Archive for January, 2002

Gainesville Weekend – 01.26.02

Saturday, January 26th, 2002

Quote of the Day:
“I hope you get a lot of work, holidays included, and dance yourselves into beautiful nervous breakdowns.”
Bing Crosby, “Holiday Inn”

I had forgotten what weekends in Gainesville were like. During the week I compile a list of things to do on the weekend while looking forward to a couple of days away from class. I revel in the thought of no set schedule and complete relaxation. Then, when the weekend comes, I remember how boring all of that really is. I spent the better part of today sitting in front of either my computer or the television. It’s not that I don’t have homework due next week but the assignments are not yet urgent enough to capture my attention. At 5 PM I ran some errands, which got me out of the house, but that still means all I have to show for today is some groceries and webpage updates. I suppose the day isn’t over so I can still get some work done but I don’t think that’s very likely.

One of the memos on my Handspring Visor Neo (my favorite Christmas present) is a list called “Diary topics” and it has four items right now. I have been meaning to write about these subjects separately but a combination of being busy and lazy has kept this from happening. Since I regret not keeping up with my diary entries over the summer and fall, when so many interesting things were happening in my life, I am going to try and discuss just about everything on my “Diary topics” list now before I forget why I wanted to write about them in the first place.

1) ”Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” – This requires its own diary entry for a full explanation so be on the lookout for it in the future.

2) Graduate school applications
I thought this was a hassle when I was trying to write my statement of purpose at the beginning of the month, but there was no way I could have known what a mess this process was going to become. I finished submitting all of my applications on January 17 when I dropped off the Georgia Tech package at the post office. In my innocence I believed that I was finished with all of my obligations concerning these applications because I had completed everything that was my responsibility. I was wrong. Around the same time I dropped by a professor’s office to say hello and discovered that he hadn’t written my letters of recommendation yet. His question was, “Is this a problem?” My answer was, “Well, yeah considering that three of the due dates have already passed.” If I hadn’t been so shocked my reply might have been a bit more profane. I got his assurance that he would write the letters and mail them that day.

After learning that my professor had not met the application deadline I emailed the universities for which the deadlines had. I was in for more disappointment. UCLA and Stanford, the two schools I heard back from, had not received letters of recommendation from either of the professors I had requested them from. Now I was totally panicked. These schools were not going to process my application for admission without all of the necessary paperwork but the lack of it wasn’t because of me. That was the most frustrating part of my dilemma. Immediately I contacted my professors. The one I had talked with the previous week had still not written the letters and the other thought he had written them but was mistaken. I was in California when I called these guys and asked if they would be kind enough to write letters of recommendation for graduate school. Both had agreed and I mailed them the forms on Thursday, December 14. My professors had willingly accepted the task of writing these letters for me and they were grown men would could handle this responsibility, right? Wrong.

On Friday, February 1, all of the deadlines for the universities I applied to will have passed. At this point one of my professors has sent the letters of recommendation but I haven’t heard from the other. I have had quite a bit of email and phone contact with the graduate advisors at UCLA and Stanford in the past couple of days. They will have several emails from me in their inboxes on Monday as well. I haven’t had any luck contacting Cal Tech by email or phone. I just want to have this mess cleared up by the end of the week. If this keeps me from getting into graduate school I don’t know what I’m going to do. Until I hear from the universities either accepting or rejecting me I’ll just have to hope for the best.

3) Birthday table
On January 9 I turned twenty-three. Besides the flowers I got from Dan it was a miserable day. But that’s not what this topic is meant to discuss. The next week my little sister Katherine orchestrated my sorority birthday table at dinner. This is one of the rare times when my sorority “family” all sits together around one table at dinner. Besides Katherine, I got to see her little sister (my grand-little) Catherine, my other little sister Melissa and her little sister (my grand-little) Tonya, and my other friends in the house. The birthday table tradition is having the whole house sing “Happy Birthday” to you as your cake is carried out to your table. Then you are asked your age. My reply was, “I turned twenty-three last Wednesday.” For a moment after that we sat in stunned silence. The pause lasted long enough to be noticeable before everyone started clapping, completing the tradition. Apparently I am ancient to most of my sisters. It took me a long time to come to terms with my role in Alpha Chi Omega. I’m not a typical sorority girl nor am I a typical sister my own house but I am content being the only one who knows the song we sing at the end of chapter. Having the president look to you for a cue is embarrassing. Anyway, I was amused by the shock I caused at dinner that night. It’s not the first time I have caused a stir among the sisters (initiation, fall 1997), but probably just the second.

