Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dear Younger Self: a message to incoming freshman me

Dear Younger Self,

You don't want to admit it, but you're scared.

For weeks relatives have asked you the question, and you've just shrugged it off. But deep down inside you know it's true. You are scared. Scared of grades and of failing. Scared you won't end up with a good roommate. Scared you won't make friends, or you'll end up with the wrong crowd. You're going to college, even more: you're going to Mines. The thought is even overwhelming. You wonder if you made the right choice.

You'll move in, and have a blast. Your roommate will be the awesomest roommate to ever walk to earth, even if you don't know that yet. The first week, though filled with fun activities, will be a little awkward. You'll meet some people that you'll never hang out with, and you'll meet some people that will become some of your closest friends. You just never know, and the ways you meet them will be all different- from Playfair doing what it was designed to do, to sitting down randomly with someone at Slate, to coming across an amazing group of people offering you ice cream, to meeting kids in class by getting lost after Calc or having the exact class schedule, to getting to know people on your floor more closely from shopping sprees and Tebowing sessions.

You'll go to class. You'll like all of first. Then you'll fall asleep during Calc, which is a bad idea, and in Earth, which is not such a bad idea. You'll get a D in Calc and a high B in Earth for your first tests. Oh and a B in Chem. The thing about Chem is Chem lab. You'll become lab partners with another Geophysics major. And in theory, that is a bad idea. But whatever. It'll be fun. But I suggest getting an extra-long lighter.

You'll be carefree for the first month, but all of a sudden more tests will start coming up. And a lot of homework. And it will build up. And make you crazy. Maybe if you weren't so involved...On your freshman resume, you will have included in your activities:
  • Society of Women Engineers 
  • Society of Student Geophysicists
  • Society of  Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • The Oredigger
  • InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
And IV will take up most of your time. But you'll love it.
Oh yeah, and you'll work 10 hours a week for Athletics, which doesn't fit well with your schedule and the concept of studying, but oh well. You need the money.

You're used to being stressed out by now. Or at least always having something due, somewhere to go. And getting sometimes 5 hours, mostly 7, when you're lucky 8 hours of sleep each night. You'll need a vacation. And you'll go to IV's Fall Conference, and it will be awesome. You'll become even closer to some friends and make new that will study with you for Calc and then Chem.

Again, when it comes to outlets, InterVarsity will still be the group you're most involved with, the one where you know the most people. They'll actually move you in Orientation Weekend. And then there will be Large Group, Bible Study, Friday Movie Night at the Sparkly Man Cave, and study sessions in DiggerDen. And other cool stuff like Amazing Race. And mad craziness of each awesome person. As for The Oredigger, you'll write an article that will be due the same day as the first Calc test. Of course, you won't write it until that Thursday. And that is a bad idea. After that you'll write a couple other articles, but due to your insane schedule and inability to attend the meetings, along with pure being busy and sheer boredom of the rag that is this grammatically incorrect newspaper- you'll not be too involved the rest of the semester. As for SWE, SHPE, and SSG- there is good food, but SHPE and SSG coincide. SSG has less members, thus more food. Yay.

After a while, you'll realize that the other kids are not just jealous of you living in Maple Hall. You'll realize you hang out with only 40% of the floor, and 90% of the time you'll hang out with 10% of the floor. And most of those times will be bothering the kid across the hall because he has a futon or doing homework with the baseball players or going shopping with the girls- stuff that your RA doesn't plan. But it's okay. You guys don't do much, and there was this one floor meeting where a couple people you had never seen before emerged and everyone was like "whoa",  but the half of you guys that do know each other will be pretty cool. And you wouldn't trade them for a floor full of others.

You'll love Golden, more than you could have initially imagined. It's so pretty in the autumn. And yeah, it's close to home. But when it snows, it's magical. The campus is so still...until you get thrown into the snow. And it's so close to ice cream and stuff. And even with an ankle that's not 100% after injuring it in Humans Vs. Zombies, it'll take you 8 minutes to scamper from one end of campus to the other, assuming you start from Maple and run downhill from there. It's a great place to live, and you'll love it.

Duncan's voice will bore you. Haji's socks will repulse you. Berlin's...everything will annoy you. But it's okay, you have your friends. They'll hear you out. And complain with you. And make fun of the socks and be those distracted "kids who sit in the back" with you. But still do homework with you. Some friends will stay up with you. Have long conversations or walk you through your lab at night into early morning with you. You'll even have those long conversations that occur when you and your roommate thought you both should be in bed. You'll have bad weeks, and they'll understand. You'll go through bad tests, and some will even be sitting in the same room. The stress will come, and you'll know where to find them (most of them are probably studying). And whenever you have "free time" they'll be there to have fun with you and do crazy things with you.

The last two weeks will be crazy. But you'll live, after all you have junkfood on your side. (Ha, and your face breaks out. Ha ha.) The night before finals the internet will provide a horrible distraction that will take your focus away from Chem and Earth. So if you ever get mad, for future reference: stay off Facebook. Actually, if you want to get anything done productively and not have to stay up til 4 a.m. because you're distracted, delete it. Or show some self-control. But whatever, there's always some distraction, something to do. And during weeks like this, yeah you'll be stressed out, but you'll make it. Seriously- stop crying about SolidWorks and go study it. Sheesh.

Finals will come. And it'll all be a learning experience: some days you win, some days you lose. Some days it snows. And Duncan gets trapped in his house and has to postpone Exam 1, so you get more time to cram. Some days you guess wrong. Which is unfortunate that you had to guess so wrong on Exam 3. But somedays you'll guess right and know it and exhale (Chem), and some days you'll thank God for partial credit (Math). It'll all turn out.

So don't worry, younger self. After finals you'll be mentally stable, with a boatload of memories from just one semester, many friends you made them with, and the assurance that you made the right choice and belong here. You'll go home relax for four weeks. Okay never mind, you'll have an emotional breakdown the night before final grades are posted. But it'll be okay, you have your friends again. And your mom makes ribs and macaroni and cheese. Then you'll rest for a few weeks.

