Category Archives: academics

dear julia

julia1

Dear Julia,

Happy graduation! I am so unbelievably proud of you for surviving four full years at Caltech and graduating with an impressive degree in physics. From the first time I met you there during spring break of our freshman year I knew you were going to have an entirely unique experience. We went to a Jurassic Park themed party where the students had constructed a life-size model of a t-rex. This was not your typical “college” experience, but you would make it your own in time. You brought so much more to the school than just your intellect; you brought your amazing personality and an ability to light up a room like no one else.

You’ve gone through so many tough times during the last four years and there have been too many times that I have wanted to fly out to save you. That being said,  there have also been countless good times. You’ve made so many great friends, learned soooo much, and definitely left your unique Juju mark on the school.

I am so excited to be able to begin the next chapter of our lives together. You are going to make the most amazing teacher for Teach for America and we are going to absolutely kill it in the city. I am so incredibly lucky to have you as my twin. You are my rock and my best friend.

Own that stage today, Juju. Be thankful for the chapter you’ve just completed and look forward to your future with a bright smile.

Yours forever,

Cat

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prepare to be e-mazed

emaze1

The other day I was sitting in one of my economics courses watching some of my classmates give a presentation. It.Looked.Fantastic. What were they using? It looked like a power point, but it certainly wasn’t power point. It was emaze, a new online presentation platform. The free site allows you to choose from a dozen different presentation templates and has countless example presentations by real users for inspiration. Once you’ve selected your template theme, creating a magnificent presentation is really too easy. For each new slide emaze gives you about a dozen different slide layouts to choose from and each is completely customizable. The systems for changing font, adding graphics (they have the cutest!) and adjusting just about anything is so easy. That’s probably what the “e” in emaze stands for — easy! I honestly love this platform and will definitely be using it for my final few presentations of college (eek!)!

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back to school goals

back to school goals

Today I head back to school after my incredibly long winter break (see here and here). I’m not super duper huge into New Year’s resolutions (although, I did have an idea here), but back to school goals are definitely a thing for me. This winter term I’ve set three goals for myself:

1. Make more time for friends – I feel like every time I run into friends at school it’s always just that: running. I never have time to sit down with someone and have a substantial chat. There’s always some place I have to be or something I absolutely must do. This term I’m prioritizing and putting friends first because, truthfully, they’re the ones who get you through school, not the grades.

2. Work really hard on finishing my Senior Thesis – I’m doing a two-term thesis in economics for my senior year. I’m already half way through technically, but I definitely have way more than half of the work left to go. I really want to put a lot of effort into finishing this up and knocking it out of the park.

3. Sign up for my first real yoga class – I loveee (see here and here), but I’m afraid to admit that I’ve never taken an actual yoga class. This term I want to try a beginner’s yoga class and hopefully make it a part of my life for many years to come!

Will you be setting any back to school goals this winter?

 

pre-technology

pre-technology

The other day I was walking through one of the academic buildings on my college campus in between classes and glanced at a handful of students all silently working away on their laptops. At first I didn’t think a thing about it (why would I? Save for red solo cups on weekends, there is not a sight more common on a college campus), but then something struck me: what did college look like before technology? I have only ever known an environment where the library was just a change of scenery for doing work outside of your dorm room and where walking across campus checking your phone was just as natural as catching up with friends face-to-face. What did college look like before technology? Did people congregate in the library because they had to? Because they had to read actual books? Did students play card games and catch in between classes to pass the time instead of watching TV on their computers? How did students carry everything? And, most pressingly, what did you do if you found yourself walking towards someone you didn’t want to speak with and didn’t have an urgent text message to check? I wonder if we were smarter back then, or (counter-intuitively) more efficient… I am certainly glad I live and go to school during this age of technology (for, what would become of my dear blog?!), but sometimes I wonder what it would be like…

cuddly and cozy

consider this my weekend "desk"

consider this my weekend “desk”

Sometimes you just need a cuddly and cozy weekend in. Recently I have felt like I’m running around like a kitten with her tail cut off and I just need some hard core R&R. Save for a Russian Club event tonight and my grandmother’s birthday celebration tomorrow, I am going to do my best this weekend to just take it easy. Granted, I can never completely escape from doing school work on the weekends (unlike real life), but that doesn’t mean I can’t be productive while cuddling up with a super snuggly blanket! Does anyone else have no plans as their weekend plans?

is this not the perfect weekend-in set-up?

is this not the perfect weekend-in set-up?

no government? no thesis

While I follow global financial markets, I have never been a big one for news and political what-not. History, political science, and current events are in no way my forte. However, I was forced to mind the recent, scandalous U.S. federal government shutdown when it impacted me in a very direct and personal way: I can’t do my thesis! I am a senior at Union College in upstate New York and as part of my ultimate year at the institution, I am required to write a 60 page + thesis within my magnificent major, economics. My thesis is essentially a consulting project for the Union Admissions Office investigating how admissions data corresponds to a student’s decision to enroll, but part of that work requires holding Union statistics up against some other empirical measures. Measures that scores of theses writers have acquired from IPEDS – the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System hosted by the U.S. Department of Education. But, upon trying to access such information, I was encountered by the above roadblock. Thank goodness that the impasse has come to pass, if not for my own sake then at least for the sake of my thesis advisor!

be present in life

 

be preset in lifeI have always had a passion for entrepreneurial pursuits; I’ve taken a few courses on the subject (both awesome and part of the reason I came to Union College), love attending entrepreneurial events, and am always so impressed by the ideas and the schedule! There are so many articles and videos and sites about entrepreneurship on the internet, but I find that I like to read the same articles over and over again and am able to find new inspiration and new interpretations with every read. One of those articles is the Wall Street Journal’s “How Entrepreneurs Come Up With Great Ideas.” I think my favorite piece of advice from the article is Angela Benton‘s (Founder and CEO of NewME Accelerator) suggestion to “be present in life.” She mentions how, “Something as simple as having a cup of coffee becomes a juggling act of replying to emails and managing schedules” (guilty!) and says that as long as we can find balance for everything in our lives — the sciences, the arts, the practical, the “impractical” — an awesome idea just might come our way! So, even if you’re not hoping to start your own business one day, but are merely looking for some thesis inspiration, be present today. You never know what might pop into your head!