4) Summer internship
I went to Tallahassee last weekend to celebrate my mom’s birthday. When I got into town on Friday night my dad and I went to Steak ‘N Shake for dinner and then to Wal-Mart to stock up on Slim-Fast. As we were walking through the Tupperware section my cell phone rang. It was Boeing offering me a summer internship. At first I was confused because I had only mailed my application a few days earlier but the lady on the phone told me she had received it. After listening to the obligatory explanation of my salary ($19 per hour because I will have a degree by then), my start and end date (May 28 and August, respectively), and my benefits I accepted immediately. The lady on the phone must not have realized that I had already been an intern with Boeing twice because she asked, “Would you like to take some time to think about it?” Of course not. So it’s only January and I already have my summer job lined up. Now all that’s left is to plan my trip out there in May and wait for the graduate school offers to come in. Will the cross-country trek out to California in May be one way or round trip?

It is now 11:45 PM and my usual bedtime is midnight. At this point it doesn’t look like I will be getting any homework done tonight. I got all of my shopping done today, however, so that leaves all of tomorrow to slave over the engineering paper. At least I can cross “write diary entry” off my to do list for the weekend. Since I didn’t get to the Lord of the Rings topic, and since I have several other that were not yet on the “diary topics” Handspring memo, be on the lookout for more entries in the near future. That is, as long as being busy and lazy don’t get in the way.

First Day Back – 01.08.02

Tuesday, January 8th, 2002

Quote of the Day:
“I guess school is just a pain in the butt and that’s the end of it (no pun intended).”
Shrew’s News, 11.16.99

The people in Gainesville, FL who don’t own ice scrapers, and I’m guessing that’s just about everyone, probably wished they did this morning. I got out of bed at 7:15 AM this morning and turned on the Weather Channel to see what it was like outside. My current room can get deceptively warm when the sun is shining through the windows, no matter how cold it is outside, so I wasn’t going to rely wholly on my clock thermometer. The last thing I expected, however, was to be informed that it was 26 degrees! There are no sweaters in my wardrobe so a long-sleeve shirt, fleece jacket, and Wal-Mart mittens (two pair for a $1.50) had to suffice. While most of my body was toasty walking to class in this attire my ears were hurting from the cold. The temperature got to about 55 degrees later in the day – colder than average for Gainesville, but not too bad considering the frigid start.

Going back to class at UF is strange after being gone since last May. The first thing I remembered was to be mindful of protected turns when I am crossing the street. The next thing I remembered was how annoying it is when you just miss your chance to cross 13th Street and you have to wait through another cycle of the traffic light. Besides the position of head coach of the football team, not much has changed on campus in the past nine months. The Reitz Union is still under construction, the bookstores overcharge for textbooks, and parking is atrocious. However, besides all of the face I don’t recognize, our sorority house has a new look. After finding some extra money in the budget last year (2001) our dining room has been redecorated, some of the bedrooms have been fixed up, and Ethernet has been installed. When I walked into the dining room to eat my breakfast this morning it was like being in an entirely different house. I am starting to feel this way about all aspects of the house. After five years here it’s definitely time for me to move on. The Gamma Iota chapter of Alpha Chi Omega isn’t the same as when I first joined and I feel like it’s time for me to leave it to the new sisters. Until then I am going to have to remember that I don’t live in the same room as before (I keep trying to go there instead of to my new room) and that the back hall shower floods ever time you use it!

I only had two hours of class today – biology (the only class I need to graduate) and the “hard” linear algebra class. As far as I can tell the “hard” linear algebra is not for me. The professor told us that we will be “thinking about linear algebra all the time” and that doesn’t exactly appeal to me. Tomorrow I will be going to the “easy” linear algebra class and I’ll see if that fare will be more palatable. Too bad I have six hours of class tomorrow when it’s my birthday.