And one week in, you're already gonna miss it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finals Week Begins Now

 Here it is, the week we've all been waiting for. The week of mental breakdowns and physical sickness. Grades never mattered more in my life. All tremble and fear. I have one week to study- and it's not quite dead. But in 10 days, it'll all be over.
So I decided to do a mini-blog this week. Expect sporadic UPDATES in this post, updated below this text. Because I know you want to experience finals with me. 

UPDATE: Friday, December 02, 2011 1:00-1:50 p.m.
In Which I Postulate Everything is About Star Wars
(Notes taken in Earth Lecture)

Today- we learn about the Asteroid Belt. Prof. Duncan ruins everything and says there is no way Star Wars is right because asteroids are far apart. Wat! Next thing you know, he’ll say there are no such things as aliens. Oh, wait- he already did. 

Eros is a rotating asteroid. I think this is the one that has the creature inside that the Falcon landed on.
Undifferentiated asteroids, or planetesimal are the smaller ones. Like the kind the Millenium Falcon dodges through. Differentiated- larger one, like see above. Woulda become a planet. Huh. Ceres and Vesta are examples. 

NEOs are stuff that cross the earth’s orbit, and have the potential to kill a bunch of people and dinosaurs. AND OH NO COORS FIELD WOULD BE DESTROYED. 

Duncan says this crater that hit Arizona had a lot of Potential Energy in referring to its mass. Which is kinda WRONG- once it started going, it had a lot of KINETIC ENERGY too!

Well a while ago all the polar bears died in Siberia when a crater hit. Tunguska, Siberia. 


Some dude that made shoes predicted comet impact.

TV IS BAD FOR YOU, PEOPLE!!!! A lady got hit by a meteorite!


UPDATE: Saturday, December 03, 2011 6:20 p.m.
Studying while listening to awesome movie scores such as Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Return of the Jedi = win.
Thank you awesome friends for the awesome idea.

UPDATE: Sunday, December 04, 2011 12:51 p.m.
Working on my Math Worksheet in the library. I think it's stupid how we have a normal load of homework due. Mental stability: okay. Hours of sleep last night: okay.

UPDATE: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 1:16 a.m.
I'm awake. Trying to complete this Earth lab. EPICS report and board is finally done. It took me back to my high school days, procrastinating projects the day before. I didn't sleep very long last night, since I had to write the whole dang report. I'm not gonna sleep tonight either. I'm not stressed though. Getting my Calc test back was a huge confidence booster. Hopefully the A doesn't make me too confident. One week and I'll be home. One week.

UPDATE: Friday, December 09, 2011 2:13 a.m.
If you want to be technical about it, it's the day before finals start- DEAD DAY.
But I don't want to be technical so I'm gonna say it's still Thursday and I'm gonna tell you that today was a good day. I woke up from getting to bed at 4 all groggy, made my way to Slate to get some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, went to lunch right after to the Sherpa House restaurant with Sara and Jayden (which consisted of awesome Nepalese food and Jayden ordering yak), went to Calc with myself and only me (well one more student was there), watched crazy conspiracy theory youtubes with Jayden, made too much noise for "dead week quiet hours" (wut) and got into a nerf sword fight with our RA, went and studied Earth for a little bit, ate Slate for dinner, hung out for an hour with my blankie, started studying for the Chem final at 9 with Rebecca, Sara and Brady joined us, Brady wanted to Tebow so we did, Brandon joined us, and we studied Chem until 2. Woot.

Oh, and chocolate. And bad jokes.

Tomorrow is what it comes down to, almost. I have to actually study for Earth. Finish a little bit for Chem. Then kill Saturday.

UPDATE: Monday, December 12, 2011 1:18 p.m.

These past two weeks have been the most stressful weeks of my life. I've stayed up 'til 2-4 a.m. almost every night, getting homework done the first week and getting studying in the second. I've been calm about actual finals until 16 hours before, then freaked out, then did the tests and did okay, and on another hand, I've not freaked out at all about a different test, then opened it and thought,"what the heck?!". But I'm done. And the stressful preparation is done, including the stressful calculation of needed grades. I have four weeks before I have to worry about Calc II and Physics. I have four weeks of sleep and good food. Whew, it feels good. And I didn't even have to pull an all-nighter.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Day I Gained my Freshman 15

For good food, green grass in November, a big blue house that is really warm for being my family's big blue house, good food, a chem lab report and pre-lab due Tuesday, a nice bed to sleep on at home and an okay one at Maple, good food, clothes in my closet organized by decreasing wavelength, a Calc test Tuesday night, a Calc worksheet due Monday, two Earth labs due Thursday, finals coming up, good food, opportunities in life, an average of 7 hours of sleep per night, a job that pays me a little over minimum wage to watch sporting events, a loving family, awesome friends that I grew up with and awesome friends that make college amazing, all the blessings in my life, and last but not least- good food, I am thankful. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011


It was a crazy week. I had two tests. Thus, I did not write. I have the SolidWorks retake tonight. Thus, this post will be somewhat incoherent. Props to you if you understand any of it. So here goes...

SolidWorks is lame, let me get that out of the way. I had no idea how to use it until 7p.m. last Monday. Which is unfortunate because I was tested on it from 5p.m. to 7p.m. But what can I say, I'm a Geo major. We're not supposed to care about MechE programs...unless we understand it, and then we just do it for fun 'cause we're nerds. I even started an unofficial club Geophysicists Against SolidWorks. It's the next big thing, I tell ya. Let me drop this on you- this is what it sounds like to take SolidWorks:

HA HA HA HA ....
Again, props to you if you get it. You either are here at Mines already, or you should be. 
Another thing Geophysics majors are supposed to hate is Chemistry.  I don't though, and especially with Racicot teaching it, I don't think anyone hates it. Lab kinda sucks- even more so depending on your TA. I kinda suck and am the last one to finish. But I calculated my labs and I think I might have a B. Which is good. I just really need a B on this past test, which was really long and no one had time to finish. It makes me mad because I wanted an A so badly. I haven't gotten an A on any test yet. I got an A on some EPICS assignments, but those don't really count. Bleh. Oh yeah, here's our filter we're building. It's pretty legit. 

