Presentation at University of Michigan

This weekend was short for me because I spent a day in University of Michigan. I did not have any chance to attend the homecoming events and that was a pity. On Saturday, I got up at 5.30 AM and took a ride with Dr. Smith. There were other engineering students, and Dr. Jianhua Li. When we got there, it was around 8.40. We had a quick breakfast. This event included a lot of presentations, from both professors and research groups/students. We came back at 7.30. I sat by Dr. Smith and we had a great talk. Dr. Smith was my mechanical professor in my sophomore year. His courses were really hard frankly. He is a very knowledgeable man. A talk with him makes me understand what I should do as an engineering student.

University of Michigan is a great university. We have graduates going there every year. Their engineering school is one of the top in nation. It is great that we have the research and presentation opportunities as undergraduates at Hope.

The fall in Michigan is so pretty. I think photos work better than words.

Fall Break

Did I just have a fall break? I did not do anything yet! I think the fall break was too short, but one of my friends cheered me up by saying, “Think about this, we have only three days this week!” Attitude matters!

I just feel it was weird that I had the Monday schedule today, and I will go to Thursday’s classes tomorrow. That means a lot. Normally, most of the professors set Friday as the deadline of assignments… Here comes the problem. I have tons of homework due tomorrow this weekend! And even two more midterm exams next week! My life is so rich.

I am not really going to talk about my fall break today because the main thing I did was… just sleeping all the time. It just reminds me that the Grey’s-Anatomy-Big-Bang-S.H.I.E.L.D Friday night is coming! Being a sofa potato for a couple hours is actually the best time for an engineer.

Let me think about something cool I did last week. First, we went to a Korean BBQ in Tunnel Park last weekend. Great food and people made the food even more delicious.

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Lake Michigan is so beautiful!

I will share more stories this weekend 🙂

It is Friday Again!

Hello people,

I haven’t updated the blog for more than a week. It was a very busy and intense week for me. Thus, even a little break is so precious!

I am a quiet guy, so I would prefer to go to somewhere peaceful when I need a break. Last weekend, I biked to Lake Macatawa with my roomie.

Holland is such a beautiful city that everyone can be a photographer if you have a camera. It is so enjoyable to go to the lake around the sunset time and enjoy the breeze.

A normal night for an engineering/CS student…

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Here is some special content that you will only read here 🙂

Our engineering department put up some pictures about the history of our department last week. Check them out!

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(© Hope College, credits to Engineering Department of Hope College)

Aren’t they amazing? Our department has a relatively short history (“Engineering courses have been offered at Hope College since 1979. In 1994, the engineering faculty increased to four members through the addition of two new hires.”), but this was all built on all the efforts in the last 100 years. Now we have 9 full-time engineering professors and other faculty. Back in the freshman year, Dr. Misovich, a chemical engineering professor who’s been teaching here for around 18 years, told me we did not have chemical engineering emphasis when he came here. He worked with other engineering and chemistry professors to make this happen. 

Now you can be part of this history!!!

Check out this cool page about Engineering at Hope.

If you have ANY question (like are the engineering courses challenging here?), please drop me an email:

By the way, today is really nice day. Friday is always so beautiful! After school, I worked out with my friends and then we played soccer in the field. (Our field now has Wi-Fi coverage as well… just an FYI).

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I forgot to mention a very cool thing happened this week. I signed up for the Taekwondo class, and my calculus professor is taking it as well… I will keep updating for this fun activity.

This is all I would love to share this week. Please let me know if you have any question or want to know more about Hope College. Drop me an email at: and follow me on Twitter :)


A New Beginning

The first week of my junior year is over! Before this year started, I already felt that this was going to be a tough year. This is my schedule for this semester:schedule

The number of the courses is not really too bad; all of these classes are very hard and have a lot of assignments. So my point is that if you choose the right major, you will have a very rich college life 🙂

This year, we have around 50 international and third-culture students. As the orientation assistant for international students, I had the chance to go to the Explore MI trip with them. It was so much fun! When I was a freshman, I went to the exactly same places, so this trip really reminded me of my freshman life.

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We went to three cool places: a camp, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Mackinac Island! It was so much fun.

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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Ferry to Mackinac Island
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Mackinac Island
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Bye, Mackinac Island

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The international student community is a significant part of our college. Many of the domestic students are from either Michigan or Illinois, so it is kind of cool to have students from different cultures.

The week of Orientation was amazing. There were a lot of events going on. The Groovin’ in the Grove was one of the coolest thing here. Around 1500 people attended the event. Check out a short video I recorded:

I am so surprised that our college band is so professional.

The last thing… Our Phelps Dining Hall was refurbished!!! See the photos:

It is like a restaurant now, isn’t it?

Well, these are all I want to share this week. Please let me know if you want to know more about Hope College. Drop me an email at: and follow me on Twitter 🙂


How to Make Good Food in an Apartment/Cottage

This past week was actually relaxing for me. I did not have a Materials lab report due. This meant a lot for an engineering guy! Usually I always spend 10+ hours on this kind of report every week. Also, there was no exam around the corner during this week. I joked with my friend, “Without labs or lab reports, I feel that I am just like an art major (no offense).” My friend is a chem major, and she spent all the time doing the lab reports, too.

