Wednesday, December 16, 2009

T-Minus 20 Hours

Recently, noise levels have gone up in my hall... As an RA, I need to enforce Quiet Hours. For those of you who don't know or haven't lived on Grounds since first year, during finals, there is a rule called Quiet Hours. Essentially, in dorms everyone needs a quiet atmosphere to study because the libraries are packed. Therefore, conversations in the hall should be a whisper, you cannot blast music in your room, and common areas are limited to quiet conversations. Penalties for violating quiet hours are pretty severe, with the first violation being a conversation with your Area Coordinator and a possible UJC trial. Yes, a UJC trial.

As an RA, I have informed my residents about this rule and I enforce it. It is a serious rule, and most people follow it, because everyone is studying hard for their finals. It makes sense, no? Well, recently my ressies have been very loud. Why? Because they're done.

I. Am. Jealous.

As a student, asking someone to quiet down because other people (including I) are studying and then finding out that the reason they are loud and happy is because they're done is a new low. (That was a long sentence!) Don't get me wrong, as an RA I will do it. As a student though, I am pretty miserably envious.

With my last final in T-minus 20 hours, I am ready to be out of here. I started last Monday with a History final, had two essays, a portfolio due, and will end tomorrow with three finals under my belt. I am ready to bounce!

Friday, December 11, 2009

continued: finals week

It has snowed (late I know). It has rained (Lighting of the Lawn). It has finally gotten cold, going below freezing until two in the afternoon. People have started sporting peacoats and northfaces, tugging hoods close to their face when the wind hits. Nevertheless, I decided to run in shorts and a long-sleeve shirt, not just because I'm cray cray but because I needed to hand in my essay. That's right! I finished that bad boy.

Because my brain is fried right now, I am going to point out some odd things that I've noticed through finals week.

1. The squirrels: They have gotten so large. They are still furiously searching for nuts, stuffing their faces, or madly burying them. The result is that they have ballooned. I believe that they are an indication of a heavy winter. Although it was cold last year, it was very mild. I believe that this winter will be one of the coldest, longest, and severe winters Virginia has seen in a while. Did I mention that it snowed and the snow stuck?

2. Open appointments at the Writing Center: It's finals week and that means at least three deadlines for papers. Usually the Writing Center is packed, and for good reason. For those of you wondering what the Writing Center is, check out their website. Those fantastic people there will help you begin your essay, touch up your grammar, and strengthen that argument. However, they can probably tell you that better than I can.

3. Students who wear raincoats without hoods and no umbrellas: Yes, your head will get wet. Your knapsack and your books might get soaked too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

proof of my procrastinating!

The Google Chrome browser for Macs came out! I probably could do a post on the supergiant of a company, Google, and how they're coming out with a Chrome Operating System (Chrome OS) as well as a browser and a new, newer email (see earlier post about Googlewave), and my, don't they look big now?

I need to write an essay that is two days past the deadline. Surprisingly, I am not stressed about that, but I just want it to be done! I am such a big procrastinator. My friend sent me an article called "The Disadvantages of Elite Institutions." It talks about how elite institutions give its students so many second chances, priming them for a world where extended deadlines, a support network, and guidelines are the norm. In contrast, universities such as Cleveland State ready its students for "lives with few second chances, no extensions, little support, narrow opportunity—lives of subordination, supervision, and control, lives of deadlines, not guidelines." (American Scholar) While that sounds like an advantage that elite institutions have, elite institutions give you a false sense of self-worth, ushers you into the upper-class and then "trains you for the life you will lead once you get there." In actuality, Mr. Deresiewicz talks about numerous disadvantages, the first of interestingly is you're "incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you." Just by that, University of Virginia would definitely fall under the category of "elite institutions." It is an interesting article, and if you are not bogged down with mandatory readings for classes, I would definitely recommend taking time to read William Deresiewicz's commentary.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Two Weeks of Stress

Just to show you that I'm alive...

Unlike the majority of UVa students, I have a test on Monday. Classes officially end Tuesday. I also have a paper due Monday. I have not started the paper. This is why I am not writing entries left and right.

To make this post more useful than my ranting though, I want to point out some awesome studying spots that most people overlook. The typical places, like Club Clemons, reek by the end of finals week. Why? Think about the unwashed masses of bodies who have camped out in Clemons for more than 48 hours. A friend likened it to Dante's Inferno, each with a level of smelliness. (While that is a ridiculous hyperbole, I must concur at some level.)

1. The Rotunda: I've mentioned this before, but the Rotunda is pretty devoid of studying students and instead of tourists. Was this the original purpose of Thomas Jefferson? I believe not. Note the weird hours it is open though.

2. Albert and Small Specials Collections Library: It has some pretty rooms with couches and plants. No one ever ventures in there because it seems off-limits. Lies. 2nd floor is beautiful.

3. Newcomb Hall: Most visited is 2nd floor because that is where the Dining Hall is. Well, obviously don't go there to study. Check out the Student Activities Center (SAC) on the first floor, the quiet places on 4th floor, and all those conference rooms on the 3rd. Third floor also has couches and desks and outlets. Food is accessible downstairs. Bathroom is on every floor. I'm set.

4. Pavilion VIII: Apparently open whenever first floor is not in use. I have not checked this out, but why not pass it along?

5. All those "specialized" libraries: There's a gorgeous Philosophy library in Cocke Hall, Physics Library on 3rd floor, Bio/Psych Library in Gilmer, Chemistry Building, Health Science Library... the list goes on. Who knew each department needed its own library?

6. Corner: Para Coffee is an instant favorite because of its awesome drinks and free wi-fi. Don't be scared to ask for the password. Starbucks is some people's preference, but it tends to get extremely crowded. There's another coffee place on the corner called Fox Park. Bodos gets loud, so it's not conducive to studying but perhaps group meetings.

There are definitely more but I am too frazzled to think of... Oh well. Wish me luck and see you in two weeks!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Prestige. Tradition. UVa?

So in preparation for the beginning of finals week next week, I have been studying in periods of 3 hours in the Rotunda Dome Room. The Dome Room is open 9am-4:45pm, and contrary to general belief is open to students who are studying. It originally was and still is, to a lesser extent, a library and why can't students study in a library? It's usually empty except for the occasional UGuide group and the independent tourist.

After a while, I can't help but memorize tidbits of the stories that the UGuides give. Did you know that the Rotunda standing today isn't the original, because the original burned down? When it happened, lots of students and professors risked their lives trying to save the books in the library. Out of the 60,000, I believe they managed to salvage at least 12,000. A group of particularly Jeffersonian-dedicated students tried to save the two-ton statue of Thomas Jefferson that used to be in the Dome Room but now stands on the second floor of the Rotunda. When dragging the statue down the stairs, they lost control and it slid down the flights of stairs to the bottom. The scratches on the cape of Jefferson is proof of that wild escapade.

I'm obviously studying very hard, but let me digress a bit. Also to put out a disclaimer, the following information is a very real stigma, definitely controversial, and not true for all Lawnies. It is said, and I have been told this personally, to become a prestigious Lawnie, there are certain organizations that you should join. UGuides is stereotypically considered one of those organizations on Grounds. One of my friends struggle with this stigma and he has plainly said that he hesitates to apply for a Lawn room because of it. To me, this tells me that there is a hierarchy at UVa, and that if you do the right things, join the right organizations, and know the right people you are guaranteed a prestigious Lawn room. This has been both subtly conveyed to me and blatantly articulated.

What is this Lawn room that is so coveted? Honestly, besides the prestige and location, it is a pretty crappy deal. It is the most expensive room you can ask for on Grounds. It has the worst bathrooms on Grounds. If you like your showers, the Lawn rooms would not be my first recommendation. There are no kitchens or AC. You get tourists in your room all the time as if your room was historic Williamsburg and that LCD TV monitor over there was just part of the authentic colonial decor. It's small. You have to pay for the firewood that is stacked by your door. You have to pay for the fluffy bathrobe that has become so synonymous with the Lawnies because they have external bathrooms. In fact, back in the day, the Lawn rooms were actually considered the worst housing deal you could have. It became so unwanted that the administration put an application, told the student population that the application pool was "extremely competitive" (they were lying), and in a year, the Lawn rooms became the most prestigious and competitive housing rooms on Grounds. Typical UVa behavior?

Therefore, the Lawn rooms are now extremely prestigious to the point where students on a "fast track," such as Echols scholars and Jefferson scholars, believe that the Lawn room is the ultimate destination. This sort of mentality has led to cutthroat behavior, such as the aforementioned one of joining organizations just to get into the Lawn. To continue the idea of a hierarchy at UVa, only certain organizations on Grounds have their special Lawn rooms. With the prestige associated with Lawn rooms, what does that say about these organizations? It says if you join these organizations, you can get a Lawn room.

