Sink or Swim

Sink or swim seems to be the end of semester theme for the past week or so. It’s the homes stretch where the runner finally sees the finish line and gives one hundred percent. Although I  am leaving for break at 3:00 p.m today, I cannot help but to feel the approaching tidal wave of work in the next two weeks. This past week, I had to study for a chemistry exam and write an entire essay all while being able to celebrate Le-Laf. The engineering 10(computer programming) final projects are incredibly difficult and take hours of work.  Finally, I hope, final exams start on December 8th through December 16th. This will be the defining moment of the semester and will determine if I have actually figured this whole college thing out.

It’s a constant battle between sinking and swimming and one can overcome the other in even just a momentary lapse of judgement. This semester has been a test and way of sorting out the determined from the lazy. In this struggle, I have learned much more than just what is taught in class. For example, if you want a clean room or laundry, it doesn’t just happen on its own. More importantly, time management is more difficult than you think. With sometimes four hours between classes, are you going to study or watch Netflix?

Although the next few weeks won’t be easy, Thanksgiving break is right around the corner and so is the smell of turkey. This is a much needed break and way to transition into what is sure to be rough water.

The first semester is down!

As the first semester comes to an end, I have to appreciate the far we’ve come. It all began with a two-day orientation in August 24. Being an international student, I was keen not to miss anything, I took this time to try and understand the school’s expectations on us as students. I was ready to take the fight but I had to learn the rules of the game first. During orientation, I was reminded that the next time that we, the class of 2019, will be seated together again in the same building, would be during our graduation day. Was that true? I thought not, some students would take longer than that, some will have gap years for various reasons, however that doesn’t make a difference for me though, I have to graduate in four years, I have to be seated in the same hall in the year 2019.


Time moved pretty fast since then. I guess it is because I was so involved in various activities; I was in the cross country team, I joined two clubs, I did work stud, I attended several information sessions among other fun activities available in this Campus. This semester was of course, and as my peers say, the hardest because I had to adapt to college life and still accomplish other requirements. As I prepare for my final examination, I am confident that I can handle life in college. It is not hard, it is not easy, but I am equal to the task.

The end of Le Laf and the beginning of something new

The Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry is officially over. And I was right, we did win, and we did make them cry.  We actually killed them, both on the field and in school spirit.  It was a pretty amazing thing to watch.

But now, it’s back to the real world.  Lehigh’s week of fun is over, and now we’re moving on.

So what does that mean, for a freshman student like me? Well, first off it means I have a lot of homework to do over the next two days.  I have to basically do everything I put off during Le-Laf and then hand it in by Tuesday.  Exam weeks aside, this is honestly probably my most stressful few days of the semester.  Our last class ends tomorrow for Thanksgiving break, so we really have to cram a bunch of stuff into a very short period of time.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Le-Laf was magical, and I am gladly accepting these consequences.  The professors understand this too; Le-Laf is something not to be messed with.  We have spirit, and we will show it at all costs (even if those costs include procrastinating until the very last second).  It’s going to be a rough few days, but it was so worth it.

Not to mention, it’s Thanksgiving break coming up.  I miss my family, and it’s going to be really nice to see them and eat non-dining hall food.  A few days off from homework is also going to be really nice.  I mean, I will miss my friends here, but I already miss my friends back home.  It’ll be nice to see them.  And my dogs.

I had a great week, but it’s time to go back home.

you gotta read this book

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.

The story takes a form of a conversation between the narrator and his interlocutor. The interlocutor is an American intelligence officer who seems, according to the story, to be in a mission to find out some information about a claim made against the narrator. The narrator and his interlocutor are seated in a restaurant in Lahore, the narrator’s home town. Changez, the narrator, seems to know the motives of his interlocutor and therefore talks to him sarcastically but careful not to provoke him. The narrator tells him of how one event lead to another during his stay in America, and how he was finally forced to make a decision whether or not to remain in America. The narrator also tells his interlocutor how he was involved in youth empowerment in one University in which he worked as a lecturer. Apart from teaching, the narrator said that he made it his mission on campus to advocate a disagreement from America by his country, Pakistani. The narrator claims that America’s dominance on smaller countries like Pakistani called for action. Together with his students, the narrator organized peaceful demonstrations. One of the narrator’s student however, was arrested for planning to kill an American who was delivering food to the rural Pakistani. The narrator admits that he never advocated for such extreme behaviors and that some of his students were not living to the expectations of his mission. Some of the students were instead, as it was in this case, pursuing their own missions. This particular instance raised eye brows and media personalities visited the University to interview the narrator and inquire whether he had a hand in the plan. This unfolding, which Changez used to state the agenda of his mission, attracted the worlds attention to him. It is for this reason that the narrator is being pursued by the American Intelligence officer. The story ends in a suspense.


