Hi Everyone, 

I meant to write my blog more than a week ago but I was away in Washington DC for a conference and since I came back I've had a lot of things to do. Last week I wanted to blog about my thesis defense experience. Many of you heard me mentioned it before and even read that I sucessfully passed. However, I could've shared my experience so other people are aware of the entire process. 

Once I got good results for my thesis topic, I had to talk to my advisor and get it approved by him. Once he approved it I started writing it, the thesis had to be at least 30 pages long. It took me about 6 days to entirely write my thesis (without editing it, which it takes another couple of hours). There's a special format to write a thesis and it's available online in the UML website: http://www.uml.edu/registrar/docs/thesis_guide.pdf 

Once I finished editing my thesis, I had to get it reviewed once again by my Professor, who suggested couple of changes and also asked me to get it reviewed by another student. The first draft of my thesis was reviewed about 5 times before hand it over to the committee members. Committee members along with the thesis advisor are the ones who judge the thesis and give the student a pass/fail grade and the student need to defend it in front of them. 

For my thesis, Prof. Mil'shtein (advisor), Prof. Armiento and Prof. Mufeed from the Electrical Engineering Department were the members of my defense. In some cases, four members can be in the committee. I handed my thesis for review by the judges more than a week in advance, so they can review it and provide feedback during the thesis defense. 

The day of the defense I was pretty anxious and kind of nervous which is normal. In my own opinion, the thesis defense was easier to present since I was very familiar with the topic and I was talking about my own work. Once I started my presentation, the anxiety went away and everything started to flow. I think I was rushing at first, but once I realized it I started slowing down. I liked the fact that my thesis defense was very dynamic meaning that the judges were asking me questions along with the presentation which made the defense more interesting. 

In some defenses, judges ask questions only at the end or throughout the presentation. I think it depends on the committee members. Once I finished with the presentation and questions, the members of the committee asked me to step out along with the other students who ere watching the defense while they deliberated. After couple of minutes they call be back and they let me know they decision. Once they told me that I had passed I felt so relieved. All the hard work I had put into it had paid off and I was finally a Master of Science. 

However, this wasn't the end, a lot of things had to be done before finishing my thesis. I had to review the comments of the judges about by manuscript, then edited and submit it for binding. I had to edit the manuscript and print at least 3 copies: one for the library, one for the department and a personal one. The cost of binding is $15 per copy and there's also a publishing fee of $55. If a person wants to copyright his/her work another fee applies. When I submitted all my copies for binding I was finally done with my thesis. Now, I need to focus of the other three classes I have. 

I hope this information is useful and can help students who are planning to write a thesis. This was a stressful experience but I learned a lot from it. 

~ Paula

University Day

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Happy Easter everyone! I hope you guys enjoyed the weekend and got to see your friends and family. I had a good time with my family and I enjoyed all the food. I ate so much that at 5pm I didn't want to eat for the rest of the day. It was good to see and spend some time with my family as well with my boyfriend's family. 

This past weekend was full of celebrations. It was couple of my friends birthdays and I celebrated having passed my thesis defense. I'm finally a Master of Science ;)
I still need to pass the three classes I'm taking right now, but I'm already like 80% done with my Masters degree. It feels really good that all the hard work has paid off. 

I also want to remind everyone that this Friday is Spring Carnival. This is one of my favorite activities here in UMass Lowell. First because it's a fun activity and it's usually warm that day. This year's is not going to be too hot, like 61 degrees only, but at least is going to be dry. I'm not sure if I'm going yet because I still have a lot of things going on for school and work. However, have fun and invite as many people as you can. This is a great activity to share with your closest friends. 

Have a nice rest of the week... Spring is here!

~ Paula

New item in my bucket list

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There are a lot of things I'd like to do during my lifetime. One of them was to go skydiving and I finally did it. Now, I'm thinking what else I could do. Today, after watching the Boston Marathon, I decided to add to my list to run one marathon one day. It's very impressive to see all those people running for a purpose. 