The purpose of the Lawn rooms is to "recognize students for unselfish service to the University and achievement in their respective fields of activity and academics" (Housing website). Are all the Lawnies representative of this? In response to this, a secret society last year sent a letter to the Lawnies. The letter criticized students who "desire[d] to be on executive boards, to participate in community service, to be in CIOs, to live on the Lawn even, only because they [felt] obliged to look better on paper than their peers." Instead, the letter advised "[gaining] tools needed to make the most of the mountainous horizons beyond where the Lawn ends." It is important to remember to take a step back, look beyond UVa, and do things because you enjoy them.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mentally Stimulating Diversions

In another one of my infamous dinner parties that involve raucous laughter, fusion food, mismatched plates, and usually youtube escapades, we introduced my friend to a great time-waster. Now as a college student, typing that six page essay, you are guaranteed to be spending at least a third of your time not writing your essay. This time could be unevenly distributed among Facebook (the clear winner), Youtube, New York Times, Apple Store, or in my case, Blogger. However, a site with growing popularity is the Sporcle.Com.

Described as "mentally stimulating diversions," Sporcle is chock full of addictive trivia games. Let's break down the phrase. Is it mentally stimulating? Yes. My personal favorite is "Can you name the Countries of the World?" because that's how I get to know my geography and win raffle prizes at Southeast Asian Festival for labeling all the Southeast Asian countries properly. Yes, I am addicted, but YES I know my geography. There are funky ones like "World Turkey Population," which are a waste of time and I doubt are mentally stimulating. However, there are also throwbacks like "Can you name all the Pokémon Characters (Generation 1)?" and the "Can you complete The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?" that are definitely mentally stimulating. I think. Is it a diversion? Sporcle just sucked three hours of my life last night. You can make the judgment call.

All in all though, it was hilarious to complete these quizzes with friends and those three hours flew. While typing in Bizarro and finding out the spelling of "Liechtenstein," we laughed like no other. The cereal mascot on the left is called "Frankenberry" and I do not know if I would feed my child cereal with such a mascot. There are 7 countries that end with "-stan" and the party includes Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan (with TWO Y's), and Tajikistan.

I invite you to beat our record for the Countries of the World: 133/195.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Run and Google Wave

Thanksgiving has come and gone. In anticipation for the event, people have sent me texts with the generic "Happy Thanksgiving :)", an email with numerous pictures like this and a bumper sticker request on facebook. Would you laugh if I said I didn't see a single turkey this Thanksgiving? No, I am not vegetarian and I often had turkey in New York.

It must be something about Virginia and my luck, but in my two years here, I have not eaten turkey here. Last year on Thanksgiving, for some odd reason, our family decided to wake up at 8am to go hiking in Shenandoah Park. Ironically, the trail was called Turkey Run and it involved some serious paths with a huge incline that culminated in a peak and a waterfall. After trekking for four hours with large backpacks on, we were sore, breathless, and hungry. I don't want to say "typical Koreans," but yeah, we had a pot of ramen (instant noodles) on that summit. When we were driving away from the parking lot, we saw a herd (flock?) of turkeys. Irony to the max.

This year, we didn't have a ramen lunch on a mountain, but we did go hiking in another park. Ultimately, there was a dearth of turkeys in my life this year as well. Oh well.

On a totally different note, as an avant-garde blogger and a closet-techie, I want to spread the word about Google Wave. Essentially, email, social networking, documents, and IMs are merged together in this "personal communication and collaboration tool" (Google). Described as "what email would look like if it was invented today," Google Wave is in real-time and really focuses on collaborative features. A wave is a "collection of messages, ...where people can see each other typing live," (Google) and ultimately this will foster collaboration on event-planning, group projects and other cosponsored activities. Did I mention that it has automatic translating as you type? If the person you are collaborating with types in Arabic and you type in English, with the right tool, it will come out on your wave as English. There are a lot more features and they're working on improving the preview version, but I haven't fully explored it.

What does this mean for college kids? I smell potential for group projects, cosponsorship between CIOs, and BBQ events with friends. As one friend put it, Google Wave could encourage laziness in all of us, because it doesn't innovate but simply combines tools that we already have, but another way to think about it is an innovation in the way of approaching these tools. I'm not a fan yet, but I am eagerly waiting for Google's improvements on this preview version.

Want it? At the moment, it's only open by invitation, but you can place yourself on the guest list.

Monday, November 23, 2009

As Future CEO of the Sushi+Cupcakes Company...

On an entirely new note, I had an RA meeting last night and it was loads of fun. I think this meeting was different from previous ones, because a lot of us were very relaxed. I think everyone has gotten used to each other and different styles of humor. A lot of jokes went around, the pizza was hot, and business was short and sweet.

Yes, RAs are students too and we love to chill. For those of you who don't know, RAs meet once a week as a staff to discuss dorm-wide issues and events. Around this time of year, RAs are usually planning around Thanksgiving break and towards winter. We're very far-sighted people. Overall, we are excited for break to come and not-so-excited for the finals to come afterwards.

Earlier this year, these meetings have been business for the most part, with a little socializing before and after. Yesterday was the first time we decided to incorporate a dinner with our meeting and that definitely eased the mood of the meeting. If there is nothing else college has taught me, it has taught me that food brings people together and the casualness of it facilitates an easiness found only between friends. If I ever become a big time CEO or manager, I will make sure to always have snacks in my office and conduct my meetings with sushi and cupcakes. Welcome to my cubicle.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SIS, oh SIS...

No, I am not talking about my female sibling or anything like that but our one and only, terribly user-repellent SIS! For those of you not familiar with this bane in my life, it is the new Student Information System, or the site where students
  • Drop and add classes
  • Find the name of your advisor
  • Determine whether you have holds on your enrollment
  • View financial information
  • View a list of your classes, an unofficial transcript, an Academic Requirements report, and a list of your transfer of credit
  • Browse the Schedule of Classes using the Class Search
Do I know a lot of people whose financial aid has been messed up because of SIS? Yes. Is it user-friendly? No. Does it make your life really hard when trying to drop and add classes? Yes.

Financial aid has been extremely backed up, because of transferring files to SIS and that means a lot of financial packages were given late or mishandled. I experienced this over the summer, and some people still experience it today. While I do appreciate the work that the people at Financial Aid do, I do not appreciate the confusing labels of SIS. In my financial aid package, what does it mean to have charges listed under the title of "item"? Why is the money charged for the 2008 fall term paid by "Summer 09 Financial Aid'? What is a "Do Not Place Financial Hold"?

Perhaps the underlying point is that SIS combines so many features that it is slowed down by them and altogether it is a confusing hodgepodge. Dan Heubert of UVa Today blog lauds the fact that "SIS does offer many of the same features as Collab" and then lists eight features that SIS can do, as if this was some baby contest and SIS was coming in second to some gorgeous half Turkish, half Chinese baby. Does faculty really need to view weekly teaching and exam schedules, build a course waitlist, search the course catalog and schedule of classes, create student e-mail lists, AND release advising holds? From what I hear, professors are so baffled by SIS that they barely use a lot of offered features, and the ones that they need to use are being "difficult." Another example of the pointlessness of so many features is the fact that we need to pick out of the three terms ('09 Fall, J-Term, '10 Spring) each time we want to look or edit classes. Therefore, each time I want to add, swap or drop a class, I must select which term I want to look at. Instead of adding, swapping or dropping classes within a term, I must reselect the term every time I click add, swap, or drop. This gets annoying really quickly.

I think the fact that I am on 8 waitlists attests to SIS's inefficiency. What Dan Heubert of UVa Today blog calls "the star of the March rollout [of SIS]" is the course enrollment feature, but that is exactly what I hear most students complain about. It is a pain to enroll, because SIS is so slow in processing requests. Also, because of the way the system is designed, a lot more students are on waitlists, because we do not have paper course action papers anymore. What students need are flexibility and a quick turnover rate. Instead, with SIS, we are all on as many waitlists as possible to hold onto as many classes, because we are uncertain whether or not we're going to get into a class.

On the right column, why are there links under the title of "U.Va." and what is the difference between those and the links under the title of "Other U.Va."? There's another UVA?

Even a physics professor understood this sad situation and felt enough pity to create his own version of SIS. This professor, Lou Bloomfield, says that "the goal of this website is to help student and faculty realize the best educational experience possible," and ends with "I hope that you will find this website useful." Oh yes, Mr. Bloomfield, sir, I do. Extremely user-friendly, it clearly lists all classes in a easy-to-read format. You can check out his version of SIS here: [http://rabi.phys.virginia.edu/mySIS/CS/index.php]. From what I heard, it cost him nothing to make this. Did I mention that we bought SIS for millions of dollars that racked up tuition and we need to shell out a couple hundreds of thousand a year to maintain it? Oh my.

Monday, November 16, 2009

112 words for you.

Someone once pointed out that my posts are very long... Well, my friends, either I must get to the crux of things, have less to say, or just make the blog layout wider so that it doesn't seem as long. I believe that the latter two are things that I cannot control (at the moment). Therefore, for this post, I'm going to really bring out the meaning of what I'm trying to convey.

Life Advice from Dean Sarah Wilcox Elliott (currently Darden's Assistant Director of Student Affairs):

1. Work smarter, not harder.
2. Negotiate your salary.
3. Feel comfortable to change in matters of the heart.

Concise? Important? Oh, definitely.