But I can’t wait to start electrical engineering classes.

The basics for us Electrical Engineers…

As an electrical device, the computer needs power in order for its components to operate properly. The device responsible for supplying power to the computer is the power supply. In short, we could say that the main function of the power supply is to convert alternating voltage (a.k.a. AC), which is supplied by the electrical power system into continuous voltage (a.k.a. DC). In other words, the power supply converts the conventional 110V or 220V alternating voltage into continuous voltage used by the PC electronic components, which are +3.3 V, +5 V, +12 V and -12 V (Alternating voltages vary throughout the world. In this tutorial, we will use “110 V” as a catchall label for 110 V, 115 V and 127 V voltages, whereas we will use “220 V” as a catchall label for 220 V, 230 V and 240 V voltages. Japan, which uses a 100V power grid, is the only country outside this range.) The power supply is also present in the PC cooling process, as we will explain in detail later.
There are two basic power supply designs: linear and switching-mode.
Linear power supplies work by getting the 110 V or 220 V from the power grid and lowering its value (e.g., 12 V) by using a transformer. This lower voltage is still AC. Then rectification is done by a set of diodes, transforming this AC voltage into pulsating voltage. The next step is filtering, which is performed by an electrolytic capacitor, transforming this pulsating voltage into almost DC. The DC obtained after the capacitor oscillates a little (this oscillation is called ripple), so a voltage regulating stage is necessary, made by a zener diode (frequently with the aid of a power transistor) or by a voltage regulator integrated circuit. After this stage the output is true DC voltage.
Although linear power supplies work very well for several low-power applications – cordless phones is an application that comes to mind – when high power is needed, linear power supplies can be very large.
The size of the transformer and the capacitance (and thus the size) of the electrolytic capacitor are inversely proportional to the frequency of the input AC voltage; the lower the AC voltage frequency, the bigger the size of those components and vice-versa. Since linear power supplies still use the 60 Hz (or 50 Hz, depending on the country) frequency from the power grid (which is a very low frequency), the transformer and the capacitor are huge.
Building a linear power supply for the PC would be insane, since it would be very big and heavy. The solution was to use the high-frequency switching approach.
On high-frequency switching mode power supplies (a.k.a. SMPS), the input voltage has its frequency increased before going into the transformer (in the range of kHz are typical values). With input voltage frequency increased, the transformer and the electrolytic capacitors can be very small. This is the kind of power supply used on the PC and several other types of electronic equipment, such as DVD players. Keep in mind that “switching” is short for “high-frequency switching,” which has nothing to do with whether the power supply has an on/off switch or not…
The power supply is probably the most neglected component on PC. Usually when buying a computer, we just take on account the processor type and clock, the motherboard model, the video card model, the quantity of installed memory, the hard disk storage capacity, and we forget about the power supply, which, in fact, is the one who supplies the “fuel” for the PC parts to operate properly.
A power supply of good quality and with enough capacity can increase the durability of your equipment and reduce your electricity bill (we will explain why when discussing efficiency). Just to get an idea, a high-quality power supply will cost less than 5% of the PC total price. On the other hand, a low-quality power supply can cause several intermittent problems, most of which are difficult to solve. A defective or bad-intentioned power supply can lock the PC, result in hard disk bad blocks, cause the infamous “blue screen of death” errors, andgive rise to random resets and freezings, added to many other problems.


Another Post About the Rivalry

But for good reason. There’s a reason why there have been so many posts about the rivalry. It’s because it is the biggest thing to happen this semester. You can feel the hype when you walk through Upper Cort with people buying beanies. You can feel it when the band starts blasting music outside your dorm at 10:30 PM. The excitement is tangible.

The rivalry is one of the biggest rivalries to exist. Forget Harvad-Yale, Le-Laf is way more exciting. Dating back to 1884, the rivalry has continued, uninterrupted except for once in 1896, but the energy that bubbles up has not faded at all.

From the rumored 115 yard touchdown by the Lehigh halfback “Snooks” to the one handed catch made by Klingerman in 1995 to not only win Lehigh the game, but also clinching the Patriot League championship, the school spirit and pride couldn’t be higher at this point.

This spirit of healthy competition is only part of what makes Lehigh such a great community. Here’s to a Lehigh victory.

The Rivalry

Happy Le-Laf!!