But yeah, I studied so hard for Chem. Sigh. That book is falling apart. 
 One more day of classes, just one more day. Then I go back home for Thanksgiving Break. I am so stoked beyond words for Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, but there is one thing that makes me swoon: the thought of all the good food my mom is going to make. Heck. Yes. Ahem, but uh yeah, I love Thanksgiving and am excited to spend time with family and study for the Calc test. 
Oh, that. Yeah- we have a test right after Thanksgiving, which makes the cranberry sauce turn into lamesauce. Bleh.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why Did I Come Here Again?

I still can't believe it's November already. I can't believe I'm this old- a "college kid". I still can't believe I'm here at Mines, actually doing this stuff. It's crazy. Midterms finally ended. I can't believe the next round of tests is just around the corner. I can't believe I've made it this far and am still loving it.

There are still times, though. Times where you are in the midst of trying to complete a ton of assignments, while maybe studying for the test coming up. Times you wish you had more cash, or that you already graduated and were rich. Times you wish your floor was more social, or you didn't have all this homework keeping you from just doing things from friends. Times the laundry piles up, and the dumpster outside seems so far away, except for trash day when the trucks wake you up at 6. Times that annoying people annoy you while being annoying. Times you want just one more hour of sleep. Or that your brain would stop working during the designated time for sleep.

College is crazy, man. Mines is crazy. Life is crazy. During those difficult times, the thought goes through our heads: "Why did I come here again?". Other friend's from different colleges complaints about music class's unbearable difficulty sicken us. Or their fear of failing underwater basket weaving- I mean, come on. And we're here learning to be helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva engineers. The land of evil Chem TA's that make students write 15 hour lab reports and professors that put you to sleep after lunch and EPICS teachers with evil laughs and jokes that aren't funny. The place where math never ends in any subject, except for the few liberal arts writing courses that everyone complains about anyway because they are, well, liberal arts writing courses. The poor nerdy guys can't find a girlfriend. And school is so hard.

Then we remember where we are. But we still try to remember why.

"I like science", "I got the free application", "I wanted to be an engineer since I was two", "I...really don't know" we manage to say. I really do like science, and didn't want to pay to write an essay to apply for college. I always thought Mines was for crazy geniuses, and never considered it until Junior year in highschool. And then suddenly I wanted a good education and a college experience and a high paying job at the end.

Somehow it turned out to be more than that. This sounds cliche, but: I love the small community of Mines, and the fact that we are all here for science, math, and engineering. (Except for Econ majors. I met one. They exist...kinda.) I love how we accept and promote each other's nerdisms. I love that Golden is a pretty town that doesn't stink most of the time. And yeah, it's good that our hard work will turn into a degree that matters.

I'll say it again: time flies. When it's all said and done, will we even remember the evenings at Solid Works session? Or the failed chem labs? And that time will come so soon, if we just enjoy it. And it will all be worth it. One day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


PA is an interesting creature at the Colorado School of Mines. First and foremost, its name. We are forbidden to call it PE, because apparently everyone in the world would think us to have Petroleum Engineering class where we have to wear closed toed athletic shoes. Strange, I know. But Petroleum gets naming rights. Secondly, PA is plain amusing accounting for the fact that we're all a bunch of wimpy nerds put into a strange gym-looking room (the field house) forced to do athletic things. Funny...I don't feel exercised at all.

At the beginning of the year, we were told this was to be our fun class that will be the easiest to pass, so make friends 'cause it will be boring if you don't talk. So we made friends. And we talked before class. And our coach took forever to show up, so we waited- sometimes until 10:15. But once he got there and took roll call, we played dodgeball (sometimes after running/walking two laps). And while pretending to play dodgeball, we stood in the back talking and exercising our voices and social skills..if we have any. This is how it's been for 10 weeks, except the nice days in September that we played kickball outside.

There is a specific strategy for dodgeball, and I think Mines students have figured it out. After waking up at 9:50, get there all groggy and walk to the nearest wall. When a kid yells "3...2...1...Dodgeball!", don't run up to the line. Stay behind and stand in the back of a very large person for a shield, but not too big that you can't see what's going on. When numbers start dwindling, and it looks like you'll have to do something to avoid being the last survivor, try to catch a ball and fail. Or throw a ball so the other team catches it. Then you'll be out of the game. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show that is The Wizard (some weird kid) yelpping as he gets hit. Some kids will try to jailbreak the team while out by making a basket on the other side of the court, but that is pointless- you'll only have to go back out and play.

Oh, once in a while we hustle. Sometimes the team I'm on wins. But usually dodgeball is a very good display of poor athleticism, except for the few former baseball players who throw curveballs that go right towards your face. PA is mostly a waste of time: I get a better workout walking to and from PA than the actual class. We never do anything. Except for that one time we ran a mile, which was more like crawling for some of us who were gasping for air and holding our sore limbs. Easy A.

I'm starting to make my schedule for next semester. I think it'll be fun, with a dose of horrible red boxes from Physics on Lon-Capa. Or however you spell it. I think I'm gonna try to get PA only once a week at 8 a.m. Which might be stupid, because no one is a morning person, and we'll be playing dodgeball even more lethargically. We might even be able to play while sleep-walking.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Kids Are Alright

Week Ten. It's going to be crazy. I have a Calculus test and Earth Systems paper due, which is a normal work load, but there is something else going on. Humans vs. Zombies is going on. A game where a bunch of nerds get to carry nerf guns and swords around, eat marshmallows, and swing socks. A game where your friends turn into zombies after going all out on weaponry. A game where you legitimately fear for your life walking back from EPICS in the evening, for dozens of zombies have their faces pressed up against the glass CTLM windows creeping everyone out. This is HVZ. This is Mines.

