Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dinner at Cho-Won Garden with the Korean Students Association

Last Thursday I got invited by a newly friend of mine to have dinner at a Korean restaurant with the Korean Student Association (KSA). I worked on that day and I was tired so I was leaning toward not showing. I put the restaurant’s location on my GPS and I found out that it was five minuets away from my house. Shocking!, since I never seen the place before (it is located on Independence and Sardis area).

I arrived at the place and I found that everyone was waiting to be seated. The majority of the members were Asian but there were many who were interested in the culture. I knew beforehand that it will be awkward for me to meet the +20 people in the club but it was a part of the experience and I enjoy forcing myself into those situations.

We got seated on a long table that the club president has reserved. We took turns in introducing ourselves and 1 fact about yourself (I said my name and that I am happy to be there, cheesy) I got to talk to people around me and I asked for suggestions on what to order. Lots of the socializing was about school and Korean culture in general.

I ordered a beef BBQ (I don't remember the name) Bulbogi and I had to learn how to eat using chopsticks. The food was very good and filling. I had to force myself to finish it so that is always good. There were a lot of traditions that I followed and it really made me feel more sucked into the experience.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. I am glad I pushed myself out of the way to attend this dinner (and it helps that the restaurant is five minutes away from my house). I wish I looked more into the menu and tried something more native over being safe.

If you are going to try Korean food then I highly suggest going with a Korean person or someone who knows the culture.

This blog is now making me hungry again... I want more Korean food now.

Shadowing Job Interviews and Advising.

On Tuesday (9/20/2011) I had the opportunity to sit with Dr. Gross and shadow two interviews and an advising session. It was well worth my time as I was just sitting in the computer lab with nothing to do specially giving the fact that I had an upcoming interview with Cardinal Solutions on the same week.

The advising was for a student who joined the school and was interested in joining an internship program. She was not qualified as she did not have the credit for it. So instead Dr. Gross talked to her about the 2 year program since she was interested in grad school anyway. The main lesson to learn from this is to go out and ask. The worst that we can hear is a "No". In this case, It turned out for the best and the student got her course plan set up for what she is trying to major in (being prepared before a meeting is a huge plus and it looks respectful).

The two interviews following were interesting as I have never been in the seats of an interviewer before. I have always seen the behavior questions as useless as the questions they are asking can be really vague and it is hard to answer a questions without knowing what the questioning person is trying to get. After witnessing the interview, It seems as if they are more about how the person answers the question over what the "correct" answer should be.

The last interviewed student was a friend of mine and I personally think that he have done a great job in asking a post-interview questions and express a personal interest in the position. The points that he brought up (Tutor diversity and how it could help the students) which, while obvious, showed both experience and understanding of the work to be done.

Interviews are tricky as it depends on who is on the other side of the table. I was interviewed by Dr. Gross himself and I was shocked when he asked me the behavioral questions. I remember that I was stumped enough to the point where I actually asked him to skip a question (which I don't think is a great idea now since the answer is not what the interviewer is asking, but how you would behave when answering these questions.). I am expecting a lot of interviews in the future so the more experience the better.

Finally I would like to add that I was interviewed by Cardinal Solutions last Thursday. I had my ups and downs. I did a bad job preparing for the interview and I showed up late (I know .. I am still regretting it right now and will be ashamed of it for the rest of my life. We all make mistakes). What I did good was I learned a lot about the company and the interviewers before Thursday.

Overall, The interview went very well (except, you know, the part where I came in LATE!). I enjoyed meeting the people. I love the company already and I see it as a great fit for me in every way.

It seems like I have a lot of interviews to face. I will keep what I learned in mind when I go for my next interview.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Career Expo (job fair) on September 16

I went to the career fair for the first time on Friday the 16th. There were a lot of companies and recruiters looking to hire students and new graduates.
What went well was the vibe and the organization of the event. It was a odd to see that the location was around a basketball court. I didn't have any issues finding the employers so everything turned out for the best (lots of breathing space)
What did not go well was the number of employers and openings for technical jobs. I did my research before going in and I knew that there were not a lot of companies that I can go to. I only had one company in mind (TIAA-CREF) and after I talked to them I was on my way out. I ran into a cool company called Cardinal Solutions that had fun recruiters and seem to have the culture that I am looking for.
Next time I think I will do my research better as I under estimated companies like Cardinal Solutions (Which I will apply for). Also I think a suit would have helped (I was wearing a polo so I was not bad).

