Baby It’s Cold Outside

Today was the first snow of the school year in Oklahoma (yes, we’re as surprised as you are) and I’ve noticed SO. MANY students who have no idea whatsoever how to dress or how to be prepared for winter.

I realize Oklahoma has relatively mild winters compared to some of my northern counterparts, but we need to bundle up just as much a everyone else.

First thing’s first, you don’t have to spend a ton of money. College is already hella expensive, so don’t make a bigger deal out of it than you need to.

Let’s start with the basics. LAYERING. This can usually be accomplished with stuff you already own, and if you don’t already own it, you can get it for cheap at places like Target, Old Navy, or even on Amazon. So let’s dive on in.

Here are the essentials (with each item explained in detail if you keep reading):

  1. Base: cotton is fine
  2. Mid: think sweaters or sweatshirts
  3. Outerwear: don’t skimp too much
  4. Footwear: go for waterproof
  5. Socks: warm and tall
  6. Headwear: something that at least covers your ears
  7. Scarves/glove: consider something other than basic knit gloves

Other words of wisdom:

  1. Test your heater at least three days before it’s supposed to get super cold. My roommate and I made that mistake and my house is currently 48F because our heater is broken.
  2. Stock up on blankets. A good fleece blanket goes a longggg way when it comes to keeping you warm.
  3. Get some good slippers and some flannel jammies. You won’t always have to go outside when it’s cold and on a snow day you’ll want to stay in bed. Might as well be nice and cozy while you do!
  4. ALWAYS do your homework anyway, even if it looks like class might get cancelled. You can’t read mother nature’s brain, so just do it and prepare for class. Then you have less to do on your snow day!
  5. Make some good memories. Get some friends together and have a snowball fight, maybe make some snow angels. Drink hot cocoa and watch the snow fall. Whatever you do, try to do it with friends.

Sam’s Guide to Layering

1. Base

For the most part, you shouldn’t need much more than your standard undergarments, and you generally won’t need anything more than cotton. So go for a cotton undershirt and some of your usual undies (still a funny word, even at 23) (disclaimer: if you’re a big outdoorsy person, you might want to step up your game, but if you’re a big outdoorsy person you probably already own the right gear for winter outdoorsy adventures).

I will say this: I don’t own very warm pants. I own a lot of leggings and a lot of jeggings and that’s about it. So when it’s snowing (like today) I throw a pair of leggings on under my jeggings. This can also be accomplished with thermal leggings or long underwear, but I own neither so I went with some basic athletic leggings I got at Old Navy.

2. Mid

Time for some outer layers. This is where I have fun with sweaters because I own too many (though sweaters don’t block wind so wear a long sleeve shirt if you’re opting to go without a coat) or crewneck sweatshirts because those are my favorite. If you don’t own any of these things, check out the stores in your college town for sales on university sweatshirts or places like Old Navy and Target for deals on sweaters. You can dish out some extra cash for some nice merino wool bought on sale, but you don’t really need to.

3. Outer layer

This is where most people go wrong. If it’s snowing, you need a coat. Let’s say that together, if it’s snowing, you need a coat. I don’t care how tough you think you are, you’re going to want a coat when you’re walking across campus in the wind and snow and sleet and whatever else the weather has going on. This doesn’t have to be a major investment (though you’ll thank yourself if it is). You can go for a wool outer layer from Old Navy for like $40 or you can buy a $120 pea coat from a department store (I own both, and I wear both, often). If you’re the aforementioned outdoorsy type, go for something more waterproof and “functional”.

4. Footwear

Okay, so here’s the deal, whatever you get, you want it to be waterproof. Rainboots can be made warm with the right socks, and hiking boots are amazing alternative to snowboots. You just want to make sure that water doesn’t get in your shoes because then your socks will be soaked and your toes will be cold ALL DAY.

