (who was actually the translator for the version of The Oresteia I read in high school!  Isn't that cool?  I didn't realize until now!), related these scenes of killing and war to the modern-day struggle of veterans who come home from being stationed abroad and are faced with the process of integrating themselves back into society.  There was a discussion afterwards, in which Dr. Meineck asked for opinions from veterans in the audience.  Dr. Paul Woodruff, a classicist and Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies, said that when he came back from fighting, he read The Odyssey three times as a way to understand what he had experienced there.

There was one veteran student who made a great point in conjunction with the scene from Herakles.  When the madness strikes Heracles, he has a hard time discerning between what is real and what he is imagining.  He is stuck between two worlds and incorrectly thinks he is in one when he is actually in the other, so he kills his children and wife without realizing what he is doing.  The student mentioned that after he came back from Afghanistan, he recognized that there was a whole different culture outside of the US and that veterans are faced with the issue of coming to terms with that other culture as a part of the world they live in in addition to their own culture.  He said that Heracles' struggle and failure to recognize this difference was an extreme example of something he had to deal with upon his return.  There was another veteran who said that while she was stationed, she developed a bond with her comrades that was even stronger than what she had with her family, and she tied this in to the loyalty of the sailors from Salamis to their leader, Ajax.

So why am I telling you all this and giving you the play-by-play (pun-intended) of a lecture featuring Greek tragedy?  It's because this lecture made me realize that the war isn't something that's as distant as it seems.  I've never known anyone who went to war or had family fighting overseas, but listening to the comments made by all those people who have had experience brought the issues they deal with closer to home (again, pun intended).  It also showed me the value of reading old texts like Greek plays because the concepts that are brought up are still relevant today.  Dr. Meineck summed it up best when he said that these plays "were written by veterans, performed by veterans, for veterans in the audience", and that was something I had never thought of before.

On a lighter note, when Friday rolled around, I was more excited than I have ever been for a plant sale because it was the day of our last WEST MALL SALE for this semester!!  The first thing I did Friday was actually check my concentration for Thursday's DNA extraction.  Guess what it was??  881.9 ng/uL!!!  The highest I have EVER gotten.  And because it was so good, I didn't even come CLOSE to having to do it again, and my RE told me I could take the next week-and-a-half off!  Sweeeeet!!

So I was in a good mood as I skipped to the greenhouse to set up.  Dan and Sara were already loading things onto the cart and Alyssa came to help out as well.  We had to make two trips to get everything down there, but I made the first sale of $10 before we had even half set-up all the merchandise!  Cha-ching!  Dan ended up skipping two of his three classes that day, but we made a total of $631.75 on Friday!!  Dan was a little upset that we didn't reach his goal of $800, but we should still be proud because it's the most SURGe has ever made during any one sale.  Like Collin said, we are moving up in the world...  The rest of Friday was pretty relaxing and I got to chill with Azeen and Karima after the SURGe meeting before heading home.

The weekend and my week so far have been fairly productive; my brain was fried after Physics lab yesterday (notice I went in early this week! :-), but overall, I got almost everything done that I had intended for the past few days.  After my four week slump between Midterm Rounds 2 and 3, I am flooring the accelerator for this long haul through finals.  It feels good to get my motivation back!  For those of you who are still slogging through midterms (there seem to be a lot of OChem midterms this week...), hang in there!  The end is in sight!  Can you believe we have less than a month left now?  Oops.  That was meant to be encouraging, not fear-inducing... 

I will leave you with a quote from Iroh, a character from my favorite TV show, Avatar: The Last Airbender: "Sometimes, life is like this dark tunnel.  You can't always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place."  That "better place" is waiting for you.  Don't stop until you get there!

Thanks for reading, and, as always, feel free to leave me your comments!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Going down, down, down, down...

Props to whoever can figure out the title's reference.

Last Wednesday's special event was nursery visiting/plant shopping!!  Collin, Dan, and I went to a place called Vickery in East Austin.  It was huge!  Think of our humble little greenhouse times 6 and much more organized and with more variety!  We got lots of cool plants like praying palms, grafted cacti (they're pink, red, orange and yellow!) and a polka-dot plant!  I bet you've never seen a polka-dot plant before (it's also called pink splash).  So, we will be having a HUGE West Mall plant sale on the 11th- tell everyone you know to stop by!  And if you're free this week, we'd love your help on Friday at the sale - the more, the merrier!

