A Day in the Life of Amanda Borok ’15

Howdy! My name is Amanda Borok and I’m currently a freshman majoring in Environmental Engineering. My typical Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays start with my phone alarm going off at 7:30, leaving me just enough time to roll out of bed (literally), wash up in the bathroom, throw on some clothes, and head off to Statics. The professor throws some diagrams and equations on the chalk board and explains how important it is to know all of the forces acting on a stationary structure.

After statics, my stomach tells me it’s time to go to Java city to pick up a delicious muffin and some strawberries if possible. Next is Chemistry II, and the lecture hall is packed with students hoping for a fun demonstration from the professor. We go through the class with interactive questions and polls, and often an exciting demo involving flames or explosions. Then I get a well-deserved 10 minute break before Physics II. Once physics is over, I head off to Calculus II, looking forward to the charismatic and often sarcastic Professor Martin. This is when I start to count down the minutes until the end of class. The class begins to close their notebooks and pack up with minutes to go, forcing the professor to wrap it up. This is when I jump out of my seat and head happily toward lunch at the Student Center. The lines are long, but boy are they worth it after a solid block of morning classes. My favorite meals are the tortellini soup and the stir fry. I try to meet up with my boyfriend for lunch when we make sure to sit near the sunny windows.

On Mondays, every other week I have Chemistry lab from 3-5pm, so I usually spend my free time hanging out with the TA’s and checking my pre or post-lab worksheet. On Wednesdays, I have my honors discussion class, where we usually work on our group projects. Then at 6pm, I have Honors Matlab, a computer programming class that may or may not be the death of me (I try to stay away from programming). Tuesdays and Thursdays are much more relaxed for me, where I only have a few classes (honors and recitation classes).

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t just spend all day going to class and doing work. This fall I was a member for the Women’s Cross Country Running team, which was a challenge but a great way to learn how to balance fitness, sleep, and nutrition. I’m also the co-chair of the Honors Service Committee, where we come up with fun service opportunities (like baking, trail clean ups, etc.). I’m also a Student Ambassador for the Honors Program and the VP of the Charity Knitting Club. These commitments keep me pretty busy during the week, but Friday afternoon until Sunday, I get to relax both stay up late and sleep in. I’ll admit that I probably have more relaxing time than I account for because of all of my weeknight homework procrastination, but hey – it keeps me going. I live on the Honors Floor so I’m surrounded by my friends all the time so all I have to do is knock on some doors and someone’s usually home. Over the weekend I’ve been trying to get off of campus by at least walking into town or driving to Lake Placid just to get some variety. And that’s how my weeks generally go!

A Day in the Life of Tim Kopp ’12


I’m a second-semester senior majoring in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. I woke up at seven o’clock this morning so I could be ready in time for my 8am class: Honors Senior Seminar. Today’s class was devoted entirely to working on our group papers, which meant we were able to hold class in the lounge instead of the classroom. After that, I went to my 9:30am class: Symbolic Logic. Today was a big day in Symbolic Logic as we proved Goedel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

My next scheduled class was Formal Methods for Program Verification at 11am, but since it’s near the end of the semester, we stopped holding lecture in lieu of working on our final projects. My colleague and I spent the class time working on our simulation of a traffic light system using NuSMV. We expanded the system to model an arbitrary even number of roads going into and out of the intersection, as well as a pedestrian crosswalk.

I walked back to my apartment and cooked rice for lunch and watched Scrubs. At his point my friend sent me a text message notifying me that my next class, Materials Science, was cancelled. So instead of going to class at 1pm, we walked to the bookstore in town and picked up our caps and gowns for graduation. After returning my apartment, I worked on homework until about four o’clock.

After homework it was naptime. I awoke to the sound of an angry alarm clock at 7 o’clock pm, ate dinner, and walked to the Clarkson Open Source Institute (COSI) labs. They are the only computer labs on campus that is maintained by students instead of Clarkson’s IT department. After greeting everyone and making a cup of tea, I sat down and began my night’s work. I am presenting my thesis research at a conference this Saturday, so I spent this time putting the finishing touches on and rehearsing my presentation. My research is on new algorithms for the Propositional Satisfiability Problem, a problem of great importance in applied and theoretical computer science.

At 11 o’clock pm I decided it was time for a break. I found that the classroom portion of the COSI labs was empty, so I retrieved my guitar from the server room and practiced for about half an hour. Then it was back to work. I worked on preparing my final presentation for my Symbolic Logic course until about two o’clock am. At that point, Chris Lynch, chair of the computer science department and my professor for Symbolic Logic, strolled into the lab. After discussing the finer points of various logic systems and recent events in the department, Chris left to go home.

