Creatures seen on Campus

Whenever I see a really cute animal anywhere, I will almost always say something along the lines of, “Awww!”, “Puppy”, “Soooo cute”, “Buuunnnyyy!”, “Ooohhh”, and etc, in an octave higher voice (my friends can contest/confirm to that). During time here, I have seen a fair share of cute animals on this campus. So here I thought I would share some of the animals I’ve seen on this campus (some cute, some not so much).

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Always a Logger

As I was cleaning out my room this past weekend getting ready to move out I found an earring I had forgotten about. A single earring that I kept despite losing the other during move-out freshmen year. I had bought it at the fall student market from another student, a girl I didn’t know but I loved her jewelry pieces! It was an homemade silver axe design pair of earrings! I wore it all the time freshmen year, loving the school spirit and the swing of the axes (with none of the danger!). I was infinitely sad to discover I had lost one of the earrings and I didn’t have any others that matched or would work mixed with the single axe earring I had!

All these memories came back as I prepared to move out. Especially so in my moves every year, that I clearly didn’t throw away a lone earring when I try to de-clutter as much as possible! A lingering symbol of freshmen year Rachel and my excitement about being a Logger. I wish I could’ve wore the pair of earrings on graduation day but alas it was not meant to be. I’ve grown so much during my time at UPS, freshmen Rachel I no longer am. Yet axes, loggers I will always be, an alumni of UPS with all its shared with me. And probably for the rest of my life explaining to those unknowing no I didn’t go to the United Postal Service, Puget Sound is a completely different place and transformative experience!



My Year Abroad


It’s been quite the ride this past semester. Many “ups” and “downs,” trials and tribulations, but most importantly an incredible amount of personal growth and clarity regarding what I want to do with my life. Let’s face it; a large number of people (at least who I’ve spoken to) didn’t really have any clue where their true direction lay in life when they first began college. Sure there is always that one kid who wanted to be a nuclear physicist or an engineer when they entered college, and did it. I think that’s awesome, and wish I could have had that same level of future clarity regarding my life. I’m actually thankful it took me a few years of college to kind of carve a path for myself and figure out what I was passionate about. They said this at the beginning of my freshmen year at UPS, and I don’t think I quite understood it at the time, but their liberal arts degree undergraduate programs expose you to such a wide array of subjects and interests that you’re bound to find something you like (unless of course you decided to make every day thirsty Thursday).

Russian Police

Russian Police

I just finished my spring semester studying abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia. As I write this I am sitting on a national express coach on my way to Cambridge, England to meet up with a couple of my sisters, niece, and brother-in-law. I was supposed to continue on back to the USA with the rest of my fellow study abroad comrades, but one thing I’ve definitely come to learn during my time spent abroad thus far, is that plans change. Through a Russian conversation club downtown off of Nevsky Prospekt, which is the main street downtown in SPB, I was able to obtain a social media marketing and digital advertising internship over the summer with a Russian company. In order to do this, however, I needed to apply for a business visa from the Russian Federation. After a month of frantic calls and last minute edits to the online business visa application (which has to be spot on or it will be rejected), I finally was able to receive my invitation from the Russian Federation. In order to apply for any type of visa, whether it is for business, study, or diplomacy, the Russian Federation has to issue you a formal document saying you are welcome in the country. Of course leave it to the way Russia does things, and I ended up having to go to some sketchy hostel called “The Puppet Hostel,” the day before my student visa expired and my flight was booked out of the country to pick up my invitation. You have to apply for a visa outside of the Russian Federation. Since I have family in England and London is a common stopover for transatlantic flights, I figured I’d take the opportunity to spend some time with them while I sort out my visa. It is going to take about a week-or-so when all is said and done, and according to my invitation I can re-enter Russia on the 22nd of May. My business visa will expire in November, and allows me to enter and exit Russia as I wish during this 6-month period. Of course my final semester at UPS starts the third week of August so I will be returning shortly before then. This type of multi-entry business visa is convenient because living so close to Europe it can be quite inexpensive to take a weekend trip somewhere and go on a mini-adventure of sorts.

