College advice you haven’t heard 100 times already

I am a college fanatic. I am also somehow a senior, and it feels like I am asked amidst every day if I have some general advice. To be honest, I could talk all day, but I do have some tips that I didn’t really hear as a freshman. All of these things have been so valuable to my experience:

  • Get tight with your department. This is everyone. Professors, classmates, grad students, EVERYONE. This also includes the undergraduate advisors. Check up every quarter at least. Sometimes there are new classes offered that you would not have otherwise known about. Professors can often make opportunities for students they like if they are asked.
  • Take QUALITY pictures. Opt for taking a couple good pics on a morning hike instead of like 10 crappy snaps of a Friday night (which might be inappropriate to post on your Facebook anyways) Think of what you’re really going to miss when you’re older, and get a couple of those moments.
  • Ask people for things!!! Ask a professor for an internship. Ask your house to do family dinner. Ask your friend to calm you down after a hard week. It is up to YOU to take advantages of your resources now!! Don’t wait for something if you know you want/ need it, just ask!
  • Set goals, even if they’re silly. I could talk about goal setting all day. ESSENTIAL.
  • Get comfortable doing things alone. I am one of the more outgoing people I know and I truly savor my alone time. College is time for YOU to GROW. I personally would have had a much harder time if I didn’t do some reflecting when I had chance alone time.
  • Dive into the deep depths of course listings. I have found some of the coolest classes just browsing for hours and hours. I did the same with major listings.
  • Minimize dorm room time. This tip speaks for itself, just use that dorm space for sleeping and you’ll explore so much more of your campus and town.
  • Learn how to give good gifts. Craft! Just because you are in college and on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t show your appreciation for your friends and family. AN INSTAGRAM POST IS NOT ENOUGH! YOU CAN DO BETTER! Crafting is cheaper, more fun, and really thoughtful. Find a funny craft and just go for it. Or buy flowers. Just doing something is what counts.

Hopefully you get something out of these!

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If you feel inclined, please add your tips in the comments below!!

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Senior Year is like a broken scuba tank in Malaysia

I took this picture with my GoPro at the end of August off the island of Langkawi on a scuba diving trip. I think it describes the first 1/3 of my senior year perfectly. It may make no sense- but I’d like to look back on this someday, so I’ll share anyways.

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First of all, as I’m taking the boat out to this island, its a bumpy ride. This is by no means the main event, but I’m still thoroughly enjoying the scenery and people watching. We’re called up to the deck and tested on our knowledge of scuba tanks and setup. I fake it, and I kinda know how to set up my tank, but not really. I have to ask for help, but I still pass.

We get on the smaller boat, and soon were out above the reef. Its go time. This is what I’ve come so far for. I hop in the water and I check myself. Something is a little wrong, my tank is broken. I cant find the right level in the water. I’m bobbing from high to low and right when I think I have found a balance, I move again. My ears are throbbing. I stop to look at my instructor while I suppress my panic and he comes to help.

Turns out I’m gonna be okay. I breathe a little slower and look around. OH MY GOD. Its like a dream. Everything is so beautiful and although there were mishaps I still made it. It was not a perfect journey but it made me appreciate the destination that much more. My only goal is to stay calm and soak it all in while I can.

Visibility is good- not great. I know what could pop up but I know better then to make any serious predictions.

My tank is still broken, but I have enough experience now to know I can adapt. Its a game of balance- sometimes I have it and suddenly its gone. Our second dive the same thing happens, except this time I refuse to panic.

I feel so proud to have made it here. I have received so much help on this journey and I am forever in debt to those that helped me get to where I am. My dive instructor literally had to carry me for parts of the dive, but when I have my bearings I break free. I have put in work and taken advantage of the help given to me. I am swimming.

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There were a lot of things that I did not expect to happen this year (and on this dive trip to Malaysia), but these changes like others in my years before have only made me stronger. I’m gonna continue making my best effort to just soak it all in.

