Senior Year STARTS NOW

Gosh, what an insane month. Today, its a beautiful October day, and I’m working my little tush off to get in front of all that is to come this quarter. Easier said than done. I’m going to provide some details on how, as a college senior, I have formulated the most efficent methods of organizing and planning for my life.

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I run on two binders, one for school, and one for work. I am currently keeping all my personal planning shenanigans in my a5 planner at home and don’t take it to school. If I need to jot down personal lists or notes to myself I have a small gridded bullet journal in my backpack, but I don’t follow this religiously. I need to cut down on my planning as is.

So lets talk about how I set up my school binder:

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  1. I print up all the weekly planning inserts and monthly calendars from my 2017-18 school planner and three hole punch them.
  2. Looking at the monthly calendar, I mark out major holidays and things I’ll have to miss school for. I then fill in little personal meetings, and midterm and final dates.DSC_0270
  3. I transfer this information into my weekly school planner pages. I add in homework due dates if I have been provided those already. I color code based on class.DSC_0277
  4. In the remaining dividers, one for each class, I add the syllabus and my assignment and class planning pages. I also print out any helpful materials that I dont want to write in my notebook like a periodic table, identification charts, etc.
  5. print out my weekly school schedule, color code it, add in work times, and place that in the front pouchDSC_0279

I take notes BY HAND

  • I am working to re-use some notebooks that I only half filled. I try to find subjects that have a little overlap when doing this

My 2017-18 school planner is getting some good press at UCSB and I am very excited to be getting a wider audience for my planning supplies. A couple of requests have been made to make a physical planner. Will I do it? Only time will tell.

Make sure to check out all of my other school planning advice!

Wishing you all insanely good luck this fall quarter or semester! You’ll kill it!

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How to find motivation as an intern

Summer is ending and so is another internship season. I won’t elaborate on all that I have personally and professionally learned (that’s for another time), but I would like to share how I have adapted to the environments of the two internships I have now participated in during my college career.

If you are looking for related posts, check out my advice for finding an internship here

*I am not an expert, or a counselor, and all of these tips and opinions are just that- opinions. I don’t intend to cover all kinds of internships in my advice, but I would still like to provide input in case it is useful to those in similar situations.*

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SO, you got an internship. SCORE! Professional world here you come! Whether its being a lab rat for a graduate student or an assistant to a team of developers, a majority of internships are marketed with a few things in mind:

  1. The position provides an opportunity for learning you could not experience in a classroom
  2. You should be doing something to make the lives of those that hired you a little easier
  3. In the professional world, you might gain an opportunity to continue on with the company in which you are working for

Even if your job title might not seem like much, any of these three things can make your time, paid or unpaid, worth it. Often times, however, the structure of an internship is rather vague. In the circumstance that your hours and tasks arent laid out for you the second you start, how are you going to get the most out of your time there?

Well, I would like to pass along what has worked for me

  • Set personal internship goals. Determine what it really is that you want out of this internship. In the first week make a list of objectives (and keep them realistic). It helps to have a good grasp of the resources available to you as well before making such a list, so take time to research before you have anything set in stone. Sharing these goals with your boss and co workers will give them a better idea of why you are there and what assignments would be most beneficial to your future.
  • Ask as many questions as you can. What lead you to this research? What advantages does this company have over other competitors? How did you find yourself in this field and how did you get to this position? Obviously, do not ask all these questions at once.
  • Establish good relationships. Go around and shake some hands. Make yourself known as an intern and feel free to share some of the goals you have in mind for this summer. If you are working at a university, use this avenue to connect on a much deeper level with professors and faculty (Most really like hearing your ambitions and questions, I promise) If you are at a company, talk to some people in jobs you aspire to have, and reach out to HR or whoever could be in charge of job positions and hiring in your future.
  • Keep a weekly schedule. Make a log of what you are doing every day. If you are doing the same thing every day, try to take note of something new you saw or learned, or a new person you met. By the end of your internship you should have a pretty detailed summary of what happened. This summary could prove very helpful for future interviews when you are asked to explain your internship experience.
  • Find yourself tasks. You might not be assigned work for long periods of time, but scrolling on Facebook is not what you came here to do. Find some reading related to your internship field. Look at what others around you are doing and think of more creative ways to approach the task. Think of your free time as an independent study course. If nothing else, make a little project for yourself relating your internship to something specific in your interests. Silly or practical, it will force you to think about the broader implications of this little internship or field you chose to work in.
  • Follow up. Reply quickly, send thank you’s, and always be courteous.
  • Take a training course. Many tech related companies have online training available for different software, management skills, etc. that are provided free of charge that are a really productive way to fill your time when you are in between tasks. Even if the company or university does not have free training, you can always take to google and do some searching for free resources related to your interests (my go to is study.com)

