Math 205 Update

Another course that many sophomores, or if you have a lot of AP credit, freshman have to take, is Math 205, Linear Algebra, which happens to be another class that assigned me work over break.

Unlike thermodynamics, we aren’t getting quizzed, we were assigned homework that’s due the day we get back. Unlike my other professors, who assigned homework but made it due the week after, my Math 205 professor actually expects me to think about what we learned the past week over Pacing Break. Preposterous!

Jokes aside, I thought I might as well share what I’ve learned so far in the course. While simple in it’s concept, matrices can be quite powerful. Given any system of equations with however many variables, you can easily create a matrix and determine different properties using elementary operations. Matrices can tell you many different things, such as whether one is a subspace of another or a spanning set, and so on and so forth.

And since I don’t want to do your homework for you, you can figure out the rest.

Thermodynamics Update

So one of the few classes that assigned me any work over the break was thermodynamics. While the professor was kind enough to not assign any homework, we were told that we would be quizzed the day we got back.

So one of the few classes I’m even paying attention to this weekend is thermodynamics, so I thought I’d just share a few things about what we’ve gone over in class, as thermodynamics is a key concept in mechanical engineering.

When I last left off, we just started off on energy balancing. We’ve taken it a step further and applied it to common machines and systems we have to generate energy to measure their efficiency.

Given just two independent, intrinsic properties, we are able to find all sorts of things about a given system. Cross sectional areas at the entrance and exit, the rate at which mass is flowing through the system, the different temperatures needed to achieve such flow, the velocity at the entrance and exit, and so on and so forth.

While difficult at times and frustrating, thermodynamics gives you a deeper understanding in how everything in the world works together for you.

A Well-Rounded College Experience

Something I discovered in my freshman year is that your college experience is what you make it. It sounds cliche, but it’s very true. It’s not like simply moving to college and living in a dorm will magically change your life.

If you stay in your room and play video games all day, what’s that going to do for you? If you don’t get involved and be active on campus, then of course your college experience is going to be terrible.

As I mentioned in a previous post, grades are important. They are probably the number one priority for college specifically. The whole reason you’re here isn’t to party hard, get wasted, and repeat (although that might be a good portion of your college experience). It’s to obtain a higher education so that you might be a better part of society.

So where am I going with this? It’s important to be well-rounded in college as well. It’s not like you can give up everything once you’re done applying to college. If you’re a mechanical engineer, doing hyper-loop, steel bridge competitions, and formula one is great. It’s awesome. But do something on the side as well. Swing dancing, belly dancing, fencing, Greek life, anything.

If not for yourself, do it for your resume.

Resume Building

While it’s important to keep up in your academics, another thing to keep in mind is your activities outside of getting good grades. Even if you’re going to grad school. Even then, you still have to do research projects and things like that.

After your freshman year, it’s time to open your eyes to the wealth of opportunities available through Lehigh. As I’ve covered in previous posts, there’s plenty to do.

Unfortunately, almost all of them involve a cover letter and a resume. Cover letters are alright, it’s just that if you don’t have a creative way of bragging about yourself, they can be a pain.

Resumes, on the other hand, can be quite tough to create, especially if you have no experience. The best advice I can give is to just find a template online, and just throw anything you’ve done in the past on to the resume. Then, take it to the career center. Schedule an appointment or something. They’ll start helping you pick apart your resume to create something professional.

Don’t go to them with nothing, however, that’s just wasting their time. How are they supposed to know what you’ve done?

Rathbone, Why??

I know this isn’t mechanical engineering related, but it’s something that I need to get off my chest.

One of the fastest ways you lose money is when you eat out every day. Let’s say you spend around $10 every time you eat out, which is actually pretty cheap. Assuming you eat three meals a day, that’s $30 a day. Still with me? Pacing Break is four days long, and everything except Rathbone is closed. So if you eat off campus for four days in a row, that’s an easy $120 down the drain, and that’s if you only spend $10 every time you eat out.

Well than why don’t you eat on campus, you may ask. You said Rathbone was open, you may point out. Well, the thing is, the food served at Rathbone can be described as…poop. I’m not trashing Lehigh’s services or anything, actually I kind of am, but I’d rather starve than spend any meal swipes at Rathbone.

So every time I go to U&Tea or something like that I end up spending around $13 each time, and that’s why I have to make irrelevant posts like these. I need the money. I’m sorry, but it’s a vicious cycle.

However, it is nice to have access to a car (thank you Cuong) so that you can go to nice places to eat off campus. I can’t wait for Tuesday night, there’s this place that offers wings for 50 cents.

Pacing Break

After a tough week of midterms, homework, and initiate interviews for Phi Sigma Pi, it’s finally here. Four long days of no responsibilities and an opportunity to kick back and relax. Of course, there’s always those professors that assign you homework over the break, and ones that even assign you a quiz as soon as you get back, but all of that can be forgotten about until Tuesday night.

Whether you’re going home to visit family, travelling to different states to visit friends, or staying on campus like me, it’s a swell time regardless. I’m taking this opportunity to go off campus and explore more of Bethlehem. Before this, the farthest I’ve ever gotten was the Subway just a few blocks down.

So far, I’ve gone to a few different shopping malls, bought some new clothes, visited the steel stacks, made a few trips to Wal-Mart, and ate at U&Tea. Oh thank god for U&Tea, finally some Chinese food that isn’t simply oily chicken.

While I’m sure the break will pass in the blink of an eye, it’s a great time to relax and unwind after the first half of the semester.

Mechanical Engineering Projects to Come

One thing many of my classes have in common this semester seems to be assigning projects. Out of my six classes, three of them assign projects along with the usual midterms and finals.

The first of which is ME 10. After half a semester of homework and lab assignments, we’ve been tasked with our first mini-project, the first of a series to come as preparation for our final project. This seems exciting because it’s the first time we’re being tasked with something that doesn’t have any guidelines to it or anything.

The second one is ME 17, which is actually pretty boring in my opinion. It’s just more Excel tables and charts, and while I understand this class is important, it’s nowhere near as exciting.

The final one is Philosophy, and while it is my humanities requirement and has nothing to do with my major, the project is probably the most fun one out of the rest, even if it’s a group project. We’re assigned a conspiracy theory and our task is to convince the rest of the class why it’s actually true. Ours is the fact that vaccinations cause autism.

Anyway, that’s just more to look forward to in the future, for now, it’s time to relax. It’s Pacing Break.