Break’s Over

Today marked the first day of my last semester of grad school.  I was rather relieved to go from my full work day schedule of the past couple weeks to a more open class schedule.  For instance today was the first time I arrived home as early as 4PM! This provided me with just enough light to go out and run a few miles before dinner.

So to fill my week blogging void–some points before semester 2 to mention:

  1. Roomates Birthday – Chenny turned 23.  He quickly informed everyone throughout this day that 23 is awesome, because it is what he likes to call a “super prime number.”

    Party Table

  2. Work, Work, Work – nothing really to mention there…just lots of work on our project
  3. Long lost relatives – some long lost relatives still living in Finland (the homeland) found me on facebook over the weekend.  This had made my weekend quite fun and interesting! Apparently my brother and I have some distant brother & sister cousins over there that are the same age as us!
  4. Start of class – full of confusion on what classes to exactly take.  And the one class I DO know I’ll be taking has been canceled tomorrow due to the professor being in Haiti until and undisclosed date.
  5. Trying to start this semester on the right foot…let the academia ensue.

argh, I can’t post when I’m tired. The interesting points of the week get all fuzzy. Came up with some ideas for a new grad lesson; however, this is all blurry now as well. Oh well, on to some sleep and will post some more later.


Grad Lesson #8 – Funny ads that only you think are funny

As I type I have littered all over my bedroom desk (home bedroom…versus Ithaca bedroom, remember I’m on break) the following Civil Engineering literature, journalism, magazines, whatever you wish to name them:

  • ASCE News
  • Modern Steel Construction
  • The Transit of Chi Epsilon Society
  • Civil Engineering, the Magazine of the ASCE
  • The Bent of Tau Beta Pi Society
  • & Society of Women Engineers News

I don’t think I realized how big of an engineering dork I was until now.  To give myself some credit, I didn’t actually go out and sing up for any of these publications.  They’ve all appeared at my doorstep for free over the past few years because I’ve ended up a member of practically every engineering society known to man.

To tell the truth, I rarely, …actually never read all of these.  BUT I do really enjoy Modern Steel Construction.  Probably because it’s all about Structural Engineering versus the other journals which cover a wider range of Civil and General Engineering.

Anyways, to get to the point, I was reading through the January 2010 issue of Modern Steel Construction and found this advertisement for the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction) conference:

AISC Conference Ad

Soooo I don’t think anyone really gets it, but I laughed out loud.  Especially considering my Cornell project team has been discussing the P-Delta effect lately for our Masters project.

So there you have it–Lesson #8 Grad studies increase you’re knowledge of obscure topics that nobody understand except for people in your field

Grad Lesson #7 – I Hate Finals Period

Yes this is a grad school lesson at least for me.  I never had to deal with a finals weeks in undergrad–I took 3 classes everyday for 7 weeks, and at the end there was typically an in-class final, exam, or project to do…or in some awful situations, all three.  Once that was done, I got a break and moved on with my next 3 classes.  Normal college is different, and I get to experience that this year.  I hate it.

First off–classes start out far too slow.  I think my first homeworks were due a few weeks or even a month after the class started.  Then prelims were pretty typical.  Then finally, everything imaginable piles up in November and to top it off–then comes “Finals Period.”  December 4th was the last day of classes at Cornell, which left me with Monday and Tuesday as what is referred to as reading days.  The last day of finals are this Friday – the 18th.  This is the reason I haven’t update within the week, and the only reason I’m updating now is I have a good and clear 48 hours to study for my Solid Mechanics final on Wednesday.  However, LAST WEEK was, how do I put this, just plain awful.  I woke up every morning at 7am, tried to get to my office by 8am, and worked on 6 different things that were due throughout the week.  Unfortunately, most of these things were due on Wednesday.  For a while on Tuesday I was concerned that I would catch the flu due to lack of sleep and dehydration created by too much coffee.

But now that that is all over, I’m pretty proud of myself.  I managed to complete a Concrete take-home final, finish my solid mechanics homework–involving me to create this program that measured displacements in an aluminum plate–

Matlab Plot output for Vertical Displacement within Stressed Aluminum Plate

I completed a foundation engineering design project which involved designing the pile foundation for the Ithaca Wastewater Treatment Plant (already found out I received an A- on that, nice!).  I designed a steel tank and hit it with the Northridge earthquake in a finite element software program…somewhat successfully…I think… And I finally, after hours of actually figuring out how to model a building connection, wrote a paper about how to use finite elements for modeling a connection–

Column - Beam Connections with no Stiffener Plates

Column - Beam Connections WITH Stiffener Plates

And today I managed to put together the final phase of an ongoing, semester long reinforced concrete project with the rest of my team.  We somehow, fairly easily, designed a 3 story concrete building.  All-in-all our project ended up costing the client $22,000 according to my invoice.  This is fairly cheap if you ask me…probably since we only charged $32.50/hour.  We’re all for hire, feel free to give me a call!…

Concrete Mega-Binder for Project

One of our 5 Million CAD drawings

Phew! OK, so you can see a bit why I hate finals time–too much to do at once.  But I’m really glad that I was able to tackle it all, almost.  Now if I could only stop procrastinating and study for Solid Mechanics, this would end my first semester of graduate studies.