Oh, we're not immature. It's completely normal for us to run from building to building with toys in hand and scream and yell and would consider ditching PA or (heaven forbid) waking up early to get to a class super early. Why worry about stuff that is more important like homework and labs and tests and world peace and domination? Actually, I'm not gonna lie. This game, though only a game has altered me mentally and made me a little more stressed out than I normally am. I have to plot my way to and from classes and routes and how the heck I'm gonna eat. I've tried to bind together with other humans. My friends have been taken down. It's fun, but kinda a big deal. I suppose any other week (or at any other campus) it would be a nice distraction, but this week....this week is bad.

But survival skills are where it's at, right? I mean, we've survived almost 10 weeks of classes, and midterms are almost over. We bind together and try to get through, one week at a time. We combat homework and tests and then get sad when one takes us out. And when we get stressed out, we go shoot nerf guns at zombies....or go eat humans. Or make use of the many distractions we like to call "outlets".

The thing is, over halfway in, we're alright. We do our own laundry now. We get invited to fun things and then frown and say "I've got homework, sorry", and then do go and do homework. And we've always known how to eat, but now have further knowledge and creativity of meal preparation/acquiration. What else do we need? Eating bags of marshmallows and having massive pillow fights, I'm sure. Just for added maturity. Oh, and shooting off the nerf gun in Chem lecture. (Two of these three things are true for me).

It's not easy. I say this and everyone will say this, but there is so much I have to get done this week and I don't know how- yet I do. Time flies, and it's difficult to grasp that's real. I'm really here at Mines in college doing all this stuff. It becomes a little bit more real every time I see an exam score posted, but I don't think I'll ever really grasp thing...until I'm done, and it'll be too late, and I'll have a degree (hopefully). That seems so far away.

But I've been turned. Go zombies. I'm gonna miss carrying around weapons. The thing I put my sword in. The clank of my gun against my leg as I ran across Kafadar. That's the cool thing now- we're still kids, goofy and immature, but we're not anymore, with school shadowing everything in the back of our mind, getting done what needs to get done, and hoping it was the right way. Meaning: we make our own choices and choose to carry around foam weaponry. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can I Stop And Think About My Life for One Second?!?!!

Someone please make it stop.

Last week, I was in the midst of scrambling to get all my homework done. It was a relatively easy load, but seriously, I had no "free" time (fun time doesn't count- I have to schedule that in, and do it well, if I may say so myself). And I had to get as much as possible done because I was going to InterVarsity's Fall Conference on Friday and didn't want to bring up homework. I ended up bringing it up anyway. But consider Thursday night, when I had to finish everything because Fridays have no free time, pack my stuff (which ended up getting done at midnight), and look at the email I just got from my Earth professor. Oh, look. Earth grades are up- let's have a look.

I then got a little depressed. Okay, maybe a lot. I tried not to think of my horrible grade- my horrible grade that was worse than some kids' BELS tests...and that's bad. I started to think what I could've done wrong to fail A MULTIPLE CHOICE TEST ABOUT ROCKS. I mean, c'mon. I deemed myself a failure at studying, and then ran to Digger Den to grab pizza and chocolate. I ended up forgetting about the chocolate.

So after packing, I went to bed, and began crazy Friday. All Fridays are crazy. It's a rule. But I basically ran from work to Earth to Calc (where I tried to finish my worksheet) to Maple to grab all my stuff and finish packing to the parking lot. I think I ate somewhere in between there. But the hard part of Friday was over. A car had some marker on the windows: "Fall Conference or Bust!" "IV yay!" "wubwubwubwub". I smiled.

Rebecca (a girl in my Bible study Maple small group) and I stuffed our stuff into Aaron's (our happy red-headed driver) trunk. We are girls and had a lot of stuff. David (the other guy riding with us) and Aaron had less stuff. But we stuffed it in, and hopped in, and were off. I was Shotgun DJ. Heh, what an awesome job description: Shotgun DJ. The ride went quick. I think I fell asleep. But we got up there....safely.

In the town of Estes Park, we had lunch and stopped by the chocolate factory before heading up to the retreat site. We almost got lost but made it, and it was pretty nice, if I say so myself. The dorms were heated- maybe a little too much. There were ponds. There was a really cool building by the pond that was the prayer room.

But the first night was fun. We all (Mines, CU, CSU, UNC, Auraria) cheered really loud. Mines cheered louder when Will MC'd. We cheered whenever Mines was even mentioned. We were awesome, and we knew it. Almost 70 of us had come, and we comprised around a third of Fall Conference. Nerd. Domination. Breaking ice and breaking into little groups for the games. Then finally grouping into chapters. And randomly shouting "OHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" while another joins and another then

"I wish I had a barrel of rum and sugar three hundred pounds.
A college bell to mix it in and a clapper to stir it 'round.
Like every honest felLOOWWWWW I take my whiskey clear.
I'm a ramblin' wreck from Golden Tech, a helluva engineer...."

It was the best and most spirited redition of the fight song I've heard since I've been here.

It was fun. The Speaker talked about stepping in- to Fall Conference and to whatever God has planned. Gently easing into the cold water of a pool was not encouraged, but rather, cannonballing. We broke into chapters after that, and played more community-building games. Then we had to be in bed by midnight, which is funny.

The rest of the weekend went like this: meals- which were a great break from Slate, and sessions which started with games, ended with the speaker talking about stepping (up, through, out), sandwiched by songs from the worship team. Saturday was awesome because of two things. First, because of amazing God is. I woke up and there was an inch of snow on the ground and snow was still steadily falling. After morning session was a time set aside for prayer and reflecting for one hour. Quiet time. Now that is almost funny, but so needed and it was so quiet. I chose a place outside even though the temperature was dropping and the wind was picking up. But it was awesome. And so still. And so quiet. I prayed and then thought about my life for a while.

I thought about school without thinking about school. It might be hard to explain, but every stinking second of my life is spent thinking about school, what I need to do, where I need to go next, what is the minimum about of homework I can do tonight and still get it done by tomorrow. But this time, I thought about school and the big picture. My grades so far and my study habits. My insane schedule and how I somehow manage it. How much I needed success.

I thought about my life. Where I might go. What God might be wanting me to do next. The big picture. All the amazing people I've met recently. All the past things in my life that...were not so great. All the past things in my life that were awesome. I thought about how amazingly blessed I am with what I have. Not everyone has that, y'know.