It’s that special time of year here at Lehigh where we celebrate beating Lafayette in football and everything else. Thousands of students show their support Lehigh through brown and white clothing, banners, and incredible spirit. In just three days, Saturday, November 19, Lehigh will face Lafayette in a football game that has commenced for one hundred and fifty one years. Why, however, is there such a heated rivalry between the schools? Why do students cringe when they here the name of the opposing school? The history of The Rivalry is essential in understanding the extreme competitiveness that occurs during Le-Laf week.

Prior to the founding of Lehigh University, Asa Packer was originally asked to build an engineering wing at Lafayette College. After finding out the school was under the influence of the Presbyterian Church, Asa Packer refused to build the wing and instead founded Lehigh. After refusing Lafayette’s offer, it was fate that the two schools would not see eye to eye.

The first Lehigh-Lafayette football game was in 1884 and sadly, Lehigh lost to a more experience Lafayette. This game was just one year after the official rules of football were established. In 1887, after winning their first game, the Lehigh football team burnt down their stands in protest of their poor design.This was a turning point and started the excitement and spirit that follows the game.

Up until 1991, it was a tradition for fans and students to rush the field and tear down the wooden goal posts. Eventually this tradition turned violent as fans fought over the pieces and needed to be changed. In 1991, the wooden goal was replaced with a steel one planted ten feet in the ground, thus ending the post-game tradition.

Currently Lafayette holds a 78-67-5 lead over Lehigh in over wins, but I have a great feeling about what the future holds. After all, Lehigh is better at everything.

Why engineering?

News about the sluggish economy and the high unemployment rate has all of us a little scared. Well, here’s some good news if you’re thinking of majoring in engineering: Of the top 10 highest-paying college majors, seven of them are in engineering!*

So, engineering isn’t just a college major; it’s a job and a profession— and one in demand and well paid! Engineers have the problem-solving skills to fix a problem, but more than that, they are responsible for creating solutions to problems that we aren’t even aware of yet. Bigger, faster, better—engineers put their problem-solving abilities to the test to make the world a better place. Some engineers can even rewrite history!

Of course, like any major or occupation you may choose, you should like what you do. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of engineering concentrations to choose from: aeronautical, chemical, computer, environmental, mechanical, electrical, petroleum and more. Engineers are used in almost every industry.

The Material Science Department

As all Engineering 5 students know, we were all required to attend a department tour of the Materials Science & Engineering department. Although barely half of the people showed up for my group, it didn’t take away from the experience.

The Materials Science department is tiny. In the sophomore class, there are only 27 students who are studying Materials Science. What that means is that the student to faculty ratio is very small. The students know the professors and the professors know the students. By name.

However, just because hardly anyone takes Materials Science doesn’t mean it’s a bad field. This year, it was ranked as the top engineering department at Lehigh. The graduating salary is second only to Computer Science, coming in at around $65,000. If it’s such a great path, why does hardly anyone choose it?

Great question. It’d probably why we’re required to take a tour of their department and listen to them pleading with us, trying to get us to join. If no one is interested, what’s the point of even keeping the department?

Well you can’t just axe an engineering department. If there’s anything that’s been beat into my head is that all the engineering fields are connected. Materials Science not only shares a lot with chemical engineering, but also with mechanical. And computer engineering. And civil. You want to make an object more efficient/lighter. Materials science covers that.

It’s a very specialized field, and thus it’s in very high demand. So I’m being hypocritical here, cause I’m probably not going to join MatSci despite this post, but you should definitely take it into consideration.

Friends of all different types

Last time I posted, I talked about Le-Laf week and the upcoming football game that we will undoubtedly win.  As fun as it’ll be to see a bunch of Lafayette students crying on the sideline and in the stands, there’s something else special about this week and this weekend.  There are probably more students from other colleges on campus this weekend than any other time.

As it is one of the biggest weeks of the school year for us, many people want to bring their hometown friends up to experience the game.  I’ll be bringing up one of my best friends from home this weekend, and my younger sister came up this weekend.  I’ll be meeting dozens of kids who go to school nowhere near here.

And it’s been really nice.  To see my family, my hometown friends, and my college friends, all in the same week is really great, and not something I really thought about until recently.  As stressful as the past few weeks have been, seeing them and having fun really keeps your mind off things.  I can’t wait for this weekend.

And it’s even better that all your friends can meet.  These are people from all over the country, who you yourself love spending time with.  And as they spend more time together and get along better, they become friends themselves.  And then you have one huge group of friends!!

Okay that sounds stupid but you get the point.  It’s just nice seeing people you missed and spending time with everyone.  Also, doing that while watching Lehigh beat Lafayette.  That’s actually the best part.  Lafayette sucks.