5. Socks

While we’re on the subject of your feet, make sure you have some cozy socks happening. Preferably tall ones. I saw so many girls on campus today wearing leggings and sneakers with exposed ankles and…just please learn from their mistake. Wool ones are preferred, but you can work with what you’ve got.

6. Headwear

I love a good pom pom beanie, but I know that isn’t practical for everyone. Ideally, find something that covers at least your ears but preferably your whole head. If you ride a bike to class, a beanie may not fit under your helmet so you can opt for something more like a headband. Just find something that keeps your ears warm, okay?

7. Scarves/gloves

Okay so not everyone likes scarves, but I love scarves. They’re warm and fuzzy and make me happy. Oh, and I can use them to cover my face when it’s too ridiculously cold outside. Whether you go for more of a blanket scarf situation, knit, or fleece, having a scarf is a better idea than you know. As for gloves: if you’re like me, you’ve spent your life being handed knit gloves that don’t actually do much to keep your hands warm. As far as my favorite gloves, I love C.C.’s anti-slip touchscreen gloves. Wow are those amazing.

Please stay warm, and happy winter!

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Handwriting Test – Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Untitled Note - Jul 24, 2018 9.28 AM

This weekend I bought myself a new tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab S3). It comes with an S Pen, which I am very quickly falling in love with. Above is a quick writing sample, and it feels like writing on paper when I write on this tablet.

I am so excited to take notes on this little guy for the upcoming semester.

Handwriting generated using Squid (Android) and S Pen.

Planning Supplies Inbound

GUESS WHAT I JUST BOUGHT.

First of all, I bought my Erin Condren planner for the upcoming school year (wow, that feels weird to say – do I really have to get a Master’s? What have I done?). I also have the Erin Condren Academic Planner waiting for me back in Oklahoma to try out for the a few weeks so I can give you guys a full run down of which on I actually prefer for school, pros and cons, all that jazz. I didn’t get one of the new ones, but I have one I picked up from Staples when it was on sale at the end of the Spring semester.

For this go around, I got the vertical layout in the colorful option, and my cover is Hexagons in Flamingo with my initials on it. I almost got a rose gold coil because it looked so darn cute with the flamingo colorway, but I wanted to leave myself with some options.

But I also got oodles of cute little icon stickers from Olivia Planner Factory over on Etsy. I love drawing little teeny icons in my planner, but it gets a little much sometimes, so I’m going to try out these adorable stickers for some of my more common icons.

Everything should be here within a couple of weeks, so we’ll do a run through of how I get my planner ready for the upcoming school year, and then a few weeks into the semester I’ll offer my two cents on the Academic Planner vs. the Life Planner.

YAY SCHOOL SUPPLIES.

If you want to get your own Erin Condren planner and want to save $10, just follow this link for your first purchase! If you want to wait until you see what I have to say on the two, that’s also chill.

On Being a Female in Engineering

So I was asked by a graduated high school senior what it’s like to be a female in such a male-dominated area. She mentioned that a lot of the reactions she gets when she tells someone she’s going to school to become an engineer are those of shock, paired with some skeptic feedback. She asked me how/if that changes, and what advice I had to give her as she starts her freshman year in the fall.

To start this off and put it in a little bit of perspective, I have some stats to share with you. For my specific university, in our college of engineering:

  • 16% of overall graduates are female
  • 11.6% of Mechanical and Aerospace graduates are female
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is made up of 1,582 students as a department, including graduate students

Put it all together and that means that there are 184 female students in the Mechanical and Aerospace program at OSU. Outside of OSU, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Aerospace workforce is made up of 13.3% females.

Those are some pretty some small numbers if you ask me.

Now, I’ve always had a driven, go-getter sort of attitude, and I’ve always loved math and science, so I’ve pretty much always been told I was going to be an engineer. Then again, that probably has something to do with the fact that Mom was an engineer as well, so I always had a strong, STEM female role model.