Now you’re probably wondering why I didn’t just go home for the summer, or maybe you’re not 😉 With the exception of one person (Emily :P), I find that people who have lived in Russia for an extended period of time either love the country and want to become an expat, or hate it and are counting down the days until they never have to be there ever again. I personally have loved my time in Russia. I love the language, the people, the culture, and I wish I could say all the food but sometimes I just can’t do it. It’s not so much that the food tastes bad, just Russians typically do not add spice to their food, so you are stuck with a diet that mainly consists of root vegetables, meat, and bread with no flavor. Sure it is sustaining during those -15°+ winters, but sometimes I just need some hot sauce or paprika…something.

I think I mentioned this at the beginning of this blog, but the two main responses I got when I let people know I was going to study abroad in Russia for the year were: “Why Russia?” and “You’re crazy man.” I still can’t answer that first question, but I can definitely tell you I do not regret my time spent abroad. Like someone told me right before I left to study abroad, it is a life-changing experience to be able to get out of the “US bubble” and look back at America from a different vantage point. I know what they meant by this now! Having lived abroad I consider myself to be much more of an active global citizen than before. I am more sensitive to cross-cultural interactions and am able to examine everyday situations with greater depth of perspective than I ever could before. I hope I am clearly voicing what I have gained from my time abroad…sometimes it is hard for me to even express what I have gained. To address the second response, no I don’t think I’m crazy, but the country I’ve lived and studied in definitely has its’ moments.

Where do I even begin!? Talking with my classmates at the hotel today before we all parted ways, we of course were talking about war stories and the most insane things that happened. In a country where at the start the majority of us could not speak the language, more often than not you just have to fly by the seam of your pants and hope nothing bad happens along the way. As a matter of fact, attested to me by countless native Russians and based upon my own observations, a majority Russians live everyday like it is their last. Of course right there you can imagine how exhausting of a pace this can be to keep up on a daily basis.

The past 9 months or so I have had 18-hour days. Toward the end of the spring semester the sun started coming up increasingly early. A couple nights (mornings) ago I think sunrise was around 04:00. With how cumbersome transport could be to take me all the way to my homestay at the north of the city from my uni, often I was looking at ~45minutes one-way. This may not seem like much if you are driving, but I either rode the metro or marshrutki. Let me re-enforce my thoughts about the marshrutka from previous blog posts. During the winter the rides were fairly smooth because of all the snow on the ground. At times I was a bit afraid for my life, but they were smooth moments of terror! Once all the snow stopped falling and the ice melted, all of us passengers got to experience Russia’s poor infrastructure. The past month or so I’ve actually been getting motion sickness on the marshrutka, which is weird because usually I have a fairly strong constitution.

Alright, so transport is nuts, long days…white nights! I’m so incredibly excited to be able to spend the summer in St. Petersburg, Russia living and working as a true expat (even though if not for long). My fellow study abroad classmates and I decided that in order to call yourself an expat, you can’t be in the country through a study abroad program or something of the sort. White nights is a phenomenon in this region of the world, where for approximately a month or so, it is high noon 24-hours a day. Of course the answer to this solution is blackout curtains in your room, which I have in the flat I will be renting just off Nevsky, but still…nothing I have ever experienced before.

On a side note I also have to mention Russian pop and EDM because I have been saturated with it for 9 months. Whether I am watching the channel 5 Russian news with my tea in the morning, eating lunch in the cafeteria, riding the marshrutka home, or trying to go to sleep and my host brother had the tv on in the next room…it’s like my life has had a nonstop dance party soundtrack. Ok maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration, but I don’t quite know how to convey how much Russian pop…so much Russian pop.

Russian 202

Russian 202

I don’t want to drone on here because 1) I know it’s summer right now and if you’re reading this you should be outside enjoying yourselves, and 2) I want to wait until I’ve finished my summer internship in Russia before I give you a really thorough perspective on what my year and Russia has been like. Bye for now!



Things I Never Thought I’d do in College

Become president of a club

  • When I was high school, I was very much a follower, rather than a leader. I was way too shy of a person to ever take charge of anything. Although I still am bit of a shy person, since coming to college I have grown so much since then. I have become someone who is more confident with herself, and because of that (plus with a bit of encouragement from my friends), I was able to become co-president for the Asian Pacific American Student Union (APASU) club. From this experience, I was able help to create and find a community of friends/”family” on campus.

Present in front of a large group

  • Although I still don’t like presenting in front of people. I found the courage to present on the research I worked on during my senior year for the Phi Sigma Research Symposium. For me, I chose to do this because put so many hours into my research that I wanted to share with people what I had found. Additionally, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to gain experience with presenting in public/in large groups, while in a familiar environment.

