Wednesday, August 29, 2012

o hai guys!

So this might have happened last night.

Let's just say so far sophomore year is most excellent!

More photos and video to come soon!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back in Boston! + Freshman Flashback: Move In Day

Sleepy Olive and snoozy Shmoo 
Hi! Yesterday I arrived back in Boston after a trip home. I woke up at 5 AM to catch a 7:20 AM flight. The airplane ride was pretty smooth and we actually landed earlier. I read in Wired magazine that there are over 20 phases of dihydrogen monoxide (water/ice/gas/etc)! This was confirmed by my chemistry friends - at first I didn't believe there were that many and thought it was bad journalism. (Sorry, Wired - you were right all along!)

A good friend let me stay in her room in the apartment we shared together over the summer because the school year renter already moved into my room. 

Another friend and I crashed a freshman orientation "slumber party" (really just a dance party on the great lawn). We had an amazing time completely not caring what people thought of us. Orientation is way more fun the second time around! We ran around and danced to the music, tried to get people to dance, and chatted with them, pretending we were also freshmen. 

Last night's party brought me back to my days as a freshman. It really is no wonder no one wants to dance. There is so much pressure to meet people, make conversation, and appear cool that completely takes away any inhibition required to go crazy on the dance floor. Honestly, orientations would benefit from bar/bat mitzvah DJs who know how to make even the shyest of 13 year olds dance like madmen. (Prizes for jumping to the music, anyone?) Well, it worked for me...

Anyway, here are some photos from the very beginning of freshman year.

Me and Mom at the Mall of America right before we left for Boston

Me and Dad at Mall of America - note the nifty lego artwork. 

On the balcony of the science building. I was paranoid about arriving late to class and getting lost, so we walked to all my classrooms before move-in day.

Move-in day: Me at my desk!

In front of my bed on move-in day. It was so hot and humid!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

You Betcha! Explore Minnesota: Lake Minnetonka

My mom and I visited Excelsior, Minnesota for an appointment and to walk around a bit. Excelsior is an adorable, small town with a population of about 2,000. It is located next to Lake Minnetonka and is a popular vacation destination. Some of the islands in the lake have summer cabins.
Summer homes on an island

Fish eating bread crumbs

The town itself is quaint and quiet.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Ex-Transfer Student: My Story

Please see the above video for a huge anouncement!

Or I guess you could just read this post.

Last year I was a freshman in college. It was an immensely exciting and nerve-racking experience. I moved to a new state, took really difficult courses, and had to adjust to a completely new life. For those of you who don't know, I attended the Stanford University Online High School. I was at home doing school and while I had friends through extracurricular activities in my community, I wasn't immersed in a social sphere like most high school students. College was my first opportunity since fifth grade to spend extensive amounts of time with my peer group. 

Now, this is not to say that I didn't have social skills. I'm a fairly social person and I'm good at meeting and talking to people, but the entirely new environment certainly required adjustment. 

Anyway, by April I was tired, stressed, and frusterated. Over spring break I made a swift decision to transfer to my state university. This was spurned in part by my school's smallness and I felt very limited academically. But a big part of the decision was the stress of freshman year.

I spent the summer in Boston, becoming more connected with the university, students, and the fantastic location. Two weeks ago exactly, I had to say goodbye to one of my summer friends. It hit me that I didn't want to leave. I frantically called my parents and told them this was going to be much more difficult than I thought. Previously, I felt little attachment to the university. Now, I felt very connected.

My family moved around a few times when I was a kid and besides moving I transfered schools in the middle of the year numerous times. Because of this I've never really felt rooted in one place or to a group of people. Suddenly, the thought of starting over yet again left a pit in my stomach. 

Over the next four days I called various people, shed a few tears (not gonna lie), and finally told myself I should just complete the transfer.

Then I went for a walk.

The sun was setting, lighting the sky with pink and orange cloud swirls. I walked to my freshman door at the very top of campus. The university was preparing for the incoming freshman - they planted flowers around the trees and were repaving some of the walkways. I saw my old dorm window and felt very nostalgic and sentimental. 

I don't want to leave. I have to make this work. I have to try.

I sprinted down campus, back to my apartment, and worked out a list of interesting classes and discovered most of them were still open. 

The day after I met with an academic advisor and he was more than happy to help reinstate me at the university.

A few more technical matters later and I'm staying!

I'm incredibly happy with my decision and so excited for the upcoming year. ^_^


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Living on Your Own as a College Student

Hi all! In this vlog I discuss a couple aspects that have surprised me while I've been living in an apartment over the summer. As my time in the apartment comes to a close (school starts in two weeks!!), I realize this summer has been an incredibly positive experience.