Peace out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

sushi, hip-hop, friends, and late-night dancing

I went to a friend's apartment house party last night and it was awesome. Let me preface it though with a description of my lovely Saturday. Honestly, yesterday was one of the most satisfying days of my life. Yes, I am talking about hedonistic pleasures, which include sushi, hip-hop, friends, and late night dancing.

The morning started off quite disappointingly because I woke up early for two meetings, both of which I never got in touch with the person with whom I was supposed to have a meeting. However, I was thoroughly enjoying the gorgeous weather. For the past four days, Virginia has decided to pour her heart out in the form of biting wind, thundering or misty rain, wet leaves, flooded brick sidewalks, and inside-out umbrellas. Miraculously, on Saturday the sun was out, temperature highs were 19°C or 66°F, and girls were wearing strapless sun dresses (your prime indicator of the weather...). For those of you not familiar with Virginia weather, Virginia is a bipolar, maniac depressive maiden when it comes to matters of weather and love. While in New York, once it hits October, it's chilly and then cold and then freezing until March, in Virginia, it vacillates. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous weather, and despite being dumped for two meetings I was actually in a great mood.

Oh, and despite the fact that it had been raining nonstop for four days and Professor Wilson says that the day of the week doesn't really affect your mood, I was so happy that it was Saturday. I mean, what Professor Wilson says is true... TGIF in America, or Thank God It's Friday, definitely did not apply in South Korea, where the week school used to continue to Saturday. (They're currently trying to phase it out so that on every alternating week, school ends on Friday.) I'm sure if classes continued to Saturday, Fridays would just become the next Thursday. However, I also might just transfer to another school that doesn't implement such heinous practices.

Fortunately, it was Saturday and at the University of Virginia, it means a day of no classes. I decided to go on a sushi lunch date with friends... Guess where we went? YES SUSHI LOVE [see two posts earlier]. Two of my friends actually never had sushi (or sashimi or rolls), so I was really excited. I won't get into too much details, but essentially we had an awesome lunch of the bento box at a reasonable price, and talked for two and a half hours. There was such a feeling of solidarity that it was remarkable. It really reminded me what the combination of good food and fantastic women can do for one's soul. I believe we talked about everything from an amazing novel called Things Fall Apart to African womanism to UVa Orientation to music. We all agreed that the chic decor and great tasting food added to the mood. Silly pictures ensued.

We got kicked out of the restaurant at 3:36pm. They needed to set up for dinner. Because of the great company, we decided to meet again for Ill-Literacy. Essentially the description was something like this:

[Spoken word and hip-hop favorites iLL-Literacy returns to UVA for a third time just days before the release of their first record, iB4the1.1! Creating an ever-expanding sonic universe piecemealed together by their ever-shrinking attention span, iLL-Literacy has invaded concert halls, off-Broadway stages, and college arenas throughout North America and Europe.]

Awesome? Oh yes. We were blasted with truth in the form of spoken word and beats. Why is the word fuck beeped from shows and movies that have murder scenes, sex scenes, and drug scenes? Why is our first black President talked about as if he is the last chapter in the race dialogue? Who does Glenn Beck think he is in coining the term "post-racial America" because of Obama? Not only were we the row who screamed encouragement the most, I believe we got a kick out of the fact that N.I.C. took a picture with me and my friend. Overall, a very fulfilling night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

not hipster... zipster yo.

Oh.Em.Gee. I am not a fan of excessive use of this phrase, but sadly that is what is coming to mind. ZIPCAR IS COMING TO UVA.

For those of you who are not familiar with Zipcar, it's a carsharing company that charges hourly rates and covers your gas and insurance. They have one of the largest fleets: over 6,500 vehicles throughout North America and the UK. You reserve a car, pick it up at a reserved spot, do your thing, and then drop it off at the same spot. It's super easy to reserve a car, and you have a choice among Minis, pick up trucks, BMWs, hybrids and more! UVa is going to offer three hybrid Honda Insights and three Honda Civics starting November 17. The hourly weekday rate is $8 and weekend rate is $9, as well as an annual $35 fee to be a member.

Did I mention that Zipcar has its own slang and promotes a "lifestyle"? (Good. Clean. Fun. anyone?) You can also be a

zip•ster (zĭp′ster) n. slang

zipster

: One who uses Zipcar. A gender neutral term for a person (or people: Zipsters) who believe in cost-effective transportation solutions that are good for the planet and easy on the wallet.

That sounds extremely catchy and attractive. Wouldn't you want to be a zipster?

Introducing the big news two days ago, UVa Today Blog lauds Zipcar as a step towards "[decreasing] the number of vehicles on Grounds and help [reducing] parking demand and associated congestion." Well, I'm glad that they noticed the problem! There was ridiculous traffic during the U2 Concert and Saturday football games, where parking is nigh impossible.

I also mentioned that Zipcar promotes a greener lifestyle. They devote an entire page to Green Benefits and how the "idea is bigger than all us." Today, in American politics class, Professor Doneson talked about American moralism and how it is a unique take on virtue. Essentially, he argues that virtue in America was different from virtue in Europe. In Europe, virtue meant suffering, sacrifice and asceticism, while in America, virtue is a form of self-interest: we do well by being good to others. For example, doing community service is great for the community, but it also helps us get into college. In the same way, I was struck by the way Zipcar promoted a greener planet. It's good for the planet, but it's good for you too! By saving money (and the planet), you have an extra $500 a month, which could be "put back into [your] community by buying local and sustainable products" (Zipcar Website). According to Tocqueville (and not just any critical French commentator!), Americans are attracted to the easy and convenient way of doing things. Even on the UVa Today blog, Zipcar is described as a "convenient, economical, and environmentally responsible alternative to owning a car." Those are three adjectives about which no one can argue.

Therefore, I must congratulate Zipcar and UVa on recognizing this American tendency (albeit probably differently than I did in politics class) and encouraging a planet-and-wallet-friendly mode of transportation. I would argue that college students are the epitome of the American need for ease and convenience. Introducing the zipcar to UVA is probably one of the best decisions since [reusable] to-go boxes!

Monday, November 9, 2009

cravings for sushi?

The other day, I checked out a new restaurant on the Corner. It was near my favorite local coffee shop, so I decided to stop by on a whim. It's called Sushi Love and it's on Elliwood Ave.

Charlottesville's sushi places have trained me to expect high prices for average food and ok service. Sakura on the Corner is very so-so. It's been frequented not for the food, but for pure convenience. Repeated poor service has led me to avoid it if possible. It once took thirty minutes for the menu to be brought out and about fifteen minutes for us to get water after we got the menu. I'll admit that I haven't tried sushi at Flaming Wok Teppan Yaki & Sushi Bar, but in general, sushi in Charlottesville is pretty pricey. So I was on a limb here, entering a sushi place and hoping that it would be decent. I was pleasantly surprised.

I entered Sushi Love. I was greeted by the manager and shown the three different types of seating areas, each of which exuded its own unique atmosphere. Instead of the intimate private seating in the back or the stately wooden chairs in the middle, I opted for the tall chairs, bathed in sunlight. I opened the menu to find to my delight Korean food! The chef must be Korean, because the menu boasted not only bulgoki, which is marinated BBQ beef, but also bibimbab, or mixed rice with vegetables and a spicy pepper paste. Although I had come for sushi, I had already made up my mind to taste Korean food. Nevertheless, I decided to ask the manager, who was also my waiter, what he recommended. Instantly, he pointed to the bento box, which I saw was priced at a ridiculously cheap $8 and something. He casually pointed to my neighbors who were enjoying their food and I saw that these were not small, mean portions. I was really tempted to scrap my bibimbab choice and go with the bento box. However, the fact that the bibimbab was around $6 sort of sealed the deal.

Service? I'd give it a 7.5/10. I know that the manager-waiter was very attentive, because the restaurant is new and I was one of the few customers. I'd like to come back later to see if service is still on par.
Food? I only got one entree... (which calls for several repeats to see if the rest of the food was as authentic as my bibimbab). But it was also pretty high: 8/10.

Of course, although I am giving Sushi Love high marks, excellent food and service doesn't guarantee its success. The managers of Sushi Love need to be business savvy and learn to cater to the college community, because of its close proximity to the University. This requires flyering, getting its name out there with CIOs, and encouraging students to bring friends. Being active in the Charlottesville community in general also doesn't hurt. I know Para Coffee is particularly successful because the couple who owns Para Coffee networked through the local artist community and the Christian community.

I'm not going to lie... restaurants on the Corner usually have a lifespan of two years. The Biltmore recently changed hands, despite years of going strong. Three used to be a different restaurant, Boylan Heights is a new addition, and recently, Rita's Ice Cream turned into Trinity, a snazzy new bar. While there are a couple of names going strong, such as The Virginian and College Inn, the majority of eateries on the Corner come and go within a student's college lifespan. At best, we can wish Sushi Love good luck and see how it thrives.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the pig flu over the moon...

