tavu Presents

A Ball State University Student's Blog
tavu Presents

The Last Hurrah

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2013 by tavu

Two Monday’s ago I started my senior and last year of undergraduate study.

Can I just say,

Seriously, ermahgerd.

Everyday of school I’ve thought about the fact that I’ll be graduating soon and leaving Ball State. Which, of course, has made me feel like this:

I’m going to have to leaaaavee!

I’ve made some awesome memories here and plan on making a ton more before I graduate. But I still can’t help feeling like graduation day will come too soon. Ball State has been my home for the past 3 years. I’ve lived here, made awesome friends here, had my share of firsts here, and learned so, so much. It’s kind of like moving away from your hometown. Ball State has been my college. I have my share of haunts here and know my way around campus like the back of my hand. In a word, Ball State is comforting.

However, I know that Ball State has successfully prepared me to breach my comfort zone and venture out into the “real world”. I used to be so worried that I wouldn’t  be able to become a responsible, functioning adult since I’ve always been a bit of a rebellious kid. Luckily for me (and my parents!) I’ve grown up quite a bit. I’m ready world!

Until the time I have to leave, though, I’m going to savor my time here. And do way more awesome at Ball State.


Keep your eyes open for the next blog post! 

Every time I think I’ve failed, I don’t.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2013 by tavu

I recently heard back from the last place I applied for a summer internship at and unfortunately didn’t get a summer position.

However, a professor recently e-mailed me and asked me to be his Undergraduate Research Fellow for next school year = me getting paid to do research!!

I am so excited to start this fellowship project because #1. I’ll be getting paid to do something that I love and #2. the project has to do with bioremediation or using microbes to break down pollutants, which is an area of research I’m extremely interested in.

This is how I feel right now.

Additionally, I get to start a new research endeavor over the summer with my awesome research mentor! I’m so excited for the summer, and I’m even more excited for next school year! I’ve got one more final to do before the end of this semester. In the mean time I’ll continue to hang out with my roomie chilling out and watching one of our favorite tv shows together/playing basketball at the rec center.

The Best Day of the Year

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2013 by tavu

Last Saturday I volunteered at my third annual Science Day which is put on by one of my favorite organizations on-campus, SAACS (or “Chemistry Club”). Every April I look forward to spending my time at this awesome event helping SAACS teach kiddos about the wonders of science. Without fail, I always have a blast volunteering at this all-day event (from set-up to tear-down many Science Day volunteers work from 7:30 in the morning until 5:30 or 6 p.m. at night). One of the most enjoyable aspects of this event are the kids’ excited reactions to each science experiment and demonstration we put on.

It’s absolutely great.

Unlike the other Science Day’s I’ve been a part of, this year I spent most of my time acting as a SAACS Volunteer Coordinator Officer instead of working the various science booths (I usually put on the Elephant’s Toothpaste and Genie in a Bottle demonstrations). As a Volunteer Coordinator I was responsible for directing all the volunteers to the proper science booths and for making sure that each volunteer was familiar with the experiments they had to do.

Me and the super awesome SAACS Co-Faculty Advisor Dr. Ribblett taking a mini-break from coordinating Science Day for a quick photo-op.

Another great thing about Science Day is the fact that volunteers can count the time spent working at Science Day toward their volunteer hours for classes or to put on their resumes. To be a part of SAACS or Science Day volunteers do not have to major in chemistry or even be a science major. The only requirement for volunteers is that they are able to follow directions, so volunteering at Science Day is pretty easy. Plus, each volunteer gets a free t-shirt and free food!

I know after I graduate I will definitely miss volunteering at Science Day. But until then I look forward to participating once more at one of the best events of the school year.

Biology Undergraduate Research

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2013 by tavu

This past weekend I presented my research at a statewide microbiology meeting at McCormick’s Creek State Park (Pictures can be found at the end of the post!). Every year microbiology undergraduates, grad students, and PhD students get to compete in a poster competition or give presentations about their research endeavors. I had an awesome time presenting my research and look forward to presenting a new research project next year. During the poster competition judges would come up and ask about your research project and then proceed to bombard you with questions related to your work. Needless to say it was a nerve-wracking experience. I really enjoyed it though, because in order to prepare for the competition I had to become a mini-expert on my research project. I’m pretty sure I learned at least a whole year’s worth or more of information about the different components of my experiment and my research specimen.

It was awesome. Plus, I got to make a super cool poster which you can see here (I made it into a .pdf file, so you’ll need the proper software on your computer in order to view it).

The best part of doing all this research was learning all kinds of valuable information from my research mentor. He taught me how to design my own research experiment, master various lab techniques, and present my research in a way that people could understand. More importantly, my research mentor helped me realize that microbiology and doing research is something I truly enjoy, which is great because I planned on becoming a microbiology researcher after I finished school.