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Hopefully, the process of creating a combination between accomplishing tasks, finding your own motivation, and learning how to be a professional or an academic will allow you to grow immensely during your time as an intern. If you are treated as a coffee mule for the office,  but never express interest in doing more or giving suggestions on potential tasks for yourself, you are equally to blame for the misuse of your time and skills.

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What are some of the biggest lessons you learned as an intern? Comment below!

Good luck and remember that adults are allowed to have fun too 🙂

 

My internship at DONG Energy

In December of 2016, my mom suggested I look into a Danish company leading the charge in green energy which my dad was making software for. The company, unfortunately titled, was DONG Energy, and after a very lucky chance, I arrived in Copenhagen on June 16th, ready to start as a summer intern.

Three months later, it is time for me to leave.

First, a little background on the company. DONG Energy is Denmark’s leading energy supplier, and is quickly developing the reputation of the worlds leaders in offshore wind farming. They manage offshore wind farms all over Denmark, the UK, and now two in Germany. And seriously, offshore wind farming is SO COOL. The company employs over 6,000 people and is wholeheartedly devoted to reducing emissions, leading in innovations, and providing an unmatched working environment.

SO, what was I doing there? I started under the ambiguous title of ‘external consultant’ but was added onto the GIS team within the IT department. One of my majors, physical geography, gave me a year of baseline GIS, Matlab, and Python experience. My second major, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, sparked my interest in green energy and environmental engineering. With my limited background but unlimited interest and enthusiasm, I was assigned tasks focused on applications involving wind farming and online capabilities.

I will not dive into the specifics of what my individual projects entailed, but I will say I had actually challenging and engaging work, and I never felt like a second-rate employee just because I was a college intern. I had endless support on my team. It was challenging at times, but it made the victories so much sweeter.Even the breakfast and lunch in the company cafeteria were bar none. How could I not fall in love?

I’ve had some moments of doubt this summer. I have felt like a phony and I did not deserve this opportunity. Now I see all I have learned and I feel like I have done this summer justice by soaking up all the lessons like a curious little sunshine sponge.

During my internship I went on two business trips, one to the UK and one to Malaysia.

In the UK we acted as consultants for the IT department, making personal visits to two wind farms where they use the applications we develop for wind turbine performance, weather conditions, vessel tracking, bathymetry data, engine errors, and anything that could be useful to an engineer who has to decide how much energy their wind farm should be generating and if the conditions are safe for their maintenance workers. We paid a visit to the London office as well, where the GIS team there explained how they are maintaining data during the development of new wind-farms, and how difficult it can be to process it after it has passed through so many hands. There were so many good ideas exchanged during that week, and I cannot wait to see what comes of it.

Because offshore wind farming is a new industry and DONG Energy is leading the charge globally, there are endless possibilities for creativity and innovation. It is an exciting opportunity to distance ourselves from any emerging competitors. Being in such a new field, though, is also incredibly overwhelming. There is no one to follow for examples. Everything is developing so fast and innovation alone cannot sustain the exponential growth. This conflict in large part makes me so excited for this company, and to have the opportunity to be right here right now.