The low point of last week happened on Thursday when I realized that my Physics lab report was actually due the day before and when I tried to finish it, I kept getting negative numbers for inertia.  Even I know that's not right.  My procrastination reached a zenith when I didn't finish my Physics lab this weekend, either.  I intentionally put it off longer and longer until I just gave up on it completely and turned it in on Monday, half finished.  This past weekend and the week so far has been really bad.  Yesterday I had a lab report due and my Vert. Neuro. midterm.  I didn't study for Vert. Neuro. until two hours before the test yesterday.  I figured, since there wasn't much material and I had a drop test, I would be okay.  And it was, for the most part, but it would still hurt to get a C or something.

And today.  Wow, today ranks as one of the worst days ever.  I had both my Cell Bio and Physics midterms and then an appointment with my BDP advisor (did I mention I applied to the program?).  Cell Bio was okay (the multiple choice was really hard!) and Physics was horrible.  I spent all weekend on Cell Bio, so for once, I was prepared for my study group, but it cost me.  Honestly, though, for Physics I really only studied less than half a day, but in my defense, the homework was much easier..to understand.  Don't you just hate when you spend all your time on one thing and then you not only do badly on the other thing you had, but you also don't even get all the points for the one thing you really did spend your time studying for?  Looks like I just can't win today...or maybe this entire week.

But my advising appointment went well.  She liked my application essay!  Which I thought was funny considering I spent 2 hours just throwing it together.  And of course, FRC meeting-probably the best part of today.  And no, I'm not saying that just because it's my position. :)  It was good; we had the usuals: Sara, Amanda, Varduhi and Dan.  We got started planting the new plants into colorful clay pots for the big West Mall sale on Friday, and Amanda had fun both destroying clay pots and spray-painting them.  Again, tell everyone you know to come by and buy a plant!  We have a big selection of succulents and cacti!  And for those who say that they are very good at killing plants, we have ones that don't die!  Now you have no excuse :), unless you have no money... Booooo.

I hope all of you went to the SURGe meeting last Friday.  It was AWESOME!!  We had free Jason's Deli and drinks (the lemonade was a-ma-zing!) and lots of useful information about summer research.  I missed my Vert. Neuro. review session, so I will definitely be using those tips, especially about updating my resume.  And we had about 300 people!  And this week's meeting will feature a team who studies wildfires.  That's hot.  (Anyone know who I'm referencing?  Really, I should post the answers or something.)  SURGe will also be running the Race for the Cure this Sunday.  I'm still debating whether or not to go.  Anyway, see you Friday!


Waiting on my money tree....

The following post was originally meant to be posted on Monday, October 31, 2011:

Let me be the first to say: this weekend was AWESOME!!  Well, Saturday was awesome; Sunday just kinda moped on by.

Let's start with Friday.  I admit, I was a little skeptical about the SURGe meeting because it was about vampire lore, and I'm not a big Halloween fan, but it turned out to be great!  Dr. Garza is a great speaker-so engaging and knowledgeable about the subject.  I didn't particularly enjoy watching the vampire movie clips because I have a low tolerance for scary movies (I get scared easily), but I loved hearing Dr. Garza's foreign accents-he's really quite good at them!  I wish I knew multiple languages like that.  We had pizza like usual, but after, we went to the Anna Hiss Gym for free Amy's icecream!!  Yum... Even though it was chilly on Friday, my usual half-coffee/half-Oreo with M&Ms and Oreos tasted just as good as ever!

And now to the best part: Saturday!  Since it was mine and my best friend Karima's birthday weekend, we spent the day at the Domain with my other best friend Azeen and my sister.  And boy, DID we spend all day there!  We got there around 11 and didn't leave till after 6!  We really wanted to go to Forever 21 but we made the mistake of tackling that after lunch.  The first few stores went well-they even bought stuff, but then we started to get tired and really hungry.