I really wish I was an atypical UVa student when I say: I came down with the flu. It seems like everyone is getting sick these days, with the weather going down to 0 degrees Celsius (32F) in the night, but rising to 16 or 17 degrees (61~63F) during the day.

I actually knew who I got my bug from, which was lucky because my friend told me exactly what to prepare for and how long the illness took. Once I started getting a fever, I quarantined myself in my room, sent emails to my professors, and slept the entire day. I drank lots of water so that I wouldn't get dehydrated and had rice porridge. Fortunately, the fever broke the next day, but I still wasn't feeling good, so I spent the entire day in my room, watching movies and Korean dramas.

Being sick in college is not a fun experience. No one really looks after you and you need to take care of yourself. Food does not appear at will, schoolwork seems to be hovering over you, and no one dares to come near. I think when I was most feverish, I called my umma (mother in Korean). My umma wistfully said, "College students call their mothers when they're sick," hinting that I do not call enough. She recommended lots of bed rest and tea, which I followed without fail.

I went to Student Health 24 hours after my fever broke (because that's when the flu isn't contagious anymore). After a combined time of twenty five minutes of waiting time and 12 minutes of doctor time, I walked out of the building with a prescription for... AN INHALER. I went in to check that I didn't have swine flu or any other scary nonsense like that, and got diagnosed with asthma. Perhaps it was a practical joke, but I checked how much an inhaler was without medical insurance... and it's $150. I say it's a great business move.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

diversity career day

I went to Diversity Career Day today... well, it is only Day 1.

Anyway, it was a pretty intimidating experience, considering that I was a second year history major. Not only were most companies looking for business-related majors, the fact that I was only a second year and not a third or fourth year ready to be snapped up for work turned off a lot of employers. However, I definitely did not go in there with the mindset of coming out with a job offer or an interview. Instead, as a good friend of mine pointed out, it was about noticing the way students stood when they talked to a prospective employer, or the clothes that an employer wore, or the fact that the employer had a clipboard with a checklist on it. (FYI, the way students stand is body language and can show interest levels and power dynamics, the clothes that employers wear reveals the culture of the company, and the checklist could show an early screening process and suggests lots of competition.)

Despite the fact that I looked snappy and I had 10 resumes printed out in my bag, I was still intimidated. Why is that? I think what bothered me the entire time at Diversity Career Day was the fact that I was shut down because I was a history major. The quick mental short or heuristic that many people take when they hear "history major" is a student with an obscure set of skills. Possibly images of dusty historians come to mind or a terrible experience with an eighth grade history teacher. Yet, I believe that as a history major, I am being taught to think, write, and even speak analytically. I am exposed to trends in history that continue on to this day, and gain a background in events that happen in the world today. Liberal arts degrees should be as recognized as business and engineering degrees. Or perhaps I am talking to the wrong employers, and there should be more employers who are looking for liberal art majors on Diversity Career Day.

I could probably keep on going, but I have to study for a midterm for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

musing of a girl with a knapsack

Coming from my favorite little coffee-tea shop, Para Coffee (shameless plug, I know... it's on Elliewood!!!), I bumped into a friend on the Corner. It's the typical UVa scene. Two college students, a boy with a cup of coffee and a girl with a knapsack, talking in front of the bus stop on the brick-paved streets of the Corner. It happens all the time.

I guess what's different about this scene is that I knew this guy for only a month. I took three summer classes over two months, and we had met through one of them. For those of you unfamiliar with UVa's summer classes, the entire summer is split up into three sessions (session I, session II, session III). The maximum number of classes that you can take per session is two. Yours truly, being the overzealous and overachieving student that I am, took three classes and had a job. Needless to say, there was a negative correlation between the number of classes and jobs that I had and my grade.

My friend and I had met during the second session, where I only had one class and was more relaxed. It was a great class, simply because it was an actual Professor who was teaching, he was amazing, and instead of the usual several hundreds of students that he taught, there was only 25 of us. It was definitely an advantage over taking it in the semester. Because of the small class size, I got to know a good number of my classmates pretty intimately, considering that it was only 6 weeks long. We met often for picnic lunches in the Gardens, trips to Downtown, cooking adventures in my apartment, and study groups that actually worked. I must say, I was really impressed with myself that session. I was being social, I excelled in that class, and I still had lots of sleep despite the fact that the class was 8am every morning.

But summer feels like a dream. It was rainy today, I was feeling miserable from sickness, and I'm sure my friend was busy thinking about the things he had to do today, because he was holding a lot of books. It was such a contrast from memories from the summer season, with balmy sunny days and open schedules. We talked a bit about our lives. I told him about my bout with the cold and he told me he was enjoying his classes. It was short, terse, and almost static. Then he said he needed to go to a meeting. I nodded and waved him off.

There's a point in second year where you realize that you're not a first year anymore. For me, it was when I realized that a lot of my friends from first year (and yes, I was still a first year over the summer...) were busy with their activities in which they were leaders. My friend was an Orientation leader, another friend is deeply involved in Student Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED), and another wants to get involved in drama and work with children. I am not involved in any of these activities nor are they particularly important to me. Yet, with the activities that are important to me, I am deeply involved. As we progress and become third years and fourth years, I'm sure that we will all only increase our commitments to these activities, and be more involved in them. At what point will we be too busy for each other?

These were the thoughts that I was mulling over after my encounter with my friend. Typical encounter on the Corner? Oh yes. Typical College of Arts and Science student? Hell yea.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

let it rain...

I swear Virginia is so mercurial when it comes to its weather. It honestly can not make up its mind. Sunny one day and rainy the next, the weather decides to fluctuate temperature as if it was a bipolar patient. I woke up today pretty early for a Saturday to start on my essay, looked out the window, and felt blah. It was one of those days with dramatic clouds on the skyline, threatening to shiver rain whenever the wind blew at whim. Not wanting to suffer the consequences if Virginia did decide to rain, I closed my window (with difficulty).

While microwaving my breakfast at 8:02, I continued to put on my blah face and not make eye contact with anyone in the kitchen. Of course, the girl next to me remarks on the weather. "It looks so epic..." she announced, pointing out the shivering tree line in the west. "Looks like an adventure!" declaimed her boyfriend as he stirred a pot of hot chocolate. I looked at my plate of freshly microwaved broccoli and cauliflower, while contemplating all the things I had to do today. Essay. How blah.

As I sit in my room, having only my desk light on, I am writing my essay. Oh yes, I am... but I'm also on facebook, checking my mail like it's my job, and eating extraordinary amounts of snacks. At times, my room is suddenly infused with light as the sun emerges from its coat of clouds and I am happily distracted by my window of a landscape outside. Everything gleams in its wetness and beckons. Other times, clouds cast their shadow and my room is pitched into darkness. Shadows lengthen as I am sitting in my room.

Today was the football game against Georgia Tech. I know because despite my shut window, I could hear cries and moans of hundreds of anguished football fans. My guess is that we lost today. After a certain point in the day, the weather decided to accommodate by drizzling on the crowds of orange and blue people slowly walking past. The rain splattered against my window.

It is 3:24pm and I have not finished my essay.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Obama leading us astray?

I hope the title raised a couple of eyebrows. In his New York Times opinion column, Stanley Fish called Obama the "object of unceasing attention," hence the name of his article: The Obama Show. It's true that whether it's criticism or adoration, Obama is the focus in the media. Mr. Fish makes a good point in that although opponents try to tackle Obama, Obama is a man who "takes shot after shot, and not only is he still standing, he’s still smiling." Despite criticisms, President Obama is still looming large.

Therefore, when I saw "Is Obama leading us astray?" in a blur of a flyer as I walked past, I did a double-take and read it again. Students United for Business (SUB), a very new organization on Grounds, was hosting a lecture by economics professor, Lee Coppock. It was about the Obama administration's handling of the economy, complete with a catchy title "Give Nothing a Chance: How to Get the Economy Moving Again." Having had Coppock in a previous class and curious about how he would justify his opinion, I decided to attend the lecture.

I must say... what is excellent about UVA and any respectable University are these types of lectures that engage all listeners to participate and create dialogue. At UVA, I receive emails about lecturers from our own faculty and visiting renowned guests fairly often. Speakers are a crucial component of this system, because excellent speakers invoke questions and opinions in the audience, sparking further dialogue. A good speaker also has a clearly stated thesis, significant evidence to back up the claim, and comfortable public speaking skills.

Professor Coppock certainly is a winner in all three. He is an excellent public speaker, comfortably lecturing to over 1000 students in the spring semester. In the last night's lecture, Professor Coppock cracked in-law jokes, made analogies to athletes and the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, and made allusions to his "several dozens of children." He also was able to state his claim clearly. He believes that the economic situation was misdiagnosed, and therefore the "solution" of pumping money into the economy through tax rebates (Bush) or a stimulus package (Obama) has no effect, except for increasing our deficit into the highest peacetime deficit of all time (almost $2 TRILLION). Finally, his claim that this economic crisis is just a natural condition exacerbated by poor decisions by the Federal Reserve and the US government is backed with solid graphs, statistics, and examples.

