Monthly Archives: September 2011

Healthy Grad Student: 200 Sit-ups and Squats!

Hello readers!

I am back from a week off spent in Calgary visiting the BF and I feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm for just kind of life in general!  Hence I have decided to try my hand at a few of the trendy fitness programs I seem to be late to the game knowing about.  Specifically I am going to do the 200 squat and modified 200 sit-up programs!

Both of these programs can be found at these sites:

So the point of these programs is to slowly build you up to be able to do said 200 of these exercises all in one shot after 6 weeks of following the plan.  You are supposed to start the programs by doing an initial diagnostic test to figure out which of the three ‘categories’ you fitness you currently fit in (worst, mid, best).  I, of course, made the assumption that of course I am the best!…..and I am feeling it a bit today 🙂

Since I have mild scoliosis, I don’t really think doing 200 would-be-crooked sit-ups would be particularly good for my back, so I am going to do leg lifts (the thing where you lay on your back and lift your legs 90 degrees up and then slowly lower them so they almost touch the ground and then lift them back up to 90 degrees again  — leg lift?) instead.

If you’re interested in trying this out– join me!

I’ll let you know how it goes!













Eggs… oh the orientation fun..

It’s a super crunch time over here in my world, and I got used to pretending that I am writing my thesis 24/7 non-stop, although I do sleep and eat and all that. So, I am gonna be super short today (kinda – shorter than usual anyway).

Last Thursday, the Mech Department held the annual grad orientation reception organized (I believe) by Yuki, our beloved grad secretary. I’ve been to a couple of these already, and knew the gist of it when I walked in. Although I am technically a new grad going into my PhD, I guess I am still an old grad finishing my masters at the moment.

Anywho, let’s put my babbling aside for now.

The orientation reception started with a bit of munching and crunching followed by short and sweet welcoming speeches by Sheldon (Dr. Green), and Steve (Dr. Rogak) — the Department Head and the Grad Advisor respectively. Then Ambrose did his presentation on how MEGA is awesome and fun and free for all. By then I had to run out to get ready for a scavenger hunt (a.k.a the MEGAMEN Adventures) that Matt Pan carefully put together out last week.

Wearing our epic blue MEGA t-shirts (yes, we are very proud of it, and I love the colour and design, thanks to Tom Huryn, the designer of all cool engineering t-shirts ever printed), the MEGA execs/volunteers ran around with buckets of water, cartons of eggs, lego pieces, tapes, and timers.

I won’t tell you the whole details of each stations the MEGAMEN Adventurers had to go through, because if you weren’t there this year, you missed out and you will have to come to join us next year. But I can tell you that it was a lot of fun that turned into a water-gun fight.

Too childish for grad school? Maybe.

But c’mon. You know you’ve longed to participate in these things secretly and ever so desperately.

Besides, it’s not like you suddenly grow too old for everything and become practically too boring for epic ROFL sessions as soon as you get your foot in the door of grad school.

Anywho, I don’t know if I have the permission to post pictures of the fun we had on Thursday, so instead of risking it, what you see above is an evidence of fun that does not involve faces of the MEGAMEN Adventurers.

Thank you, Sarah, Ida, Behrooz, Navid, Eric, Arka, and Wesley for making it happen, and the four teams for participating!

Looking forward to even more fun next year! Woot woot! 😀

Theory of work

A couple of days ago, I experienced a moment of epiphany.

I had been getting sick of constantly having my todo list grow bigger and bigger at a faster rate than I can manage them.
“Give me one thing at a time!” I wanted to yell at the world. I mean, I can multitask if I have to, but only for a short period of time, not for a super long continuous period of time. So, lately, I found myself complaining everyday, non-stop.

When a journal paper I had been working on came back with a second round of reviewer’s comments, tragically requesting me to further make revisions to the paper, I felt my sigh dig a hole in the ground.

So I started complaining. On top of all the thesis related work I have to do, these people want me to work on this paper (again!) despite the fact that I have worked on the paper for countless number of months. C’mon, give me a break.

As I felt myself rapidly growing impatient with the world I realized that, despite all the complaining, I sill have to get them all done – all by myself, might I add.

At that very moment, I reached the state of Zen. I could not resist the temptation to reach for the longest piece of paper I could find on my desk, and made myself the following work of art.

This masterpiece, which now sits above my office computer, gave me the courage to tackle the journal paper.

Surprisingly enough, my masterpiece was right (for the moment). I shortened my average complaining time before starting to tackle my todo lists, and I was able to get it done sooner than before. The total time spent in complaining before starting to revise the paper was about … half an hourish I think. Many many times better than before. And it took me a day and a half to revise the paper, which could’ve been three days or more if I spent more time complaining and kicking and screaming about it.

Then, I felt the superficial momentum of work kick in and thought, ‘I should just continue tackling my todo list and finish writing parts of my thesis work while I am at it‘. I felt as though I could finish writing my thesis non-stop from the very beginning until the end.

Henceforth went my long weekend, until…

… until I got sick on Monday and couldn’t do anything but to nap and hang out at home doing nothing. Go figure. Too much work usually comes with a fair balance of consequences.
So there it is. It’s probably true that I can finish my stuff earlier than later if I quit complaining and ‘just do it’. But the reality of it is, my body lets me do only so much work. Bah…!

Then again, I know there’s no way out of this. If I want to finish my thesis asap, I need to keep my engine revving as much as possible, even if it has to halt once in a while. 🙁