That was good. During free time I played soccer in the snow rather than doing homework. It was really fun, even though I only had my Mines hoodie to keep me warm and socks for mittens. Those socks proved to be crucial, for a mass snowball fight erupted. Throwing snow in people's faces is always fun.

Rachael (my Bible study leader), Rebecca, and I went to the prayer room before dinner together.  The prayer room was a really cool building that had a bridge leading to it and everything. Inside were a bunch of stuff to make art with, and maps of the world, US, and individual campuses with sticky notes on what we feel needs prayer. Boulder had a note for "the sinners on the hill". Most campuses had "finding a place, being successful". Mines had that stuff along with the main one- "Tests.". I added a +1. And "community" for the spot on 17th and Maple Street...

Saturday night was the main event, I suppose. The speaker talked about "stepping through" apathy (laziness, like falling asleep in class, or plain lukewarmedness), habitual sin, gossip, and guilt. During chapter time, we all shared how God quenched our thirsts or revealed what we should be thirtsting for. All 60-odd kids went up and shared, then dumped their cup of water in a tub. I expressed that I want God to really just quench all my thirsts...'cause I want a lot. Like success in school. And all the other things I want that, if I pursue on my own, will be empty and I'll die trying to cram everything in and eventually explode. So...yeah.

We broke into our small groups including previously mentioned Rebecca and Aaron, and Daniel, Devin, and another Daniel and Lee. So some people I know well, some people I was just getting to know, and some people I'd just met. Which brings me to the second part of why Fall Conference was awesome- building friendships and meeting people and... stuff. Our small group was pretty awesome. (And I know I use the word awesome too much). We were to share our experiences throughout the day and then after we all prayed for one another individually. Not all the small groups did that, so we were the last remaining while most of the  others went to CU's dance party. Heh, Boulder. But yeah- amazing. Oh and there are many, many awesome people in IV in their own funny ways- and I'm so glad to have spent the weekend with them. A few of us instead of going to Boulder chapter's gig, huddled around John (the piano player) while he played and sang along. Funny- the only Boulder party I'll probably be invited to and... ha ha ha.

But again, the community among Mines was awesome. We know each of us is weird in an awesome way with molecular bonding and wookie noises and us girls not being able to talk about shoes and then laughing at the other guys asking for tips as they held open door because we're so used to it for free. I even won one of the games representing Mines by blowing up the most balloons. I literally had my own cheering section then, and at other times during the weekend was part of the cheering section for other kids. It was even a lot of fun just to sit and be silly with the other freshman in IV. Even more exciting- my Bible study leader was proposed to in front of 150 people and that night, all the girls were buzzing about her engagement. I mean, that's cool- bunking with a bunch of girls after something exciting as that.

By now it is nearly Thursday, and I am still trying to let God control my life rather than myself. Sunday, I found out that my horrible Earth grade was actually a high B, which is what I was expecting, and was a huge relief after I saw it. I haven't totally crashed in class. I'm paying attention. I hardly have homework this week (compared with the craziness of most weeks), and I'm enjoying life. I'm still really tired, and am going to end now.

Oh and this weekend is fall break! Sara is going home and so am I this weekend. I'm gonna sleep in my own bed...if I can even claim ownership to it anymore. I'm gonna chill with the fam, go to church Sunday (yay!), and do something Monday and Tuesday....something besides Chemistry. I need to think of ideas.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ear Buddies

Oh hey friends. It has come to my attention that I owe y'all a blog post.
It has also come to my attention that I don't owe you anything. So there.

(awkward silence)

Heh, blogging is awesome. I don't have to write right now, but because I'm a cool person, I'm going to. So here goes...

Tonight I'm going to talk a little bit about one of the things I love most in the world: baseball.

You see, this story goes back to 2007 when I decided to follow the Rockies. My first medium of choice in following them was the Rocky Mountain News (rest its soul), but I eventually switched to the most awesome way to follow a game besides being there in person: the radio.

Radio was made for baseball, and baseball was made for radio. So from then on I hung on every pitch, every deep fly, and every final out from the radio. It took me on amazing adventures through awesome wins and made me want to throw things at it after horrible losses. It's awesome, seriously.

Well, being a freshman in highschool in late 2007 through the 2008 season, I obviously had to wake up early for school the next day. And being homeschooled, my dad would enforce sleep strictly and tell us to turn off our lights and procede to sleep. This is exactly what I did during the winter. But when February rolled around, everything changed.

I remember the first Spring Training game in 2008 because I recorded it onto my camera and made it into an audio file because I missed it live. I also became very familiar with the meaningless game, listening to it in future offseasons whenever I got bored, until the day finally came when I couldn't take the depression of listening to players who were no longer with the Rockies play. (I suppose I might feel the same way listening to a 2011 Spring Training game....hahaha....sigh).

At first, I fed my pink Hello Kitty boom box on the side of my bed and up underneath a pillow. The regular season started. Whenever there were games, I would jump onto my bed with the radio turned up just enough so that only I could hear it when I pressed my ear close by. I loved late night west coast games...those were the nights when my dad thought I had gone to sleep at 9, when in reality the game would end at 11 and the postgame show would go longer (if the Rockies won). Sometimes, a light would go on in the hallway, and then I'd shove my Hello Kitty baseball listening device far underneath the pillows and my head would roll over to the other side, and I'd pretend to sleep. Being a baseball fan is hard.

My dad had an old school iPod with earbuds. He eventually got new, better quality ones, and without explicit permission, I inherited the old ones. (I also have this same old iPod now after my brother gave it to me.) Now being the type of person I am (nerd, baseball fan), I permanently placed my boom box under the pillows in the corner of my bed, hooked up the earbuds to it, and fed one earbud through my pillow case so it was hidden, but if my ear was placed properly near it, I could still hear the radio. I know: freshman me was awesome.