In Kuala Lumpur, our visit was for a completely different purpose. Half of the IT development team works in KL and many bosses (mine included) have to manage their teams from half way across the world. It’s important to touch base in person, and show the employees that they are valued, which is how I ended up getting a free ticket to Malaysia. I was able to see a huge diversity in working styles, and got a better understanding of just how challenging it is to make so many moving parts work together within a team. (If you want to read more, I have a couple of posts detailing just how life-changing of an experience it was)

Theres really no way to describe how much I have learned this summer. I know my time here has changed my lens on the world. I know there a million other ways to do things successfully than my way. I know I’m capable of moving to a foreign country and diving into a 9-5 job (more like 9-4 tbh) I know pickled herring is delicious and how much of a difference software versioning can make when uploading data *painful flashbacks* I know I had the coolest co workers in the world! (you guys know who you are)

A good part of my heart will be dedicated to Copenhagen, my job, and all the crazy experiences of this summer. After my last meeting with my bosses, I was lucky enough to hear that they want me back (WHAAAAAT) and I might have the opportunity to work at multiple offices, including London, Boston, and maybe even San Francisco. Although I am sad to be leaving, this is not a goodbye. This is more like a see ya later nerds!

I am endlessly thankful for this entire opportunity, and humbled to be asked back to this company after graduation. For a beautiful three months I have traveled the world, tasted adulthood, and worked for something I truly believe in. I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Jeg elsker dig Copenhagen!

Days 70 to 72: Kuala Lumpur part 2

The final days of my short stay in Malaysia. Part 3/3

Quick Hits:

  • I need to go gokartimg more
  • monkeys are pests
  • Don’t make my stupid mistakes, bring modest clothing to a Muslim country

Details:

The week finished with some excursions and a general feeling of exhaustion.

We had the honor of bring invited over for some homemade Persian food by one of the members of Jakob’s team on Monday night. It was easily the best meal I have eaten all summer. I am really bummed I couldn’t eat more. It was all so good. I will be doing some thorough research to find out how to make my own sad american copy of these dishes. We returned to the hotel and met up with Marie. Somehow the topic of sororities came up and for thirty glorious minutes I was able to share the ridiculousness that is sorority life to two shocked Danes. They thought it was fake, just movie stuff. They were in disbelief. It was one of my favorite conversations of the summer.

On Tuesday Jakob and I visited the Batu caves. I believe it is a temple that is under construction. It certainly looked that way. There were plenty of mischievous monkeys stealing food and iphones. I made the foolish mistake of wearing my standard California shorts. Thankfully there was a cover up rental stand for other women as naive as myself.

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Wednesday our office went out for a go karting team building excursion. I am ashamed to say I let my country down, and I came in fourth. BUT the whole thing was great fun! We went out to lunch after and between you and me, this felt like the first time foreign food had crushed my spirits. Although it usually is very exciting trying new things and just blindly pointing at menus, something inside of my longed for a burger, or a good taco salad, or anything my parents cook.

After some very genuine goodbyes we were back in the airport on the way to Copenhagen.

I learned SO MUCH on this trip. I saw a culture that was very diverse and how cultural tendencies can span into the work place. I saw the ridiculously difficult challenge of managing teams across continents first hand. The applications that are managed, created, and maintained from Malaysia are so critical to the success of DONG Energy, and its easy to see why. The fine line that needs to be walked to ensure employees are feeling valued, while still producing results quickly, and keeping costs within a budget seems at times like an impossible task. Watching Jakob and Marie operate was invaluable, and I hope to someday follow in their footsteps by being an effective, enthusiastic, and respected leader.

If I can find the emotional strength, I’ll be writing a summary of this internship and my summer at DONG Energy by the end of the week.

Until then, one lucky intern signing off!

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Days 67 to 69: Langkawi

Part 2/3 of my trip to Malaysia. Here are some of the antics that ensued during the weekend we spend in Langkawi

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Quick Hits:

  • I stayed at a five star resort for $120 a night
  • Beer was supposed to be cheaper than water, but that was a lie
  • This song played almost constantly in my head as we swung around the curves in our rental car
  • Things that would be considered extremely dangerous in the US (exposed wiring in the rain, broken bridges not blocked off, seriously rusted railing, roads without rules) are merely the accessories to this island
  • Jakob and I had the honor of being the token while people and were asked to be in pictures (#celebritystatus #stayhumble)

 

Details:

Friday afternoon we arrived in Langkawi. The humidity whipped us in the face as we stepped onto the tarmac. After bargaining a rental car for $40 for THREE DAYS, we were off to the resort.

