Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Letter to My High School Self

There's a thread on College Confidential (yeah I still go there sometimes, don't judge me) about writing a letter to your high school self. The responses are pretty interesting, I've decided to extend my post here:

Dear HS Me,

You probably think you're pretty awesome and doing all the right things, right? Wrong. Stop obsessing over that institute up north, you know which one I'm talking about. Hate to crush all your hopes and dreams, but you're going to get deferred and then ultimately rejected. You'll meet some cool folks along the way, so don't give up on the process. You'll get over it and eventually end up happy at the popular State U that you detest. Go ahead and load up on dual-enrollment courses at the local CC the summer between 11th-12th as you planned. You'll be glad to have all those easy As and Gen Eds out the way once you get to college and you'll deeply regret it if you don't. DO NOT let the deadline for that 2008 summer program/internship slip by; you really aren't too busy, just lazy.

Speaking of lazy, you're REALLY lazy. That needs to stop because old habits die hard and will kick your ass in college. The serious weight gain between 9th and 12th grade can be prevented. Your grades can be better. Effort, Noelle, effort! Your natural intelligence and ability to work quickly are nice to have, but you'll be a lot less stressed out if you procrastinate less and persevere.

Be more vocal about your ideas in robotics, especially in the last two years. Some of your ideas are excellent. Those half-completed CAD files sitting on your hard drive? Finish them and show someone at the beginning of the season.

As much as you hate being lectured because you think you already have it all figured out, just listen to me and digest all of this. I am the amazing you after all.

Quickies: buy that DSLR while you still have a job at a place where you can get a discount, the t-shirts with the witty sayings -- ditch them after 9th grade, go to all of those parties you were invited to, don't take having the beach 20 minutes away for granted, South Florida isn't all that bad, appreciate it.

Stop being such a prude. Just...stop. I can't say exactly what, but a lot of your views are skewed and narrow-minded. Maturity will come in due time. Loosen up socially, be more approachable and friendly. Explore and spend more time on those little creative outlets that you started to get into. Love yourself, no need to be so critical. Chill out about everything and stop stressing so much, it'll all work out in the end :)

Much Love,
The Future You

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Not-dirt-poor-but-not-rich college student budget doesn't allow. Noelle wants, insanely.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spring 2010 - Getting It Together

Usually when I've placed myself into some sort of horrible situation, I sometimes tell myself "Noelle, get it together!"; somewhat serious, somewhat jokingly. We're not going to talk about Fall 2009 since that's behind us. Mistakes were made, lessons have been learned. With a new year and a new semester upon us, it's a perfect time for a refresh.

HOLD ON, doesn't this sound too sappy and pleasant to be coming from me? Let's get real...

To be completely honest, I didn't really like the way my first semester of college went. I'm not going to go too far into detail about everything, but I passed all of my classes, the living sitch and my roomies (only 2 now! woohoo!) are cool, and I managed to squeeze some fun in here and there. Moving on.

I had mixed feelings about the new semester approaching, but alas, it's here. My workload is more intensive, as I have a math course, a science course, a real engineering class, and German as well. Oddly enough, I look forward to it. I learned last semester that I'm barely productive when I have too much free time. Keeping my schedule loaded (within reason) should keep me on my toes. Even with a more difficult courseload, I feel that I'll be more successful this semester because my motivation has changed...well, I have motivation period this time around. Though the future is such a great unknown, I can't help but to get excited about it. Despite seeming so far out of reach, it always seems better than the present. Yadda yadda, kids these days wanting to grow up too fast, I know, I know, I'll savor the moment.

I would say something about me needing to improve socially, but it's still not that big of a deal to me. I've come to accept that I'm a loner. I find it incredibly funny that it doesn't really phase me unless I think about. Don't be mistaken, I do enjoy my time spent with others, but I also treasure personal space; to remain unchallenged, unrestricted, to think, to move, to function independently. I've already made too many accessory "friends" -- the type that seem super buddy buddy bffs forever when you first meet them, but will barely acknowledge your presence in passing a month later. Perhaps that's why I sometimes come off as standoffish, because I refuse to be vulnerable to superficial friendships. The conventional college socialization methods (ie. wild parties, clubs, etc.) are unappealing to me so it may take longer to find worthwhile, lasting friendships. Maybe it's better that way.