After finishing up my work, I convinced a couple of my friends to come play catch with a frisbee in the atrium of Snell Hall. After we were done, we locked up the labs and headed home for the night. It was about four-thirty am, so I straightened up the area around my desk and went to sleep for the night.


A Day in the Life of Colin Lennon ’15

Hello, my name is Colin Lennon and I am a freshman Mechanical Engineering student.  A typical Monday for me starts at 7:30 in the morning, as I rise to the gentle ringing of my alarm clock.  That’s about as poetic as my morning will ever get; within 30 seconds I have angrily snoozed my alarm and fallen back asleep.  Ten minutes later my alarm clock wakes me from this illusion of extra sleep and I begin the 20 minute rush to get out of bed, get dressed, brush my teeth, tame my bed head, and get to class.  As I skid into class I see the professor rounding the corner, and a minute later I am watching a Statics problem unfold on the board.

After my first class (Statics) I have an hour until Physics starts—a perfect opportunity for me to get some breakfast and read a book for the last ten minutes before I leave.  At 10:00 I’m trying to keep my physics notes from turning into doodles (with about a fifty percent success rate).  Then I find my way to some quiet corner and study or do homework until lunchtime.  Around noon I take a half hour break to eat, and then it’s back to homework until my admissions meeting at 1:00.

As a part of the Honors Admissions Team, I attend an hour long meeting every Monday at 1:00 to help decide the fate of hopeful honors applicants.  This is just one of the ways that the Honors Program makes an effort to let students help shape the future of the program.

At three I have back to back Calc Three and Differential Equations.  At five when that’s over I’m incapable of doing any work, so I go on a run to clear my head.  After that it’s dinner time, and depending on how many tests and projects I have coming up I either socialize or do homework until I go to bed by midnight.  Perhaps getting to bed by midnight is more of an idealized situation, but at least I try.

My Wednesdays and Fridays look almost the same as my Mondays, except for the extra two classes I have on Wednesday (an honors class at 11:00 and Matlab from 6:00-7:30 PM).  My Tuesdays and Thursdays start an hour later than the other days with Differential Equations and Calc Three recitation and an honors class at 2:30.  On Tuesdays I also have Team Design Lab, a physics lab in which we are working on modeling the velocity of an electric train at an arbitrary level of applied voltage.

My weekends typically involve sleeping later than I should and then giving myself a chance to focus more on having fun than on homework, which never seems to happen during the workweek.  On Saturday I will usually spend the day hanging out or playing sports with friends, and then in the evening I may go to an event happening in the Student Center, go into town with my girlfriend, or just continue my day’s activities if there is nothing going on.  A Sunday for me usually has more homework involved than a Saturday, but I still try not to let myself get too stressed out.  On Sunday evenings I take a few hours to knit scarves for charity while watching a movie, and then finish up any leftover business from the day before I go to bed and let the whole cycle start over again.

A Day in the Life of Nicole Traphagen ’14

Hi! My name is Nicole Traphagen, and I’m a sophomore Biomolecular Science and Chemistry double-major. Today I roll out of bed at 7:30 to start my Monday morning with an 8:00 Organic Chemistry laboratory. Getting up this early is a challenge because I spent all day yesterday snowboarding at Jay Peak, and I’m exhausted. The lab gets out early today, so I go to the Concrete Café to eat breakfast, check my email, and do some homework before my next class starts.

Lately I’ve been obsessively checking my email because I’m waiting to hear back from summer research experiences that I’ve applied to, but so far I haven’t heard anything. Starting at 11, I have Genetics, Physics II, and Organic Chemistry lectures, each for 50 minutes. Usually after lectures are finished I hurry over to Cheel to eat lunch before it closes, but today I have to go into my research lab. I work in a polymer and organic chemistry lab, and I’m currently working on releasing drugs using polymers. This semester is a busy one, so I only have time to spend about 3 hours each week in the lab. Most weeks I go in on Wednesday afternoons, but this Wednesday is March 14th, Pi Day, so my friend Matt and I are baking a pie in celebration!

After I’m done in the lab,  I do some homework until 6:00, when I have to go to a meeting for Theta Phi Alpha, the sorority I’m in. Mondays are usually my only days free of meetings, but we had some last minute issues to vote on. After the meeting is over, I eat dinner at Subway with some of my sisters, and then head back to my room to do more homework.  I typically do homework in the ERC, but the screen on my laptop cracked a few days ago so I have to use a desktop monitor in my room to get work done.