It was the ultimate baseball addiction enabler besides the internet. For many years following (well, four), I operated like this, and it was perfect. I could pretend to sleep and not sleep and not have to shuffle when I heard my parents' footsteps coming up the stairs. The only problem is that it damaged my attention span forever, causing me to pretend to carry conversations while listening to a game. This damage carried on to even being distracted at anything when the Rockies were on, and zoning out in general when boring people spoke to me. Baseball has doomed my college career.

But as the seasons went on and I fell in love more and more with the game, my ear buds were there. They were there for listening to Opening Day during school and the 22-inning game the night before I had to wake up for school. They were there for the Spilly Slam and Todd Helton's 2000th hit and Ubaldo's no-hitter. They were there for inside curveballs, running catches, amazing 9-run 9th innings, swinging strikeouts, walk-off doubles, and blown saves. And they were there for the tears and laughter that came with each moment. I even took them to a couple game to listen to my radio and brought them along when I saw the Rockies in San Francisco. I guess you could say we were close.

This season sucked. That's all. My earbuds agreed, and started to turn an off-white color and fray a bit until finally the wires started showing and I couldn't take them out of my laptop without fear of them breaking.

So I replaced them.

Here's my new purple earbuds next to my swagged-out laptop.

They're a lot different. I don't know how I feel about them yet. Huh. I guess the same goes for the Rockies. They're so different, I still love them, but I don't know how I feel about them and what the future holds for them. But for now, I can only hope my new ear buds will come with me on a lot of memory trips and last more than five years. Oh and studying, yeah. I can use them while studying.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Everyone wears Mines shirts around here.

That is to be expected, I suppose. What I don't get is why we wear them around campus and then wear our Pacific Beach shirts when we go off campus. I mean, the kids at Mines obviously know you're going to Mines. Why else would you be there with a bunch of science books in your backpack? Do we really need a t-shirt to tell them? Say I'm walking to class. I see a kid with a Mines shirt or hoodie. "Hey, cool story, bro!" "Yeah, true story, man!" "Naw, really? Me too!" (looks down at own Mines shirt). We've learned a lot about each other today.

Being college students, we would love to wear our Mines shirts in public places, but of course we forgot to do laundry this week (now this is a true story). Mines is a thing to be proud of. And we should- we've earned that right. The least we could do to relieve our suffering from homework is go out to the world and say, "Aw, yeah. I go to Mines." And not in a "I think I'm better than you because I go to Mines" way, but in a "I know I'm better than you because I go to Mines" way. So take that! (Well...not really. But yes.) Personally, I guess I have a lot of pride. It comes with the bill for Maple Hall (I kid, I kid!). No but really. I try to take pride in the things I do. But not too much.

I need a Mines hoodie. But that's irrelevant. class gets our Calc I tests back tomorrow. I'm scared. Not only did I think it was bad, but so did everyone else and their roommate too. The average was in the high 60's. I'm scared.

Last week was hard. Calc almost made me want to cry. I finally hit the point where I had to do something. I went to tutoring and stuff. Maybe it helped. I don't know. But it's harder than you think...
You have to make time. You have to show up. You have to do the work. And you have to get rid of your pride. A few times I've cracked and told some kids who had taken Calc before, I don't know what the heck I'm doing. It's a horrible feeling to be lost, especially when it comes to math. But admitting it and getting help makes it a little better. I've aced a worksheet because of the people I know, and would've gotten a lesser score if I had not waved the white flag.

The flag is kind of heavy and hard to raise sometimes, though.

I'm gonna get my test back Wednesday, and then move on with my life. Can't do anything about it. [Insert cliche here.] Then I'm gonna thank God we're done with Chapter 2. Chapter 3 is already looking better...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Small Victories

There are things in life that we celebrate that may seem so insignificant at the time.
But you have to celebrate them in order to survive.

Last week was insane. First round of testing has come upon me, and the studying that comes along with it, not to mention getting everything else done in time. I studied alright I suppose, remembering most of the concepts from 10th grade, and trying to absorb the new ones. But I am getting old, and my memory is not as sharp as it once was. Or I need more chocolate...that seems to always be a valid response.

The Chemistry exam was 25 questions, multiple choice. So pretty easy compared to a lot of standards. Plus it's so fun to fill in the circles! Anyway...So I was kind of nervous, it being my first test. I don't know why else I was nervous- I had no reason to be except maybe my memory might've failed me and I could've sucked on a test that was supposed to be easy. I got there early and jiggled my keys talking to people. I sat in the back although I hadn't intended to, but went to work. Half the test was no-brainer stupid questions (or so I thought) that everyone knows. After doing those, I calculated my score to be 54 so far, because that's how I roll- calculating things I know to be true. Then I continued.

I was one of the last to leave, but not in a hurry like the others to watch the Thursday Night Movie. I got out and drank a bunch of water since I was feeling deprived of life. I then became very tired, but not until I celebrated in the parking lot. I had to celebrate. I had just survived.

But you gotta do that. You gotta notice the small stuff (or large). Like not having to wait in line for ice cream. Or when my PA coach made note of my awesome baserunning skills and asked if I played softball (scrapiness, for the win!) and then me saying that I just watch a lot of baseball and then thinking "Aw, yeah". Or when there's actually washing machines not being used. Or when I woke up just in time to make it to my 8 a.m. labs or work two days in a row. Or actually being able to sleep in until 9. Or bombing a Math worksheet and then acing the next one.

I went to the Rockies game Friday night for the first time in 46 days. It was so relaxing to watch the balls arc and carry out to the outfield during batting practice. The temperature was around 70 degrees, and it was just amazing to sit there and not have to be doing anything. At college, I'm either in class, doing homework, or eating if I'm sitting down. So to just sit there and forget about everything for 6 hours was nice. The game itself sucked, but that's where counting small victories comes in again. The fireworks show was also amazing beyond words.

It's coming on to Week 5, and I've survived sanely so far. Stay tuned for further details on mental breakdowns, 'cause Calc exam is coming, and it's coming to eat me and spit me out. Or something.

Hmm. I'm gonna be really sad when summer (baseball season) ends. But until then, I'll keep counting.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Five Hours?! It Has Come to This

I'm so...tired.