We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and it was really good!  We had a nice international lunch: Italian (pizza!); Asian (Japanese eggplant); Mexican (Tostada pizza); and Mediterranean (Tuscan Hummus).  My personal favorite: the Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant pizza.  Now, normally, I HATE eggplant.  I mean, HATE IT.  Really.  You can even ask my mom.  But this time, I didn't even notice it.  Maybe it was because of the cheese.  Maybe it was because of the broccoli, which I've never eaten (broccoli is not bad at all!).  Maybe it was just because I was hungry.  Or maybe even all three.  But it was DE-LI-CIOUS!  The Tostada pizza is also not bad; imagine a "Mexican food"-flavored pizza and there you have it!  My friend described it as "pizza with nachos".

I guess you could say we got into somewhat of a "food coma" afterwards because we weren't very sprightly as we walked to Forever 21.  And when we got there, our brains were overloaded with the PLETHORA of clothes and accessories and people!!  Azeen and I even got a little dizzy and had to sit down.  And we probably would have stayed there the rest of the day if we didn't have to go home.  The next half of the day was spent going into all those stores where we know we'll just walk right out again without getting anything as we walked back to the car.  I saw a BEAUTIFUL white Grecian one-shoulder dress that turned out to be $348!!  And then Azeen found a purple knee-length dress with orange sequins that was $528!!  Karima kept joking about how when we all become doctors and grow out our money trees, we can come back and buy everything we want.  Like that's gonna happen.  We agreed in the end that even when we had money, our standards wouldn't change and we probably still wouldn't buy anything.  But it was fun to try on make-up!  I found out that lavender eyeshadow goes really well with my brown eyes. Good to know, Karima.

Anyway, we came back to my house and were going to watch Toy Story 3 (a tip I picked up from the plant sale on Friday), but it was already 7:00!  So then we had moist fudge brownies (Have I made you hungry yet?) and then Indian food for dinner followed up quickly with Neapolitan icecream.  To summarize: a day filled with unhealthy food (pizza, brownies, icecream) and window shopping.  But then again, those are the best kinds, right?  But I was woefully unprepared for my study group on Sunday.  That seems to happen a lot, doesn't it?

And now to a completely different topic: Harry Potter Fest!!  Did you go today?  Unfortunately, the only event I could go to was Trivia and my team got 3rd place!  We missed only 2 questions - can you believe it?  Some of the questions were really hard, like dates of when the Durmstrang and Beauxbaton schools came to Hogwarts!  But I did use my tickets to buy a Chocolate Frog, with a complementary wizard card inside.  It is still safely in my freezer.  And I got more Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans (Jelly Beans).  Thankfully, I did not get vomit-flavored or earwax.  Whew!  My favorites were orange and pina colada.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another year older...

I feel a little guilty for not having posted in so long, so you get TWO posts today!

Yesterday was my birthday and it was actually a normal, uneventful day (if you discount the dozens of Facebook posts on my wall) until I got to the Fundraising Committee (FRC) meeting.  After getting my finger poked at the health screening yesterday in Jester, I walked slowly to the greenhouse and still got there on time.  But I saw Dan, who did a double-take and pretty much told me to get lost.  He said, "Wait.  Go away.  Come back in 10 minutes."  But I kept walking, after which he insisted that he really wanted me to leave.  So I went inside Painter to check my email in the OHRIS office.  When I logged in to my email, I had 64 unread messages, most of which were Facebook notifications or my family sending assorted birthday ecards.  I had a good laugh reading every person's Facebook post through my email- my favorite one being my lab partner suggesting I should do some Colony PCR in lab to celebrate.

Fifteen minutes later, I went to the greenhouse and they were STILL not ready, but I walked in anyway, despite hearing Dan yell out, "Everybody hide!".  There were only five people: Dan, Sara, Varduhi, Krishna, and Collin, but they had decorated!  The colored chalk from Friday's sale was still there, but they had found space to write out "Happy Birthday Vidya!" in front of the door.  There were pots lined up in the front, spelling out "Happy Birthday" in rainbow colors on blue sticky notes.  The best, and my favorite part, were the rainbow streamers attached to the top of the door frame and lining the ceiling of the greenhouse!  It was so sweet!  Thank you, everyone.  You made me feel very special. :-)  We were going to have cookies but Amanda couldn't make it (poor girl!  She looked like she was in a hurry when I saw her earlier).

