23 April, 2012

Just Cooking Coal

You know how I am. I always want to blog but I'm always either too tired, too lazy, or both, to write a blog post. Something interesting happened to my life last week so I feel like this is an obligatory blog post that is long overdue. I've become even more busy because of this thing I got myself into.

I got in an internship at a very cool laboratory testing and analysis company. I believe I got in just because I got lucky, but hey I think it's really cool. Luck is awesome sometimes. I feel like I'm definitely getting the work experience I will need in the future if I ever get interested in getting a real job out of my chemistry degree. The company's laboratory is also very nice. It's wide and huge with a lot of actual working instruments. The whole place looks like a labyrinth with different paths leading to different rooms with different functions. It's just very much different from the underwhelming undergraduate chemistry laboratories I'm accustomed to in my university. I am very glad to be in that kind of workplace.

One of my classmates and I got assigned in the minerals lab. Here the analysts are in charge of mineral samples, including nickel ores, iron ores, some other kinds of ores (which we rarely have), coal (which we always have), coke (I dunno), and some other kinds of black things that are capable of burning up. I'm kind of in charge of determining the moisture content of the samples and also the amount of inorganic material they have which I do by basically turning them into ash. The procedures are quite simple to follow. It's just the repetitive weighing of the samples that are quite tiresome. During waiting periods I get uneasy because I don't like to just sit and wait for one hour or even thirty minutes without accomplishing anything, so I go to my buddy who's assigned in determining the calorific value of the samples and I try to help him out by doing the titration part of the procedure while he prepares the next run of the instrument. That way we're saving time and being efficient. I really love efficiency sometimes.

My trainers are both nice. The female one, in her late 20s, is kind of serious and has an air of being a bit strict, but she is very helpful and she always asks me if I'm fine. I always tell her I'm fine and I often don't know what I'm saying. Last Thursday she gave me this task late in the afternoon which she said was a 'rush' job which I had to accept because I don't think interns can refuse jobs in their first week. I stayed and worked in the lab until seven thirty in the evening. I don't hate her for that. I learned a few things about  minerals, fertilizers and ores and also some stuff about the company from her, so even though I worked overtime and I was very tired I just tell myself, yeah whatever, I learned something, so yes it's cool. I also enjoyed talking to her.

Although dammit, I really hate working from eight am to seven thirty.

The male one, who's probably mid-20s, is also very nice. He was the one who made sure that I know what I'm doing. He showed me around the lab and taught me the things that I have to do. On my first day he actually just toured me around, made me sit down comfortably and read the procedures. Talking to him is still a bit strange although I talk to him more often than the female one about matters. I think it's because he always smiles which I find weird because people aren't supposed to smile all the time, and also he likes to put humor in whatever the heck he's saying which I don't really find funny so it gets awkward when he chuckles. Or maybe it's just because he's terribly nice, and I'm not very comfortable around people that are too kind. I'm just not used to it.

The other people in the lab are neutral to me. I don't care much about them, because I don't get to talk to them a lot. The lab is very busy with everyone minding their own tasks. One analyst in the environmental lab department is very nice, though. She is very friendly to all of us interns and she chats with us. She always comments on my height and also she always says she likes the sound of my voice. I find it funny, somehow, because people always comment on the tone of my voice and the way I speak. It's not really deep nor high-pitched; I don't know what's so special about it so I just get very conscious and I try to control it to make it sound more normal to people.

I think I gotta end my story now. I am tired. I really feel like blogging more about this in the future. When I'm not too tired this week I promise I'm going to write something. My blog is becoming quite empty I need to fill it up. I hope people who read my blog are okay with some of my work stories. But yeah, whatever, I'll always have something else to talk about, I believe.

kudos to nice lab analysts.

08 April, 2012

How to Survive Semesters

Well hello, my semester is almost over. I had thumped and tumbled through a series of exams in my major subjects, and my bruised face and mangled brain are very thankful that they were the last ones I needed to take. Now I am technically free yet two courses away from saying my term is officially over. Yes, I still have two courses to worry about until I can leap and scream with joy that I had triumphantly survived my seventh term in college. Environmental science isn't really much of a worry, but my chemistry lab course has consistently displayed its potential to be kind of a bitch, so yeah I'm technically not quite done yet.

