Keep on keepin' on

09/14/2015
 
This weekend another fellow MechSE alum (who you may have/will see in ME 390 one day) came to Houston to visit. Hey Val!
This weekend another fellow MechSE alum (who you may have/will see in ME 390 one day) came to Houston to visit. Hey Val!
Hopefully everyone is surviving the first couple weeks of school!  I’m not going to lie, there were a lot of mixed emotions seeing all of the statuses and events on Facebook for first week of school activities because well, for the first time in five years, I’m not filled with the anticipation/excitement/dread that comes with a new school year beginning. It’s weird. 
 
But now that you’ve had a couple weeks to get into the swing of things, guess what? IT’S CAREER FAIR SEASON! Bear with me for a paragraph or two and then I’ll get off my soap box, I promise. I’m sure everyone has heard this a million times, but I’ll say it again just in case. MAKE SURE YOU GO TO THEM, and go to them as soon as you can! I went to all of the career fairs my freshman year and it was one of the best decisions I made. I didn’t get any offers from it in the end, but knowing the process and scoping out what they’re like before it actually matters helps a ton. I got over the initial jitters of talking to a recruiter for the first time before I actually needed to talk to one. Recruiters also tend to come back from year to year so even if you aren’t successful the first time, it doesn’t mean they won’t remember you. 
 
MechSEs reunited again! (Pictured: Zach Renwick, Paul Hummon, Cory Randolph, Bryan Skau, Nick Froggatt, Sean Raines, Angela Mercurio, Chris Herrera, Katie Birkel, Ann Zuzuly, Val Laguna, Amanda Steelman).
MechSEs reunited again! (Pictured: Zach Renwick, Paul Hummon, Cory Randolph, Bryan Skau, Nick Froggatt, Sean Raines, Angela Mercurio, Chris Herrera, Katie Birkel, Ann Zuzuly, Val Laguna, Amanda Steelman).
Example: Freshman year I actually talked to my company at the Expo and asked them about their internship and co-op opportunities. They were happy to tell me more and talk about what I wanted to do in the future. We talked for a while but unfortunately, I barely had any experience under my belt (I’m pretty sure I was in PreCalc and I don’t think I was even in a Physics class yet) so there wasn’t really much I could do yet (I also don’t even think I officially applied because of that). But during my sophomore year, I went to their info session and one of the recruiters remembered me from the year before (maybe I was the only freshman running around, who knows) and we got to talking. A couple more recruiters, a career fair, an interview, and three internships later, here I am. I actually just saw the person who interviewed me for my first internship in a meeting this week so that was pretty cool. She was really excited to see that I’d joined the company full-time. So, go to them! Talk to people! Talk to companies. It’s great to see what’s out there even if you aren’t looking yet. 
 
Now on a completely different note, even though I’m technically a full-timer now, I went to school again the other week. Well, it was a three-day training course, but still. It was also pretty awesome. A lot of times during school I wondered if I was ever ACTUALLY going to use the stuff I learned in classes. Sometimes you find out you don’t and you’re ecstatic (electricity and magnetism would be the death of me, just saying), but then other times you realize you do and it’s even more awesome, because it’s so cool to see the very theoretical topics we learn applied to real-life examples. 
 

Throwback to the Baja days! My first competition at Tennessee Tech.
Throwback to the Baja days! My first competition at Tennessee Tech.

The training I was in was about drilling fluids (which you essentially need to make sure that the hole you’re drilling doesn’t collapse). To better understand the type of fluid you need to use, you have to understand the principal stresses of the wellbore so the fluid is strong enough to prevent a collapse, but not too strong so that it fractures the formation around it. You also need to understand the charge density and chemical make-up of your drilling fluids and the formations around them so you have a better idea of how they will react to each other. Which essentially means it was a real-life application of TAM 251 with a bit of fluid mechanics and chemistry in there as well. For real though, because I got to suit up in gloves, a gown, sleeves and googles to do TITRATIONS. And not titrations on some random mixture that your TA tells you to use, but a fluid that we use in day-to-day operations, so that was pretty awesome. 
 
Otherwise, the adjustment to reality continues. I’m slowly getting my stuff together to get ready to go out to the rig (my first hitch is coming up in October!). I think the worst part so far has just been being in that awkward phase in between the points where all you can do is read books about what you’re supposed to be doing and then the point when you’re actually able to do it. 
 
My roommate and I keep joking on a daily basis that we just want to fast forward to the part where we actually know what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives. I’d like to think each day we get a little bit closer, but who knows. We’re definitely making moves, but I guess you just gotta keep on keeping on.
 

I guess you can't get mad if the photobomber is the bride.
I guess you can't get mad if the photobomber is the bride.

It’s definitely pretty crazy how fast time flies though. The weekends are always way too short, work days way too long, and then the time in between work and sleep never seems like enough time to do what needs to be done. I guess you get into a rhythm eventually but I’m still working on that. The nice part is that for now I can leave my work at work and then do whatever I want when I’m done, but unfortunately lately that has been a lot of unexciting things like groceries, fitness, and getting my life together. But I definitely enjoy not having to balance homework on top of that. So at least you have that to look forward to! 
 
Oh, and prepare to be WAY more productive on weekends. Apparently after getting up at 6 a.m. every day for a couple weeks, your body just starts doing that on weekends too. I keep getting up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday like ‘Wow it was so nice to sleep in, but now I’m awake, so much time for activities!!!’ Whereas in college I was more like ‘Oh god 8 a.m, too soon daylight, tooooo soon.’ Now, I guess it’s up to you whether you choose to use those extra hours and attempt to be productive, or whether you just sit on the couch, but hey, at least you have the option now, right?
 
The other weekend I actually went back to Illinois for a wedding of two fellow MechSE alumni (shout out to Chris & Katie Herrera!) and it was pretty awesome to be able to catch up with a lot of the people who helped me survive engineering. Those guys were the ones I asked about which classes to take when and with what labs. My stints in Baja and ASME were also thanks to them. 
 
It’s been two years (I think?) since some of them graduated and it was so awesome to meet up again, it was like nothing had changed at all, except that whole part where one of the couples in the group JUST GOT MARRIED, I guess I didn’t really realize how much I missed everyone, or how long it had been since we’d seen each other. But I guess considering that we pretty much all moved somewhere different (Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Germany), it kind of makes sense. I was always the baby of the group, the one still in school while everyone else graduated, so it really drove home the fact that school is back in session and I’m still sitting at my desk in Houston. I guess that means I’m finally a big kid too?
 
On that note, I guess that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope everyone has a great fall semester! Good luck with the career fairs and interviews and all of that fun stuff. I’ll be back soon. :)