With a more positive outlook, I look forward to the rest of this semester, my college career, and my life, and hope for the absolute best. (What am I on with all this cheesiness I'm spouting?) I don't blog much when depressed, so let's hope the good mood sticks around and I'll keep steadily pumping out the blogs and vlogs (<-- heh, that rhymes!).

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye, 2009!

You kinda sucked.

Even though I experienced a few milestones and some great memories, as a whole, this year wasn't all that great. I don't even blog that regularly anymore, but I've done a post like this for the last two years, so why break tradition? Here goes, 2009 in review:

January: blah

February: 18th birthday, quit job at Circuit City, Buckeye (Cleveland) Regional, UF Acceptance

March: FL Regional, MIT rejection, started tweeting more actively

April: Laser Quest all-nighter

May: AP Exams, Grad Bash, Graduation

June: blah

July: UF Preview

August: Rapids Water Park, left home, moved into apartment, started college

September: first Gator football game

October: Gator Growl (saw Jabbawockeez, O.A.R., Dana Carvey)

November: first Gator basketball game, resolution of roommate issues, amazing Leonid meteor shower

December: Kid Cudi/Common Concert

I'm not one to make resolutions, but I just hope for a better 2010; academic, health, and social success. One different thing I do plan on doing is refrain from getting a relaxer. I'm just going to let my hair continue to grow naturally, just because it's something new. We'll see how it goes.

Since this also brings the first decade of the 21st century to a close, perhaps I'll do another review post on should be more interesting than the one about this laaaame year.

Happy Year Ending! GTFO 2009, Welcome 2010!

Thursday, November 19, 2009



My last post was right.

It's a fact, Twitter killed the blog (at least this one).

It's been over a month since I've updated, shame on me? Eventually something will come along moving enough that I can only express it in words and I can breathe life back into this here chunk of space on the Internets, but until then, I'm relinquishing myself from any guilt I had associated with not blogging and have come to accept the effects of evolution of social networking. <-- That was quite a run on. I still enjoy writing, I just can't seem to motivate myself to do it enough. But I've gotten over my little issue with talking in front of a camera and then listening to myself again, so I bought a Flip MinoHD and started vlogging (woohoo!).

Vlog me, tweet me if you wanna reach me, when you wanna page me it's okay
(+10 points to whomever can guess the reference)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Twitter Killed the Blog?

It's true.

I feel guilty about not blogging as regularly since I have experienced so many blogworthy events in the past few weeks. Blame Twitter, since I've been updating on there wayyyy more than here and Facebook. I like that I have a different audience that may not hang on to my every word, yet I can still interact with people on an immediate level.

With the frequency that I update on Twitter and the content matter, it seems that it would be redundant to post a blog entry about things that I have already mentioned on Twitter. Though Twitter is considered to be microblogging, a collection of a day's tweets don't form a coherent blog post. I feel as if I'm drawn between the two. Even though I blog and tweet for myself mostly, I feel that I do have an obligation to my very few blog readers and followers not to be redundant and to produce worthwhile content, whether it be something humorous or a reflection. It is significantly more convenient to tweet from my phone, iPod, or computer wherever I am about an occurrence than to blog about it, though I feel that because I'm not blogging as often I don't get a chance to express as much as I normally would. Sometimes blogging is therapeutic, and I think Twitter sometimes removes that aspect of expression when limited to 140 characters.

I have a bone to pick with the Twitter-haters. Though it definitely isn't for everyone, don't knock it until you've tried it. And if you have tried it and you don't like it, then fine, but don't criticize others that actually do get something out of it. You might be able to briefly glance at the site and see that you don't like it without trying it, and that's fine too. But just don't be a hater, you're not above anyone else for not using it. There are dozens of uses beyond simple social interaction and the stereotypes of just notifying the world when you are pooping or every minor detail of your day.

This blog definitely isn't dead and I'll try to think of some sort of content to create to keep it breathing instead of just the highlights of my life since Twitter does a great job of keeping up with that. Maybe when I get my new camera (Canon Rebel T1i **HINT HINT SANTAMOMMIPERSON**) I'll turn it into a photoblog. Maybe I'll think of other things to discuss. Maybe I won't do anything different...probably.

