Monday, March 14, 2016

The Art School At Georgia Tech (and beyond)

College is a place where your entire world fits in several city blocks and you can find almost everything you need without leaving campus, but where does one find art at Georgia Tech? You could find it in the rented modern art exhibit the institute has planted in the green spaces on our campus to confuse the freshman into thinking we go to a liberal arts school. If you could compile all the late night SnapChats taken in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons I'm sure there's enough sleep deprivation driven creativity there to call that art. But this year I've really stumbled into the art school in my classes. Well that's new.
This was a start to a post I began to write about 2 and a half years ago. I had recently switched into computational media and was excited to be exploring the artistic side of computing and the need for creative thinking and stuff that might be called "art" in my current field. Since then I've switched majors again to computer science and I'm currently frustrated with a lot of the "art side" of the computing field. But I'm not frustrated with art. I still feel most fulfilled when I feel that I'm creating art. I realized that I wanted a place to think and explore and share all the paint, poetry, and pencil shavings I get myself into. As a result this blog that started as my freshman seminar assignment is going to become my place of creative exploration because art is what really keeps me "Laughing at Raindrops."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Humid Truth

It's been a while since I've blogged because all my ideas come at times where I have no time to create them, so here's something a lifetime in the making.

All the terrible things of humidity

Sometimes I complain, but if you took all those some times and sorted them you’d find out there are a few things that generally cause me to complain. Number 1: The cost of college., but everyone knows about that, and no one cares to hear more about that. Number 2: Georgia. I am, and always will be, a Colorado girl. Georgia (especially Atlanta, Georgia) has some downsides that make me complain quite a bit. I admit sometimes I complain about Georgia to lead into conversations where I can brag about Colorado (not that it needs me to tell people it’s awesome).

My biggest issue with Georgia in general is humidity. Yes, I know it wasn’t that bad the day I complained. Yes, I know it get’s A LOT worse. However, it doesn’t matter “how much” humidity there is in the air. It could be at 50% and I will still complain. Why? Because I don’t like humidity. At all. Most people think I’m being ridiculous because they don’t understand that in Colorado it’s “humid” when there’s more that 15% humidity.

So what’s so bad about humidity? Well, here, I have compiled a list (not exhaustive because that’s impossible) of things I highly dislike about humidity. I know I'm not the only one who has strong feelings about humidity, and I'm pretty sure that no one has really strong positive feelings about it, so I feel safe posting this on my blog without offending anyone. 

Humidity melts candy.
One of my favorite candies is Lemon Heads and I brought some with me to college thinking they’d be my emergency stash. I broke into it about a week into school (Yes, I lasted one entire week without my Lemon Heads.) only to find that my box of delicious sour, sugary spheres was now a slightly malleable brick of lemony goodness. I ate it, but it was significantly more difficult and I’m pretty sure I ate some cardboard in the process.

Because it looked just like this. So sad.
On another occasion, I went to “Sting Break” (a carnival thing we have at school) and got some cotton candy. Well, generally I slowly savor my cotton candy, but I stepped outside with it only to notice that the edges of my sugary cloud were spontaneously melting because of, you guessed it, humidity.

Humidity forces me to blow-dry my hair.
I’m lazy. My whole life I’ve towel dried my hair to some extend then either slept with it wet, or let it dry naturally. Now that process could take up to 2 days (ok, maybe 6 hours) and unless I want to go everywhere with wet hair, I have to spend extra time blow-drying my hair.

It reverses the laws of stickiness.
Things that aren’t meant to be sticky (humans and hardwood floors, for example) are very sticky. Things that should be sticky like tape, are not. Since I can’t use hardwood floors to put posters on my dorm room’s walls, this is highly inconvenient.

The temperature.
Whenever I talk about this people like to remind me that I’m from Colorado.
“I’m cold.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be from Colorado?”
“I’m hot.”
“Ha. Silly Colorado Girl.”
Since I’m writing and no one can interrupt me…
Yes I am a Colorado girl. Believe it or not, humidity allows that coldness to seep through the threads of my clothing, between the atoms in my skin, and settle in my bones. I get cold.

Also, there is not always snow in Colorado and it does get hot, into the hundreds! We get fires. And from experience, I can tell you it’s quite difficult to start a fire in the snow, let alone let it get out of control and burn down entire forests. But humidity in Georgia makes me feel sticky, and sweaty, and dehydrated from being the latter. I categorize this as “hot” since it is discomfort from being in a high temperature and, drumroll please, humidity!

Monday, March 4, 2013

An Opportunity I'd like to Take

A company’s largest asset is its people, but those people have to be great. Even as a freshman, I have a surprising amount to offer to Everspark as a graphic design intern.

My major fosters minds that can think both like a developer and a designer, resulting in people like me who can create projects that are efficient, well designed, and aesthetically pleasing. In a company like Everspark, where the development side is very important, I think it’s beneficial for everyone, even the graphic designer, to have an idea of what they’re working for. I really love the friendliness, and small, but awesome company feel I got from the internship fair and I am excited about how the company is reverse engineering Google to help clients. Though that’s not a graphic designer’s job, I believe it helps them to like the company and what it does.