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To create the chaos of a Malaysian road: Take some 40-year-old unmaintained roads and position them precariously close to some shanty huts. Check to make sure everyone is driving on the wrong side of the road. Add a couple of roundabouts to add some extra danger to the mix. For the cars, add equal parts relativity new rental cars, 50-year-old tour buses, and Kawasaki scooters. Ensure the scooter drivers are not wearing a helmet or shoes, and potentially a shirt. Cigarette hanging out of the mouth or child on the lap optional. Add some fat monkeys on the side of the road. Position the monkeys around large piles of trash. Finally, sprinkle in some torrential downpour rain storms, maybe one a day. Shake all this up and BOOM- you have now entered the chaos which my boss and I experienced during our weekend on Langkawi.

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After 20 minutes of pins and needles and absolute hilarity, we arrived at our resort on the northwest corner of the island. Berjaya Langkawi was awesome, my room was a standalone bungalow meters from the ocean. It felt like I had arrived in a dream, honestly. Yes, it has the dream quality because it was so beautiful, but also because I was on AN ISLAND SOMEWHERE BETWEEN MALAYSIA AND THAILAND in a private room that I had bought with my own money for like nothing?? What the heck is my life?? existential crisis ensued…

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Random note: Langkawi (and all of Malaysia) is very influenced by Muslim culture, meaning pork is nowhere. I made the mistake like 1000 times on this trip buying chicken sausage thinking it would be the actually tasty chicken sausage that they sell at Trader Joes. I was disappointed every time- so you have been warned.

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We decided to take a day trip scuba diving on Saturday. We watched the sunrise and ate breakfast from the deck of the resort. At 8am the bus came to pick us up. The decor was circa 1984 and it reeked of cigarettes despite the no smoking signs everywhere. Our driver had probably 6 teeth and had the complexion of a leather handbag also circa 1984. I don’t want to know the age of the suspension. The shocks were minutes away from expiring if the were not deal already. Each stop larger and larger squads of chinese friends piled in. My boss and I laughed while halfway joking about saying goodbye to our families. There was no telling what was going to happen on this bus. The whole experience was really great fun.

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Three hours later we had arrived to an island via ferry and were strapping on our scuba gear. My boss Jakob has not been diving since 1998, and although I have dove in pools, I do not have a licence. No worries though!! We were on our own private excursion seeing that everyone else opted for snorkeling.

Both dives were incredible. My ears, unfortunately, wanted to make my life difficult, and were screaming with pain after 5m depth. Our guide grabbed onto my tank and eased me deeper into the water as I focused on not dying. The rest of the first dive he did not let go and I basically had a free ride around the reef. Our second dive was just as beautiful, and thankfully my ears were a little better. We saw grouper, lion fish, so many clown fish, huge coral fish, and schools of every color. I would go back to Asia just to get my scuba license alone.

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I had a serious moment during the return trip sitting on the deck of the scuba boat. The engines were howling, the wind whipping through my hair. The beauty of it all was so hard to comprehend, yet the crew was dumping trash directly off the boat into the water. Seeing that was so upsetting, but the charm of the rusted boat and sunshine on my skin were almost trying to tell me ‘shhhh, dont worry about it, just enjoy this’

That night we were pooped and got a front row seat to the sunset from another restaurant on the resort. They messed up the order or Jakobs dinner and brought him desert immediately. Realizing the mistake, they took it away, and an hour later when it was actually appropriate, they brought out the same now saggy chocolate pudding with now melted whipped cream. Asia man…

Sunday we embarked on a road trip around the island. First stop, arguably the coolest, was the sky tram. It was a million degrees with 100% humidity. It was also 100% worth it. The pictures do it a cruel injustice.

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Next stops included the “black sand beach” which was a normal beach that had some dark soil mixed in, the “geopark” which was a muddy lawsuit waiting to happen, and a hindu temple alongside the road.

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That afternoon when I was eating a coconut I started talking to a woman who was a local malay. She talked (or should I say whispered) about some of the inequalities in the country and how the government is becoming more corrupt. She told me “you are so lucky you can insult Donald Trump all you like, anyone who publicly criticizes the government here is put in jail” This really hit me hard.