I was going to take a lot of pictures this week of Maple and write about that, but I haven't had time to take a lot of pictures. And it would've been so appropriate too, with all the #mapleproblems we have. (That is completely a joke, for you all without senses of humor, or with extreme jealousy.) But here I am, and all I have to say is I'm tired.

I think this week has been the first week I can identify a subtle routine. Classes are in full force, homework abounds, and I work 10 hours a week, all while attempting to have a social life. I know when I need to eat, and schedule my life around free food. I know what assignments I have, and I know each weekend I'll still have homework to do...sigh. I do laundry and take the trash and recyclables each Sunday. I hate Mondays, with its full schedule. After classes, I prepare the lab for the next day. I work on Tuesday, then go to Chem lab. Then I read the entirety of Chemistry Chapter Three. Tuesday evenings are InterVarsity Christian fellowship large group meetings. It's a good way to forget about school for a little while, but after that I have to prepare anything due for EPICS on Wednesday. I eat at the SWE (Society of Women Engineers) meetings for lunch Wedsnesday. In the evening there are the small group Bible Studies (next week we're breaking in the Maple grill and BBQing!). On Thursday...I think I try to do Calc homework, but usually end by printing the worksheet out and feeling good about myself for accomplishing something. MAC (Mines Activity Council) puts on  a movie every Thursday night, and so far I've gone to them all (I've seen Thor, Pirates 4, and Super 8 so far). Friday- oh gosh. I hate Fridays. I begin at work, then lunch/ meetings with a lunch, then my classes. At 6, Sara- my roommate and fellow EPICS team member- and I continue our tradition of "Things I'd Rather Be Doing Right Now On This Friday Rather Than Walking to EPICS". Like sleeping, studying, or drowning...heck, way better than EPICS on a Friday. Then finally the week ends, and I usually celebrate and have a lot of fun on Friday nights...which is bad because I have to wake up at 7 on Saturdays for work.

Which is where I am now, fresh (groggy) off a nap and seven hours of work at the football game. I know it's stupid to stay up 'til 2a.m. My alarm clock tell me so: "Your alarm is set to go off 5 hours, 10 minutes from now". Gah. And then (with apologies to Charlie Blackmon) I have to roll out of bed without rolling out of bed, look in the mirror and squint to see greatness. Work was alright today. In fact, it was kind of fun. The football team dominated 55-7, which was great. I was sideline security, which meant I had to prevent streakers or otherwise non-authorized people from going onto the field. Everyone was in a jolly mood and decently sober, so I did not have that problem. Unfortunately, I fell asleep in my chair for the final five minutes, and would've been unaware of spectators exploiting my tiredness and running across the field. But they had their chance and missed it.

I actually did do a little homework today, but out of bad judgement brought my pillow into the study room and fell asleep. Curse you, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz for inventing Calculus and making the most potent sleep aid ever. My neck started hurting, and I just went to bed. Since then I have straightened my room and written a blog post.

Experts say you can only have three of the following at Mines: good grades, social life, or sleep. Coming in, I thought I'd get 8 hours (OH, THE HUMANITY!) and work very hard to get good grades, and maybe schedule fun into there somewhere. I'm decently organized now, but have scheduled fun somewhere almost every night, and still manage to turn in my assignments on time (so far). And now I've become one of those people who wake up early every morning even though their schedule doesn't require them to and gets an average of 5 hours of sleep. It has come to this.

I'm gonna need more coffee.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I was born in Denver. Grew up there. Moved 'west' to Arvada when I was 10, but still practically lived in Denver, as it was a few minutes away. Our favorite pizzeria is still there where we used to eat at least once a week. Everywhere important is still in Denver. I love Denver. Arvada has been my home for the past 7 years, but I could care less about the city. Like one summer, I entered a giant zucchini at the Arvada Harvest Festival and didn't even win. Lame. But seriously: I love my family, I love our yard, but don't really get too enthusiastic when everyone asks where I'm from. Well, yeah, that's the last place I've been living at, but do I really have to consider it my hometown?

I love Golden so far. It's a pretty town. I haven't really walked around downtown yet, but like the view of the valley with Golden, the smallness of the town, and the community around Mines in general, I guess. There's everything I need here, or nearby. Well except a backyard where I can run around barefoot. But whenever I walk around undistracted by the heavy load of books weighing me down, I feel really blessed that I get to spend 75% of the next four years here.

I love Maple Hall. I love the proximity to the Student Center and I love how I get to run downhill for all my classes if I start either at Maple or the Student Center. I love my room and roommate. I love my floor, and a good chunk of the people that make up our small floor- Maple 1st North. I hate how they made the gate on the far side of the building, and didn't put one opening on the north (that's some bad engineering right there). I hate my bed and how small and hard it is, and how I can't jump on my bed or roll out of it. But hey, it makes it easier to wake up at 6:30 every morning.

I love Mines. I fit right in (I think, and hope). I love how I can walk to class and see a few people I know, and do a head nod (sup) or say "Hey, how's it goin'?". I love how I can just sit in the courtyard outside and watch people walk by and do the same if I know them. Same goes for sitting down at Slate, or finding a seat in class. I love(?) how I struggle with the same problems as others taking Calc I, and how we get to feel stupid together. I love the group of people whose names I've managed to remember and the community I've established around myself. Two full weeks, and I feel like I've been here for a while, and have gotten used to it.

The other day, I remembered I forgot something "at home". I then paused and stayed shocked for a moment. I forgot something at Maple, and yeah, it has become my home...ish. But I know that's not true, because home is where my family lives, yes in Arvada, where I may not use my King-sized bed for a while, but there are tomatoes growing in the backyard and good real Mexican food being cooked inside. And there's probably kids yelling and fighting and beating each other up over stupid things too, but that's not important right now.

So now as far as I can tell, I've made myself a home at Mines, yet have still kept my real home on Vance Street. Which is good- having two homes is better than not belonging anywhere. Actually, it's really great. I love it.

You know though, I'm totally wrong. This world ain't my real home. But for now, yeah. And again, I love it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

One Down, 438955793 Weeks to Go

No, I did not just calculate that.
I have survived the first week of college. What, don't they have free t-shirts for that?