If I do not end up getting an internship this summer, I plan on 1. Trying again next year for an internship and 2. Starting up a new research project with my mentor!

My friend and I went exploring around the state park after the microbiology meeting and got to see this beautiful stream.

We also made our way across a waterfall via a downed tree. It was scary but so much fun!

Amidst all the pretty scenery we found this yucky-looking biofilm (a growth form of microbes I studied for my research project) inside of a cave!

Where’s Appa Now?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2013 by tavu

As promised, here is my special blog post! I hope you awesome readers enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed walking around campus taking pictures of my stuffed flying bison. As I expected, especially after going to school here for the past three years, people on campus were really cool about me holding a stuffed animal around and taking pictures of it (quite a few people on-campus said “Hi!” to Appa or smiled a lot when they saw us). Ball State has a reputation of being one of the most accepting, fun-loving universities, and I gotta say, it definitely is. Those characteristics (among many others) of Ball State make me proud to be a BSU Cardinal. Chirp, chirp! 

Appa likes to study in this quiet, peaceful place.

He thought it would be fun to imitate these statues.

Appa loves sunbathing and relaxing at this little used enclave.

The views from this place are awesome. Appa wanted to stay up here all day.

Every once in a while Appa meets some squirrel friends here.

Appa doesn’t always go to class, but when he does, he likes to act like he is the teacher.

He really wanted to go inside this quaint place on-campus.

After going all around campus, Appa really needed a nap. Luckily he found a comfy place to do so.


If you happen to be wondering where Appa is now, he is lounging around on my bed as per usual. Come back next Sunday for a new post! 


So, It has Come to This

Posted in Uncategorized on April 1, 2013 by tavu

I’m sorry I teased you all with a password protected blog post. I’ve been so busy lately that I completely forgot I neglected to finish the blog post I started. To make it up to all you awesome readers, I’m going to do a special blog post. I haven’t decided on what “special” means, but I’m open to suggestions, so leave me blog ideas in the comments section, and I’ll consider doing it (i.e. A contest where people guess from photos where Appa, my flying bison stuffed animal, is on campus entitled,”Where’s Appa Now?”, a video montage of all the stuff I do on a weekly basis, me singing a blog post etc.). I actually might end up doing all of those ideas, but send me suggestions anyway ’cause how many chances do you get to see someone write about your idea?

After waiting for two weeks on a blog post you might be wondering, “What is Tiff so busy with that she forgot to update her blog these past two Sundays?”


I plan/do Microbiology Club (BSU Chapter of the American Society for Microbiology) events such as:

Help out with/win grossest swab plate contests (this was a swab of a dead ladybug in a window sill, in case you were wondering).


Organize/execute fundraisers for the local Animal Rescue Fund (ARF).

Hang out/cook with friends

My friends made these awesome deviled egg chicks for a special Easter dinner I spent with them and some other great people.

Do homework/research

This 4×4 ft. poster summarizes all the undergraduate biology research I’ve done so far and took hours upon hours to make.


I promise my job as a student assistant does not consist of me just taking pictures of myself at work.

Keep in touch with my family

My sister and I “Facetiming”.

play basketball and watch shows/movies with my roomie, workout, go into lab to do more research, read books, study, attend other club meetings such as Chemistry Club (SAACS) Science Day planning meetings, go grocery shopping, apply for grants…

Lots of stuff, to summarize. Sometimes I reminisce about the simpler, not so hectic days of high school. Although there are times I miss those easier days of high school, I sure wouldn’t trade these busy, fun college days for anything.


Secret secret, I’ve got a secret

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17, 2013 by tavu

You don’t necessarily need “the luck of the Irish” to do well in your college courses (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!).

Want to be the smartest student in your class?

Look over lecture notes, powerpoint slides, the textbook, and/or handouts before going to class. Seems pretty obvious, right?

“Of course I will look over the lecture slides/read the chapters we will be covering before going to class. Duh, Tiffany.”

You’ll be surprised to find that not a lot of students actually do this before going class. Or you might not be all that surprised if you are already a college kid. Procrastination runs rampant amongst college communities (i.e. watching cat videos instead of writing an essay due in class tomorrow).

Cat videos like this:

Lectures are usually the main learning component of a college course. But lectures are more beneficial if they are not one-sided (ex. The professor simply telling you information)—the more information you know before going to class, the less time the professor has to use to explain rudimentary course material or wait for students in the class to answer questions = more time for your instructor to elaborate on really difficult concepts.

As an added bonus, if you know the course material beforehand you can be the awesome student answering your professors’ questions. You will become familiar with and dread the awkward pauses in lectures that come about after a professor asks a question and either A. No one knows the answer or B. Someone knows the answer but is too scared or nervous to speak up. I once had a professor wait for a full 5 minutes in silence for an answer to a question = a super awkward 5 minutes for everyone involved.  