That being said, I was always met by someone who would ask me what I’m going to school for, then raise an eyebrow upon receiving my answer. I wish I could tell you that it gets better, but it doesn’t. It continues. It’s some strange combination of sexism and societal expectations that somehow is perpetually in place. It. Sucks.

Now, don’t lose heart. Because it may be small numbers, and we may be surrounded, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got us beat.

What I have discovered is that you can’t expect the guys around you to do you any favors. At first, they sort of try to coddle you. Then, they try to take charge. Don’t let them. Be their friends, of course, or else you won’t have any. Join their study groups, be in their clubs and on their teams. Join Student Council, become president of a professional organization. Outscore them on an exam. Don’t let them perpetuate the stigma that women can’t be successful in the field, because dammit we kick ass once we get there.

Everyone in engineering school is amazing, but so are you. It doesn’t matter what differences you may have. Sometimes you just need to make them know that.

I make it sound like I’m bitter and angry, but honestly I love my guys. My study group are my friends, and my family. There are 10 of us, and two of us are girls. They’re my lunch crew, my football buddies, the people I go get ice cream with at 9:00 at night. They’re my people and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

It’s kind of funny. Sometimes we’ll be studying, and I’ll be in my head, and I’ll be having a meltdown and telling myself that I can’t do it, that engineering isn’t the right place for me. But then they talk me down from my mental ledge, they remind me that I’m the one keeping study sessions on track, I’m the one who crushed that Thermo exam last week, I’m the one who is now an Ambassador for the college, who has a fancy scholarship. They’re my reality check, if that makes sense.

As a female in engineering, you’ll be surrounded by boys, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s going to be what you make of it. Put yourself out there, make yourself known. Introduce yourself to the people around you and to the professor. You’ll find the way that you’re meant to shine. I promise.

Dorm Room Desk Calendar

Okay, so I was watching Hulu’s show Resident Advisors, and saw these screencaps of Sam’s room:

I quickly fell in love, and felt an overwhelming need to create my own version. My version doesn’t have nearly as much stuff on it yet, as my semester hasn’t started yet (I’ll try to post more pictures as the semester goes on so you can see a more realistic example the hyperbolized version above of a student with 7 jobs).

First, you’ll want to gather some supplies.

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You’ll need

  • A desk pad calendar – Mine is Staples brand and 22″ wide, but the one pictured from Resident Advisors is At-A-Glance, and 24″ wide.
  • A roll of cork – You’ll need to make sure it’s wide enough to fit the calendar you’ve picked. The roll I got is 24″ wide, and 96″ long, then cut into 4 pieces. If your roll is 48″ long, grab a second one.
  • Sticky notes in whatever colors you want.
  • Colored pens to coordinate with your stickies.
  • Push pins
  • Planner or calendar, or wherever you keep your important dates.
  • Push pins
  • Command strips or whatever you would like to use to hang your pieces of cork. My university has a policy against push pins in the walls, so if yours does as well, plan accordingly.

First, cut your roll of cork down to size. Most rolls are thin, and break apart easily, so be careful. I should have measured mine out more carefully, but I just sort of eyeballed it using my calendar.

Next, figure out your color system.

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(Disclaimer: I promise the Mat Sci and Thermo stickies are different colors) I used the same system that I have in my planner. In addition to my sticky notes, I also use a red pen to fill in my shifts at the desk.

Now you can start filling in dates. So far I just have my training days, a  few desk shifts, the start of classes, and the semester holidays up.

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Now attach your Command Strips to your pieces of corks, and hang them wherever you desire. I chose directly above my desk.

Using push pins, I hung the calendar sheets up, and secured the larger sticky notes. If you’re in college or renting, just push the pin in far enough to break through the cork, but not far enough to break the surface of the wall.

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As you can see, my pieces are cut a little uneven. Also, since the cork came in a roll, it’s puckering a bit around the top and bottom edges. I plan on going through and putting a bit of poster putty where it’s rolling.

I lined my stickies up along the bottom of the piece like Sam did in Resident Advisors. And that’s it, now you’re done!