What Does It Feel Like To Write A Dissertation? … it’s like braiding hair!

What Does It Feel Like To Write A Dissertation? ... it's like braiding hair!

I like to use the analogy that writing a dissertation is like braiding hair.

Don’t be fooled if it sounds easy. This isn’t a simple three-part braid. No no, your customer (or dissertation supervisor) wants a whole hairstyle, not just the braid. You have three chapters, each is like its own braid, which then has to weaves together into one. Plus, you have your introduction and conclusion, the equivalent of styling the bangs in the front and the stray hairs in the back.

It’s also a process, a journey. You try one strand of hair here and then another there and when that doesn’t work, you undo the braid and try again with the knowledge and experience you gained in trying the first time. It’s a constant process of putting a strand of hair in and then stepping back and seeing if it works. Then if that quote, errrm…. I mean strand of hair, doesn’t fit in with the other twists and turns of the style… Then it has to be taken out. Sometimes, you finish a whole fishtail braid and just as you’re about to tie the end… You realize the fishtail style doesn’t work with the hairpins you originally chose! Time to re-try weaving the hair strands together in a French Braid.

Lastly, let’s not forget about functionality. Hairstyles not only have to look clean and well-put together, they also have to hold when put to the test. Wedding hairstyles, gymnasts’ buns, horse-riders’ braids… They all have to stand the event/physical activity. Similarly, your dissertation has to be well-written/presentable AND be defendable/rooted in a research methodology.

And at the very end, you hairspray the style with footnotes, a bibliography, a filmography, a cover page, and a table of contents… And voila! You step back and you have a dissertation hairstyle!

Study Abroad Experience on the King’s College London Website

Well ladies and gentlemen,

I am officially on the King’s College London Website for a second time. This time I was asked to write about my study abroad experience at the Sorbonne – Paris III and I even got to include some pictures!

Click here to read about my Study Abroad Experience on the King’s College London Website

To-To-Tofu.

To-To-Tofu.

Over the years, tofu has gotten a bad reputation of being only for vegetarians, tasting bland, and being unpleasantly chewy. There are too many loud voices against tofu, and not enough proponents willing to clear the bad reputation. I believe the product itself is not the problem; tofu just needs a new marketing strategy. You can do pretty much anything to tofu: grill it, poach it, scramble it, stir-fry it, simmer it in a curry, or make it into burgers. When prepared properly, tofu can be a wonderful addition to any dish. Plus, it has high protein content that adds health benefits to all. The bad reputation comes from unawareness and apprehension to explore tofu as an ingredient in meals; thus, we need to start a conversation in order to re-brand tofu. Help end the pre-determined discrimination against tofu by giving it another proper taste before completely writing it off.

What makes you happy?

What makes you happy?

I am a coffee shop enthusiast who collects loyalty cards like lucky pennies. Coffee shops are my third home. I love everything about them: the smell of black coffee, the sound of foaming milk, and the short bursts of wind that brush against my skin when the door opens. Just thinking about the wooden tables and skinny soy lattes can bring all my senses to life. I’m one of that person who owns four ‘Coffee Shops of London’ books, knows the barista’s name and often goes ‘exploring’ for new hidden gems. It may not be a prestigious hobby, but finding a new coffee shop with Wi-Fi brings me instant joy. I’ve written countless essays, had numerous important conversations, and discovered new music in coffee shops – and every trip manages to make me happy. A simple “black coffee for here” can always brighten a gloomy Saturday afternoon.

I also love to look around the population of each coffee shop: old friends with foreign accents that are catching-up, awkward first dates, students in-between lectures trying to stay awake after a night out, a business man with the daily newspaper and his iPad, an old woman with a Sudoku puzzle, and the struggling artist with a notebook filled with short stories and drawings of his half-empty cappuccino. For all you know, the person sitting near to you could be the next J.K. Rowling. Nevertheless you still avert your gaze after making accident eye contact. Coffee shops are the hubs or intellects, stressers, and artists alike. There’s no better place to people watch…

Job Search… hire me?

Here are ten fun facts about me.

One, I drink way too much green tea.

Two and three, I compete in Ballroom and Latin Dance.

Four, I’ve never been to the South of France.

Five, at least 100 people have asked for my autograph

And Buster Keaton can always make me laugh.

Seven, I ran a marathon when I was thirteen.

Senior year, I was crowned the prom queen.