After FRC, I went to Red Mango with my friends (the mango and pomegranate flavors are back!) and it was nice to just sit there and get caught up.  None of us wanted to leave afterwards!  I skipped working on my Physics lab report with my partners (more on this later).  As I was going home, I noticed that the Tower was lit up orange, and I couldn't help but think that it was for me (wishful thinking, I know)!  My mom made a new dessert to top off my sugar intake for the day.  So, in the end, I had a pretty good birthday, but I still have to reply to all of those posts on Facebook!

My Physics lab report got me; I knew it was only a matter of time.  I was pretty tired when I got home so I went to bed early and didn't even wake up early this morning to work on my lab report.  And of course, this would be the one in which I don't know how to do something.  And I missed asking my lab group because I had lunch today with my best friend from high school.  Oh well...lesson learned.  Maybe.

As far as other SURGe stuff goes, we are helping out at TWO events tomorrow: Crazy Science Extravaganza from 9a-1p at the Texas Hillel (21st/San Antonio), where volunteers get free breakfast, lunch, and a T-shirt!; and Environmental Science Institute's lecture about geological field work in space, where we'll have some pre-lecture activities from 5:30p-6:45p in Welch.  If you are available, please, PLEASE come by to help out!  We always like seeing members at our events!

And, of course, no Friday is complete without our weekly plant sale and general meeting!  This week, we welcome Dr. Thomas Garza, who will be talking about vampire lore.  Oooh.  This will be a nice lead-in to Longhorn Halloween, taking place at the Erwin Center this Sunday from 2p-5p, but you can help us out from 12p-6p!  Get excited!!  More information will come during the meeting this Friday about costumes (Pokemon-themed!  Don't tell me you weren't expecting that.) and our booth.  One last thing I wanted to mention: there will be an icecream social Friday from 4p-6p in the Anna Hiss Gym Courtyard hosted by the School of Biological Sciences.  Yay for icecream! :)

Whew!  That's a lot of events!  Hopefully I'll see you at some of them!  As always, feel free to comment below! :-D  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The bane of my productivity

The following post is something I should have posted Sunday night but never got to:

This past week has been one in which my level of productivity can be summed up in one word: ZILCH and its many synonyms: zip, nothing, nada, naught, blank...well, you get the point.  I have done absolutely no work on my classes.  This is what happens when you just had a test and there's not that much new material. I was woefully unprepared for my study group session today

And you know what made it WORSE?  I got my hold for The Son of Neptune last week!!!  Now, ordinarily, this would be a good thing, a GREAT thing, even.  I was definitely jumping up and down and screaming for a good five minutes when I got the email.  No joke.  Try as I might to avoid reading it before finishing my homework, I couldn't.  I've been waiting to know what happens to Percy since June.  Talk about temptations!  Yes, I started reading and I couldn't stop!  By Saturday morning, I was almost halfway done, and that's when I just couldn't take it anymore!!  I HAD to know what was going to happen next!  So I spent the rest of Saturday skimming until the end, instead of integrating my Cell Bio notes and doing Physics problems.

And now that I know all of what happens, I realize just how bad of a decision this was.  Not only have I not spent time on what's more important to my future (sadly, Percy's fate will not help me get into medical school), I now have a FULL YEAR to wait until the next book comes out!  And I spent nearly two hours today looking at speculations and reviews.  I think I already mentioned that I'm obsessed.  Although, I have to say, the book is pretty good.  Well worth the wait.

This past week, though, has been a WONDERFUL week for SURGe.  SURGe United won its first soccer game with a score of 3:1!  Too bad it was the last game for this IM season.  Good work guys and gals!  Even though I wasn't there, I heard you worked really hard for it.  A shout-out and big thanks to all who played!  And our Pokemon social on Friday was kind of cool.  I have to say, even though I'm not a Pokemon fan, having never seen it, I think it turned out to be a great idea.  If you weren't there, you missed the Grant Writing Workshop, picking up your fancy lab safety certificates, and Dan's and Collin's sugar-filled liquid nitrogen icecream recipe, which actually turned out to be quite good!  And the plant sale wasn't bad-it's always nice to see members come to help out, and even decorate!  Yay for colored chalk!!