His solution? Instead of increasing the number of dollar bills in the system, which could eventually lead to run away inflation, fixing the bank system to effectively utilize currently available money is a better solution. This elucidated his originally far-fetched solution of "doing nothing."

No stimulus package, true, but no back-breaking taxes either.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why Grandma... what large shoes you have!

Thank you for the great (and amazingly vague) introduction.

Hello everyone! Thank you for continuing to read the UVA student's blog. I will definitely try to fill the large shoes of my predecessor. To tease you with a little more information, I would describe myself as a little "cray cray." For those of you not familiar with this awesome lingo, it is simply a more interesting way of saying crazy. I've lived 19 years without finding an adjective that succinctly describes me, but finally Urbandictionary.com has enlightened me. What this leads to is a person who hosts spontaneous dinner parties in her room, a person who tends to devote a little more time to activities on Grounds than sleep, and a person who loves college (ahem, UVA).

Want to hear more? I look forward to sharing my UVA experiences with you and I'm sure you're excited to hear from a crazy person too.

Monday, October 19, 2009

introducing...

the next UVA student blogger! It was quite tough to choose amongst all the applicants, and I was surprised by the large amount of apps I got. In the end, I went for diversity of experience and the the vision that the applicant had for the blog. I'll keep her identity secret until she chooses to reveal it, but our mystery new person is a second year in the College of Arts and Sciences.

I know, real illuminating eh? I'll still pop in from time to time to chime in, you haven't seen the last of me!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a miasma of conversations...

I've just spent the past 10 days wrapping up three midterms, one case, 10 interviews, and a plethora of company events. At this point, I will happily, and I do mean happily, shake anyone who says that fourth year is easy. :D

Nah, it's alright. Just a lot to do. I'm in my house for six hours a day -- to sleep. This is what I get for throwing myself into ten billion things. Note to the wise: don't have three executive positions AND a job through the school your fourth year. That kind of kills you slightly when you're interviewing for tons of jobs. Thankfully, one position ended today and one more will end in a month. (I'm having a slight problem letting go though, I feel all my organizations are my babies! :D)

This weekend's UVA parent's weekend -- aka traffic is more horrendous than usual because of all the parents coming into town. Student organizations usually put forth a ton of effort this weekend and have many cultural showcases. I participated in Culturefest this year, a showcase in which all the minority groups on Grounds come together to perform. I... was in the highly embarrassing dances that the Taiwanese Student Association put on, almost, just almost too embarrassed to perform. For those of you from Taiwan, we danced to 青春不留白 and 你是我的花朵. Yeah...

Tomorrow my peer mentoring org (PAFN) is holding a kickball tournament for two families in the organization, time to work off some calories!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

honor code? what bloody honor?

But before the delightful weekend I laid out below... I endured a personal violation of the honor code that was very distressing for me. Upon concluding all my classes for the day, I swung by my mailbox to pick up my tax textbook. My mailbox? Was empty. Absolutely blippin' empty.

Someone had stolen my textbook.



I was beyond furious, it was close to $200! I'd put it in my mailbox because I hadn't wanted to lug it around Grounds all day when I only needed it in the morning. After my high faith in the honor system, I was appalled that someone had stolen my book.

But alright, to be fair it might not have been a UVA student. We do have lots of strangers walking through the buildings, part of the curse of having an open school campus. But still, I was very upset and stalked through the hallways for a bit. The only consolation I have? To the thief who stole my book, guess what, you can't sell it to the bookstore for money. My tax class changes textbooks every year. Hah.

fall breakin' it!

The last weekend and first half of this week was UVA's Reading Days, or termed Fall Break by students. I find it rare actually that anyone ever actually spends the whole time studying, most people go home instead. *shrug*

I love having a car this year, because I took two friends up to DC for three days. Before we got there though, we went to the Virginia State Fair first (anyone go there?). It was actually the first time I'd been to a state fair, so I was pretty excited. Can we say cheddar nuggets anyone? Possibly my favorite food there. The fair was huge, apart from walking around and going on rides, we also watched pig racing and a demolition derby. Both of those were firsts for me, and really exciting! Especially in the demolition derby, it dragged on where one small, zippy car was trying to ram a big truck. There were many, many close calls until the truck finally t-boned, then rammed the small car's engine. (And then he promptly committed suicide by running the front of his car into the small one... of which I still don't understand).

Pig racing was hilarious (and I was ridiculously excited for it). Pigs are surprisingly fast! Although the the grossly overweight Oriental pigs that came at the end were... as expected, beyond slow.

I hadn't expected to have such a good time at the state fair, it almost makes me sad that I'd like to head to a big city like New York after graduation. Meh well, maybe I'll end up with a job in NOVA and be able to go to events like these all the time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

i have a bone to pick with uva.

Or rather, the systems that we switched to this semester. But more on that in a few moments, I have an Honor Loan applicant waiting for me.

As I was saying, I have a bone to pick with UVA (for once). Granted, it's no one's fault and there's always kinks with a new system, blahblahblah, but seriously, I'm really highly irritated with the new Student Integrated Systems that the entire school switched over to this year.

Not only is it confusing to use (students say I hate SIS instead of I hate ISIS now), but it's also caused massive troubles with financial aid. More than half the applicants I have (and my office hours are usually full every day, it's slightly ridiculous) stem from financial aid being delayed thanks to SIS acting up on student accounts. Seriously, I'd hate for it to be a month into school and still not have my financial aid because our computer systems can't get their act together.

That, and several other stories of annoyance and frustration is a bone that I've got to pick with UVa.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ooh, first blood!

Ooh, tonight marks the first of a special occasion... my first rejection of this year's recruiting season!

Yes, y'all might think I'm utterly nuts to use an exclamation point to say that I've been rejected from a company, but to be honest I'm grateful I got an interview at this company at all. I was the only non finance major interviewing for a finance position at this very prestigious company, and I personally think I did myself proud thinking on my feet at this interview. This rejection has just spurred my determination to give it my all for these next two months. I'm exciting for the types of people I'll met, the offices I'll be seeing, and the places I'll be travelling to. And no, this isn't sleep deprivation talking. =D

This is an entry about jobs primarily because tomorrow's the Commerce Career Day. Was it a year ago that I was blogging about attending CCD as a third year? As I put off doing prep work for tomorrow... here's what usually occurs at a career fair.

So the world of internships and jobs may seem like a hazy unknown to most people, especially considering most of you are trying to decide what college to attend. When you arrive on Grounds though, you immediately think of, "alright, I'm here. What's next?" The big bad scary real world, or graduate school for the lucky few. One thing that you'll need to learn how to do (and something that I feel our comm school does a great job of) is learn how to work a career fair and network with professionals.

What are the most important things you need to have when talking to employers? A 30 second elevator speech and some darned good questions.

A 30 second elevator speech is a quick, introductory speech that catches people's attentions. What if you met the single most influential person in your life in the elevator. What would you say? How would you act? Do you smile and try to crack a joke? Or do you act somber and mature? As I've mentioned a few times in other posts, your self introduction should really reflect your personality. If you're normally a funny person, definitely go for humor. Just try not to be what you're not. It's painfully obvious and makes for stilted, awkward conversations. You definitely don't want to be remembered for that.

As for questions, it's really a way to differentiate yourself from other people. Think about it, employers (and admissions officers), meet hundreds, if not thousands of people, over the course of a recruiting season. You want them to remember you and pull for you when your resume (or application) comes up in the pool. You could try to stick out through that killer joke, or that scintillating conversation on the future of the Euro. I like to think of unusual questions. Most people tend to ask the same or vague questions. You definitely make a big impression if your questions are atypical (in a good way!).

Seniors are probably hardcore doing applications right now, good luck! Drop me a comment if you have a question.

dancin' the night away...

Well, not quite. I just came back from the Taiwanese Students' Association dance practice for Culturefest.

Culturefest is the annual performance that all the cultural organizations put on during UVA's Parent's Weekend. Orgs usually sing a song in their native tongue, do a popular dance back home, or put on some type of martial arts display.

As you could tell from my opening line, I'm Taiwanese. I actually grew up in Taiwan for 15 years after spending the beginning of my life in NOVA. So.. it's quite complisticated where I'm from. For our performance at this year's Culturefest, we're doing a dance that I'm just... slightly ashamed to be doing. It's a very Taiwanese style of dancing... which is to say there's lots of random pontificating and hilarious movements. For those of you who are interested.. le sigh. Don't laugh too hard please.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DONE with the scary accounting project!

...that has consumed my life for the last two weeks. I've finally just wrapped up working around 15 hours for my "Accounting Information Systems" class. Woot. I'm so bleary right now.

