Sunday, April 25, 2010

Half Time!

I'm halfway done with academics at Stanford. Pretty crazy how fast things are going. I think I'm pretty happy with my decision of coming to Stanford instead of somewhere else (Berkeley). Anyway, that's a discussion for another time. This post is about what I have been up to the past week.

Tuesday. I found out at work that I will be moving desks. I feel like this happens to me at every internship. And my internship experiences change dramatically because of it. Usually for the better. I'm moving closer to my group but unfortunately, half the group is moving downstairs. I still don't understand why this decision was made. Someone, somewhere decided that people should be more "integrated" and sit by projects. But projects change all the time. And it's important to sit with your group because then other people know where to go when they need specialized help. And you can look around and find help when you need it. I think this will be one of my questions when I do interviews next year. Does the group sit together? I mean, it's actually a pretty dumb question because most of the time, the answer will be yes. But it's important. And it's always the little things that count. I don't care if my questions are non-standard and feels weird to potential employers. I think it's important to find a group that I like to work with. I feel like I have a lot of experience to bring to the group for an entry level engineer.

Wednesday. We had our mid-term presentations for our tsunami evacuation for Padang class. Things seem to be moving along for the class. Everyone has a ton of work to do regarding their project. I think we're doing really good work though. We definitely putting out engineering education to use. It's really amazing to see that I can really use my somewhat specialized knowledge to help communities around the world.

The summer trip is still in the pre-planning stages. We have a somewhat set date for arrival in Indonesia. But the tourist visa seems to be only for 60 days. The next step is 6 months and applying for that seems like a huge hassle that is very involved. The other option is getting a visa on arrival (valid for 30 days) and leave the country for a couple of days and get another one of these 30 day things. But even with that, we're still limited to 60 days and we want to be in the country for more like 70 days. So we would have to leave the country twice. I'm a little worried that immigration will deny our entry the 3rd time around. In which case, it will be a huge disaster. So if anyone has any bright ideas, speak up!

Thursday. I went to an ASCE dinner meeting after work. I should go to these more often because they are often free or super cheap for students. But this one only worked out because one of the ASCE officers at Stanford decided to organize a carpool and I was able to get a ride back with them. Otherwise, it would've taken me super long to get back to campus. I met some very interesting people. I met someone who is a long time coworker and friend of a coworker from a previous internship. I feel like this type of thing happens all the time. I think I need to get more involved in ASCE. I think I'm going to try to be active in the younger member committees or something when I get a job. It seems like a great way to network and find out what everyone is up to.

Friday. My soil berm design team met up with one of my coworkers from work. She gave us a lot of good advice on things to look into. I think it was pretty productive use of time. The only question is if we have enough time and energy to address all the issues. I feel like my team needs more team meetings where we tackle a problem. Maybe 4 people is too many and we would get distracted? I don't know if we should partner up and work on figuring out solutions to individual problems.

Saturday. I spent yesterday volunteering with SEAONC's Rebuilding Together day. We were helping out an elementary school with some renovations. I was painting the parent's lounge. There were other painting projects and building of benches and plant boxes. There were quite a few people from various companies. I was surprised to see many familiar faces as well. SEAONC is a structural engineering association. I'm a member but I don't think there are very many other geotech people. I feel like the geotech community doesn't really have an equivalent. There's the GeoInstitute but I'm not sure it's an equivalent.

Next week, I have a take home midterm for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to go to the SFGI annual lectures on Thursday. The lectures start at noon and then there's dinner afterward. I usually work on Thursdays but I'm sure they won't mind since this is geotech related. I guess I'm just feeling like I don't have time. Because if I only work half a day on Thursday, I might want to go to the office on Friday as well.

Anyway, extremely busy, like always! Need to devote some time to studying Indonesian. Falling behind on my schedule already and I haven't gotten past chapter 4 of Teach Yourself Indonesian. Also, there seems to be a lot of buffalo in Indonesia. Now it makes more sense why my computerized flashcards was making me learn how to say water buffalo in Indonesian. I guess it would be nice to know when I go to a restaurant??

1 comment:

yalu said...

yeah the only thing you need to be careful of is not to ask questions that make it seem like you ran out of things to ask - because you didn't do your research - so you're asking filler questions. Lot's of generic questions seem this way.

maybe you'll get to see a water buffalo.