Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reach for the Stars

Recently my brother and I had an amazing opportunity to go to the MIT AeroAstro Centennial Symposium.  Basically that's a long way to say the Aero Astro department turned 100 so they threw a nerd party.  John really wants to go into aero-astro, so I got him a ticket for his birthday.
It really was an amazing day, starting early in the morning learning about current research at the institute, moving on to a Q&A panel with alums in the NASA astronaut core, culminating in a Q&A with Elon Musk (founder and CEO of SpaceX).
Not gonna lie, we nearly pooped ourselves when we got the tickets (both of us are huge nerds if you can't tell)

I'll start with what we were most excited about; the Elon Musk talk.  Well, it was underwhelming.  I mean, the man is brilliant.  He knows A LOT about rocketry and how to grow a business.  However, dude has such a one track mind.  If you weren't asking about colonizing Mars then he did not want to talk about it.  Also, he didn't seem so much interested in colonizing Mars as much as sending people there and making sure the rocket makes it back to Earth.  I'm not kidding.  He literally said "well the people can hop off on Mars, that's their choice.  I just want my rocket back; it's expensive."
So yeah.  That was Elon....
The most amazing part was the astronaut panel.  I sat in awe of the ten alumni who have literally become heros.  Seriously, what kid didn't want to be an astronaut when they were little, and what adult doesn't still look up to them?

On top of that, I felt incredibly proud of my school.  On that stage was only a third of the astronauts that MIT has produced with Buzz Aldrin among them.  How crazy is that?!
On top of all of that, John and I actually got to meet Cady Coleman!

Cady Coleman is an MIT Chemistry alum, and has been with NASA since 1992 and has logged over 160 days in space including being part of Expeditions 26/27 to the International Space Station.  It was truly awe inspiring and inspirational to speak with her.
The thing that completely floored me was how down to Earth (no pun intended) she was.  I was stuttering and blushing just to be able to say hi to her, and when I told her she was a hero to me, she said something that really made my week.
She told me to be proud of myself and my own accomplishments.  This really struck me and I've thought about it every day since.  An astronaut told me that I do things worth being proud of!  She was right.  Everyday we do little things that advance ourselves and bring us closer to who we grow to be.  There are no goals that are simply end point, otherwise life would either be incredibly short or incredibly empty.  All of the sudden I felt like I could look to Cady as a peer and our time at MIT gave us a common accomplishment. 
Seeing life as a series of accomplishments has allowed me to remain more positive and aspire to be someone with unique goals.  It's hard to describe, but I've felt somewhat renewed by Cady's words.
I'm still a little star-struck by the fact that I actually met an astronaut and saw one of the leading technological businessmen of our time.  Really an amazing weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's in My Backpack?

Personally, I love when people do these kinds of posts.  I'm kind of a stalker at heart so I love to see what other people are carrying with them.  Also, you never knock what you need until someone else shows you haha
My backpack is kind of like Mary Poppins' bag.  Well that's what I prefer to say.  Doug prefers to say that I'm a garbage hoarder.  So I cleaned out all the candy wrappers and old receipts, and I'd like to show you what I schlep around everyday.

These are the necessities. I never go to class without these in my bag (along with my class notes)
Tide Stick: I'm kind of messy (ok, really messy) so this is definitely a must for me everywhere I go.  Especially now that I have white pants. 
Pens, pencils, highlighter, eraser: Kind of obvious, but I have a set of these that never leave my backpack so that I never forget them.  The big eraser is a huge must, especially for exams.  You'll be surprised how many mistakes you can make in a day.
Planner: Ok so I'm old school.  I really like actually writing things down, including meetings, due dates and even just little notes to myself.  This Lilly Pulitzer planner is really a lifesaver.
Chapstick, hand lotion, and hand sanitizer:  These are the types of things that when you need them, you need them.  I actually keep like 3 sticks of Burts Bees in my bag because I use it ALL THE TiME.
Granola Bar: I get hangry on a dime.  This is on my person always.  You never want to see me hangry.
Mini Emergency Kit and Contacts Case:  Surprise! The little pink elephant is actually a contact lens case with a little bottle of lens solution in it.  It's really nice for days you know you'll be on campus forever.  Sometimes I don't get home until 11pm, so being able to take out my contacts is really nice.  I also made my own little minimergency kit.  It's filled with little necessities.  I'll post more on that later.
Wallet:  Self explanatory.  Always keep money and an ID on your person.  You never know what the day will bring.
Headphones:  Sometimes tuning out the world is nice.  It's really good to be able to just sit and listen to whatever song is stuck in your head.

