Welcome to the Activities page!
My reflections and extra-curricular activities!
Reflections ( about the whole experience, and perhaps some advice for readers )

I cannot emphasize enough that this has been such an amazing learning experience for me.  Not only research wise but it also taught me a lot about people.  For example I went from never having a roommate before to living with four.  However I'll focus on the research experience below. 

I've gotten a taste of graduate studies.  I think it requires many hours of hardwork, dedication and persistence.  I was in the office 24-7.  It is very frustrating at times, and there were times when I didn't know if it's possible to do something, but at these times you just need to be optimistic and don't be afraid to take advice from your adviser and peers.   Research though is hard, is also very rewarding.  Picking a project that you would like to work on ( even though you don't have too much experience with )  is very important in my opinion.  I think it will give you that extra drive you need. 

Paper presentations was my worst fear.  I detested them in the beginning.  By the end of the summer I understood their value and pertinence.  It's like l egos, understanding the work done before you and around will help you build a solid foundation for your design.  It also provide lots of insights for future work.  


Claurissa and I arrived at the Champaign airport pretty late.  The city was dark and we were hungry.  After we found our apartment we ordered pizza, and some local boys, Dave and Eric from the LDS ward, of Champaign came over and gave us a short tour of the small College town.  It was very nice of them (and no I'm not LDS).   This is actually my first experience going to a new place by myself.  I'm glad I had Claurissa here. 

A little about my roommate.  Claurissa and I are friends even back in Utah.  We are both CS majors students.  She is one year ahead and two years older, and a very smart girl;  being the minorities in the field we naturally bonded.  I believe she is graduating this year and will be continuing her graduate studies at the University of Utah. 

We were invited to YY's house for her annual gathering!  Her graduate student Bo first offered us a ride to get some groceries, then took us to YY's house for the party.   We were introduced to her current graduate students,  we played some games such as polo, and ping pong and had a barbecue in her backyard.

During the first week we were given a tour of the new Siebel Center ( the Computer Science Building) and given access to our offices.  Claurissa and I are in two different offices.  I share an office with Ping.

I joined the badminton club of UIUC.  I was surprised that they made us try out. However,  I was accepted due to my prior experience,  but to my disappointment they didn't allow Claurissa to join.   I tried attending twice a week.   It's a pretty organized club and actually competes so there are some pretty good players, but again I feel like the minority.  Perhaps it is because this is the summer and there will be more player in the fall.

Claurissa went to some church activity while I went to the office.  We  were suppose to meet at the Green street about 9:00 p.m and some how I guess we missed each other.  So I walked up and down green street looking for her for about 40 minutes.  She went home because it was getting dark and she thought perhaps I went home. It was already getting scary because I was not familiar with the place and it was dark.  On top of that someone on a bike snuck up from behind and shouted "BOO!"   I think I screamed. Then he just rode on by. 

We moved to the UC commons a place which Claurissa suggested because it was subleased by some girls from the ward and it had a pool.  It's actually further from our office but the place is nicer.   I actually objected in the beginning but gave in eventually.  I have to admit the place is nicer and we didn't have to share a room.

I need to purchase a bike.  One because now we live further from our office and I didn't want to waste the time walking.  Plus I often like to come to the office at night and even weekends, and Claurissa didn't, and it wasn't safe walking by myself.   So I went bike shopping.

The bike experience.  I went and bought a bike from wal-mart.  I would advice anyone not to, because the quality is bad.   Within a week and a half the breaks were hardly working.  I ended up returning the bike and purchasing an old used Schwinn for about the same price . Though it's much older the quality is much better. 

"Addicted to the Office"
I think I like staying in the office.  I often go there after dinner and on weekends.  I think it's because I realize that my project is quite time consuming, so I will probably find this extra time useful.   Also, I think the project is growing on me.  Plus once in a while I'll go and play a few game of chess.  ;)

YY invited us to get Ice Cream after a stressful paper presentation day.

Claurissa invited me to a ward campout which I attended with her.  It was pretty fun.  We camped next to to a lake and were entertained by the scenery of the moon and Alana(sp?) and Dave's guitar. 

Most of YY's students are on their summer internships this summer.  Sudarshan is one of the few that stayed, because he's graduating by the end of the summer.   He's a pretty cool guy.  He invited me to an Irish music session in Champaign.  It's where a small group of people play some music.  The tunes are simple to pick up and people can just play along.  He plays the flute and I had to borrow someone's violin, but it was fun.  I wish I got to attend more. 

I also Joined a Swing dancing class with Claurissa.  It was once a week in the Union.  I really like the class.  I think jazz music is so hip, this is something I want to continue even after I go back to Utah.   Joe Tucek, another student of YY's also attends.  We invited Sudarshan and Francis to the swing dance session once.  I hope they liked it ;)

Claurissa and I went to visit Chicago for a day.  It was very exciting.  We took a river taxi, which gave us a tour of the city.  I think Chicago is very pretty city; the architecture is amazing.  The views on the Sears tower was incredible it gave me a sense of what it feels like to be on "top of the world".  Everything was great the only thing I would have like to seen is the art museum, but unfortunately we couldn't go.  I'll save that on my list of things to do for my next Chicago visit.