Many run for themselves and/or people they know. I admire all those who ran today and got tot he finish line. After seeing all these people I really have the motivation to do it one day. It's not easy but I'd love to do it. For now I'm going to start with the Walk for Hunger in couple of weeks. That way I can get started ;)

Running a marathon is not that easy, a lot of training, physical and mental preparation is needed. Congratulations to anyone who ran it. 

~ Paula 

Done? Not yet

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Hi guys, 

Today I have more time than usual. I spent last week day and night writing my thesis and making sure that I had enough results to use. Fortunately, I was able to finish it on time and submit it yesterday to my supervisor. After submitting it, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. This is something I've been working for quite a time and finally the time for submission came. 

However, this is not all yet, I still need to defend it and hopefully graduate. The most important part of the process is around the corner. It's kind of scary but I'm looking forward to that moment. I can't wait to defend it and be done with it. Then I can focus more in my classes and do well in them. I'm doing well so far in other classes but I haven't really put much time into them. 

It really feels good to be done with at least 80% of my thesis. I'm one step closer to graduation! 

I hope everyone's semester is going well. Enjoy this nice weather!  ;)
  

Skydiving Experience

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This past weekend lived one of the most thrilled adventures I could ever been into. I always had wanted to go skydiving but for some reason it got canceled over and over again. Not until this weekend when my boyfriend surprised me. He knew I really wanted to do it for a long time, so he paid for it and brought me to a skydive complex. I have no words to describe it but I can tell that it is an amazing experience. A lot of feelings come together: fair, excitement, happiness and worry. Just thinking about the fact that I was about to jump out of a plane at 15,000 feel in the air is scary but thrilling. The free-fall was 70 seconds but it felt like 10 seconds only. That moment is full of vertigo and excitement. There was so much noise and I barely could breath, I'm not even sure if I was actually breathing. Once the parachute opens, the noise goes away and it's very peaceful. At that moment, I could focus more on enjoying the view than having fun. It was an incredible experience. I would recommend it to anyone. So many feelings in about ten minutes since I jumped from the plain until I landed. I would totally do it again, this is an experience I'll never forget. I think about it and still feel the moment. 

I'd totally recommend it to anyone, the younger the better ;)


Time is running out

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Hello!

 

There are a lot of things going on and very little time to complete them. I was just told that I need to have a complete written thesis in about three weeks. Three weeks??? Yes, I can't even believe it. I have a lot to do still. I have something but not too much and I still need hours to write and finish my thesis. I've been wondering: Am I going to finish and be on time to graduate? It looks impossible but I'm really going to try my best. I know that hard work really pays off and I'm going work non-stop to meet this deadline. 

 

At the same time, I realized how fast time goes by. It's been five years in UML that have passed in a blink of an eye. I still remember my freshman year like if it was yesterday. Thinking about this makes me appreciate my day to day life, and instead of complaining about all the work load I have and the deadlines I need to meet I should appreciate what I have and live the moment. Always having a positive attitude and a smile on my face help me overcome the obstacles I encounter on the way. 

 

Iíve had a great experience at UML these past five years. Leaving UML is going to be hard but a lot of memories are going to come with me. I learned a lot and I was exposed to many things that I have never before. Itís been 5 crazy years but Iím very thankful of having the opportunity to come to college and learn from many people. I bring with me a lot of knowledge, friends, mentors and more.

 

~ Paula

 

 

Welcome Back

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Spring Break. We can't complain about last week's weather. I heard it was 71F in Massachusetts. I wasn't here because I went to upstate New York with my parents and boyfriend. It was also nice up there but it didn't reach the 70s.

It was hard for me to come back to school after relaxing for couple of days. I have a lot of things to do, not even mention my thesis. I have two midterms this week, lab reports to grade and a midterm to give to the two classes I teach. Other than school related stuff, today I've been just going through my personal finances and figuring out how much debt I have and how I'm going to pay it off. It's not too much but I still needed to sit down and figure out what I need to do to keep a good credit which is something very important in this country. Having a good credit report is needed everywhere, to rent an apartment and even get a good job. People really look into that to know more about yourself. 

