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Thesis, oh Thesis

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Hi everyone! I hope you are doing good in this semester! So some of you might be in the same position as me right now: finishing up their thesis/final project. It can be an exciting moment because you are almost done with school! But to get to that point you have to go through the arduous process of completing your thesis. For me, so far it has been smooth sailing, but a few days ago I've realized that I have LOTS of things to do. It's kinda scary.

So the point of this blog is to share my experience and the stuff I've been doing that might come in handy for you guys. Oh, please comment if you have other tips that can help ease your thesis writing process.

Probably the hardest part is to think of a thesis title. It can be extremely hard to get a fitting and original title, but don't worry, just as long as you know the concept of your thesis you can start with a preliminary title and develop the title along the way with you chair adviser.

Start researching as soon as possible. If you are like me whose thesis is more of a design thesis than a research thesis it helps a lot to start researching as soon as possible to allow yourself more time in the design phase, because designing takes a lot of time (especially if you are a perfectionist).

Creating your own timeline really helps with keeping your self on schedule. Put your timeline in front of your desk so it becomes an everyday reminder that you are not allowed to procrastinate! Hahahaha... Ask you department for a typical semester schedule for finishing your thesis (if they have one), which shows you when to preferably submit your draft, final draft, apply for a graduation package and so on.

Having scheduled meetings with your chair adviser is a must, but it doesn't hurt to meet with your other committee members as well. Try to set up a time somewhere in the middle of the semester for a mid-term review with all of your committee members present. This will help a lot in knowing what direction your thesis/final project is heading.

Peer reviews are also a good way to receive feedbacks. If you see your friends loafing around or not doing anything then don't hesitate to ask them for their opinions. Some of the good feedbacks might come from your friends and since they are at the same stage as you are, they might have awesome ideas that you can cultivate.

Finally, don't forget to reserve a room way ahead of time for your oral defense. Especially for me it is very difficult to reserve a room at the end of the semester since there will be lots of final reviews. Also when you reserve a room, reserve 30 minutes before your presentation so you would have that amount of time to prep the room and presentation.

So that's all I have for everyone else who is going to start their thesis or already have started it. Hopefully it can come to some kind of use to you all and happy thesis writing!

Are you on the right track?

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Hey hey fellow blog readers! It's been a while since my last blog so I hope the things I'm going to share will be more helpful. So for today's blog I would just like to share my story. Something I experienced a couple of weeks ago and in a way changed the direction I want to go with my life.

From past conversations I've had with my friends and colleagues, some of them were not sure with the path they are taking. Meaning that they are not so sure if their major is what they want to actually be working in in the future. This is a common problem that some of us experience.

For me architecture is an interest that developed because of my love for drawing. After graduating high school, going into architecture was actually my plan B. However, now that I look back I would have not enjoyed my life if I went with my plan A. I chose architecture because it was the only field where I can channel my passion for drawing and have my parent's approval. But since I was a kid I loved to draw monsters and fantasy creatures. This was probably influenced by my love for RPG games like Final Fantasy.

A few weeks ago I went to Glendale to compete in Walt Disney Imaginations 2013 as a finalist. It was the best thing that happened to me this year. One of the highlights for me was to talk with the Imagineers and hearing their stories. I also met with other finalists and was inspired by their stories as well. They all had one thing in common: they were pursuing what they love. This got me thinking. Now I'm starting to polish my skill of drawing fantasy creatures and monsters and if architecture doesn't work for me then I would pursue my dream of becoming a creature designer.

It is not too late to change your career path. If you love it then you should put your best effort to achieve it. Sometime in the future you will come to that crossroad and before that day comes you should be well prepared for it. If changing career paths is too drastic for you or you do not have your parent's approval, then having a minor in what you love can be another way. The University Catalog can help you find your minor and whether the university offers it. Another way would be to join student groups that are related to your true passion. The Student Unions & Activities can help you find a student group you are looking for and the Groups at U of M facebook page can also help you out.

Again, if you really love it you should try your best to pursue it. And hey, wouldn't it be awesome to work in a field that you truly love and are passionate about? See you guys soon!

Hey everyone! So right now I've been really busy with starting my final project, gathering my committee, setting up an oral defense date plus all those class assignments, but on top of that I am preparing myself to find a job once I graduate. Probably almost everyone will want to start finding a job once they graduate and trust me, job searching is a daunting task!