In the meantime, if you're on Twitter, follow me if you're not doing so already.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It's the beginning of my third week of college. So much has occurred in such a short period of time, I can't even begin to think of where to start with this entry.

Big people school hasn't been that hard as of yet, but at 2.5 weeks in I can feel the workload starting to intensify. I'm constantly developing my study habits since this concept of studying is foreign to me. I take notes because I'd be bored in class otherwise. After reading the book and listening to a lecture, reviewing notes seems really redundant. Passing off reading a powerpoint as teaching is annoying, fortunately most of my instructors provide some additional insight every now and then. Regardless, I copy everything in my notebook like everyone else like a good little scribe and digitize it that evening or the next day. I'm really enjoying the concept of being responsible for learning on my own without having jillions of BS worksheets and assignments shoved down my throat to "reinforce" the subject matter. With well-written textbooks, lectures, free tutors, office hours, and the blessing of the Internet, it's pretty hard not to understand something. But I may be eating my words later, so take that with two shakes of salt.

SYG2000, Principles of Sociology, MWF - I took this class not only because it was a Gen. Ed credit, but because it seemed interesting. Taking AP Psychology two years ago really got my ears perked up to a few new topics that I would've otherwise ignored. The course is taught by a really down to earth grad student. It's been interesting so far and will definitely be an easy A. The class isn't as big as I thought with only 40 students and she already knows most of our names.

ENC3254, Professional Writing and Communications for Engineers, MWF - Even though most Engineers dread English classes, I don't. Finally something relevant! This is our instructor's first year teaching, but she's coming straight from the industry, so even though she's not the best teacher she has excellent advice and commentary. There are about 20 in this class and I think I'll leave with a lot of valuable knowledge. We've already written an introductory memo and prepared a rough draft of a cover letter/resume/follow up. To come later are instruction manuals, technical definitions, a research report, and individual and group proposals. Oddly enough I'm looking forward to all of this.

MAC2311, Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1, M(T)WF - oh Calculus, how I missed thee. I'm really rusty at math since it's been over a year, but the gears are being re-oiled and it's coming back to me...slowly. I'm dreading this little segment we're having on Pre-Calculus, but the material ahead is exciting. Professor Edwards is amazing. He's darn funny and manages to teach the concepts well, though very quickly. This guy co-authored the Calculus textbook we used in high school. The lectures on MWF are huge with over 300 students. I didn't even notice the people sitting on the floor in the back until he said one day, "Welcome to Calculus, standing room only". It's one of those classes where if you're early, you're on time, and if you're on time, you're late. I have my discussion group with about 30 others on Tuesday where we go over homework and take quizzes. I adore the TAs accent, he sounds just like Fez from That 70s Show.

LIN3010, Introduction to Linguistics, MWF - Being the huge grammar/language/word nerd that I am, I expected nothing less than enjoyment from this class. The class is a bit larger than I expected with about 200 students. Even though the lecture is sometimes boring on Monday and Wednesday, the subject material is still incredibly interesting. The professor moves pretty quickly so we cover a lot in a short period of time and usually end up leaving early. I'm so glad this class evaluates langauage from a more sciency perspective than a liberal artsy one. Friday's are discussion groups and there are about 15 people in my group. So far it's been a simple reinforcement of some basic concepts, but the TA is cool.

EML2920, Department and Professional Orientation, R -This is the first engineering class in the mechanical engineering track. It's simply a 1-credit introduction to the major, career track, and resources available, with something at the end about Excel. Another huge lecture hall-packing class, and there really isn't much work at all.

CHM1025, Introduction to Chemistry, online - With my past history with online courses, I wouldn't have bet on me taking an online class ever again if I didn't have to. But I have to. Fortunately the interface is much nicer than what I was previously familiar with, even though I still think eBooks are annoying to navigate. I've heard horrible things about this course and the drop rate, but it's not too bad so far, so I just hope that I make it through the semester successfully.

The Living Quarters
I live in an apartment off campus about two miles away. It's a 4/4, so I have three roommates, yet I still have my own bedroom and bathroom. The roomies are cool, not buddies-for-life-amazing-instant-friends, but we'll get along. I moved in on 8/21 and have pretty much everything I need, but my Target wish list is still growing. I'm hating all of these little Walmart trips that I've been making for little necessities because I really can't stand the place, but it's convenient.

