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My very first radio interview

Hi guys,

So… this a little bit embarrassing for me, but I was on a radio show earlier this week.

You might be reading this saying “Oh man, this girl is totally a show off… bragging about broadcasting and such on blog posts.”

Well, but this post isn’t about me bragging. It’s more of the opposite I must say – a bit of lessons learned, rather than ‘Oh man, I rock’.

Here is the thing. Last summer, I had another broadcasting event, which was actually my very first broadcasting experience. I will save you all the details of how it went and the long story leading to the event, but simply put it this way: I was super nervous that… every time I opened my mouth to say something, to answer questions from the host, my mind went blank and I started talking super fast. Given that it was my very first time, I think it didn’t go that badly. But back then, I thought it went so terribly that I wanted to change my name so that other people won’t recognize me from the show.

So, given that experience from last summer, I figured out why I my mind went blank during the show. I think I was being super conscious of myself that I didn’t know what to do. But the point of being on a show is to inform and entertain the audience, which was the point that was being overcast by my super conscious self – do I look ok, do I sound like someone who knows her stuff, am I talking ok? etc.

This time, I decided that I will keep the audience and the purpose of the show in mind, so that I won’t be so nervous.

But the day of any big presentation (MECH 598/698??) usually gets hijacked by terror and nervousness that does not end until the presentation/show/talk or whatever is over. This time wasn’t an exception. I had been in my thesis project mode for so long – i.e., debugging my code, other people’s code, stitching them together – that all I could think about was the robot I’ve been working with, and the super specific code issues I am having (e.g., my c++ code called gesture_engine.cpp is receiving wrong quintic coefficient values from its server codes I think, I should fix it soon). That also meant my lack of staying in touch with the rest of the world. I was worried.

I felt like I should know the worldly issues, even in my busiest times. I felt that there was a good chance that someone was going to ask me questions about happenings in Libia and somehow ask me to comment on that in conjunction with something about robots and my project. But as the time drew near, and I walked over to the broadcasting station, I knew that there was nothing I could do to review all of today’s worldly issues and happenings in my field. If they ask me stuff that I don’t know, then so be it. I am only a master’s student.

So, the first half and hour of the show was a bit unnerving. I could not believe that they actually asked me to be on the show for the whole hour. The clock just seemed to be stopped and not ticking away the way it should. I hadn’t really figured out the pace of my voice, the clarity of my sentences, and attitudes of my tone. I was just nervous.

But as the show went on, I reminded myself of that key thing that was supposed to help me: “I am not as important as I think I am. I am here for the audience, and to convey information to the audience.”

And there it was. An hour gone. And it was an hour of a very good experience.

At the end of the show, I didn’t feel too badly about how I did (until I listened to the recording of the show, and wanted to hide in a corner somewhere). I felt kind of comfortable about the idea of being on a radio show, and felt great that I got to talk about my thesis project on the show – although I am not sure if anything I said made any sense. Anyway, I was super glad to have been given the opportunity to participate on a show, and felt that more of us engineering grad students should be given these chances because I don’t think we talk about them in the context of large lay audience very much. It’s all about conveying information to the audience, presenting yourself as an expert and actually succeeding at it is secondary.

Maybe next time, I will do better. 🙂

Summer ending so soon!


Summer seems to be coming to a very fast close; I can’t believe September is almost here already!  It took until nearly the beginning of August for our summer weather to start so that has not helped the feeling of it going by so fast!

After being postponed a few times due to weather/schedules we managed to have a great MEGA day in the sun at Kits beach on August 6th. Here are a few pictures of the day!

Erik, our MEGA VP, grilling up some amazing burgers on the beach!

MEGA-ers having fun in the sun

Erik has also been busy organizing lots of hikes all over the lower mainland so there have been lots of opportunities for Mech grad students to get out and see some of the scenery BC has to offer.

If you are a new graduate student joining Mech at UBC this September, be sure to join the MEGA facebook group ( and watch for our new grad hike coming up! We will also be sending out an email to all Mech grad students with more info soon.

Kristy  <3

The end of classes and the start of research!

Hello readers!

It has been far too long, my apologies! I just haven’t thought of anything particularly exciting to blog about!

April marked the switch from working mainly on courses to starting research full time, and it has definitely been a change! I have been taking courses for so long that its pretty easy to know what I need to do in order to do well.  Go to class, do the assignments, study for the midterm etc and I will be fine.   Research unfortunately hasn’t followed this formula..

It has, at least in my case, felt a lot more like having a job.  I have a specific device I have to design, and its my ability to make that happen that is judged instead of my answers to hypothetical questions.  The work therefore feels a lot more rewarding than doing assignments that eventually get filed away and likely never look at again.

On the other hand, the major difference from a job has been that I’m the only person working on my project.  With the exception of weekly meetings with my supervisors, I’m kind of alone to come up with something that will work.  As far as I know it is like this for everyone in my program, and makes sense since, but is the toughest part.  I’m sure it is a really good thing for me in that I’m gaining a lot more confidence in making decisions without feeling the need to check with teammates or colleagues.   But having a person to talk things through with and to catch each others mistakes or build on ideas makes things feel like they go a lot faster and is a lot more fun!

I have, however, really enjoyed working relatively regular hours; coming in at 7:30 and leaving around 4:30 is great!  Studying for a midterm while a bunch of your working friends can feel pretty lame.

My project is definitely in an early prototyping stage, but once things become a little more concrete I will post some pictures on here!