Luckily for me, the College of Design has a Mentorship Program which is basically a program that pairs students with professionals from the industry. I do not know whether this program is offered for students outside of the College of Design, so you might want to look more into that if you're not in CDes (CDes rocks!). During my mentorship, my mentor has shared his experience working in the office and the field, and also reviewed my resume a couple of times which I find very helpful! He also gave me some insights about the architecture industry and is helping me with finding a job. One thing he suggested me to do is set up informational interviews with firms.

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For those of you who don't know what an informational interview is, it is basically a meeting with professionals to ask about career and industry advise rather than employment. So this will be your first step in job searching. Knowing the condition of the industry and what they seek in employees will be a great knowledge for you. In informational interviews you will be doing most of the interviewing instead and remember to follow up with a thank you note (either through mail or email). Here is a useful website to learn more about informational interviews http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/infointerviews/a/infointerview.htm

So the point of conducting informational interviews, besides getting to know the industry and professional career, is to establish a network with professionals or perhaps probable employers. Even though the intention of informational interviews is to ask for advise and consultation, this will be an opportunity for you to present yourself and create a first impression. If you do well in this interview then the professionals that you talk to might have an interest in you and might consider interviewing you in the future if they are seeking employment. So if you are seeking employment after graduation I hope this blog entry will help you get a kick start! Happy job searching!

Hello loyal blog readers! Have you ever thought about where the everyday things you throw away go to? Do you guys recycle? Did you recycle back home in your country? To be honest I didn't and the habit of recycling came to me since I began my studies in the US. At first it was a bit of getting used to, identifying which trash goes to which bin but now I am getting the hang of it.

So this semester I am taking a class about recycling and we have to do a service learning project for that class. Basically it's volunteering at any recycling program or facilities. I managed to volunteer at the Como Recycling Facility which manages waste specifically from the University of Minnesota. I volunteered once every week for five weeks and I learned a lot of things.

When I started I was told what to do: grab a bin, dump the plastic trash on the conveyer belt, find any foreign trash besides plastic, separate the different types of plastic and push all the remaining plastic into the feeder. This feeder will clean and crush the plastics into bails which will then be shipped out to other recycling facilities. All the leftover garbage that cannot be processed will be sent to HERC, which is a facility that turns waste into energy.

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Basically that's what I do and it was a lot of work sorting the trash and you will definitely find interesting things in the trash. Even though the bins we see at campus are labelled 'plastics only', people still throw away non-plastic trash into these bins. This makes it harder for us to sort the trash in the facility. So when you throw away your trash please do the guys at the recycling facility a favor and throw them into the proper bin. This not only saves time but also energy.

To those of you who have not yet tried volunteering here in the US, I recommend you do it at least once. Volunteering here is a big deal and people really appreciate what you are doing. It will also be a good asset when you do interviews for jobs showing that you have done voluntary work. Here is a one link that you can go to to find volunteering opportunities in the Twin Cities : http://www.servicelearning.umn.edu/volunteer/ and for those interested in volunteering at the recycling facility you can go to this page and contact Dana who is the supervisor at the facility. So hopefully you will be inspired to get up and do some volunteer work! Oh and trust me you can get a lot of experience and knowledge from doing so.

Howdy loyal blog readers! As most of you might know, I am a grad student ambassador majoring in Architecture. Although I am passionate about architecture, I also have tons of interest in product design and especially toys! Personally I am a huge fan of high-end action figures (most toy enthusiasts will know what that means lol!) and have a large collection of toys at home, ranging from fixed pose action figures to plastic model kits. Ooops, sorry I got carried away... I like to blabber on and on when it comes to toys :)

So back to the main point. Knowing that I had a huge interest in toys, I was deeply intrigued by this product design class offered in Spring 2012. It was the Toy Product Design class offered by the College of Design under PDES 3711/5711. So without hesitation I registered for that class and boy I did not regret it.

If you are in the College of Design or College of Science and Engineering and you are interested in hands on experience with real clients and prototyping then I would definitely recommend this course. But wait! Other students from different majors can join as well, just as long as you can show your interest in this class to the instructor.

In this class you will be working in teams to create an innovative toy that you will present in the end of the semester not only in front of your clients, but also to kids and families who are the prospective buyers. We call this final presentation as Playsentations because this type of presentation incorporates play and fun! Click here to see videos of this years Playsentations.