That's all I've got for now.  I still have to finish my lab report!  Advice: Don't read your favorite series when you're in school, kids- it'll only distract you from what's more important!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The day I touched greatness

Hey everyone,

Did you miss me?  I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I last updated!  Sorry about that-all of last week I spent my free time in lab, only to come up with inconclusive results for my gel image.  And now I have to do it again.  A note of advice about lab and research: when things stop going well for you, that's a sign you need to take a break.  I spent almost 14 hours in lab last week!  And this week, I've had 3 midterms, 2 presentations, 1 lab report, and a quiz.  But now I'm done!  I'm freeeee!  At least until sometime mid November. 

My exams were: meh.  I tried a new study technique that actually seemed to work: go to bed by 10:30/11:00 and get up at 5:00/5:30 and keep studying till your exam.  So even though I got up at 5:30 today, I feel fine because I got ~7 hours of sleep last night.  If you have exams coming up, you should try this!  It's better than staying up until 4AM and then only getting 2 hours of sleep before your test, especially if your tests are back-to-back.

So here's what the title of this post refers to:  I am a HUGE fan of the Percy Jackson series and its sequel series, The Heroes of Olympus.  The new book (#2), The Son of Neptune, came out on Oct. 4th and all week, author Rick Riordan was touring the country for book signings.  And guess WHAT?

He came HERE!  To Austin's BookPeople on 6th Street.  And guess who went to see him and sat front-and-center?  And guess who gave him a high-five?  And guess who recorded his speech but only until her phone's memory ran out?  Yep, that's right.  ME!!!!  Yes, I'm obsessed; I think I already mentioned that.  Yes, I know I should have been studying, but you wouldn't pass up an opportunity to meet one of your favorite authors, would you? 

I felt strangely like I didn't fit in.  Since it was Columbus Day on Monday, there were kids, like 8-11 years old, and there were their parents, and then there was me, with my backpack and my Vert. Neuro. notes.  Still, it was cool to be there and when I came back from my little field trip, I went to two review sessions.  So it balanced out.

As for plans for this weekend, SHOPPING!!!  And movie-watching and sleeping and eating junk food.  It's going to be awesome!!  I might even post more just to rub it in that I'm finished with my tests.  And of course, you know, to keep you entertained on your study breaks... :D

I hope to see you at the plant sale tomorrow and the lecture by Dr. Michael Barratt, an astronaut and doctor!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Great week!

So, last time you checked in, I was complaining that I didn't get my NS Week T-shirt, but I did on Wednesday!  I went to Quiz Bowl and it was fun.  We lost..again.  The score was 37-18, or something.  It was pretty funny to me, though, because I submitted some questions, the majority of which were Classics/Greek mythology-related.  I chose this topic because I took Intro to Classical Mythology last semester and I LOVED IT!!!  Nobody could answer these questions at Quiz Bowl, though, and one of the professors even asked if there were any questions not related to Greek mythology!  My pop culture questions were chosen, too, and some of them were actually answered, so that was nice.  When it was my turn to play, I got two of my own questions, but then I forgot the answer to one of them!  That was a little pathetic...  But hey, I got my T-shirt!

Thursday was my least productive day; it sure was fun, though.  I hung out with my best friends, Azeen Anjum and Karima Khimani, all day.  We had lunch together, discovered free printing (well, I helped them to discover it-see previous post), helped Karima reclaim her "life" by finding her folder, and got free food!  We went to the NS Week event "The Look to Land the Job" and got Schlotzsky's for dinner! I was surprised to see there weren't that many people there.  And I also realized that I have no clothes if I want to go to a professional interview.  I learned a lot about clothes that night.  For example, do you know the difference between business casual and corporate casual?  Or the difference between a jacket and a blazer?  Or whether or not it's okay to wear open-toed shoes to an interview?  Afterwards, we went to Red Mango for the fundraiser!  Yummm...  It almost made up for SURGe United losing their first IM soccer game 4-0.  At least we have nowhere to go but up, right, Captain Gerardo?  :)

