Archive | October, 2015

Keep Calm and Go Terps

3 Oct


As a neophyte graduate student, I am still quite unused to college life, and that hideously divergent motto in this post’s title, which I’ve seen displayed across a number of students’ tees. Perhaps four years in the real world was too long, or perhaps all graduate students experience this bewilderment prior to re-assimilation? I’m hoping to reach a more definite conclusion by the end of the semester. In the meantime, I have a few thoughts to share that have been be-bopping around in my sub-conscious these last several weeks. Don’t get me wrong; I’m loving the cultural explosion, personal maturity, adjustments, and even inconveniences grad school has provided. And they are worth mentioning, so here goes:

I should have learned Chinese instead of Spanish in high school. Seriously, the Chinese have exponentially crowded my research environment, housing situation, and social network.

Why bother shaving, except when the prickly feeling becomes unbearable? I work in a lab; no one sees my legs.

Grocery shopping, and all other grown-up-errands, have become massive, daunting tasks. I need a personal assistant, stat!

I feel so alone in abiding by the ‘stay to the right’ rule. College students move diagonally, on the left, directly towards you, and on bicycles, skateboards, or scooters, but rarely on the right. The girl hugging the curb is not letting go, but at least the New York Times’ has got my back on this one.

So stressful

So stressful

I’ve re-entered the Starbucks vortex, and see no escape anytime soon.

I shamelessly reverted to elementary school, since ironically I’m too old to be cool, and wield a purple lunch box (it clips to my backpack).

I am one half ecstatic when mistaken for a 20-yr.-old undergrad. Yet the other half is terrified this accidental compliment has less flattering implications . Am I too Valley High girl? Slouching? Not pulling off the worn down and overburdened graduate student look well enough?

Am I the only one still rocking colored pants? No wait, I’m the only one wearing pants.

Speaking of bottoms, I’ve been partially mooned by a number of undergrads who can’t seem to find shorts long enough to cover their full posteriors, and I feel violated for them. I should probably start an advocacy group for vulnerable and exposed derrières.

I thought I outgrew headphones in public…except when everyone else is doing it.

I didn’t outgrow walking and using my phone, though. But now that I’m a big kid, I like to do important stuff, like mark my calendar and jot down notes and check the weather, not text or Facebook or Instagram.

Pulling an all-nighter is now a too painfully obvious admission of poor time management. Better to subtly interrupt an REM sleep cycle now and then.

I used to think science was difficult to understand, but now I’m convinced it’s actually just the scientists who market it this way. Why do we need chemical, biological, enzymatic, and microbial methods to measure protein nutritional value, and why do I need to have two extra terms for water vapor pressure in food, water activity and relative equilibrium humidity? I think we should cut the fat and adapt a go lean approach to food science jargon.

In my junior year of college, I got an electric purple slide phone that only required charging a couple times a week. Now I have an iPhone and compulsively charge it beside my bed, in my car, and at my work computer, because when the battery life hits 67% and I don’t have a charger, ‘what if my phone dies’ panic heightens to ‘I’ll probably end up helpless in a ditch without it’ proportions.

Getting back into recycling after recklessly pitching soda cans in the garbage for two years (blame it on Jackson!) has been tough. Especially doing so Maryland style, where even paper towels are composted. I fear arrest by a swarm of waiting and watching environmentalists if I accidentally discard my coffee cup lid or a perfectly recyclable napkin.

Stream of conscious thoughts should pair well with a random jumble of quick vegetable fixes, don’t you think? My roommate doesn’t believe I actually eat all the vegetables I buy each week, but he’s wrong, and here’s how it’s done:

OVEN FRIES (Servings: 1)


1 small red potato

Seasoning: salt, oregano, red pepper flakes image


DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 400 F. Meanwhile, cut the potato in half, then cut the two halves into wedges. Lightly spray 13×9 with PAM and sprinkle with salt. Array potato wedges on pan. Sprinkle with more salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bake 10-15 min., flip over, then bake another 10-15 min. Eat with ketchup (a must!)

CALORIES: 100 for a 4 oz. potato



Raw broccoli, 2 stalks

Raw cauliflower, 1 head

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Seasoning: salt, chili powder, onion salt or powder


1-2 Tbs. Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS: Heat the oven to 400 F. Cut the cauliflower and broccoli into small florets, trimming off and discarding the stems. Lightly spray 13×9 with PAM and sprinkle with salt. Arrange broccoli and cauliflower on pan. Sprinkle with minced garlic, more salt, chili powder, and onion salt or powder. Roast in oven, 25-30 min. Total. Stir up vegetables with spatula halfway through cooking. Sprinkle parmesan 10 minutes before removing vegetables from oven.

CALORIES (per serving): 100

SPINACH SAUTÉE (1 serving)


2-3 cups raw spinach

1 clove garlic image

Salt, to taste

2 Tbs. milk low fat milk

DIRECTIONS: Heat pan over stovetop at medium heat. Add spinach and enough water to cook it down. Once cooked down, drain excess water and add salt and garlic. Finally, add milk.