My Year in Review (so far)

Well, its been about one week since I got home, so I think its time for a personal update! I must say, 2013 has had some amazing things for me in store academically and career-wise already, though stress and other personal issues have taken a big toll on me. Thus is life though, ups & downs. Some highlights I’d like the share since I have fallen off the face of the planet:

1) My laptop has been broken since December. I stupidly spilled coffee on it one morning before a phone interview while stressing out about the call and thinking about the pending doom of a project due that same day. I had gotten a USB keyboard whose life was short lived when it started to fizz and smoke one night while doing homework. Then I ran out to my local university Radio Shack (couldn’t wait for Amazon to ship!), and I got this cute Logitech wireless one. It’s still been a pain in the ass and a half lugging it around campus though along with books and having to explain to people why I have an extra keyboard. At least it survived til the end of term. Hopefully my computer does not clonk out any time too soon. I can’t afford another one for a while ;_;

wireless keyboard

Figure 1. My cutesy Logitech wireless keyboard! And stop judging my desktop background. It’s entitled “SUPERnova” from Threadless.

2) I will be presenting a poster at my university’s Research Day! It’s always been my dream as a freshmen to participate, and when I didn’t get a chance to do join in academic research because of my coop program, I thought it was hopeless. I was wrong because my former coop employee (DPI) is awesome! The data I compiled from working on one of their lab projects was enough to get my abstract approved for my poster presentation! The poster is a collaboration with another student from the University of Maryland, and it is about plasma treated water with the addition of propylene glycol and its antimicrobial effects.


Figure 2. I love how colorful the Research Day logo is!

3) I was coauthored on a real scientific publication! Another debt to DPI! With some hard work and lots of guidance from my former lab managers & supervisor, I’m lucky to have my name squeezed onto there. I’m still in awe! Never thought as an undergrad I would have my name in anywhere else, but “special acknowledgements” haha. Look for my name in an issue of Applied Physics (free to read if you have university access!). The article is about the use of water treated with the Glid-Arc plasmatron, and its benefits to plant biology and growth.


Figure 3. Yes, I am that silly undergraduate student who screenshots their name on an article so they can show their parents. Shoot me, I am happy!

4) I have successfully made two types of pie recently, one of which on Pi Day (3/14)! The first is a retake of the Caramel Apple pie recipe that caused all the fire alarms in the land of Philadelphia to go off. The second is Caramel Pumpkin Pecan pie.

2013-01-13 21.50.25 2013-01-13 23.18.53 pumpkin pecan pie

Figure 4.1. Unbaked Apple pie with lattice crust. So pretty!
Figure 4.2. Baked Apple pie with caramel encrusted crust. Kind of ruined the pattern in my opinion 😦
Figure 4.3. Baked Pumpkin Pecan Caramel pie. Took forever for it to stop jiggling! haha.

5) I am finally finished with my undergrad! Graduated a bit earlier than anticipated, taking about 4.5 years with 3 full time internships, a ton of volunteering, and part time jobs to boot 🙂 I could rant on about the blood, sweat, tears, and lack of a normal college life I had to get this degree, but I will leave it at “I am content” now that its mine and extremely appreciative for the learning experience, knowledge, and people I have been fortunate to meet. I am still waiting for my diploma and my actual walking ceremony is not until June, however.

6) I actually scored a job already! I have been a bit hush-hush about it because I am still in shock. After passing the phone screen in December (SO WORTH sacrificing my laptop as an offering; see bullet #1), I was offered a job back in the end of January with Merck & Co. down in Virginia as an Associate Specialist Engineering. I’m really humbled that anyone thought I was a good fit, especially in such a big and reputable company. I took a two day trip in the earlier part of the term to interview in Virginia, leaving Philly and school behind for a bit. I had met with about 10 people throughout the day, representing different teams within the department. It was intense, but I’m glad I made an impression on someone/some people!

7) Things still to come…! So right after I finished exams last week, I have been (re)learning how to drive. I need to pass the road test, which I will be taking on in about 2 weeks (eek!). Then, another wisdom tooth extraction, apartment hunting, car bargaining, and then the big move! Not to mention squeezing in seeing people I may never see again/for a very long time in both Philly and NYC 😦

So much for a break, but this is real life! I feel like everything is happening in a blur.I legit just finished taking exams less than 7 days ago.  I’m anxious, nervous, and excited to see where it takes me. I would be lying if i said the life transition doesn’t scare the crap out of me (and I like to take risks). It’s sad that I have got to leave behind friends and family and places so familiar and dear to me. I had always thought that I could come home to NY for a bit to relax and catch up with people I love, and then eventually find a job. Even hanging around Philly seemed like a cool idea, especially if my roomies were willing to hang around with me. Perhaps if I stayed long enough I would have caved in and applied straight to grad school.

But if there was ever at time to be daring, here it is. I have spent so much time planning for the real world that I am almost confused as to what to do now that “the big time” is here! Adventure is out there, and I’m lucky to have this opportunity, though it seems scary and lonely right now. Time to grow up and get a pair of real ovaries! For now, I’m taking it one day at a time until I leave for my new job.


Figure. Screen shot image of Winnie the Pooh movie  from Disney’s Facebook page. Their caption was “It’s always good to have a plan.” So true!


2 comments on “My Year in Review (so far)

  1. […] I mentioned earlier, my abstract got approved for my school’s Research Day! I attended last week and had my […]

  2. […] have a big impact on the field. I’m so lucky to have gotten both a poster and name on a publication on two different […]

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