I think a lot of Americans, myself included, have complained about and mocked our current government (which we have every right to do) BUT, no matter how stupid a tweet we read, we still have so much in the US that most of the world would kill to have. No, our healthcare is not free. No, our education system is not as good as it should be. No, we do not have an effective way of combating racist bias and eradicating bigotry. BUT, we live in a place that we can talk about all these things, and people can dedicate their lives fighting for their beliefs. We of course should continue fighting for what we are passionate about and live to create a better world for those to come, but we should not take for granted the luxuries we are entitled to in a developed country with free speech. I feel very lucky to be an american, no matter who is in office.

Sunday night Jakob and I crawled back onto the plane and eventually into the Hilton in Kuala Lumpur, exhausted, dirty, and endlessly entertained with whatever it is that we just experienced spending the weekend as the only two white people on Langkawi.

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Days 63 to 67 : KL Part one

There is no way I am going to pack everything that happened in Malaysia into one post! This will be one of three. Excessive? Maybe. Do I care? Not at all.

Quick hits:

  • Malaysian airport security is a joke
  • Malaysia is incredibly diverse
  • In two weeks I saw three blondes, one was myself in the mirror, the other two were my Danish bosses
  • Malls are rampant in Kuala Lumpur
  • The “ringit” (Malaysias currency) is weak, and everything is shockingly cheap
  • I can assume any business trip with DONG Energy means amazing food

Details:

WOW. colors everywhere. trash burning in the street. shining high rises. packs of wild dogs wandering across a freeway in traffic. spices of different cultures constantly colliding. I’m still not really sure what just happened. How the hell do I even begin putting Kuala Lumpur into words.

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Well, I’ll just start off by saying this has been the biggest rush my senses have experienced possibly ever. This trip sent my emotions for a loop as well. It could be because KL looks like an extremely dirty San Diego at times, and all the palm trees made me a little reminiscent. The traffic and smog were like LA. The mix of races was the first I’ve seen at this scale all summer. Its weirdly familiar, but nothing like anywhere I’ve ever lived.

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My boss described it as “southeast asian charm” It is a rush of emotions and senses. Some things are incredibly conflicting. It is so beautiful but so dirty. People are so happy but some live in absolute squalor. The trains worked great but the freeways were a lawless chaotic fury. I was so in love but I also kind of wanted to go home…

This fury, though, is absolutely addicting, and I cannot wait to be back in this crazy world of southeast asia.DSC_0054.jpg

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The diversity of Kuala Lumpur was amazing. The office was a mix of Chinese, Iranian, Malay, Indian, Thai, and I am sure many others. Watching everyone collaborate while still preserving their unique take because of their cultural tendencies was invaluable. This trip illuminated the challenges in creating effective management. The balance between getting results and keeping people happy is a difficult one, but both can be achieved with just the right mixture of communication, respect, and efficiency. I hope someday to be as effective as my boss is at collaborating his team, which spans a huge skill set, maintains extremely important applications, and is split between continents.

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Outside of work, we managed to get in some mall time, where I got luggage and lots of souvenirs for my friends and family. We made it to china town, central market, petronas towers, a really cool bar on top of a building, and savored as much of the city as we could with the little amount of time we had after work.

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Still, nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience on Langkawi…

What the heck is a gratitude journal

Chances are if you’re reading this blog you can see that I would be really into a thing like gratuity. I am here to convince you that the more you force yourself to keep track of what you love in this world, the more you will actually love it!

I was introduced to gratitude planning from pinterest a couple years ago, and I love the concept. Every day, write down one thing that you are thankful for. It could be anything big or small.

If the category of ‘anything you like’ is too broad, I encourage you to follow a theme each month. For example, your location (city, state, country, etc.) I plan on doing a month just focusing on things I like about my college town.

This upcoming month (September) I have made a printable (free, obviously) so that anyone reading this can follow along! I encourage you to try. I have seen so many amazing things this summer and I think its only appropriate to be appreciative instead of sad. By dedicating a minute to reflect every day on one thing in particular that you are thankful for, it might make you more inclined to practice being thankful more than before.

**If your planning needs extend beyond keeping track of the little things in life you love, make sure to check out all my planners.**

Join me! I am not going for a particular theme this month, and I am excited to see what it ends up turning into as time goes on. Lets get thankful!!

Free lil Gratitude Journal