Since I was pretty free this week, I was addicted to a soap show that I watched 10 years ago. It was so classic. I finished all the 30 episodes in one week… Thus, I did not sleep that much though I was free most of the time. Besides that, I tried to make some good food. Rice is not a primary food in America, bread instead. In my country (or most Asian countries as far as I know), rice, noodles and soup are major types of food every day. I really missed the Chinese food I usually had back to high school time. Thus, I spent the whole week learning how to make the best egg fried rice in my apartment.

I have to say life in an apartment is so great. I can get access to the kitchen every day. I can make whatever food I want (in my ability of course…). The problem is that I am not good at making fried stuff. To be honest, I never made any authentic Chinese dishes by myself. Though my mom did teach me before I went to college, I was actually watching instead of doing. Now it is time for me to learn it. There are many recipes online but it takes a long time to comprehend and make it.

First try
First try

Egg fried rice is a classic Chinese dish. The first time that egg fried rice was recorded dates back to 200 B.C. It was said that an emperor liked egg fried rice very much and he named it as Fragmental-gold Rice because good fried rice looks like gold. Anyway, I chose this because it was fairly easier to learn than other advanced dishes.

I steamed some white rice at first. When it was done, I waited a night to let the rice dehydrate. This is the most important part to make fried rice that many people are not aware of. If you make fried rice using the hot white rice, then it will taste like a pasta… It is kind of gross. After a night, the rice would be hard and dry. It’s not supposed to be that soft. There are two ways of making egg fried rice: egg WITH rice or egg AND rice. This is subtle because they are very similar but the result will be totally different. Egg WITH rice is like golden rice, and you can barely eggs. Egg AND rice may be white and there are pieces of eggs. The first time I made that was Egg WITH rice. Actually I think making them seperate is better.

Second try
Second try

To make Egg-AND-rice style, I put three eggs in the pot and after one minute, I added the dry white rice. Adding some other veggies like cabbage and carrot is a good way to make the rice colorful and healthy. Also, it will be better if the ham is added. After frying everything for 20 minutes over medium heat.

Lats try. The best one so far :)
Lats try. The best one so far 🙂

Cooking is such a nice thing.

Meet the Coolest 3D Printer

This week was pretty easy for me. Both of my engineering labs were cancelled because of the winter break, so I did not have any lab or report on Thursday. Technically, I just had two school days this week. I also realized what my life was gonna be without labs. This was called a real life 🙂

Last week, the TA in my lab told me that everyone could use the 3D printer in the engineering lab. I was thrilled to know that because operating a 3D printer was so amazing! I never saw a real one before. If you do not understand the significance of this, then let me try to explain this. 3D printers get very popular in recent years. They are not just used for demonstration or teaching; many universities even made it possible to print skeleton and bones for medical uses. In short, 3D printing is a cutting-edge technology. That also means, the printers are ridiculously expensive. Sometimes, the 3D printing materials are way more expensive than many high-end laser printers. It is hard for an individual to afford that. As far as I know, we have about two 3D printers in Hope College. One of them is the guy I used, which was relatively cheaper, and the other one is mysterious… I know nothing about that. It is sure that the other one should be extremely precise, and it is only used for research purposes.

Anyway, it was a great chance to operate the magic 3D printer.

3D Printer

I planned to make a key chain tag at the beginning. However, things always happened in a different way… The product was too big… Apparently, we can call it a disk.

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This “little” guy took me one hour to print it. It was hard to believe. I also record a video to introduce the lab and this printer. It was very unofficial and informal because I made the video just for fun at the beginning.

The final product was all right. I learned how that machine worked after designing and printing the “pancake” by myself. I think it is so cool to be an engineer now 🙂

I will write another post later about my college life (of course, unnerdy version) later this weekend. There will still be many beautiful pictures that I took this week. Keep following and enjoy this weekend.

The Coolest Winter I Ever Had

This week is so still so freezing. Many people said the campus should be shut down, but I think the college cannot do this too frequently because it seems this weather will last for a couple weeks. It is hard to go anywhere. This situation will not be strange if you are from Michigan, while this is a good chance for you to see the snow if you are from California.

At the weekend, I went to a gathering for the coming Chinese New Year, which is January 31st. This new year will also be celebrated by other Asian countries including Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and so on. Our Chinese new year has a very simple name in Chinese: the Spring Festival. This name implies that the new year always starts as the beginning of Spring. If it also works in America, then we will probably say bye to the annoying accumulated snow in one week 🙂

Dumplings are a traditional food we have in Chinese new year.

Chinese Dumplings
Chinese Dumplings

It looks tasty, and it tastes even better than it looks. However, like other Chinese food, dumplings are a not easy work to do. When I was in high school, my mom always have to wait till a free day to make it. There are many procedures to make it. The modern technology makes it possible to make dumplings in 

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It was a great day. And for this coming Friday, we, some Hope students, decide to have a “party” in some Chinese restaurant around here to celebrate the new year. I am pretty hopeful to this event because we did not have much chance to meet each other since we are always busy.