Friday, I was running back-and-forth between meetings and events.  I spent about an hour at the Stem Cell Symposium they had at the AT&T Center.  I thought it would be interesting, but then I got a little bored when the speaker started talking about how they would test the effectiveness of lithium and ES cells for spinal cord injury.  Not to mention I felt a little out of place to see I was the only kid there...  But the best part of Friday was definitely ROADS to RESEARCH.  The food was soo good (yum..fudge brownies!).  I also got to talk to my TA, Laura Christian, who was a part of the grad panel.  And I got to play with the "world's biggest IPAD" in the VisLab tour and find a cello in the picture of the Austin skyline on the supercomputer Stallion.  That was really cool.  And another thing that made me happy: I got to see most of you!  I didn't know how many of you were interested in grad school.  I hope you enjoyed the event and hopefully won some prizes!  This is what makes me want to be an officer, so I can help plan things like this for all of you...

Thanks for reading.  Hopefully I'll see you Tuesday at the FRC Meeting! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Hey everyone (or, should I say, just Josie?),

I got the best grade in the class on my Cell Bio test!!  WHOO!! I was so happy!  Maybe it's all that study-grouping I'm doing as a preceptor....I don't remember studying like crazy, but I guess I did go over the material a lot.  And now what we're learning in Cell Bio is what I've ALREADY learned in Vert. Neuro!  I pat myself on the back for deciding to stick with Vert. Neuro instead of switching to Vert. Phys.  Don't you just LOVE when you realize you made the right decision and how GOOD that decision really was?

Another piece of good news: I finished my Physics lab report about an hour ago!  YAY!!  I have learned my lesson.

Anyway, I have so far had fairly productive days, except when I get home, that is.  And then I start looking at random stuff like the Austin Teen Book Festival (this Saturday) or Science Study Breaks (tomorrow) on campus. 

How's your NS Week going so far?  Did you manage to get a T-shirt yet?  I'm still trying for that one.  I think I liked the ones from last year more (the purple ones); this year's are burnt orange just like everything else at UT.  I wanted to go to the Opportunities Abroad talk tonight but ended up going home instead.  Did anyone catch it?  Can you tell me the tips/tricks for doing research abroad?  Please and thank-you!  I'm really excited for Quiz Bowl tomorrow.  I submitted some questions, so I want to see if they got chosen.  I played a round last year and the professors totally beat the students.  They really do know everything!  From Jersey Shore to biochemistry to UT History going back to 1975!  Maybe I'll get my T-shirt tomorrow...I hope.

As you can see, I don't really have much to say.  Today's FRC meeting was very "chillaxing".  If you weren't there, you missed Sara's 7-layer, 7-color rainbow cake, Dan's desert metal, and lots of Starburst and Jolly Ranchers.  I don't know about you, but I've been eating a lot of candy lately. 

Last, but not least, DON'T FORGET about Thursday's Red Mango fundraiser @ Red Mango from 7-10pm (You don't have to stay the whole time) and Friday's ROADS to RESEARCH @ ACES 2.402 from 3-5pm.  Aimi, Leslie, Collin, and Christy have been working hard to put this together, so come and bring your friends!  You don't want to miss the VisLab tours or the free food; they are truly one-of-a-kind.  Our first IM Soccer game is also this Thursday at 6PM at the IF fields.  So, if you have time, go cheer for SURGe UNITED!

Hasta la vista!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What time is it? ...PANIC time!?

Have you ever panicked MORE AFTER your exams were over?  Like, maybe because you thought that it was super hard and you didn't know anything so you start cramming even after the test is already over?  Well, that's not me, but I have this unshakable feeling that I'm already behind in my classes, like I'm not utilizing my resources or time well enough.  (Because, you know, it's not like I'm blogging or anything and have to respond to lots of comments (HINT, HINT)).  This might be because I completely BOMBED my Physics test.  It was one of those tests in which all the hardest problems from the homework show up and you realize that maybe you should've paid more attention to them.

This has been a fairly productive weekend.  That's one good thing about being on edge, I guess.  I actually have the motivation to work.  I even tackled more than half of my weekly Physics lab!  YAY ME! (Kudos to who can guess that allusion.)