It's been crazy-ish, I suppose. Just meeting everyone has been pretty hectic. There's always something going on in campus, and sleeping in is not an option. I have found it impossible to sleep in anyway, having to transition to my fluffy king bed to an XL bed lofted....but that story is probably for another post.

I hate my schedule. I wake up all early, and then eat breakfast if I feel like it. If I don't feel like it, I pack a bag of Craisins or a cereal bar and find somewhere to study. (I don't really like studying in my room-it's kind of depressing, but yet this topic is probably for another post as well.) I then wait until I'm so hungry that I forget about studying and then go eat lunch. Depending on who I sit with/if I sit with anyone, I'll either eat very little very slowly, or eat a lot very quickly. After I go to the next class, and try to stay awake. Classes have been from 1-7 with a couple unnecessary breaks, except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I had lab cancelled. I did laundry. But there ya have it. Some nights I do homework, some nights I go play capture the flag barefoot and slip and bruise my kneecap. And that's about it.

My classes are all pretty different from each other, and obviously from high school. Speaking of "obviously", my Calculus I teacher has a European accent, like either Croatia or Russia, or something like that, so that when she says "obviously" you can totally tell. The thing is, what she's teaching is not so obvious, and the kids in the back mutter "what the-" every 30 seconds. Oh, and an interesting fact about Calc: I counted around 37 kids Friday. I counted 3 girls, including myself. They weren't lying when they told you about the ratio. But 8%? I just thought that was interesting, not because I like calculating M:F ratios, but plain ole Calc is boring and I like to do my own nerdy calculations. "I'm good with calculation."

On the topic of accents- the first day of class, I noticed my Chemistry professor had an East Coast accent. I just couldn't pinpoint where. Philly? Bahston? New Yawk? Then after watching explosions and seeing pretty colors of fire, I hear these words:
"If anyone is a Boston sports fan, they get an automatic A."
Oh. My. God. My worst nightmare. I buried my head in my desk. I'm gonna fail, I know it. And he was doing so well with the fire and stuff. Here are my notes from the first two lectures:

And that was my first week of college. Yeah!
My other classes are alright. I still haven't really let it sunk in that I'm in class or I wake up in my dorm room in Maple and wonder where the heck I am before I remember I have to get up nothing. (Well for this week, so far.)
Oh, I did engineer a couple stuff today. My team made the 3rd-best windmill. Our car (Coke bottles) did not win.
Now on to studying.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Hi, My Name Is"

I feel as if I've met the whole freshman body twice and forgotten their names more than that. Seriously, Orientation Week is filled with new people, their faces and names, and the task of trying of memorize them all. It's been non-stop, but fun.

I climbed a mountain Monday carrying a rock. I somehow feel it's a foreshadowing of the academic rigor in front of me, but we'll see, starting Wednesday. I had no classes on my first day of school (awesome!). But I guess I'm ready. If I could make it up that mountain, I guess I can make it up this one. Even though the blisters suck horribly.

But tomorrow I officially end this Orientation and activities galore business with the start of my first class. Even though I know it's not over, I'm ready to move on past the "Hi, I'm Katerina. Yeah, Katerina. With a K. Geophysics. I'm from Arvada. Wha-? Oh, where am I staying? Maple. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm lucky.", and so forth. It's been like this since before my graduation party, with people asking where I'm going to school and what I'm studying. (And I got the same questions asked while wearing a Mines shirt, I might add. Yeah.)

Ain't gonna lie- I'm pretty excited. "First day of school! First day of school!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Greater Than, Less Than Infinity

Remember when your mom used to go to the store and leave you and your three siblings and shut the door and one kid would yell "celebrate!"?

Yeah. It's not exactly like that. College, that is. In fact, it's kind of surreal right now, that everyone including my mom and dad and three siblings dropped me off at college today. Yeah.
It's weird packing. I guess I related to Andy from Toy Story 3, seeing Toy Story came out when I was a kid, and saw it numerous times growing up. But Andy, in the third installment, packs up his room and leaves to college. Even though I didn't have any toys to get rid of or pack, it's a little strange throwing some stuff I've had for years into a box, while leaving others in my room. (WHAT IF I NEED TO READ OLD EDITIONS OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS SOMETIME?!??!) But maybe it's less simple bringing a box of stuff and trying to find a place for it. (Of course I need this...thing!)
You've heard it's better to be lucky than good. Same goes for Mines. All I've heard all summer is that it doesn't matter how good you were in high school, the test is gonna be how hard you work, and who you know, and what habits you implement. It's better to be hard-working that good. Which is great, 'cause you know, I'm not that good. Now I am average. So I'm gonna have to be hard-working, and light sleeping. And maybe lucky. Eh, probably not.

But half this thing is 90% mental, right? And not knowledge mental, attitude mental. Mental toughness, [insert cliche here] etc.

So begins the next four years. I can't believe I'm actually doing this.

To infinity, and beyond.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Oxymoronic Blog That Is This (With a Side Serving of Ungreat expectations)

Welcome to this blog that I hope will soon become an oxymoron.
As you have probably heard, science nerds cannot write. Absolutely not. Not to save their lives. It's been proved with science. And numbers never lie.

Now that was to get expectations out of the way. You see, I'm like my favorite baseball team. You might have heard of them. They had great expectations. Flopped dead. Now that no one's expecting me to hit a grand slam, (much less win the World Series), I may continue.

This is a chronology of me, a college student. But not just any college student. I'm going to be a Mines Oredigger. Now, talk about expectations, right? But this blog is to tell my story of my college journey to those who might be inclined to follow it. Expect to find stories from college, but mostly random musings about anything by me. I'm sure you folks at home are thinking "Oh my! When will you ever have time to write!? Shouldn't you be studying? This is Mines, after all!" to which I will have to respond that you shouldn't worry about it, and also see paragraph 1. If this becomes a ghost blog soon, I will most likly be studying harder or something, and thus, my oxymoron of a title will be proven.
I can't lose.

So be it.