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Through this class I managed to learn a LOT of things. Not only were the lectures fun and informative, but during lab hours you will have the chance to use all of the cool machines at the W.L. Hall Workshop and DigiFab Lab. So if you're that type of person that would like to have a dynamic and interesting class different from your everyday boring lectures, then you might find enjoying this class as much as I do! Oh and if you do decide to register for this class next Spring then it is likely that I will see you at class because I am going to be one of the lab instructors! Hopefully I will see you there!

My Best Thai Cuisine Experience

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Hello blog readers! As you all know this week is restaurant week and we decided to write some things about our favorite restaurants or just restaurants that is worth trying in the Twin Cities area. You might think that I'm going to pick an Indonesian restaurant but sadly no, because there are no Indonesian restaurants in Minnesota that I know of. So Sad! So I decided to write about a Thai restaurant that I visited over the summer in downtown St. Paul.

The name of the restaurant is Ruam Mit Thai and is located on 475 St. Peter Street in Saint Paul. I don't go to Thai restaurants a lot but this place is definitely the best I've ever visited. I went there with three other Indonesians and we all agreed that the food was delicious. We all ordered separate items so that we can taste each other's dishes (a common behavior for most Indonesians and probably other cultures). We decided to choose which dish out of the four that we ordered is the best and it was the Matsaman Curry.

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I don't do a lot of restaurant reviews but I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who hasn't tried Thai food and is in the Twin Cities area. The place is comfortable and is reachable by bus by just taking the 16 towards downtown St. Paul and getting off at St Peter & 7 St.

So if you are ever tired of eating "college student food" or ran out of ideas of what to cook for lunch or dinner, head over to downtown St. Paul and taste the deliciousness that is Thai food in this highly recommended restaurant!

College is not always about attending lectures, sitting in class, doing your homework or assignments and getting good grades. College is the time when you can do other neat and cool stuff like join student groups, participate in projects and join competitions which is what I am doing now. At the end of last spring my classmate asked if I wanted to join a student group called Tesla Works and without hesitation I said yes.

Tesla Works is a project based student group and is a diverse group of people from different educational backgrounds: physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, architecture, aerospace engineering, design, chemical engineering and a lot more. This group of diverse students work on different projects that stimulates creativity and innovation.

I am currently working on a project called the Barbershop Quartet, which is a four animatronic bust figure of President Kaler that sings like a quartet. I chose to join this project because I would like to learn more about how animatronics work and get involved in sculpting the busts (which is fun for me since I am into arts and craft). Projects such as this, where interactions and convergence of different disciplines is what I am interested in and is always a good place to learn more about other things aside from you major and get hands on experience.

Personally, I think getting involved in activities such as this is really important if you are an international student. One of my purpose of studying here is to get to know more American students and learn how to socialize with them. If you are studying in abroad you might as well dive in to the culture and mingle with the locals. This way it will broaden your mind and will definitely change your perspective of the American stereotype. So for you new international students out there, I encourage you to get involved in student groups and other form of campus organizations as soon as possible! Arya out!

Howdy Ya'll!

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Hey guys! You might be wondering who I am. My name is Arya Adiartha and I'm an International Student Ambassador at the U. I'm in my final year of doing my Master of Science in Sustainable Design at the Architecture program. So I'm originally from Bali, Indonesia. You might have heard about Bali for it's beautiful beaches, surfing, unique culture and... its crazy night life. Balinese culture is well known for its mystical dances, beautiful colors and exotic food that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. So if you are anywhere around South East Asia and plan on visiting Indonesia, I would recommend taking a trip to Bali and experience its unique culture.

I was born in Bali but I actually grew up in Australia. When I was in second grade my family moved to Sydney because my dad was doing his PhD at the University of New South Wales. We spent four years living there and that is where I learned my English and believe it or not I used to have an authentic Australian accent!

Becoming an International Student Ambassador at the U is a great opportunity for me to help out other students that are going through the same experience that I had a year ago. For me, helping out other people by sharing my personal experiences makes me feel like I have contributed something to humanity (weird, huh?). But most of all, meeting different people from different cultures is the most exciting part.

When I arrived in Minnesota I expected it to be like a snowy wasteland. But I arrived here during summer and it was totally the opposite. Summer here in Minnesota is awesome! Except for those regular weeks when the heat wave comes. The university itself was beautiful and really different from the university back in my home country. It feels easier here to be a student because there are lots of resources that help facilitate your studies. So for all you new international students coming in, don't be afraid and explore the university and hopefully you will find yourself loving our campus! Oh, and us International Student Ambassadors will always be there to help you out.

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