This was my first apartment. I shared it with a friend and her friend also rented a room. The location was above a restaurant and literally a step off of campus and a hop to the train station. Location-wise, it couldn't have been better.

First day - lots of cleaning ahead!
The price of rent was very good, especially since I had the smallest room. As you can tell, it was by no means uncomfortable.

The biggest hassle was by far grocery shopping and laundry. Our building did not have laundry facilities, so we had to drag our dirty clothes to campus and hope that someone would be there to open the door. Grocery shopping was often a pain because the buses were always 20-40 minutes late and once never showed up at all!

Our landlord was overall very helpful and her husband was kind and prompt when we had issues with the toilet and sinks. That said, this apartment is cheap and came with mice poo and cockroaches. Yipes!

The Evidence 
Issues aside, living on my own surrounded by friends far outweighed the negatives. I grew up a lot over this summer from learning how to be independent and leaving my comfort zone. Now I don't want to go back home! (More on this later...)

I'll always have fond memories of my first apartment and hope that the next tenants enjoy it as much as I did. 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Taste Buddies Episode 1: Japanese Snacks!

Hi everyone! Welcome to the first episode of my new series called Taste Buddies

In this video Kait and I try Japanese candies and snack foods. We bought everything from Cherry Mart on Newbury Street in Boston. I highly recommend you go there if you want to try some authentic Japanese snack food.

Here's a little behind the scenes look at our trip:

Recognize the Caramel Corn from my other Japanese taste test video?

So many choices....

Lots and lots of nori (seaweed)

All the men watching the Olympic divers in the train station... haha
This video was so much fun to make, I look forward to making more episodes in the future!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Olive's Nom Noms

Dinner -- berry seltzer blend and onigiri!

This was my second time making onigiri and they turned out really well. I made three fillings: salmon with mayo and chives, teriyaki egg, and pickled ginger. 

I'll have to film a video or take more photos next time I make them. It's tons of fun. Nate joined me for the first time I made onigiri and he made a turtle-shaped rice ball. It was very cute. ^.^


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Looking Back: My High School Graduation

A little over a year ago, I graduated from Stanford University Online High School. In the above video, you can watch clips from the day of my graduation, including my graduation speech.

I had not watched this video in quite a few months until this morning, but it still conjures up feelings of immense accomplishment and happiness. My high school experience was very different from most - being online meant that an extraordinary amount of self-discipline was required, which I didn't always have. It was also frequently a lonely experience. But the education I received was, in my opinion, unparalleled and the community, though physically distant, was very supportive, as you can probably tell by the video.

The lesson I spoke of in my speech (living without fear of the wrong answer in order to learn in freedom) still rings true today. I struggle with avoiding certain classes because I'm afraid I won't get the grades I want and with trying not to be perfectionistic so I can enjoy the learning process. 

During freshman year (2011-2012) I took honors general chemistry. It was incredibly difficult for me. To make matters worse, I started doing the exact opposite of what I prescribed in my speech -- I compared myself to other students that could study for one hour and get better scores than me, even though I would study the same material for three hours.

Obviously, some level of comparison naturally happens, but it's important not to get carried away. I must remind myself over and over there will always be someone who appears smarter/better/insert-your-own-adjective than you. The battle is not necessarily with them, but with yourself - to accomplish and learn more than the previous year.

This is a little advice for the class of 2016: work hard, but also be realistic about the goals you set for yourself. Most importantly, be fearless. 

Hope this wasn't too didactic, but these are lessons I constantly must remind myself of.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Florida tastes Boston

This past weekend, Nate's friend Mike from Florida visited Boston for the first time. We took him around Cambridge and Boston to give him an overview of the city. Mike's enthusiasm for everything made the trip even more fun -- it was great to see his reaction.

We rode the trains into Cambridge to show Mike Harvard University and Harvard Square.

Mike and Nate in Harvard -- very color coordinated!

Tradition dictates that visitors should touch the foot of John Harvard, but Nate told us the rushing frat boys pee on the foot, so Mike avoided physical contact.

Harvard library

Mike needs some ass stance.

Mike is majoring in Journalism, hence this picture. Now he can say he went to Harvard's writing program -- he went, took a picture, and left. :P

Of course, a mandatory visit to Newbury Comics, a quirky store with music, toys, and books.


I made them go to a Japanese/anime store across the hall from Newbury Comics -- Kait found this awesomely adorable hat!

The best part of the night was by far the cozy, personal concert performed by Kait and Mike. Both are amazing musicians and sang original acoustic songs. I was blown away!

Mike enjoying Kait's beautiful singing.

Nate listening and working hard on his poster for his research.

Saturday we went into Boston -- See the video at the top of this post for full coverage! I'm really happy with how it turned out.