However evil forces like my lab course couldn't stop me from creating a "How to Survive a Semester in College for Lazy Brains" kind of post, because heck this is the internet and I have a blog and I have survived six terms in college already. Can you believe that? This lazy boy right here who doesn't care much about school and always rants about how much he hates being a chemistry major has survived 3/4 of college. As a matter of fact, next year, theoretically, I'm graduating! And oh my God, the idea of finishing college is so insanely delightful I want to cry while eating cookie dough ice cream and stabbing a pigeon. Here I shall give tips to all college students on how to survive a semester in college while still keeping your laid-back teenager attitude. It is possible, it is stressful, but it's simpler than you think. Of course you may not follow these tips if you don't want to, but hey I guarantee these tips won't fail you. 

Have fun all you want and do all the things you want, but make sure you don't waste all of your time:

1. Learn something.
Okay, the first tip always has to be this: you obviously should be learning something. That's the point of going to school in the first place, right? You can skip classes all you want only if the professor doesn't check the attendance. They rarely do, because most of them don't really care about their students, but some of them like to check the attendance like it's the only way they can show off their terrorizing status. Keep in mind however, that if you skipped classes you would be out of the loop for a while. That means you would have to buy a book or go to the library to study on your own. And that's not really fun, is it? Sitting in class and listening to the lecture every five minutes (with twenty minutes of not caring in between) is more tolerable. Stay awake because sleeping in class makes you look like a tired asshole. Sleeping in your chair with your mouth open makes you look retarded. If you feel *this* close to sleeping in class, step outside, go upstairs and then go back down. That's what I do. Go to class unless you're terribly beat and sleep-deprived because we all know sleep is the best thing in the world and it should always be the number one priority. We all deserve long hours of rest. Just remember that you should always have an idea, however little, of what is going on and what you should know from the lessons everyday so that your brain wouldn't feel like drowning once you finally feel enough pressure to study hard all night with your midterm exam tomorrow.

2. You can always do better.
This has been my motto all along, and I know this wouldn't be taken lightly by my mom once she finds out that I don't really care about the first exam in most of my subjects. Yes, how poorly you do in the first exam doesn't matter, that is only if there's a second, a third, and a final exam yet to come. Some courses like it that way, some courses have only the midterm and the final exams. Some courses even have four exams before the final exam, so take advantage of that generosity in chances. Just lay back and have fun and don't stress yourself too much (in fact, not at all) about the first exam. When you get your exam paper back and you get a bad or a failing mark, just keep in mind that you can always do better next time, so make sure you do. Work your ass off for the next exams, 'cause well you've had your time to chill already. Let's face it: chilling is a luxury to college students. 

3. Make sure you know them. Make sure they know you.
Sometimes the key to getting a good grade is pretending that you genuinely care about the subject. This is applicable to the smaller classes and the electives. You know there are lots of random courses you can take every semester that could lift your weighted average at the end of the term. These courses don't need a lot of effort if you just make sure that your instructor knows you in a good way. So choose an instructor that is relatively nice and you can do this in one simple step: have a perfect attendance. Just attend the class, pretend that you're listening, nod every once in a while, chat with your seatmate while pointing at the blackboard to pretend that you're discussing what's written there. Participate in the class. Speak up and share your ideas. It doesn't matter if your ideas are not totally related to the subject, just make sure they're not stupid. Always do your homework and make sure it's clean and neat. When there's a group homework, make sure you're not the leader (because you know most teenagers think the leader is a jerk) but make sure you contribute something and meet the deadline. When the instructor calls you in class by your name-- that's when you know you're fine.

4. Do something.
Of course you have to do something. You won't survive the semester if you don't submit the requirements! Make sure you have an output the professor can grade. Is the paper due next Friday? Well then, you have one week but you can always just cram it next Thursday. That way you've had fun for a while and just a few hours of suffering in just one night. Never mind if your paper turns out quite crappy, 'cause getting a 75% is better than getting a 0%. The problem set is due next Wednesday? Do it next Tuesday because you are efficient when your body is in a panicky state. You have to stay up all night to study for the exam or finish the report, that is true. Just adjust your sleeping schedules a bit so you can still hang out with friends during the afternoon or waste time on the internet. You have to remember that you have a lot of time. There are 24 hours in a day, and that's more than enough to get something important done.

I can say that I've enjoyed college and most of my subjects so far. The electives I took were fun. My chemistry courses were. . . meh. I hated Physics and Math, while I especially hated Differential Calculus but I also loved it in a weird kind of way because I had to work so hard in order to pass that course. I hope you learned something from the tips I've given above. These can work to give you good and decent grades. If you want to graduate with Latin honors, then don't follow my examples. You need to work harder than I do.

I'm going back to my It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia marathon now. Wildcard, bitches.

kudos to all the nice students with good grades.
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