Apparently AIS is the "scary" class in the accounting concentration. There's definitely been a lot of homework (which I think has helped weed out a lot of people), but I would honestly say that there's a lot of value in all the homework. As an accountant, or auditor, you really need to know how your systems work, where there's potential for fraud or where controls might fail. Yeah, I probably sound like your typical book devouring nerd right now. =P

School's been in session for roughly three weeks now, and I've gotten a much better handle on my classes. For those of you who enter the comm school, I highly recommend "Negotiations" with Professor Bass. He's an excellent professor with lots of experience, and we've been learning in the best way through doing actual negotiations. I'm slightly sad though, yesterday was the first time in which I didn't have a successful negotiation. I was an employer, and my partner was a student I'd just extended an offer to. We didn't come to an agreement because she wanted a much higher salary than I was willing to offer, and I realized through the course of our negotiations that she seemed to be in it for the short term, while I was looking to build a long term team. This incompatibility in goals really spurred my decision to not keep pursuing this deal. Hopefully the professor sees it that way too tomorrow, *shrug.

I also recommend Professor Porter's "Federal Taxation I" class. While it might seem like the boringest subject on earth and that you'd rather gouge your own eyeballs out before learning about tax, the professor actually makes it a really interesting subject. Her lecture outlines explain difficult concepts very clearly, and her method of teaching somehow manages to capture the class' interest.

I also had my first interview on, incidentally, the first day that interviews started. Kicking off this recruitment season was probably the hardest interview I had in my life. A lot of it had to do with my atypical background, and I definitely got drilled on some technical questions (and this was the interviewer being nice to me!). However, I have to say that it's been my most enjoyable one thus far, precisely because it was so challenging. I appreciated the questions and hope I rose to the occasion.

Morale of that story is, don't be in a hurry to pigeon hole yourself into a future career path when you come into college. My resume was probably one of the last things the interviewer expected to see, and yet I still received an interview offer. Things change, your interests change, and you end up finding out that your personality is actually better suited elsewhere. The world is your oyster, embrace it. =)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

looking for a successor!

Alright, I've decided that it's time to hand over the bat and give this position to someone else. This is the blurb that will hopefully be circulating newsletters sometime soon. If any of you guys reading this (all 100+ a day! Someone comment!) have a friend who you think would be great for this, please point them my way!

LOVE UVA? Love to BLOG?

Try out to be the next UVA student blogger!
Blog whatever you like, completely uncut and uncensored.
Give prospective students a view of good ole TJ's University!

Send two entries to melli@virginia.edu by Oct. 5th.
Blog located @ uvalife.blogspot.com


And yes, I will do some reveal type thing at the end since my CC account keeps getting peppered with messages.

another disastrous football game?


Alright, so at this point in time I don't even really want to comment on our football team anymore. Hey, they try and the student body definitely appreciates that. There are some few choice words about certain key people in the football program that I heard at last Saturday's game that I don't want to repeat however...

So let's focus on our other awesome teams, such as men's tennis, women's swim, and men's basketball (to name the ones I read about the Cav Daily today). As usual, I'm always in awe of student athletes. I can't imagine having to get up to work out at 6 am, go to class, go to afternoon practice, probably some evening workouts, and then finally getting to do work. There was actually a guy on the football team in my comm block last semester, and the poor guy was travelling when our group projects were due. I think his team worked out something like meeting for two days straight, working on it just a little bit when he was gone, and staying up all night the night before the presentation to go over any final changes.

For this time's football game though, I can cross something off the 100+ list of things to do before you graduate list -- I tailgated on the Lawn! It was a club tailgate since one of the co-chairs is a Lawnie. The way a Lawn tailgate works is that there's usually music playing from the room, a folding table set up outside with food and drinks, and games going on in the Lawn. I ate lots of wings, played some frisbee, and wished that my club had a crochet set like some other rooms were playing. Tailgating on the Lawn is quite an experience, I wish I'd had the chance to do it before. And, to cap off this day's entry -- here's a picture of our marching band at the beginning of the game.

Monday, September 7, 2009

i sound like frankenstein...

Honest to goodness, I sound like Frankenstein. Over the weekend I've developed the worst sorethroat ever, I've been croaking to all the Honor Loan applicants I've had today, and if my lymph nodes get anymore swollen I swear they'd burst. Sigh. Argh! No time to be sick! Get better now!

The good things is is that I don't have the dreaded H1N1 swine flu. (I'm glad I'm not infecting other people and don't have to take a week off school...) Although for some reason, swine flu's been hitting UVA harder than most colleges. We have around 34 cases right now at school -- resulting from one crazy 17 case increase overnight. I've been trying to figure out why that's the case, and I really haven't been able to come up with an answer. It's not as if we have significantly different living situations compared to other schools. *shrug* A combination of climate and location? Any speculations from the audience?

Parents will be glad to hear that Student Health's on top of the issue though. We've received I'd say no less than 10 related emails since school started, and will be offering vaccines later this month or October. As a morbid friend and I like to say, diseases like swine flu, SARs, avian flu and what have you are the modern black plague. Is this nature's way of population control?

And on that disturbing note...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

september already?

Rahh! Say it isn't so! But before I degenerate into my usual fist-shaking-at-sky-in-attempt-to-delay-graduation bit, let's move on to an event I'm attending tonight through the comm school - a Business Advisory Services Panel.

For all you potential consultants out there, what I've learned though my Strategic Management Consulting class (and through general osmosis of information in comm school hallways), is that this industry has been hard hit by the financial crisis. There's a dearth of jobs and a huge supply of highly talented and qualified people pounding the streets. Looking a bit grim there. =(

However, a bright spot is that business advisory services have really picked up in the last couple of years. In spite of all the doom and gloom, they're actually showing a small growth in the industry (for all non business minded folks, that's major in these times). So tonight, I'll be attending a panel with AlixPartners, E&Y, PwC, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Navigant Consulting presiding. I'm really looking forward to this, it'll be an interesting three hours.

sittin' in my office...

Alright, next bit of my post will reveal a lot of my personal identity *dundundunnnn!*

I'm currently sitting in my office in the Office of the Dean of Students, holding Honor Loan office hours. I'm the Honor Loan officer this year, which means I make short term, emergency loans to students in need. This means I hold 10 office hours a week, sitting in Peabody (hey, if any of you are campus touring -- come upstairs after the tour to say hi to me!) and reviewing loan applications. It's pretty awe inspiring to realize how much the school trusts its students when I have access to a $100,000+ fund. Student self governance at its best. This is why I love this place so much. =)

I walked in about half an hour ago to all the deans frantically taking rubber wristbands out of small individual bags and repackaging them into brown paper bags. They were prepping for the new tailgating rules on the Lawn -- it's a tradition for Lawn residents to hold tailgates outside their rooms before football games, and this year is no different. However, residents are limited to 40 guests this year, controlled by wristbands designating that you're a guest of this resident. The wristbands are a cute green, but I for one am still not in favor of this new policy. This creates so much hassle for both the office and the resident. Of course, the argument is that yes you'll have to know who all your guests are, but who's to say I'll always know who my guests are? What if I open my tailgate to the new members of my CIO -- how on earth would I have gotten to known them after one general meeting? Isn't this the whole point of get togethers, to get to know people you don't? Instead, this feels like it encourages elitism by reserving the Lawn for close friends of residents, not to mention what a headache it'll be to collect wristbands at the end of the tailgate before people run off to the game in their excitement. I don't know, I have my doubts about this

Saturday, August 29, 2009

end of the first week!

And whoo, what a week! I was running around from 9:30 am to about 9:00 pm everyday, but gloriously enjoying it! Apart from the requisite classes, I was also going back and forth between my clubs and hanging out with friends.

Some of the notable things that always happen the first week of class include the activities fair, Rotunda Sing, and of course the first weekend. The Student Activities Fair was held on the Lawn this year, which I actually didn't attend because I was holding office hours for one of my positions. I really wonder what that sight looked like... hmm. But the fair is when all 500+ student organizations at UVA turn out en masse, set up tables and posters, and try their best to bribe -- er, convince students to join them. =P I say bribe because since the fair usually happens on a really hot day, lots of organizations have freezepops or chilled drinks. "Free freezepop if you sign up on our mailing list!" Haha, quite crafty eh?

I'm actually dashing off to a club event soon, I'm co-chair of a peer mentoring organization that's holding a scavenger hunt today. (Any of you who are reading this and are first years, it's horribly easy to figure out who I am from this, haha. =P )

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

it's the last first second day of class...

Here's your resident morose feeling... dare I say it? ...fourth year (ugh, cue shudder of horror). Well, pledge to myself: I won't think about it anymore. I'm going to wring the last of what I can from college!

I'm supremely happy with my classes this semester, the professors all seem nice and the material very interesting. I'm taking three accounting classes (because I'm planning to sit for the CPA) and two management classes. Accounting Information Systems (more concept and computer based than numbers based), Cost Accounting, and Federal Taxation I compose of the accounting classes. Negotiations and Strategic Management Consulting compose of the management classes. I'm really impressed by all my professors, some have an amazing work experience, and others are movers and shakers in their subject fields. I have a big grin on my face just thinking about it. (Okay, I know, I'm a dork).