That doesn't mean I didn't goof off, though.  I spent some time re-watching episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is my FAVORITE, FAVORITE show EVER!  (Although Heroes, especially Season 3, is also really good.)  Don't laugh.  It's seriously amazing.  My favorite episode is Season 3, episode 6, "The Avatar and the Firelord".  There are some really good quotes in it, like, "Some friendships are so strong, they can even transcend lifetimes."  Pretty deep, huh?  And I also listened to High School Musical songs (for allusion, see title above).  Yes, I know I'm in college, but the music is just so catchy!

For the week ahead, we've got a MULTITUDE of events for ya!
I'm especially stoked for all the Natural Sciences Week events, like the Kick-Off in the East Mall tomorrow, and the Quiz Bowl on Wednesday, and the best, ROADS to RESEARCH, put on entirely by SURGe!  Don't forget to check out ROADS on Friday in ACES 2.402 from 3-5PM.  We'll have a graduate student panel and workshops for resume building, grad school, etc.  And of course, FREE FOOD, catered by O's Cafe!

But if you can't wait until Friday to hang out with your favorite SURGers and officers, then come by Red Mango on Thursday from 7-10pm (you can leave earlier if you want) for our fundraiser (Don't forget to say you're from SURGe!) and a rousing debate on some currently unknown topic.  You can even post on their Facebook page: Red Mango Austin about SURGe and help us make more profit!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Why do you look like that?"

So, in case you’re wondering what the title means, that’s what my mom said to me when I got home Monday night right as I opened the door. Talk about a stressful beginning of the week!

I have to admit, though; it was my fault. Again. I was pretty unproductive this weekend, for someone who had 2 quizzes on Monday and 2 tests yesterday. I don’t even know why, but after my Vert. Neuro. test on Friday (which I thought went pretty well), I was lulled into a false sense of security, thinking I knew stuff when I really didn’t. Besides, I deserved a break, didn’t I? I had been running around all Friday between meetings and presentations and SURGe stuff. So I convinced myself into taking the weekend off because I was “ready” for my midterms.


Tuesday rolled around and I was woefully unprepared. I sat through Vert. Neuro. discussion that morning (why do we have a discussion when we just had a test?), thinking, “Please just let me leave. I really don’t care right now.” Then I crammed for Cell Bio before taking the test, which went “Eh”. And then I crammed some more for Physics, which went badly. My resolutions to do well this semester are rapidly going down the drain...

And so, here we are, on Wednesday. And I still haven’t finished my Physics lab report! (See above for deflating resolutions.)

Even though I’m sure you enjoyed the disclosure of my miserable day yesterday, let’s move on to SURGe-related stuff because that’s why you’re here.

This week in SURGe, we’ve got an eclectic (nice word, huh?) collection of events for you:

Wednesday, Sept. 21 - EUREKA Workshop @ 6PM @ PAI 4.14.
Some SURGe officers will be there to answer your questions about research and to show you how to get started finding faculty using EUREKA, the online database and your one-stop shop for researching faculty on campus.

Thursday, Sept. 22 - Evolutionary Coral Lab Tour @ 3-3:30PM
Tour the Matz lab in the Patterson building, with our Events Chair, Leslie Ynalvez! The Matz lab has undergraduate positions currently available!
** Be sure to sign up by going to this website: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CPCSSKT

Friday, Sept. 23 - General SURGe Meeting @ 4PM @ PAI 3.02
Come meet and listen to a lecture about avonic sensors on space vehicles by Dr. Glenn Lightsey, aerospace engineer. Pizza provided afterwards as well as free Red Mango samples!

That’s all, folks! (Don’t you just love Looney Toons?)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

When a good day just gets better!

You know those days when you wake up and you feel so relaxed and calm and you just KNOW that today's going to be a good day, or at least, not as bad as any other day?  Well...today was DEFINITELY one of those days! :)

Today started off with me and Dan Quintanilla (the other FRC Co-Chair) meeting with Dena Sutton, the manager for all the greenhouses in Welch.  And this time, it was actually not disastrous.  See, usually, we are made to realize just how bad our greenhouse really looks and how we aren't doing a very good job.  (Collin Johnson, the SURGe President, can back me up on this one.)  But THIS TIME, she was proud of us!  She APPROVED!!  THAT was how this great day started!

And then I went to Vert. Neuro. and actually answered a question when the entire class was silent.  But then my professor pointed at me with a laser pointer.  When he realized this, he joked that that was probably why no one wanted to answer his questions.  That was little embarrassing.....


