December 2009 Archives

Full Circle...

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This past weekend marks the end of my undergraduate career at UMass Lowell. I will be going on to get my master’s degree in plastics engineering here at UML, but only on a part time basis. I am eager to get out into the work force and try to make some money.


I went back and read some of my old blogs, including the first one I ever wrote entitled “Back to School at last…” In this blog, I wrote about how I was tired of working full time, and how I wanted to stay in school for my master’s degree. I can certainly say that a lot has changed since then.


I am certainly not in a big hurry to get my master’s degree. Since I have spent the past four month’s job searching, I have found a master’s degree with no experience is not any better than a bachelor’s degree with little to no experience. Typically companies want 3-5 years of experience with a master’s degree for a job better than entry level. For this reason, I think it would be the best idea for me to get my master’s degree part time, while getting the experience I need.


As far as being tired of working full time, I think I am ready to enter the work place. When I start at NxStage Medical in January, it will mark the beginning of my fourth internship (my third in the medical devices industry). I think I know most of the Do’s and Don’ts of the workplace. I plan to work very hard to get a promotion to a full time position.


I feel like I have had a very successful college career at UMass Lowell. I built myself a powerful resume. I have worked three internships. I have lived on campus as a resident and a residential advisor. I have lived off campus with friends, lived off campus with my girlfriend, and even spent six months 200 miles away from campus. I have made many friends, and very few enemies. I am glad to say that I have no regrets about the past 4.5 years.


So if you are entering college, or you are part way through your college career; here is my advice:

  • Build your resume: I know it’s a tough market, but apply for internships, and take the job. Even if you think something might be below you, you can learn a lot and build some good references.
  • Go to class: I constantly hear people complaining about 8:30 classes. Give me a break! When you are working full time you will probably have to be in at 7:00 everyday. Nothing will make you look better than near perfect attendance, whether that is in the eyes of a teacher or employer.
  • Have some fun, but take things seriously: You don’t need to go to college to party 5-7 nights a week. Whether you are taking out student loans, or your parents are paying, or you won the lottery; college is expensive. Don’t let that money go to waste. Keep up with your homework and study hard so that you will get the grades you deserve.
  • Get connected: Get involved, meet some people, and make some friends. Everyone encourages you to join societies and groups. There’s a good reason for that; people who get involved with their campus do better in school.


Thanks for reading everyone, best of luck to you!

Happy Holidays!

Done with classes, and halfway through finals, the finitude of college has certainly set in. It really blows my mind how fast it all went by, the classes I have attended, the homework assignments I worked on, all the exams I studied for. Now with only one final left, I really do have my foot out the door. I remember looking forward to graduation, but now that I am there I find myself looking back. It really is a bittersweet feeling.


Here is the sweet half of it: I have a job, only a co-op, not a full time engineer, but nonetheless a job. In today’s tough economy, I am glad to have an entry level position in a field that I am interested in. I am also on the verge of accomplishing the most challenging task I have taken on so far; studying for my bachelor’s degree. I really beat the odds too, coming from a vocational high school; I was not even expected to go to college. I’ve managed to pull my GPA out of the hole I dug for it my first two years. Going from a 2.5 to a 3.0 is a serious challenge. I will be walking in the spring. I will not be cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude, but that does not matter to me. I am proud of myself for what I have done.


Here is the bitter half of it: I will be saying goodbye to what has been my life for the past 4.5 years. I will no longer be a full time college student. I know that I have a lot of growing up to do. Society pressures us to get married and start a family soon after graduation. That’s how my older sister did it, that’s how my girlfriend’s older sister did it. And quite frankly, it scares the life out of me. Above all, the scariest part is that life will be taken off of auto-pilot. When you are a student, you have a schedule and a curriculum laid out for you:

·         2 tbsp. of electives

·          1 cup of gen ed’s

·          2 cups of core classes

·          bring to a boil

·          reduce heat and simmer for 8 semesters.