My room is getting to be very comfy and I can finally call it home. I'm considering getting a task chair, lamp, and some more wall decorations and then it should feel complete. I got an awesome and cheap Bumble Bee Transformers poster from the Reitz Poster Sale and I have a Wall-E poster on the way. (pictures on Facebook)

This past summer I paid close attention to my mother's cooking and practiced a bit myself in anticipation for having to cook alone and what not. I have a decently stocked kitched and pretty much everything I need to cook anything I would want. Problem: I'm still as shy as ever and the selfish only child in me still hates sharing. I skeptically agreed to share cookware, but I didn't really want to; I did it because it would be incredibly weird if I didn't. I get really upset internally when I see my stuff being used constantly, stuff that I haven't even used yet, but I wouldn't dare bring it up. It's seemingly a non-issue, but really irks me. In the back of my mind I know it's irrational, though I really can't help but to feel this way. I felt that it was necessary for me to be well-prepared, what a coincidence and convenience for everyone else that Noelle has brought cookware and utensils and plates and bowls and a cookie sheet and what not. If I bring a service for two, does it seem like it would be used by four? No. Maybe I wouldn't have as big of a problem if I were sharing with friends and not complete strangers. Maybe I still have some serious issues to work out internally. I understand no one is at fault except for possibly me for not being open about my lack of ability to share with pleasure, so no blame is being placed. I'm really just arguing with myself.

With that said, I've cooked once -- and it's only been rice. I'm not in the mood for conversation or shyly greeting new people everytime I leave my room, so I've been avoiding cooking. I need to get over this because I miss real food.

Perhaps the worst part of the beginning of the semester is buying textbooks. I have spent a grand total of $447.78 on textbooks/course codes/lecture notes this semester and it was not fun to part with. I was smart with my shopping, and didn't buy a single book from the UF Bookstore. Two came used from local bookstores and the rest were purchased online. I bought the international edition of Technical Communications for $35 new, opposed to $116 new/$85 used for the US version -- saving on that was a great feeling. I was skeptical of the quality and content at first, but it turned out to be the same exact book, same page numbers, diagrams, everything, except the cover said "India Edition" and the pages weren't glossy.

The bus system is great on the weekdays, as 3 different bus routes pass my apartment complex heading towards campus, so I rarely have to wait more than 5 minutes for a bus. I learned the hard way that 7:50-8:30am is peak time and about 8 or so full buses will pass before one will at least stop at my complex. I've learned to leave around 7:40-7:45, so even though I may get there super early for my 8:30 class, it's better than being late. It's quite inconvenient that the buses have such limited hours on the weekend, only running hourly 7am - 5pm on Saturday and then 10am - 4pm on Sunday.

So with my issues with weekend bus service and hatred towards walking miles upon miles daily, I bought a bike on Sunday. I've become envious of the cyclists, whizzing around campus so quickly, with their own less crowded lanes, with rights similar to pedestrians and vehicles. I've gone out for a short ride every evening since I've had the bike, but my first pedal leaving the store made me realize how out of shape I am. It's been about 8 years since I've been on a bike, so I need to build up some endurance to be able to ride ~3 miles to school. I've roughly calculated going 2 miles up and down the street I live on, so I should be ready to skip the bus in a few days.

I've been a bit of a loner for the past few weeks, and I don't find it strange at all. Living off campus might have a bit to do with it, but I'm not much of a social being or small-talk kinda person, so I'll let the friendships come naturally. I see so many people forcing friendships with those that they live near or see on a daily basis; it's simply not my kinda thing to be friends just because, there has to be some sort of common interest, or personality click at least. In spite of my natural introvertedness, I have been to a few social events and such. I joined NSBE and look forward to being an active member in that and I am going to an event tomorrow for the Freshman Leadership Engineering Group (FLEG), so I'm trying to make myself busier outside of pure academics.

I think my year is off to a great start so far. Gainesville is growing on me, being more southern than I thought, but I'm really liking UF as a whole more and more each day. I've finally embarked upon the journey that I've been anticipating for so long, can't wait for what the future holds...