I.. unfortunately also have homework due tomorrow that I need to go work on. I haven't had a chance to really sit down and read the book until tonight because I've eaten every meal since I got back with a different group of friends, and held around six Honor Loan office hours over two days. So, apologies about my pathetic update, I've got to dash to do work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

life can't possibly get anymore hectic than this. @_@

Apologies for the lateness of my update. Since I last posted, my internship's finished, I've gone up to NOVA for a few days, gone back down to C'ville to move into my sorority house, and will be headed to University of Richmond for a sorority retreat, and have been dealing with various extracurricular committments out of the wazhoo since then.

This summer flew by, it seriously, seriously did. People say that time passes by faster the older you get, and you know what? I definitely agree with them now. At the beginning of this summer I thought there would be all the time in the world to savor my last free summer, but whoosh! It's gone by like smoke.

I'm gearing up for my fourth and final year (of which I'm terrified about because I really don't want to graduate), and I bet I'll be approaching a lot of events with wistfulness and nostalgia. Everytime something happens, it'll be the "last time" I'm doing something like this. Moved in for the last time. Witnessed first years at orientation for the last time. Looked at buildings being constructed that I'll never get the chance to use. Ah, good ole TJ's University. It's treated me well.

For those of you entering your senior year in high school, I hope you embrace it and live it to the fullest. (I also hope you've started your applications already! And certainly those essays, you'll need to spend quite an amount of time on those.) I'll offer some application advice later if anyone's interested (and feel free to shoot me a question in the comments area), but at the risk of sounding like an old geezer, I wish I was in your shoes. =)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

clubbin' it in c'ville

Since one of my highschool friends was visiting over the weekend, I took him and met up with a bunch of people that I'd just found out was in town all summer long (hah, I seem to have done that a lot in recent days. Oops) to a club on the downtown mall called the X-Lounge. There, I met up with even more people that I hadn't realized were in town. (I ended up losing my voice the next morning because I'd spent most of the night screaming delightedly in excitement and bellowing conversations to each other over the music.)

So that was my wonderful weekend interlude (if only I'd realized sooner that I had about eight more friends in town! Sigh.) -- which brings me to today's topic of Charlottesville's night life.

Let's not sugarcoat it. For a lot of us, it's our first time away from parents and we're bound to go quite a bit crazy. When we turn 21, we can go crazy legally. However, you might find that venues are quite lacking. This is one part of C'ville that I'm not too fond of. Other than a couple bars on the corner and a smattering on the downtown mall, you really have nothing else to choose from. Many students default to apartment or frat parties, but if you're looking for a place to dance in which the bass is thrumming through your bones and you won't get a noise complaint, you'll have to look hard. This is one of the advantages of a big city that C'ville lacks. This is not to say that our bars are boring though, there's still quite a few gems if you know where to go.

But then again, a surrounding city's nightlife really shouldn't be your main deciding factor in choosing a college. You've got the rest of your life to party, but you only have four short years for college.

Friday, August 7, 2009

this is such a bad year...

for my glasses. I came back to school after winter break with three pairs. That should be enough to last me a year, right? Unfortunately, looks like I'm a lot clumsier than I thought. In the course of eight months, I've had a sorority sister step on a pair, smashed my laptop onto another pair when it slid off my bed, and then stepped on my last pair two nights ago. Oh. my. gosh. T_T

And to top it off, my laptop monitor flickered, and then died last night. At least this is all happening before school starts. Sigh. I'm swinging by BestBuy on the way home from work to see if there's any hope, but I'll probably have to end up buying a new laptop. I've used HP all my life and want to switch to a new laptop, any recommendations? I want a widescreen 12"-14", preferably LED screen, 2GB+ RAM, 250GB+ HD, discrete graphics card, three USB ports, and hopefully SATA (didn't think I'd ever need it, but boy it saved my life when my external HD died last summer. Yeah. My MyBook somehow got corrupted and almost took five years worth of pictures with it. Scary...). I really want to stay below $1000, but my list of qualifications may make that extremely difficult.

Morale of my post for those of you going to college (and hopefully going to UVA!), make sure you're current on all prescriptions and eyewear, and bring an extra two pairs just in case. As for laptops, Cavalier Computers offers a pretty good deal in which they offer to fix all problems with your laptop in your college tenure if you buy from them (quality of service however... I have heard some complaints from friends). You don't necessarily need the latest and flashiest, just something functional. Now is a good time to buy, when there are so many good laptops for $700.

Excited about college? It's full throttle ahead in three weeks!

Monday, August 3, 2009

welcome to c'ville!

I'm picking up one of my high school friends at the C'ville airport tonight because he's flown in to visit Virginia. I'm excited! =D I've got an exciting weekend of Shortpump, Skyline Drive, the downtown, and Monticello planned as he's going up to NOVA during the week.

For those of you who were here for orientation, I hope you had the chance to check out some of the places I mentioned, well worth a visit! If not, definitely point your parents that way when they come for Parents' Weekend.

Ah and, if any of you are in the area and want to meet up for lunch or coffee or anything like that, let me know. A "real, live" UVA student on call for you. =)

exploring the magic kingdom..

Just got back from a family vacation to Florida last week, what a blast from the past! My dad and I, along with some family friends, hit up Disney's Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. We also decided to forgo the Blue Lagoon and go to Seaworld instead. I'm really glad we did that, as I'm now a much bigger fan of Seaworld instead of the Disney parks.

I really loved Magic Kingdom's fireworks, there's truly none that compare. The Magic Kingdom really is the epitome of all childhood dreams, I loved Cinderella's castle (especially the mosaics!). I feel that I've outgrown it though. =( Everything was targeted to young kids, and I went on rides with the feeling of hmm. I've been here and done this. Bo-ring. That was the same feeling I got at Hollywood Studios as well, if anything the age range there decreased. My two family friends were in middle school, and they were resolutely left out of all the shows when performers were picking volunteers. *shrug* Didn't remember much of that park either.

Epcot however, was a lot of fun. I liked going inside the golf ball (yep, aliens visited us and dropped down that big golf ball) and creating my future world. I really liked the electricity game (where you have paddles and shove light projections around. There's sensors or such placed around the room to make the projections go where you shove them). They should make this a widely available game, and market it to stay at home moms. "Your kids will mop the floor while playing a video game, and build up their muscles! Woot!" I humored the little girls and went on several Kimpossible scavenger hunts with them around several countries. Hey, don't knock Kimpossible, the scavenger hunts were pretty fun. Players got a cell phone that they pointed at various objects intermittently. If you found the right place, the cell phone would trigger a reaction, giving you the next clue. My friends and I made mugs sing, bookstore windows light up, doors open, etc. Another one of my favorite rides there was "Soarin'". The audience is strapped into rows and rows of seats, moved up to a panoramic screen, and taken on a hang gliding adventure.

Seaworld however, was the cherry on top of the icing. I absolutely loved all the dolphin and whale shows. I even got to watch the big killer whale in a rock concert! How awesome is that? There was also plenty of aquariums and underwater tunnels to view stingrays, sharks, and jellyfish. One of my favorite rides of the week was the one in which we took a "helicopter" to the artic to view penguins and polar bears. The ride was the audience looking at a screen, but the jerks and loops were so much more intense than the watered down Disney versions.

I know I have quite a few international readers on the blog, so if you ever get a chance, say a spring break or something like that, do go down to Florida to experience the magic of Disney. It's something you really have to do if you come to the States, and plane tickets are only $100+ if you plan far ahead in advance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

this disturbing culture..

Something about the new world culture of burping at will really bothers me these days. Anywhere I go, whether it's in the States or overseas, I find people who don't bat an eye after burping. I'm not only talking about small burps either, in group meetings during the last school year one of the girls would frequently burp loudly, then carry on. Perhaps I place too much emphasis on refinement, but this is something that really disturbs me. The worst kind is when someone burps in the office, the smell slowly wafts through the air, and you're stuck wondering how to not throw up and still smile. When did it become socially acceptable to do this? Or am I really looking for bones in a chicken's egg? (To use an old Chinese saying.) Your thoughts?

Monday, July 20, 2009

d'aww, ice age 3 in 3d

I went up to NOVA this past weekend as a purely spur of the moment thing. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, yanno? While I was up there, I caught a showing of Ice Age 3 in 3d. Is it just me, or are there a lot of good sequels this summer? There was Transformers 2, and now Ice Age 3. Part of the previews were also in 3d, and I saw a trailer for the "squeakle" of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Haha, very cute!

I wonder if all movies are going to move to 3d? It certainly promotes more audience interaction and makes the movie even more realistic. I forsee a day in which people's minds will be actually projected into the movie, and you can actually live it, perhaps watch it through the eyes of one of the characters! Now that would be pretty awesome, or I've been watching too much Star Trek. =P

PS. If you watch a movie in 3d, do remember to *recycle* your glasses. My friend, upon exiting the theater, tossed them very suavely... into the trashcan. O_O!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

they have this kind of food in c'ville?