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*How has it already been half a quarter?? I have been behind on almost everything social media related (not a bad thing) including this blog. To be honest, I’m not feeling as inspired to write about myself and my ‘journey’ as I was this summer, so I debated not putting any more personal stories or trips online.

But then I went on a field study last weekend with some of my greatest gal pals. Although I don’t have anything poetic or wise to say, I think the pictures are worth sharing!*

I have a very strong feeling that I have gamed the college system. I could name a lot of examples, but today I am specifically referring to Earth 18, a major requirement 1 unit class, which is essentially a four camping trip.

This year we were in the Eastern Sierras and, surprise, it was amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to make some really quality friendships within the earth science department, and this trip some of my non-earth science friends caught on.

It was four days without a shower and almost perfect weather conditions. On top of everything, we were at the peak of a meteor shower, and the stars almost seemed like they were falling out of the sky.

If you don’t know what you’re doing with your college life, check out your earth science department and get yourself on a camping trip.

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The squad

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Alabama Hills

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DEVILS POSTPILE COLUMNAR JOINTING

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Gwen enjoying Obsidian Dome too much

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tufa towers @ Mono Lake

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THE PIT

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…

Days 30-36: More work, more castles

Its been a long and awesome week here in Copenhagen!

Quick Hits:

  • I am exhausted every night
  • I can already tell the sun is setting earlier
  • The amount of traveling planned for the next month of my stay is insane
  • I have also overdosed on Lana Del Rays new album (its fantastic) and I have felt so many emotions that I am now incapable of being emotional anymore
  • My apartment is adorable!!
  • I got caught in a proper rainstorm today
  • I accidentally went to a nude open water swimming club (or was the universe sending me a sign???)
  • My friend told me all about Copenhagen at christmas time and I now wish it was christmas way too early (typical Paige behavior)

Details:

On my way back to Copenhagen last Sunday I made a friend, Seb, who was going to Copenhagen for a couple days and traveling up to Stockholm after. We had a lot of awesome conversations comparing UK to the US and talking about how much we have learned on our own journeys this summer. On his way out of Copenhagen Monday night we went to dinner at Copenhagen street food (now becoming a habit of mine) and no surprise it was a beautiful night and the place was packed to the gills.

To be honest, its getting a little difficult to distinguish all the days of the week, especially when I have work Monday to Friday.

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Some other highlight of the week include spending the night at the beach, Amager Strand Park. Yes, I said beach. Yes, it is a beach. Yes, the waves are nonexistent, but the sand is sandy and there are shells and lots of people there to enjoy the sunshine on a spectacular night. I live pretty close, 5 min by bike, and the water is as clear as day. Its perfect to unwind after work and just watch all the clouds moving in the wind, and of course, to swim.

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Saturday I thought I’d take myself on a little adventure. I will admit, mistakes were made, the largest being not dressing accordingly for the weather, but ultimately I am glad I went. The castle I went to should have been two hours by train, but with some construction happening on the tracks, it took me about four. It was pretty, but nothing compared to Fredriksburg Castle I visited last month.

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Today I went for a run to the beach and stumbled upon a nude swimmers club! Will I be joining? As of right now, its not really my scene, but I did admire their dedication in the wind at 7am on a Sunday, being truly at one with mother oash.

Later I got coffee with Theodora, who is one of my good friends at work. We talked for maybe four hours, and when we got up to leave, it was pouring. It started to die down, and we made our exit, but as we were walking, we got into another really interesting conversation, and before we could cover significant ground it was pouring again. So we eventually just had to cut our conversation and part ways. I came home soaked head to toe, my sundress was wet but I had the keen idea of bringing an umbrella just in case. In the long run, all it did was keep my purse and my hair slightly dry, but im still thankful I had it.

It has been a fantastic week, and all the work I have been doing has been exciting as well, but honestly, I’m exhausted, so you’ll just have to take my word.

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