What do you keep?  Want to stalk me more?  Let me know :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My 101 in 1001 Checkup

It's almost been a year since I originally listed my 101 goals for 1001 days.  Now making a list s one thing, but actually following it is another.  This is my sad attempt to check up on myself and see my progress.  If you haven't made one of these I highly recommend it.  It's an amazing way to see what you want from your life long term.
2. Get a dog
3. Drink a craft beer from each of the 50 states (track my progress here)
4. Graduate ChemE
5. Run a 5k (4/19/14)
6. Pay for an entire vacation myself (08/14)
7. Throw a party that doesn't include canned beer or cheap liquor
8.  Only order GrubHub once a semester (1/3)
9. Finish one crochet blanket a semester (1/3)
10. Throw a porcelain dish or raw egg against a wall (I've wanted to do this since I was a kid)
11.  Get hair and makeup professionally done (didn't even do this for prom)
12. Finish Dante's Divine Comedy
13. Visit Smalley cousins (09/14)
14. Visit France and use my minor
15. Get blog business cards (08/14)
16. Watch the sunrise at Boston Harbor before I move
17.  Save more paycheck money than I spend in a year
18. Finish MIT without losing my ID card again
19. Buy a pair of Louboutin's
20. Only watch 2 TV shows at a time (right now 2 Broke Girls and Once Upon a Time)
21. Watch all Harry Potter or LotR movies in one sitting with Anna
22. Learn to drive stick shift
23. Go to fancy brunch with my MIT friends
24. Dance with a stranger (real dance, not grinding.  I want Disney style)
25. Shoot a 25 in Skeet
26. Beat dad at sporting clays
27. Eat breakfast every day for a school week (0/5)
28. Have no underwear/ socks with holes in them
29. Do not buy stupid stuff for a month
30. Buy Girl Scout cookies and give them to someone as a surprise when they seem sad
31. Finish mom's picture frame thing above the piano
32. Get a real job (not funded by a university)
33. Don't complain about ChemE for an entire week (0/7)
34. Stop making fun of courses 7, 8 flex, 9, 15, and 21GS when stressed
35.  Only watch a movie at most once a day
36. Post a YouTube video once a month (0/35) This failed hard
37. Buy someone a drink
38. Get grownup furniture
39. Make a cookbook of all Gramma's and Habibi's recipes
40. Understand how to pay taxes/ do I need to pay taxes?
41. Completely reorganize my room and keep it that way
42. Visit Anna for a long weekend at her school
43. Eat a meal at a restaurant entirely based on the server's suggestions
44. Go on a brewery tour (06/14)45. Go to New Orleans (06/14)
46. Get CPR certified
47. Set off real fireworks
48.  Visit Habibi and Jidu alone
49.  Take John to a Chili Peppers concert
50. Do something willingly that freaks me out
51. Sign a lease/ buy a house with Doug
52.  Go salsa dancing (i know how!)
53. Get a massage with mom
54. Write a blog post for each thing on the list (0/101)
55. Finish a game of Monopoly without making John cry (Anna can make him cry)
56. Watch all of AFI's 100 movies for 100 years (38/100 Track my progress here!)
57. Take Mackenzie to Maine
58. Wake up early enough to do my makeup AND comb my hair
59.  Drink an appropriate amount of water every day for a week (and not all at the end of the day when I realise I forgot to drink water) (7/7)
60. Get a tattoo after my last ChemE class
61. Save all my change and at the end of the 1001 days buy something in coins
62. Win Bar trivia
63. Drive 30 minutes without swearing at other drivers out loud (1/17/14)
64. Make better Arabic food (even though it's better than mom's)
65. Go to a party where I can wear a long gown
66. Tell a lie to a child that they won't find out isn't true until they're older (my dad did this to me all the time) (has to be funny)
67. Assume a fake identity for a night and tell everyone my "life story"
68. Get Bottom of the Top sponsored
69. tee hee
70. Do all of my PSets for one class
71. Go through finals without eating Biscoff or Nutella
72. Learn to ice skate
73. Learn how to sail
74. Do one pullup
75. Clean off desk enough to put fresh flowers on it
76. Fix a computer problem without Doug's help
77. Get engaged
78.  Write a handwritten note to Anna once a month (0/35)
79. Schedule a dentist appointment by myself
80. Plan a wedding
81. Be Amish for a day (no electronics)
82. Reconnect with someone from high school
83. Get married
84. Do Santa-Con
85. Go to a live comedy show
86. See a live Jack Russel race
87. Buy a piece of real art and hang it up
88. Ride a horse
89.  See B. B. King
90. Run a blog giveaway
91. Do a McDonalds crawl on Rt90 from Boston to Syracuse
92. Pee off the Mass Ave bridge
93. Get my own shotgun
94.  Get fitted for a bra and tame the beasts (1-26-14)
95. Clean out my old room at my parents' house
96. Make moonshine (that won't make me blind)
97. Go for a ride along on a drug bust
98. Go to Rocky Horror Picture Show in full costume
99. Go camping (not at a music festival)
100. See the pandas at the National Zoo
101. Do a photo scavenger hunt in Boston

I think I'm doing pretty well for having 3 years to get this done!  How about you?