I utilize my perfectionism to get the details right. I believe it is the little adjustments that make the change from good to great. I am also passionate about innovation and creativity. Combined with my desire for perfection, these passions give me the ability to portray new ideas in an engaging but simple way.

A poster with a logo for a mock industrial design company
all made in Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator.
Still, I use any mistakes I make as learning experiences. I have a strong desire to learn and a willingness to follow in order to generate the best possible product. Though in the future I hope to be learning new coding languages, programming, and hopefully animating, my major allows and encourages me to pursue my love for graphic design that began in high school and use it with the computer science. In my high school class I was assigned to make a mock flyer for a company I had invented and designed a logo, business card, and letterhead for. The poster really made me think about what “Big Ideas” I have, not ideas to bring to an industrial design company as the flyer suggests, but ideas for graphics and the like. I think it’s exciting to see awesome commercials, ads, and posters. In my future, I want to use my big ideas to make people say, “Wow,” because I put them out there.

 I set high goals like this for myself and I actively pursue them. I pride myself in my work ethic and commitment as demonstrated by my choice and performance in a difficult school, extracurricular activities and past commitments. Balancing all this has taught me time management and prioritization, which allows me to do my best at everything I do.

I don’t believe in lack of opportunities, just missed opportunities, so I intend to take the ones I’m given and make the very best of them. I want to learn and give back. I am an asset because I’m willing to take chances, work hard, and learn. And I know have the passion, and skills to do so.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Exploiting Perfectionism

Positive impact is often defined by the large community projects and emotional stories on television shows that only celebrities can pull off, but my college education will prepare me to impact the nation in a positive way that may go undetected. I am a student of Computational Media at Georgia Institute of Technology. While GT is most well known for its engineers, GT offers several (ironically) overlooked majors in fields that overlook nothing, one being Computational Media (CM). While CM majors may not join the Peace Corps, they are capable of improving everyday lives in ways nearly unperceivable to the masses.
After graduating with my CM degree I will be unleashing my perfectionism on the advertisements, applications, games, websites, and movies that are integral parts of modern American society. A large part of my job will be to pay attention the particulars of these to make them pleasing to each of the five senses it is to effect. While perfection may seem to be overkill, the average person subconsciously expects it, or at least appreciates it. Companies like BMW take a similar care in the sounds of the various “dings” in their luxury cars. A sound technician may spend hours, on a sound designed specifically to remind you to put on your seat belt just so they ensure the customer won’t get irritated on the 9,532nd ding. The luxury comes from honed subtleties that other car companies overlook.
In my research about Computational Media I found a student created game called Vision by Proxy (mentioned and linked to in my previous post: Definition of Dilemma.) Players play as a one eyed alien that can use different “eyes” to look at the world differently and utilize the different perspectives. To complete the game, players must use all their eyes to overcome obstacles. Impact and change on anything require a different take on the world, through different eyes. Mine is one that focuses on detail. 
A little alien we could all learn from.
Through my job I hope to transform the everyday, unavoidable blur of ads, websites, and movies into something enjoyable and pleasing. I could make those snippets of text on a page a bit more inspirational, or turn billboards into a positive, interesting experience. Without those minor irritations, the bigger ones will be easier to handle. Maybe the lack of external clutter will create minds that foster new ideas, and inventions! Perhaps the change won’t be that extreme, but what little bit it does improve will give a new view that will, at the very least, make the drive down the highway more enjoyable. (Or reduce road rage?)
What I intend to do will create a change that few will know what to attribute to, but I believe in the quote, “Life is in the details.” So, if I improve the details, I will have improved life.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Looking Forward

My mother, half-brother, and I.

My first semester at Tech has transformed me from high school graduate to college freshman. Just like everyone said I would, I finally understand what it’s like to go away to college, but there was no way I could have known before this year. The biggest change came from being thrown into a world where there is everything I need to survive and thrive, but I have to find it myself. This didn't just help my independence, but it helped me realize what my true desires and passions are. The things I spend money, time, and effort on are the ones that I value. Because no one else here has enough weight on my decisions to change them completely, it’s my opinion that makes my decisions. I've learned that my opinions matter and it’s actually good to voice them. Everyone else’s opinions matter too and I respect that and discuss it, so that my opinion becomes more thorough and open-minded.

I realized that my passions and opinions align best with a Computational Media major, so I changed it (see previous post about hard decisions). In a major I enjoy, I’ll be more willing to work hard and study. While I am capable of focusing when I have deadlines, my general studying is with other people in my classes. I think it helps me focus and feel accountable for getting the work done at that moment instead of procrastinating.