Nicole with some of her friends at Jay Peak

Today I’m less productive than I should be because I’m also watching How I Met Your Mother. I want to finish a lot of homework today, so after a few episodes I stop watching the show so I can focus on work. Tuesdays are busy days, so I won’t have time to get much work done tomorrow. I have the HP201 honors class in the morning, followed by a meeting with my research professor, and then Physics Team Design, where we’re trying to model the movement of an electric train. After my classes are over, I have 2 hours of salsa dancing at the Ballroom Dance Club meeting, and then 2 hours of singing at rehearsal for the Golden Knotes, which is the Clarkson a capella group. As soon as I finish my homework I turn out my light and go to sleep, because I know I’ve got a long day ahead of me tomorrow.

A Week in the Life of Eric Slaugh ’15

Hey everybody! My name is Eric Slaugh and I am a freshman, double-major in Civil and Environmental Engineering. I am from Lancaster, PA (no I am not Amish). I am a part of the Honors Program, Ultimate Frisbee Club, Engineers Without Borders, and the Pep Band.

A typical week for me (starting on Monday) begins with Chem and Physics lectures for one hour each from 9-11 a.m. I then have a break when I will head downtown to Old Snell to my research lab. Here, I will help out other members of the lab group or I will work on my own project. I am currently working on the design for the exterior of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. I spend about 10 hours a week in my lab. I then return for my Calc III and Differential Equations lectures from 3-5.

My weekday evenings will consist of attending club meetings, such as Honors Steering Committee, Engineers Without Borders, or Knitting for the Kneedy or attending activites, such Ultimate Frisbee practice, Volleyball Club practice, and intramural volleyball and soccer games. If I am not at a meeting or athletics, then I am working on my homework or just relaxing with kids on my floor.

Tuesday, I get down to my lab by nine to work. I come back to make my noon class. That is my Differential Equation Recitation class, which is a one hour a week class that is taught by a junior math major. I then go to Physics Team Design which a special physics lab that is once a week for two hours. In that lab, we are modelling the movement of a train along an arbitrary track. From there I head off to our honors class. This semester has focused on social implications of important issues. I then go to my Chem recitation class for one hour until 5.

My Wednesday schedule is almost the same as my Monday schedule, except that I have my Honors recitation class from 11-12 p.m.

Thursday, I only have two classes. I get up around 7:30 and go down to my lab to work. I get back for my 11 o’clock Calc III recitation class. At noon, I walk over to the admissions building to give a tour to perspective students. This is my other job and I love it. After the tour, I eat and go to Honors class again at 2:20-3:45.

My Friday schedule is similar to my Monday schdule, except that I have Chem lab every other week from 10-12. Here, we do experiments that further our understand of the material that is being taught to us in lecture.

My weekend nights consist of me possibly doing numerous things. Because I am in the Pep Band, I am always at the hockey games. I have an amazing time at the games. Sometimes I will travel with the Pep Band to the away hockey games as well. For instance, we went to Harvard and Dartmouth two weekends ago to cheer on the team. If I am not with the Pep Band, then I might be hanging out with the frisbee team. We have tournaments on weekends, so I might be away playing in those. I also could be found just hanging out on my floor watching a movie or playing video games. Unfortunately, my homework load can be very heavy, so I am sometimes forced to spend a weekend night doing homework as well.

Well there you have it, a week in the life of Eric Slaugh. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoy living it! I love my experiences at Clarkson and I am proud of my decision to come here. If you have any questions for me, please just comment on my post! =)

A Day in the Life of Holly Engel ’12

Hi!  I’m a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Social Science, with a professional concentration in Environmental Engineering, and this semester, Tuesdays and Thursday’s seem to be custom made just to test my ability to stick to a morning routine.

Today, Thursday, I’m doing pretty well with the concept.  I stumble out of bed just after seven, get dressed, convince my hair to cooperate for a little while, fix myself a hobo egg for breakfast to eat while I check my e-mail account.  It’s overflowing with new messages but the only one I take the time to respond to before my 8:00a class is a long one from my best friend who’s studying abroad in Italy.  Lots of talk about DC comics and some old stories we wrote together; it’s an upbeat way to start my day!  After shooting off a response to her, I fill my thermos up with two  generous cups of coffee and toss an orange in my bag as I head out the door.

My first class is the Honors Senior Seminar.  This year’s topic is “ways of knowing”, so it essentially is giving us a hands on look at epistemology.  The morning section only has seven students in it, so, reminiscent of elementary school, we all put our desks together in a circle and have a really chill time discussing readings and our group projects.  The professor is Dr. Buckle and she always has some interesting side stories to toss into the mix.

The next class on my line-up is Energy Policy, taught by Dr. Bird.  The science center classroom is absolutely packed by the time we start at 9:30a.  Dr. Bird is an intense lecturer; he’s very, very passionate about his field and it shows during class.  During his lectures I always find myself exceedingly grateful that I know short-hand; I don’t know how I would get all the notes down if I didn’t!