Dance in Luau

  • Similar to the one above. I do not like being in front of large crowds; as I’m sure most you are on the same boat. But with a little encouragement from some friends, I found myself on the stage, in the fieldhouse, performing a dance I’ve never done before to a very large crowd. And I did it again next year, and I am glad I did it. It was such a fun experience and it was a great moment to share with friends.

Get scuba licensed

  • I had always wanted to get licensed as a scuba diver, but I never made the extra effort into actually getting it (you know finding an actual place that taught scuba diving). But lo and behold, it was offered here! All I had to do at this point was register for the course, attend classes/practice diving in the pool, take the test in the sound, and here I am now with a scuba license.


Becoming a Memory

One of the main reasons I joined Beta was because of one person, Ray. Ray is an alumni, having graduated the semester that I joined. He ended up as my Great Grandbig (my big’s big’s big) and we made a whole ton of good memories in that one semester we had together. Easily one of the best parts of joining.

So I realized something the other day. Our current new members never met Ray or any of the other members from the class of 2016. And that’s a kinda weird thought. Beta as it currently is is not the house that I joined. The Seniors graduated, we got a whole bunch of new members and the house culture has changed a lot.

And in a few days, it’s all going to change again when the current Seniors graduate. And then we’ll get new members. Then those members won’t know who the members from the class of 2017 were. And that’s a pretty weird thought too.

And eventually (but thankfully not soon), I’ll be graduating. Then, Beta will be a completely different house than the one I joined. And people like Ray will be a long distant memory.

And not long after that, I’ll be just a memory too. This just makes me think. What will be the legacy I leave? Will I make a big enough impact that Betas 5 or 10 years after I graduate know who I am? Or will I be forgotten and fade into the background like countless alumni unfortunately have? It’s more than likely the latter, but I can’t help but wonder.

Damn. I really need to be studying for my last final instead of getting philosophical.

Life Without a Meal Plan II

In a previous post, I wrote about my top 5 favorite restaurants around Puget Sound. However, on the days that I do cook, I mostly cook Asian dishes because that’s what I am most familiar with. Now Safeway, Target, and Walmart do not carry Asian products. So, where do I get my ingredients from? Well I do have to go a little out of my way, but it is worth it. There are three supermarkets that I like to go to, each for different reasons.


H-Mart is a supermarket chain that mostly sells Korean products, but can still find other Asian products. Out of all the supermarkets I go to, I go here the most often because (1) they sell almost everything you need, (2) offer the best quality of produce, and (3) offer a variety of options.

Paldo World

Paldo World, another Korean based supermarket is a slightly cheaper version of H-Mart. But with the price, comes less variety and produce quality. However, in my opinion, I find that the quality of meat is better here than in H-mart. In addition, they have the lowest prices for rice.

Hong Kong Market

Hong Kong Market, as its name implies, is a Chinese based supermarket (however, it is run by Vietnamese people, so you will tend to find more Vietnamese products than Chinese). I occasionally go here for some items that are not offered in H-Mart or Paldo World. Things like certain hot pot ingredients, specific kinds of produce, and roasted duck/ soy sauce chicken.

Put your phone down, Look up!

With the rapid advancement of technology especially phones, its not an uncommon sight to see students wandering around campus with their heads down, eyes on their phone whether thats for messaging, playing games, surfing the internet, snapchat, or any other social media app. Even I myself am guilty of looking at my phone a lot, its almost easier to look at my phone instead of kinda awkwardly making eye contact with someone I kinda know because I recognize them because of how small our campus is but I don’t actually know them (do I wave? do I smile?). But as my time at UPS is coming to an end I’ve taken to really appreciating our beautiful campus, making effort to look up; look at the architecture, the weather, and observe what’s around me. Here are some of those photos of places I am commonly, Harned Hall, Thompson/Harned Courtyard, Lillis Cafe, Upper Marshall Hall, Oppenheimer Cafe, passing the President’s Woods and more!

harned clocktower harned light circle lillis cafe opp outdoors trees upper marshall

How does your major affect your postgrad plans?