Nine, I use to be extremely shy

Ten, last year I went tanning in Dubai.

One of these is not really true,

I’ll tell which at the interview. 

5 ‘Petite’ Things About Paris

Exactly 5 months and 1 day ago I took the Eurostar from London to Paris, and naturally I voiced my enthusiasm on this blog. Well the time has come to journey back (quite literally… I am faced in the opposite direction of the train’s movement). So here are a couple things I’ve learned during my time in France:

1. As your proficiency skills in one language go up, your other languages will suffer. I would have never thought that becoming better at French would mean spelling and grammar mistakes in English, after all English is native language! But no, I was making silly typos almost every single day by the end of my stay. Bahhhhh, Alors, qu’est ce qu’on fait?

2. Quiche is one of the most delicious foods on the planet. Bahhhh….. Voilà.

3.  Being a nanny is a great way to socialize and learn about the country’s culture. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about the population by observing how children are raised. Bon… bahhh, on prend une goûte après l’école. Un petit Pomme-pot et une tartine avec Nutella pour toi aussi? 

4. They say bahhhhh….. a lot. The best way to learn a foreign language is to pick up the little sounds in between words. Believe me, it will do wonders for your accent. Je te promis.

5.  Living in Pars is HARD. And disheartening some times. You might get your phone stole. You will get whistled at and harassed. No matter how well you speak French, people will treat you like a foreigner. The metro will stop at random times. Your Internet will not work. You will live in small spaces. You will not have a gym near your apartment. Nothing will be open on Sunday and Monday and anything administration-related will never be open.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s a wonderful city. But to survive, you have to willing to struggle. To fight for what you want. Paris n’est pas la ville que tu as vue dans le film d’Amélie Poulin. Désolé.   

That being said, I would still recommend the experience to everyone. After all, the city does grow on you. You’ll crave a baguette as you walk down the cobblestone roads. Children will have the most adorable names. You will randomly decide to go the Musée d’Orsay on a Thursday night. And the French Countryside is absolutely lovely for a weekend escape.  

Bon… bahhh… voilà ! Une vite réflexion pendant que je prend le train à Londres. En gros, j’adore France et je suis impatiente d’améliorer mon français de plus. Peut-être c’est un peu difficile, mais avec les amies sympas ce serait une bonne expérience. 

If I had to give you ONE piece of advice…

Always remember other people’s name. It’s one of the secrets of success from Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. He writes, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” I could not have chosen better wording to express the importance of remembering someone’s name. Although published in 1936, this rule is still applicable, if not more important in today’s technology-mediated communication. Sometimes we forget how powerful first impressions are when interacting with someone face-to-face. It shows respect because there’s nothing worse than saying “hey you”. And remembering the other persons name will improve your social, business, and personal life – it is the one golden rule to live by. There are memory tricks such as impressions, repetitions, and associations; just find a method that is suitable to your thinking process. No one said it would be easy, I’m just saying it’s going to be worth it.

What is it about advertising that fascinates people so much?

Firstly, advertising is innovative; it adapts to new technology faster than television or cinema since advertising is always looking to grab the public’s attention. For example, PIXAR was creating 3D animated commercials before the company set off to make the first feature-length film.

Secondly, the industry itself is trendy. For example, Mad Men has glamourized the advertising agency’s work of the 50s with its pictorial images and Don Draper. Plus, certain advertisements utilise famous celebrities; and thus, they draws on society’s enthralment of fame. And after all, adverting is the business of selling, so agencies also sell the business itself – perpetuating the idea of advertising as fascinating and innovative.

Thirdly, advertising taps into our fascination with ourselves to understand why and how we are influenced. For example, why certain taglines or jingles become viral in a certain culture? As an industry, advertising aims to identify human and social needs and find a way to satisfy them in a profitable way for a brand. Thus, from a sociological point of view, advertisements can reflect us back onto ourselves in a more stylish and sleek way.

Black Leather Sketchbook.

Black Leather Sketchbook.

Quote: One day I asked myself, what is the craziest thing you’ve done? And I didn’t have an answer… Something needs to change.

Drawing: Hand.
Words: Never Forget the Human Element.
Meaning: With technology mediating interaction, sometimes we forget that it’s still humans on the other end. Nothing is set in stone because of the human touch. The corporate website might say that they don’t take interns, but don’t forget that it’s a company of human beings who might let you shadow them. Never forget that you are talking to other people, not technology or organisations.