Energy Policy gets out a few minutes late, and I trudge back to my apartment afterwards to finish readings and assorted homework for my afternoon classes.  There’s so much to do before 2:30p that lunch gets replaced with a snack.  Before heading out for my 2:30p class I empty the dregs of coffee from the thermos and replace them with some freshly brewed tea.

2:30p: Humanities Senior Seminar.  The more higher level courses you take, it seems the less classmates you have.  HSS has only six students in it; it’s very cozy.  The only assignment in the class is to finish a thesis paper on a humanities topic.  Mine is on the history of gender within the environmental justice movement.  During class-time we discuss articles that we’ve read since our last meeting, and the setting is laid-back enough that Dr. Melville doesn’t mind if I multitask a little and knit while we talk.  She lets us out about 45 minutes early, and I rush to the library to print some material for my next class.

My final class for the day is at SUNY Potsdam.  I’ve cross-registered for a course titled Globilization and the Environment with Prof. Vanhoorweghe.  This is the second course I’ve taken with her, and she’s probably one of my favorite teachers because she emphasizes class discussion instead of lecturing.  I leave Clarkson’s campus at a little before 3:30p in order to walk there in time for the 4:00p class.  The primary reading we talk about today is a piece on international whaling regulations.  The usual issues are raised: How can international policy be effective without enforcement?  How do we enforce international policy?  Should we value ecosystem integrity over economic development?  There are no clear-cut answers to these questions.

Class is out at 5:15p and I call my sister on the walk home.  She just got a puppy named George over the Christmas holiday, and she’s going to send me new pictures tonight!  Back at my apartment, I fix myself dinner and head over to hang out with some friends’ and work on several knitting commissions.  Tomorrow I don’t have classes, so my Thursday nights usually end up being a night off to catch up on non-academic work.  When I get back to my apartment around 11:00p, I write up my to-do list for tomorrow, watch the Daily Show, and read in bed until I doze off.

George the black lab puppy! 🙂

A Day in the Life of Dan Smith ’12

Hi everyone! I’m Dan Smith, Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering dual degree student at Clarkson working on my final semester.

Today, I start by heading to Introduction to MATLAB at 8 AM, a class that I’m a TA for. Basically, I assist students in learning how to use MATLAB as well as doing behind-the-scenes items like grading. This is a great way for me to take on a mentoring role with freshmen students, which I find is a rewarding experience, and I make a little money along the way!

After this I head out to my senior design class. At the start of the semester, we were issued a Request For Proposal for a “personal jet”. The class of about 50 students was split in half, making this a competition of sorts. Each team was then split into 5 subgroups, each tasked with developing a different aspect of the aircraft. I am affiliated with the Performance group, which analyzes the forces that act on an aircraft (lift, drag, weight, and thrust) and how they affect things like climb rates, turn rates, ceilings, and even takeoff and landing distances. In today’s class, we are working with the whole team to brainstorm the configuration of the aircraft, that is, what the airplane will look like. After this is settled, one of our team members will draw a basic 3-D model of our concept airplane in a CAD program for us to review next class.

After some downtime to refuel and a change of clothes, it’s time for my favorite part of the day. In high school, I was peer pressured by some close friends into joining the Nordic ski team, and it’s been my pride and joy ever since. I’ve skied at Clarkson for 4 years now, and I’m really going to miss the team. But for now, I drive out to Higley Flow State Park, about 20 minutes away from campus, to go get in a quality workout before Regionals this weekend in Jericho, Vermont. Our team is the most competitive in our league, and the top 5 qualify to race at the prestigious Nationals series of races. Right now, it’s a tight race from 4th place on the team down to 12th place, and it’s been one of my goals since I was a freshman to earn one of those coveted Nationals slots.

Anyways, I plan on doing a two hour bout, and start off taking a couple pictures. Conditions haven’t been ideal this season, so I’m glad to actually be on snow today. Below, you can see a skier’s-eye view as well as a ski’s-eye view at the top of the main hill at Higley

After taking these couple of shots, I slide downhill a bit, trying to grab some of the natural beauty of the park, which is known as one of the best places to ski in northern New York and through the Northeast. Earlier this season I was even fortunate enough to catch a glimpse at the elusive bald eagle!

So with this shot taken, I go into my workout, so that I can achieve my goal. Later this evening I’ll do some homework due for classes later in the week with some good friends. This way, I can be productive but low-stress as well. After a quick snack, I’ll hit the sack so that I’m ready to do it all again tomorrow!