So I've changed and learned, but my standards for myself, despite the difficulty of Tech, remain high. (Maybe not quite as high as high school, but high.) Next semester I want to do better in math next semester than I am currently. Hopefully with some good grades, I can successfully find an internship or co-op. Through that I can work on exploring my major, and make sure I actually will enjoy it. On the less academic side, I want to get involved as an instructor for climbing with ORGT (Outdoor Recreation at GT). Hopefully through that, or otherwise, I will find a way to get into a regular exercise routine (see freshman 15 post). That’s a lot for next semester, but I have (at least) 4 years at Tech. Over those years I hope I will have been involved in a study abroad that relates to my major, and have interned at a company I wouldn't mind working for. I know it will be a lot of work, but I’d like to graduate with a GPA around 3.5. That doesn't afford me much room for slacking, so that starts now. I want to be involved and have opportunities for leadership, so if they present themselves, great, but I will go looking if they don’t.

The goals I have put a lot of pressure on me both achievement wise and time wise, but I think I actually have better focus and drive when I’m under a little stress. If that’s true, I should do well here if I learn to manage it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How to Fry My Brain Slowly and Effectively

While I have fun at Tech, this semester is easily the hardest I’ve worked in my entire life. Knowing everyone is going through the same thing is my biggest comfort, so I press on through about 25 hours a week of homework (at least) and a bunch of studying before tests. Thus far, that pre-test-studying has been mostly the night/day before, but so far it’s working out okay (and I’m trying my hardest to work studying in earlier).

This was very productive.
I usually study around other people even if we’re not really studying together. It seems that emotional support is extremely beneficial to my focus and alertness on those REALLY late nights because every night is late, it seems. My multitudes of online homework I often work on with friends because they are usually practice problems and it’s nice to compare answers or opinions. I’ve found good study buddies! Hannah (the roommate) for English, Sara for Calculus II and Chemistry, Will for Lab Reports, Andree for online Calculus homework. Half of the people I study with are in my dorm, (a benefit of honors program housing) so it’s really convenient. While I usually study in my room, I’ve been on a few CULCing (Clough Undergraduate Learning Center…ing) marathons and have picked out my favorite corners and outlets (it IS Tech after all). These quiet places accompanied by the “Do Not Disturb” mode on my cell phone have been conducive to some fairly focused study sessions. While I sometimes get a little distracted, it’s usually because I need a mental break anyway and I’ve been pretty on top of things.

I have tried to make use of a couple of the tutoring/study sessions from my classes, but a lot of time that is harder to fit into my schedule than some work with other students which has shown to be very beneficial just on it’s own. The best ways to study for me are to rewrite concepts and organize them in my own way. Then, do practice problems. This is perfect for Chemistry where we have homework problems and then make crib sheets (info we can take to the test that must fit on the paper), but even in Calculus where I don’t have that luxury, I still make a crib sheet as review of formulas (and I stick it in my pocket to help me memorize).

I have a few books.
Finals are a looming fear. I will probably hull up with food in my room most of dead week. I know breaks are necessary though, so I’m working on finding a controlled way to relieve stress between study sessions. I find I’m most productive when I switch between subjects relatively frequently, so I’m not bored of the material and also so I can practice remembering what I just studied an hour or so back.
I suppose I should start all this soon…

Step 1: Get all the other work out of the way.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What's the Freshman 15?

When I got to Tech I was highly confused on what people were talking about with this whole "freshman 15" thing. Once I realized it was an extra 15 pounds of body weight gained through junk food and stress, my worry over it decreased significantly. I grew up with pretty healthy habits. Of course there are exceptions to that (like my adoration of sugary things) but I'm fairly reasonable when it comes to food and decently active. While Tech is pretty tough, I think I’ve been doing pretty well as far as staying healthy. I know I don’t drink quite enough water, and there are those nights where I put homework before sleep, but I'm not dehydrated, I haven’t fallen asleep in class, and the alarm-failure scare has forced me to make it impossible for me to not get to class in the morning. I’ve been eating regularly, and most meals I strive (though with slight difficulty due to the dining options) to eat a balanced meal. Every once in a while we must eat "an aesthetically pleasing amount of pizza rolls" -Hannah Ackermann. I have found people to climb with and that helps me exercise everything but my cardio. However, I have quite a few friends who jog regularly and do other exercise, so that’s an incentive for me to start...eventually. 

My super amazing roommate, Hannah, studying by osmosis.
(Yes, we know it's not really osmosis, but it sounds cooler.)
I’ve found a church I like and I go with my PL on most Sundays, so it’s both convenient and helpful to have those supports. I have been trying to balance fun and studies, and if I took an average it would probably come out about right, but I know there are weekends where I spent more time with friends and less time studying than would be optimal, so I’m working on that. Sometimes studying can actually be kind of fun (the slightly less productive version of studying). My goal is to not have to stay up super late cramming on Sunday nights. My fun things can actually lead to useful connections though because I spend a decent amount of time with upperclassman that can give good advice. I’d like to have more open Saturdays next semester for climbing, relaxing, and seeing things in Atlanta. Overall, though, life is pretty good, a little stressful, but that’s just Tech right?