Coming into college I knew I wanted to be a biology major, as a hundred or so other people thought and eventually abandoned the sciences for other intellectual pursuits I continued to enjoy and be fascinated by what biology and understanding of our body, cells and humans can do. Yet, with graduation approaching and the end of my undergraduate learning, I believe many people are at a crossroads. Yes, we put in four years of work towards taking classes for our major, focusing on specific classes for specialization where our interests lay, and fieldwork/research/internships further studies in our major but we’ve also done more outside of our major. Whether that’s a job to fund our education, internship, shadowing opportunity, fieldwork, minor/emphasis courses, liberal arts “other” course not under our major and involvement in the community that may interest us just as much as our major did in the beginning.

memes major

Sometimes four years of hard hitting academics within our major and focuses tires us out when graduation approaches. Not many individuals choose to pursue continued education immediately after undergrad, the ones who do have a clear path they are pursuing. And its taken me awhile and my own personal experience, it can be okay to not know what we want to do post-undergrad or doing work that is not directly related to our major, not directly related to our $240,000+ education that we received. It’s okay to be uncertain, to do something new, to do something that pays the bill, to travel and fulfill some dreams and all will hopefully well in the future.


Mouse Rat Season in Review 2017

In manners of terrain, you must learn to cut yourself from it. You must cut even your footprints from it, if need be.

Meti’s Sword Manual, which was most likely not written with playing softball on swampy ground in mind.

I am saddened to report that I am no longer an undefeated softball player, but also glad that I am no longer an undefeated softball player. As a follow up to my previous article, I now provide my analyses of each of the seven games in Team Mouse Rat’s now-complete softball season.

Game 1: Mouse Rat vs Chunder Boys
The other team didn’t bring very much chunder. Or any players.

Win by forfeit.

Game 2: Mouse Rat vs Balls Deep
Our first real game of the season went about as well as could be expected. We implemented a mercy rule, otherwise all of those points might have happened in a single inning.

Loss 0-20.

Game 3: Mouse Rat vs Pitches Be Crazy
Before the game, I predicted that we would suffer a 1-21 loss. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was far off the mark. An enjoyable game for all sides, if not a close one.

Loss 5-15

Game 4: Mouse Rat vs Fresh Timber
I can only guess at the other team’s reasons for failing to appear for what could have been a career-making game.

Win by forfeit.

Game 5: Mouse Rat vs We Dem Boyz
Our team’s perfect record in games that were not actually played was shattered like a glass jaw here. The Boyz showed up in force, but before our own players could rally to meet them they were set upon by great birds. Each bird emitted a cry that sounded exactly like a complete musical scale, then carried its victim off in the direction of the music building. Crippled by this unexpected attack, we were forced to concede.

Loss by forfeit.

Game 6: Mouse Rat vs Flyin Hawaiians
By far the closest game we had all season. We even led for a moment, but the Hawaiians quickly recovered and hit a series of home runs to cement their lead.

Loss 4-9.

Game 7: Mouse Rat vs The Turtles
As the seventh and final game of the season, this had every right to be a climactic showdown. If this were a sports movie, this would be the game where we, the ragtag band of misfits, brought a seemingly undefeatable powerhouse of a team to their knees as the audience listened to the crescendos of an inspiring soundtrack.

We won, but it wasn’t really that exciting. The turtles must have been busy fighting crime or something.

Final record: 3-4
Balls hit through a window in Wyatt Hall: 0, surprisingly.


When you go to college you don’t think about teenagers/early twenties students running branches of national organizations, attending conferences, putting on events that cost thousands of dollars and more. Yet in my experience that is the responsibility and opportunities available to students in college and at UPS. We’re representatives of our university, clubs, honor societies, departments, labs, fraternities and sororities and more all connected through a national network. We have opportunities to be national leaders for our respective organizations, regional representatives, and sit on communities representing our peers to professors, deans, professionals and more.

I’m constantly in awe when I think of my experience in my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. We’re at a small university and still our executive team, for some its their first time in a leadership position and even so its a role that is very different than limited high school responsibilities. We handle thousands of dollars putting on our philanthropy and formal for over 100 people, we coordinate events with other houses and community organizations to do fun activities and service projects. Many other campus organizations do the same, some planning rallies, and workshops!


Even the opportunity to live off-campus, we as students have to find roommates/housemates, reach out to landlords, set up our utilities with various companies and preferences. We furnish our own homes for a few months to a few years during our time year, choosing to live off-campus, walk or drive to campus and begin to stop relying on the campus meal plan but rather cooking (or trying to cook) for ourselves. These are all valuable experiences heading off on our own whether its a graduate program where we must find our own living situation, even finding a job in a different field than we expected to pay the bills.