After today I'm planning to work non-stop on my thesis and focus on school work. Couple of more weeks left and I want to finish strong and motivated. I'm getting to a point of frustration that I don't want to be in for a long time. That's why I'm trying to plan everything ahead and not run into much problems.. ;)

Today the weather is not a Spring weather but Spring is coming soon. Enjoy everyday and have fun!

Talk to you guys next week. ;)

~ Paula

Spring Fun

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It's Spring Break week!!! I hope many of you get to relax and have some fun this week. A lot of people are going on a Spring Break trip with their friends to the most typical places to spend this week in. Many people choose Florida, Mexico and Dominican Republic to get out of this cold weather and get to have a nice tan... 

I've never been able to go on a trip during Spring Break. I have had so much work accumulated for this week that I'm unable to take the entire week off and fly somewhere. However, I always try to find time for myself and relax, that way I can start fresh the week after.   

One of my goals for this week is to make a lot of progress on my thesis and get results that I can work with, this way I can start writing it and finish by the first week of April. I''ve been working as much as I can on it but not much progress yet. I'm also planning on taking a small trip with my parents and boyfriend to find a place to live once I graduate from college and move to upstate New York. 

I hope all of you guys enjoy this week and recharge your batteries. We have already gone through half of this semester and the next weeks are going to fly away. 

Have fun ;)

~ Paula

Live your Life

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There's a wise quote from Abraham Lincoln that says:


I found this quote when I was thinking about my mom. Yesterday was her 55th Birthday and she was very happy. She received phone calls from Colombia, Facebook messages and we invited her to the Blue Man Show after having dinner in Scollay Square in Boston. She really enjoyed herself with my dad, my sisters and our boyfriends. She was smiling all day long!

My mom has had tough moments in her life like moving to a new country where  the culture and language is totally different than what she's used to. Even all the challenges she has lived, she always has a smile in her face and she's very charismatic. She has always said that she is not old because she doesn't feel like that. She thinks that people "feel as young or as old as they choose to feel" I really think this is right!

My mom's words resembles Lincoln's words. People should focus on putting life to their years than years to their life. This way they can make their daily life more enjoyable. Life is short, there should be no room or opportunity to make it miserable. 

Have a nice week!


~ Paula


No time to relax

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There are so many things running through my head. I have classes and a thesis to write. I'm getting really overwhelmed with all the work I have and I'm trying to stay motivated but why am I having such a hard time??? I've been really trying to do as much as I can day in and day out but I still feel I haven't progress much. Last week I was everyday in the lab until late, some days I slept couple of hours. Since I worked very hard over the week I decided to take the weekend off but when I came back to school, I felt I'm so behind with all the work I need to get done. 

It's very important to me to take some breaks and relax; otherwise, my mind would go crazy. But I'm feeling that this semester there's no room to relax. I really need to find a way to motivate myself and keep working hard. I know I will be laughing about it in couple of months when I look back but I'm not really looking forward to all the stress and frustration that's coming my way. 

I had the same feeling last year when I was working on my capstone project. I had a lot of work and all I could think of day and night was how to finish it. I would even have dreams about it. Remembering those days just makes me laugh, but I guess this is a life cycle I need to go through to accomplish this important goal in my life. 

What's very important now is not to lose focus and work as hard as I can. It will be worth it. To stay motivated I've been visualizing myself finishing and supporting my thesis, really looking forward to that moment inspires me and helps me through this process. I also think about people who I admire for their self-motivation. My boyfriend is one of those who sets a goal and accomplish it no matter what. I really like that and it helps me not to give up. 

My advise today is that if you have lost motivation just look for someone you admire and look what they have accomplish because everyone is capable of doing the same. 

Enjoy this week! We are one week closer to Spring ;)

~ Paula

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