Stay warm.

January in Holland

Our campus is shut down again. At the beginning of this semester, our college closed for two days. It happened again today. I was doing my lab report in CAD lab, and my friend Francisco just showed me the message from college that all classes were cancelled this afternoon. The CAD lab was an ebullition. I felt so glad that I do not need to take the two classes this afternoon because I did my engineering homework till 3 AM last night.

Campus Shutdown
Campus Shutdown

This new semester is pretty short. Sometimes I cannot believe that it is 2014 now. In one week, February is coming. Same as the last semester, I am very busy with my studies this semester because I have two higher-level engineering courses. The two classes have two labs too. Lab is a very weird thing sometimes. It is usually with no credit or just one credit, but it will take you forever… I spent seven hours on my material lab report and I got a 100/100. Not mean to show off… The point is it will pay off.

I like my electronics lab better because of my passion and interest in electronics. You may wonder what we do. Well, here is the fact:

What you think electrical engineers do:

What I think we do:

What my mom thinks I can do:

What we actually do:

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By the way, the professor in this picture is my electronics professor, Dr. Abrahantes, originally from Cuba. He is a very awesome professor because he has a different philosophy for education. He said we would be allowed to use anything, including laptop, textbook, notebook and cellphone in our exam. (Well, I assume the exams are not that easy based on this policy…..) And the deadline never means “dead” in his class.

Here is one snapshot in my lab. It looks cool, doesn’t it?

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I moved to a new apartment this semester, which is College East Apartment. Here is really cool and I will have another post about this next week. You will also see my adorable roommates….

At the end of this post, I cannot help to share some pictures I took this week.

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If you have any question, please do not hesitate to drop me an email:

Any follow me on Twitter bird:

Have a great weekend 🙂

First Two Months of School

The title may sound like I am a freshman, but actually I am trying to review my first two months as a freshman. Everything is like before. I like this small town. Sometimes I might think it is a little boring, but I have to say that I like this kind of peaceful life without hassle or worry about life in a big city.

There was something cool during the past several weeks. Sorry I am a procrastinatory so I did not write a blog every week. Anyway, let me see what I did.

On Sep 28, we went to a leadership retreat in Allegan. It was organized by Office of Multicultural Education, who always makes some cool events for us. I went to that retreat last year, and I liked that so much. Thus, I did not hesitate to sign up. Things are different from last year. The leadership orientation was not a boring lecture this time. We followed an elderly sir and did many interesting games. I think they were way better.

I love the baby bear!
I love the baby bear!
This is hard.
This is hard.
With Colin ;)
With Colin 😉

That day was so great. We then rowed the canoe on the lake in the afternoon. It was a cool experience. From the leadership retreat, I learned it is important to keep calm even if the situation is out of hand. Your teammates may lose their direction just because you are nervous.

After the retreat, life came to school. I am still doing my researches with professors. The stuff is not easy, especially there was no one around me who does the same thing. I have to figure everything out by myself. This is probably the cool point of science.

On October 14, there was an inauguration of our 12th President, Dr. John Knapp. I knew that there was going to be a new president last semester but I did not know too much about our new president. The inauguration was very awesome. I did not attend it but I watched it online for about 30 minutes. The online version was even cooler than live, I guess. It was HD. I thought it was just like the speech of a president on graduation ceremony. I watched some before on the Internet, and I never imaged there would be such a fantastic even in my college! The inauguration was complex, and I think it was the most formal and important event I know since I came to Hope.

Credit to Hope College Photography.
Credits to Hope College Photography.

We are having our Fall Break now. I enjoy my break! A new post will be here about our fall recess soon 🙂

Follow me: Twitter: @HopeXavier16


Research Starts

Well, the first month of this semester is about to end. For many high school seniors, the application season is coming. Perhaps you have a great plan and dream for your college life, then come to visit Hope College and try to sit in a class.

This blog is called Life in Orange and Blue, which standards for a colorful college time (tip: orange and blue are two official colors at Hope :0 ). However, you might not think my life is cool because I am not good at taking many great photos. Actually, as an engineering student, doing a research is kind of an “extra-curricular activity.” I am having fun on my research, indeed. Thus, my posts probably are more about the academic life here. If you are interested in science, you are in the right place!

Currently I am doing two research with two professors. You may wonder what the research is. Well, it may not be as cool as it sounds. I have to read several papers a week and try to figure out the methodologies in those papers. Doing a simulation on computer is also a mission. Usually, it takes me a lot of time, but I think it is worthy because the importance of research cannot be exaggerated for science including chemistry, engineering, biology, etc. The ability of doing a research can reflect your self-orientation in a way. It is different from taking a class and the professor will tell you everything. You’ll have to explore and try repeatedly.

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I have a meeting with my professors every week, to report my process and get some guidance and new ideas. I like the independent work because it is really unconstrained.

Interested in these geek stuff? Drop me an email: 🙂