But now, there is no set path, no recipe for life. I have spent a good amount of time searching for a direction. I have been looking for someone or something to tell me what to do next. I have finally come to the conclusion that there is no one to tell me what to do, I have to make my own way.


In conclusion, I have long thought that college was supposed to be the ‘best time of your life.’ I felt like leaving college was the end of my young life. Now I see things in a different perspective. When I realized that I have unlimited opportunities and potential, I came to understand that I can mold my life anyway I want to. I am starting a journey, not as a passenger, but as the driver. I am excited to get out into the real world and make a name for myself. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”


Thanks for reading.

Last night my Intro to Philosophy class went out to dinner at Beer Works in Lowell. It is the most interesting feeling realizing that I had been at UMass Lowell the longest at the table. Putting off my electives until my last semester, has given me a chance to connect with some of the freshmen students. It is very interesting talking to someone who is about to finish their first semester, when I am finishing my last. I started to think about what has changed at UML over the past 4 years. And then I started joking with the freshmen by making these comments in an old man’s voice:


“Back when I was a freshman… You had to plug your computer into the wall to get internet!”

“There was no Southwick dining hall!”

“…Parking decals were free!”

“…You had to pay to get into hockey games!”

“…There was no parking garage on east campus!”

“…UML didn’t own a hotel!”

“…Prof. Johnston (intro to engineering) was still a student!”

“…There was no fence on the University Ave Bridge, just a railing!”

“…Rowdy the Riverhawk didn’t look like someone from Sonic the Hedgehog!”

I have spent a good amount of time this semester searching for a job for when I graduate in December. This past week I received a job offer at NxStage Medical, in Lawrence MA. The offer is for a six month co-op position, in research and development. Hopefully it will give me a chance to prove myself as a valuable candidate, and I could be promoted into a full time engineering position.


NxStage is a company that manufactures dialysis machines, which are used for people who have kidney failure. They make both clinical and home use dialysis machines. NxStage’s R&D facility is located in Lawrence, only 10 miles away from my apartment. Luckily I will not have to drive 60 miles to work anymore. Currently it takes me about an hour and twenty minutes each way, at my new job it should only take me twenty minutes. Best of all, this position will allow me to get into the R&D half of medical devices, as opposed to manufacturing.


I was once told that an internship or a co-op is a long term interview. I believe this is the best approach to any internship or co-op you may be hired for through college. In today’s tough economy, it is extremely important to get your foot in the door. I am going to work very hard to make a name for myself at NxStage. This way, if anything opens up 4 or 5 months down the line, I would be an easy choice for the position.


I have not gotten all the details about the position yet, but I will be sure to fill you in soon. Thanks for reading!

Crunch Time...


I realized yesterday morning that I have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me. As the semester is coming to an end, I have an intense line up of exams, essays and project presentations ahead of me. I am currently taking four classes, and although I have had an overall easy semester, it seems that all of my classes are demanding something in the next couple of weeks.


In Chemistry II, I have the third exam next Monday. The final exam will be the week afterwards on Wednesday. That’s already two exams in three weeks. In order to do well on these exams, I will need to ensure that I am able to do all of the assigned homework problems. I will probably have to study chemistry every day from now until the final exam.


In Intro to Philosophy, I have to submit a 5 page essay. This will be our third essay of the semester, so it will be graded the hardest. It is also worth more points. This is due the first day of finals, which is the same Wednesday as my Chem II final. Luckily, there is no final exam in this class.


In General Psychology, I have a group project to present next Wednesday. This will require a few hours of work over the next week. The final exam for this class will be on Saturday the 19th. Hopefully the exam will not be too difficult, and the professor will give a good outline for it.


My last class is Computer Aided Engineering. For this class I have a term paper due next Wednesday. Along with the term paper I must give a short presentation of my topic. This is due the same day as my group presentation. I also need to catch up on some homework assignments in this class.


As you can see there is a lot of overlap in my schedule. I am confident that a lot of you have pretty busy schedules in front of you. I suggest you lay everything out like I did, so that you can better prepare for your assignments. It is very important to finish the semester strong, to ensure you get the grades you deserve.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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