ACM-W Board Game Social w/ Evie Speaking (9/16/2011)

The Event was a social event to both play board games and socialize. We had a guest speaker Evie who created the social game Snagem. I came in late so I was not able to hear the talk about the game and the research Evie done with the game.
What went well about the event was the fun that the people were having. Students broke into groups and played board games. I was able to catch up with 2 of my busy friends so I spent my time talking to them since I don't get a lot of opportunity to talk to them anymore (beside online by Facebook or IM). I still had time to playu apple to Apple
What did not go well was the committees meetings. I think that it is easier to have people dedicated to a role over a whole committing as no one would take responsibility.
What I would do next time is to try to find other interests to do beside games. I love board games but I rather talk to others about different topics. I know that other students want to socialize and discuss other career or academic goals so that would be more fun and productive.
Thursday, September 8, 2011

UNC-Charlotte Starcraft 2 Team

So after a week of talking to my other friends, we officially started a UNCC team to compete in the collegiate star league.

First, Some explanations
Starcraft 2 is a real time strategy video game where the player starts with a base and try to collect resources and build armies to defeat the opposition. The game gained a lot of popularity for it's balance and the level of strategy and skill needed to win. To me it is like a modern game of chess where players don't have to wait to take turns.
collegiate star league (CSL) is a fan run tournament that colleges around the nation (and Canada) participate to play against each other. This year, over 100 200 colleges have signed up.

Now back to the UNCC team
As far is how we met, I wanted to start a team last year but we didn't have enough people (only 1 person online wanted to play). I decided to check again this year and I found a couple of people have already signed up to the team (around 5). I contacted everyone and we decided to meet to know each other.

Last Monday (Labor day), over 11 people showed up and we had a hilarious conversation about what we want to do for the team. We decided that we should hurry and sign up for the CSL and work on other legislation (sign up as a club/sport and all the other paperwork) later.

Overall, this has been a very positive experience. I love meeting people with the same interest as me. I just hope that we were able to use the campus connection to play together in person as it is not helpful to just go on our ways and play from home.

The team will have a strong presence this year and will only grow in the upcoming years.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence - an online class experience

Can I get a college education without going to college?
Can I actually force myself to learn without the fear of failure?
Are online classes the future of education?
How can I manager my time between my special interests and life responsibilities?

I ask myself these questions now that I am officially enrolled in the free Stanford's Intro to Artificial Intelligence class. I saw that the class is free so it was an easy decision for me to sign up. It is an easy low-risk and high-reward investment (I think you get a free certificate at the end or some sort of acknowledgement of finishing the course).

I doubt if ill be able to pass the class (it's ok, keep reading). Here is why

1- Time Management
There is a huge chance of me failing due to the nature of my schedule:
I go to school for full time this semester (3 hours per class * 13 = 39) .
I am still working on my internship since last Summer (18 hr).
I work at school as a student lead (10 hr)
That totals out to 67 hours a week of responsibilities!

2- I am lazy
I want to write a huge paragaraph here but I think everyone knows what I am trying to say and I am sure that you are too lazy to read it (I am slick!)

3- Drama
One advantage of computers is that they don't "Have a bad day". I personally struggle putting away a life problem to focus on the task that I am doing.

So as you can see, my biggest difficult for the class is .. ME.

I think the best way for me to overcome those issues is to test myself out with new challenges. After all, we all need to learn how to fail before we succeed.

I failed my way to success.
-Thomas Edison

Failing is the new sexy!

Minigolf with friends

I decided to try playing minigolf with my friends and invite the students to try something new. I played minigolf twice in my life (once on my birthday) and the game is a great way to talk to others. I also thought that this would be a great way to find an activity to do on a Friday after work.
Sadly the event did not go well. I announced the event late and no one wanted to come. The wether did not help as we had a rainy day.

Next time (and there will be a next time) I would announce the event earlier and I will check the weather before planning an outside event.

ACM meeting - Don't call it a come back!

Last Wednesday was the first meeting for the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) this semester. The meeting was to recruit new members to join the club and to tell them what we do in the club. We had a big showing of students and many of them came because they felt like they were in school for a long time but have not done anything beside the classes. I enjoyed meeting new students and talking to many outside of the class settings. What I did not enjoy (and I feel responsible for it) is the lack of directions. putting everyone in one area and asking them to "socialize" is a big mistake. I personally feel awkward in those situations and tend to walk away. Other than that, I think the meeting went well and I am looking forward to the future events.

Art Galary - Drawing with objects

I went to the Art Gallery at the union last Monday (August 29th) between my classes. The gallery had a theme of artwork created using many objects (trash, dead frog thing, bones, water cone cup ..etc).
I went with Ryan and I met Sai and Elaine. I personally did not enjoy the art pieces and I spent my time trying to understand the meaning (which I think is recycle or how everyday objects can look pretty). Next time I think I would go with someone with art appreciation so I can see the art pieces from another prospective.