Help a professor out (and your grades!) by at least skimming through the class material prior to your lecture period. You’ll end up wowing your classmates and your professor with your knowledge (Try not to get too crazy with answering questions though. Give your peers an opportunity to get kudos points with your prof too). Plus, since you already took the time to look over class material, you won’t have to spend as much time later before an exam studying!

Yays all around.


Breaking News with Tiff Vu

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2013 by tavu

Here are this week’s top stories presented in an abridged special edition segment of Breaking News with Tiff Vu:

The undergraduate research project which began summer 2012 is complete. Preparations are currently underway to present the research findings at the Indiana Branch of the American Society for Microbiology meeting this year in an undergraduate poster competition.

Cosmo, the awesome motorized vehicle, is back at BSU.

Spring Break 2013 was a relaxing, productive, great success.

And now for a short commercial break:



Welcome back to this shortened special edition of Breaking News with Tiff Vu. Here are more top stories:

A research mentor from a fantastic university sent congratulations on making the first cut off of the internship selection process. “Yayy!!”‘s and “OH MY GOSH AHHHH!!”‘s were reported by several witnesses at the scene. Updates about this news story will be reported on as more information comes in.

Studies show that working out at the BSU recreational center vastly improves mood.

The deadline for a 10-week online class is approaching quickly. Analysts estimate a 90% decrease in social interactions and participation in recreational activities to occur until the post-deadline date.

This concludes Breaking News with Tiff Vu special edition segment. Thank you for reading tonight’s news updates. Hope you come back again.


The Going Home Phenomenon

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2013 by tavu

After living on-campus for a while you will notice a change in the way you feel at home.

For instance, you might find that your mom’s or dad’s or grandparents’ cooking tastes 1000x better than it did while you lived at home. Or you might feel like your bed at home is so comfy. Maybe you will see businesses established in places around your hometown that you swear were empty grass lawns or patches of field not too long ago and not feel as excited as you used to about this kind of updating.

Perhaps you’ll find yourself bombarded with commands like, “Eat your vegetables.” or “Don’t forget to brush your teeth!” or “Drink more green tea.” and feel overwhelmed, but also slightly amused.

And/or you might discover that you have a TON of time to do whatever you feel like doing = what breaks from school are all about.

No more classes or meetings to go to. Hopefully no more class assignments left to do (every once in a while assignments do creep up on you during breaks).

Just lots of time to do stuff such as:


Eating your parents’ yummy food.


Practicing the drums.


Whittling with your favorite stuffed animal.


Reading a favorite book.


Playing some classical guitar. 

Gotta love Spring Break, especially after a super busy last couple of weeks. Busy weeks which included 



finishing up midterm assignments, meetings, and exams.

Looking forward to hanging out more with family and friends for the next few days I am at home. Come back here next Sunday or Monday for a new blog post and possibly more info about finishing up my research project and other great stuff that has been happening lately!

The Perks of Being a Campus-Dweller

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2013 by tavu

“What is it like living in the residence halls on-campus?”


Okay, it’s not exactly like this cat video, but I couldn’t resist putting the video in my blog post.

Really though, living in the residence halls is pretty awesome. I’ve been living in the residence halls for the past three years and have enjoyed it a lot. Living on-campus has proved to be extremely convenient for me, especially since I don’t have a car here with me on-campus = being able to easily walk or ride my bike to classes and work.

I lived off-campus this past summer while working and doing research here at BSU (You can read more about my research here). While I enjoyed having a living space to myself, getting to and from campus proved to be challenging at times. Since I had to commute I had to wake up and leave my place at least 15-20 minutes earlier than I usually did when I lived in the residence halls. Being a commuter also entailed making sure I had enough gas money each week to fill up my fuel tank in addition to double-checking before I left my place if I had all the stuff I needed for the day (I didn’t want to waste gas and time driving back to my place to retrieve forgotten items!). Even though public transportation buses were available for me to use, I didn’t like having to rely on the public transportation to get me to campus on time. Living on-campus, I didn’t have to worry about these types of problems since my workplace and classes were all nearby my residence hall.

Another reason I’ve enjoyed living in the residence halls has a lot to do with the roommates I have lived with. Both of the roomies I have had ended up being really nice, respectful, and open to communication, which definitely made living in an essentially one-room apartment much more comfortable. My advice to you all about having successful living arrangements with whoever you live with is this: Make it easy for your roomie to talk to you by being polite, respectful, open, and honest whenever you communicate with her/him. Communicating lets everyone involved know exactly what is going right or wrong in the living arrangements, which can then help you and your roomie constantly improve on them.

So yes, living on-campus is not as crazy and hectic as the aforementioned cat video above. A lot of the times, though, living on-campus is super convenient. Thus, if you are a soon-to-be on-campus dweller try not to worry too much about your new living arrangements. Just keep in mind that a successful on-campus life involves putting effort into making your living arrangements totally awesome.