The low point of my day: working on my Physics lab report, on which I procrastinated AGAIN for the second week in a row.  (Hey, I am WAY better than I used to be.)  The bad part was that I made myself finish it instead of going to get FREE Amy's Ice-cream at the HRC today for the poetry reading going on.  I guess I deserved it, huh? 

Lack of sugar intake and chocolately-goodness aside, I proceeded to my Physics lab, a 3-hour block in my Wednesday schedule, which, today, ended in just 20 minutes.  Yes, you read that right.  A LAB in TWENTY MINUTES.  Last week, it took FIVE MINUTES (because there was no new data collection).  Sweeeeet! 

Afterwards, I got a head start, working on my NEW Physics lab report in the Biology computer labs in the ACA building (ACA 1.126 and ACA 1.124), located behind PAT.  (Y'all should be proud of me; I learned my lesson.)  And, get this, there is FREE PRINTING here for anyone enrolled in a Biology class!!  Who knew, right?  1 BIO class = 200 pages; 2 BIO classes = 300 pages; 3 BIO classes = 400 pages.  And those quotas are PER SEMESTER!  So I proceeded to print homework and articles for class and then realized that I was actually in 3 BIO classes this semester!  Yay me!! :)  Can it GET any better than this? 

I happily came home early (er), albeit somewhat guiltily for not going to my FRI lab. Shhh.....  I promptly proceeded to raid the freezer and what did I find?  ICE CREAM!! I had an ice-cream sandwich AND 2 scoops of vanilla. (Ha!  Take that, Physics lab!)

So, because of my fabulous day today, I have now been writing this blog post for the past HOUR instead of studying for my first midterm on Friday.....

I hope you enjoyed it.  You're welcome.

On a related note:  If you don't know where there is free printing available on campus, I'll try to find out the locations and quotas for a slew of majors and list them here sometime this month. 

Keep checking back and thanks for reading!  As always, feel free to comment below.  I want to know if people are actually reading this stuff!

Yours truly,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hello There! or Am I Doing This Right?

Hey everyone!

How's it going?  My name is Vidya Bondada and I am your new blogger here for SURGe, the Science Undergraduate Research Group, the largest research group on campus!  You may also know me as a Co-Chair for the Fundraising Committee, and you've probably seen me at the meetings and the plant sales and in the greenhouse! 

Anyway, I just wanted to say "WELCOME (BACK)!!" to another exciting year of college.  Your SURGe officers have been working hard to give you the best SURGe has to offer, from undergraduate panels to lab tours to intramural sports.  We've got it all! 

If you really want to get involved with SURGe, there is still time!  You can join one of our committees:

Fundraising Committee (FRC): meets at 4PM at the Painter Greenhouse EVERY TUESDAY.
Public Relations Committee (PRC): meets EVERY MONDAY.  Time: TBD.  Contact Christy Portales at surgepr@gmail.com for more information.

This is officially my first blog post EVER, so, as you can see, I'm pretty excited!  I'll be using this as a venue to update you about SURGe goings-on and anything else about college that comes to mind!  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fundraising + fun social event!

Hello All!!
I'm quite sad that I have not been able to see all of your lovely faces. However, we will be tabling all day tomorrow, and thursday so please come say HI!


We have a profit share set up at Red Mango on Monday 02-07-11 from
7:00-10:00 p.m. We get 20% of the total sales made from those people
who mention SURGe. We need to tell as many people as possible so this
fundraising event is successful!

Youn Joo Kim
SURGe Vice President

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Westmall Plant Sale Tomorrow :)

Hello all,
We will have a Westmall Plant Sale tomorrow from 9-4 :D
We also have a FRC meeting today at 4PM if you can make it!!


Youn Joo Kim

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy First Day Back!

I hope you are having a great first day back! :D
We have a westmall plant sale this friday so don't forget to stop by and say HI!
if you are still wondering about joining a committee


surge.fundraising@gmail.com for the Fundraising Committee
surge.pr@gmail.com for the Public Relations Committee

Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you and have a nice day!

Youn Joo Kim
SURGe Vice President

ps. check out our new buildings :D