So L'etoile ended up being booked solid for the week, and apparently all spots were filled on Monday. Seems like Restaurant Week is popular indeed. =) My friend and I opted for C&O, another charming restaurant on the downtown mall. It was $27 for a three course meal -- with very hearty helpings. All I can say is.. wow. I had no idea they had this caliber of food in C'ville. I'm a big fan of TopChef, and I would compare the food to what they produce on the show. It was amazing, and I almost had to waddle out after the meal, haha. If you ever have the chance, go just to have their bread. Their bread is so. darned. good! I wanted to be able to just eat the bread and nothing else. I was pretty heartbroken when I found out that they made in it in the restaurant, and didn't get it from a bakery. I would love to have a steady supply of that bread. =D

As I was going to work today, I saw an orientation leader put up balloons on the side of the road. Sigh, I'm truly old now. Rising fourth year! Consumed with thoughts of my future career and the impending separation of all my friends. Sigh. It really seems like it was only a short blink of an eye to when I was traipsing these Grounds for the first time. *shakes a stern finger* Enjoy your years in college! Or as I like to say it, reach out and seize college by the throat, don't let go until you've shaken everything you can from it. ..a bit graphic, but you get the point.

My friend who was in the car asked an interesting question though -- how many friends do you still have from orientation? I thought about it for a little bit, then realized with some surprise that I barely remember anyone I met from orientation. So don't be worried if you don't click with the people at orientation. I didn't, not that much. Yet here I am today with a huge network of people and the best friends I've ever made. I did make all my best friends from first year though, and met all of them during my first semester. Morale of the story is, don't coop yourself up inside during those first months. I know it can be a huge shock, moving to a new environment and being surrounded with strangers, but go out, talk to people, and make some friends. =)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Restaurant week in C'ville!

This week is Charlottesville's much anticipated Restaurant Week, in which all the fine restaurants of C'ville put together mouth watering menus available at greatly reduced prices. I'm going with a friend to Cassis tonight -- I'm not sure what kind of food they serve. My friend is a huge fine food buff and is basically dragging me there. Oh well, can't say no to good food! =D

We were also going to go to L'Etoile, a fine French restaurant, but they've been booked solid for the rest of the week ever since Monday. Whew. That's a great reputation there.

Other notable Charlottesville happenings include a Film Festival in the spring in which a lot of local productions are featured and a.. Used Book Month (for lack of anything better to call it, aka I've forgotten the actual name) in which there's huge book yard sales all the time (most exciting for a book lover like me!). I'm a bit braindead right now after looking at reams and reams of numbers, so these are the only two I remember.

Recently I've been reaching out to a lot of alumni, and reconnecting with what's happened in their lives. As we're in the middle of the summer slump right now, you've probably already experienced how easy it is to lose touch with people. This gets worse after college, when people scatter off to all different parts of the world, much less than country. Make an effort to keep in touch with your friends! You don't want to look back one day and wonder "hum.. I wonder where did so and so go? And what about so and so?" I've already done my fair amount of that with people who've graduated! =(

Sunday, July 5, 2009

previous location: new jersey/new york

Just came back to NOVA yesterday from New Jersey/New York (was visiting relatives). It's nice that it's a doable 3.5 hour drive from NOVA to Jersey, I'll definitely be up to visit the City more often.

I spent a total of four days in Jersey, with frequent excursions to the City. My relatives took me to Flushing at one point to experience really authentic Taiwanese bubble tea and hot pot. Mmm, pure deliciousness. Nothing like that to be found around C'ville, unfortunately.

Tromped all over Manhatten, checking out Brooklyn Bridge and other must see sights. The highlight of those excursions though was definitely watching "Avenue Q" on Broadway. This was the first time I've ever seen a Broadway show use puppets! It was a really great production, and the lyrics especially clever. They also combined use of TV screens to add to the experience. For all my love of classical productions, I was really surprised by this one and hugely enjoyed it.

I attended a fourth of July cookout (happy fourth everyone!) that reminded me of an organization at UVA that does similar events. For all international students reading this, the International Students Institute hosts a lot of events for students from overseas, or those who'd just like to meet more people. They have friendship nights - in which a church group sponsor supplies a great spread, and many international students gather to meet each other and for a night of festivities. I remember them hosting trips to DC, horseback riding, and rafting on the river as well. Definitely an organization worth checking out.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

current location: northern virginia

Ah, gotta love northern Virginia. I came home yesterday evening, and promptly met up with some fellow officers (of a peer mentoring group I'm chair of) for dinner at Tyson's corner and late night showing of... Transformers!

My group received this movie with some mixed feelings. My friends didn't think it was that great, especially the plot. I guess I was too taken in by the money shots (all those explosions? Epic.), but I really really liked it. Maybe even better than the first one. Hmm. I really liked the scene in which the Nest soldiers were defending the Autobots - "we shed blood, sweat, and precious metal together!" I'll admit to being annoyed in some parts, especially when the Fallen started tearing the Great Pyramid to pieces. I really like the Great Pyramids alright? How dare you just tear it to pieces like that?? Serves you right when you got your core torn out. Pbthhh!

I'm planning a chill and grill event at my house on Tuesday, my parents recently got patio furniture and I have a slightly dated home karaoke machine to boot. Can't wait! And then it's off to New York to visit some relatives and partake in fourth of July fesitivities. Woot!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

current location: halifax

Rather, that’s where I had been all week – just got back into C’ville, pretty excited about the rest of the week.

Tonight I’ll be headed to Newcomb theater for a showing of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. It’s one of the programs put on by UPC during the summer for the benefit of those still in town. UPC stands for University Programs Council, and is in charge of – yep, you guessed it, the University’s programs. During the summer they often have random events like these. I remember several Facebook invites for some study breaks (for those taking classes during the summer and were studying for exams), cook outs, and free Bodo’s on the Lawn. One quibble I have with UPC is that most of their events take place during the day. We-ell, not everyone staying in C’ville is taking classes, how are the people interning/doing research supposed to come out to these events, eh? (Anyone from UPC reading this, have more events when people get off work!)

But otherwise, life is all gravy. I’m learning a lot on my job, and it’s really given me a different perspective on life outside of college. I’ve gotten a much better understanding of what to expect, and what my life will be like as an auditor in the last month than I could have in an entire year of industry research. Several of my friends are in town this weekend, which means lots of late night talking and catching up. I’m going to try to get three other friends out this weekend for some doubles tennis – but everyone’s schedule is so ridiculously over the place that it’s going to be hard.

In other news, I heard that swine flu is now in northern Virginia. Be careful everyone, stay healthy!

Monday, June 15, 2009

whoo weekend!

Ah, what an amazing weekend (how was yours?). I went home (to NOVA) on Friday with two friends and just had a thoroughly good time. Got off work a tiny bit early, talked about everything underneath the sun on the way up, and went to an excellent Chinese buffet near my house for dinner. I can’t say enough good things about this buffet, the food isn’t quite as Americanized as your typical Chinese restaurant, they serve Vietnamese pho along with your food, just started offering bubble tea, and have dim sum along with the buffet!

Of course, being girls, we just had to hit up Tyson’s the next day. Shopping prospects are pretty dismal in Charlottesville, so whenever I get the chance to go home, I always make sure to go to Tyson’s Corner. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be bored with the details of three girls shopping, so we can skip these six hours. =D

We really went up to NOVA to attend a friend’s birthday celebration. Met up with the crowd at Reston town center later that night, and then went to Café Muse in Annandale for lots of karaoke. This is one of the reasons why I love northern VA so much. There are so many people here, and everything is pretty close to each other. Lots of selection, and it’s just bustling with people (but without the insane crazy amount of folks where I come from). We left early Sunday to go back to C’ville (after hitting up H mart), whereupon one friend promptly headed to Clemons to write a paper, one went to went, and I bummed around, called some friends over, and packed for work the next day (I do wish my coworkers would speak up a bit and stop mumbling. Or.. it may be my ears. I hope it’s the former).

That is my typical weekend in a nutshell, minus the travel during the school year. Wahoos definitely work hard and play hard.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

one of my greatest hobbies..


In college you'll meet a lot of quirky people. I like to think of myself as an unconventional person with all encompassing hobbies. One of them, a passion really, is that I play the ocarina.

The ocarina is a closed vessel wind instrument that can made out of ceramic, metal, wood, and more materials. Those of you who like to play Zelda will definitely recognize the instrument from those series -- and yes, it's an actual instrument! It actually has over 3000 years of history, and originates from China but was significantly developed in Italy. It comes in pendant, inline, and sweet potato forms. The sweet potato forms were actually distributed to soldiers in.. WWII I believe, to help them while away the time in trenches.

I personally play ocarinas made by Charlie Hind, completely handmade ocarinas made out of exotic wood. I really prefer the mellow tone of the wood as I like to perform flowing, languid songs. The picture you see is a picture of one of mine.

Interested? Think I'm completely nuts? Whatever your reaction may be, I also moderate the largest online community for ocarinists (ocarina players): The Ocarina Network (TON). Life isn't all about studying, grades, and work. Leave some time for your interests. TON can be found at http://www.theocarinanetwork.com