9 to 5

The solar panels on the top of the Landis Building in Washington, DC.

The solar panels on the top of the Landis Building in Washington, DC.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a legitimate blog post (I know it looks like I’ve turned it into a make-shift Instagram), so we are going to have to back track a little (lot)…

This past winter break, I had the opportunity to extern (no, I didn’t mean intern…I’ll explain in a moment) with a Swarthmore alum at his company, Landis Construction Corporation in Washington, DC.

Extern, now what is that? Glad you asked! An externship is essentially a week-long mini internship. This five day experience allows us undergrads to shadow a possible career. Here’s what can happen: 1. You find a potential career path to pursue or 2. You find a career path that might be better suited from someone else. Both are positive outcomes, but for me, it was the former. Either way, externships allow students a quick, but super informative peak into an actual career. [And, as an added bonus, if you do not live in the area where you want to extern, you can even live with an alum (either the one you are working with, or another in the area)].

During the week, I researched the physical (roof space, sun direction, etc) and economic practicalities of installing solar thermal heating for pool and domestic water use at a property in DC where the company is doing major renovations (putting both my engineering and economics classes to use). I went to the trade day (meeting of the various trades: remodeler, interior designer, pool designer, masons, roofer, etc)  for the property. My solar energy research extended beyond the computer; I also met with a solar panel installer company who assisted me in calculating the actual cost effectiveness of installing solar thermal heating for this particular property.

All in all, I had a really great time observing and working with all of these different career options! Externing is an awesome way for us to prepare for the real world, and look outside of the classroom to find new goals for the future. Definitely something to take advantage of here at Swarthmore!

More posts to come soon! Hope you’ve enjoyed having me (and my excessive amount of parentheses) back! Goodbye, until next time!

Blog title: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton. No explanation needed (hopefully). I got to fell like a real 9 to 5er, taking the metro to a from work every day, and dressing up in business casual wear…the charm hasn’t worn off just yet 🙂


So, it’s Been a While….

Magill Walk early in the morning

Magill Walk early in the morning

“I know I’ve kept you waiting
I know I’ve made you mad*
But this time that we’ve spent creating
Was the best time I ever had”

~ SMASH (NBC’s slightly under performing musical drama that I love so dearly)
* Hopefully my absence did not actually make anyone mad

I’ve been up to tons of fun stuff here at Swarthmore. Get ready for lots of updates to follow to make up for my long absence from the blogosphere! In the meantime, enjoy this photo I recently took early morning before class. We get to see some pretty amazing sights here, so I thought I would share!

Be back soon!

Seize the Day

When the school year began this past September, I thought I knew exactly what my schedule was going to be like. And for the most part I did; I knew my classes and labs and when I was working at LPAC every week. I had movie committee and dance classes in the evenings. But, I decided that while the newly formed Women’s Club Soccer Team looked fun, I probably just did not have the time.

One Friday in late September, I am walking towards my dorm when Eliana (the coach) mentions to Sophie (my roommate) that she is begging Sophie’s sister to play, so they can play with a full team. Listening to this, I mentioned that I did have my cleats and shinguards in my room, which I brought from home out of a small hope that I would have the opportunity to play soccer at some point during the semester. Soon enough, I am added to the roster for the next day. Continue reading

I Got Rhythm

Last year, with close to no technical experience, I began working for the Lang Performing Arts Center. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work backstage on many great projects with performers from the college and from all over the country who have come to the Swarthmore stage.

November 17 was the Rhythm N’ Motion Fall Show. RnM is a student run dance group, with participants from the Tri-co (Swat, Haverford, Bryn Mawr) community. RnM dancers perform many styles including African, hip-hop, contemporary, and many more. And they always draw a standing room only crowd.

Here is a look behind the scenes of one of our biggest student group events:
Continue reading


Last Monday and Tuesday, the classes of 2013-2016 experienced something that most other classes in recent Swarthmore history could only dream of happening. We had, not one, but two days of classes canceled. This might not seem like a huge deal considering the  state of emergency that had been declared. But typically if there is inclement weather, professors are able to make the call whether or not individual classes will be held. So, we knew something bad was approaching. Today’s story, in two acts. Act one, Bracing for Sandy: the story of our storm preparations. Act two, Blackout: what happens when college students have to survive without electricity for over 12 hours. (This American Life, anyone?) Continue reading

It’s Time (to Begin)

Hello there! And welcome to my blog.
My name is Lauren Barlow and I am a sophomore (Class of ’15) at Swarthmore.

In the “o” of Swarthmore at TEDx Swarthmore in March 2012

Major: Prospective Engineering Major (we declare our majors during second semester sophomore year, so I can’t officially carve my major into stone just yet).
Hometown: Olney, MD (about a 2-2 1/2 hour drive from Swarthmore).
Dorm: Parrish 4th (I live in the same building as the admissions office. Fun Friday Activity: Distracting people in admissions.)
Classes: Electrical Circuit Analysis, Digital System Design, Multivariable Calculus, Lighting Design, Introduction to Economics, PE Dance: Tap

Around campus:
I work in the Lang Performing Arts Center as Master Electrician of the Frear Ensemble Theatre (I get to play with lots of lights on the fun tension grid high above the stage) and a House Manager/ Usher for both LPAC and the Lang Music Building (usually in the Lang Concert Hall…there are many Lang spaces here on campus. It’s kind of confusing for us, but really generous of Mr. Eugene Lang and Family, so, we will accept being a little mixed up the first few days of classes).

This year (actually, two weeks ago), I joined the Women’s Club Soccer Team. I hadn’t kicked a soccer ball in almost a year and a half, but through a series of random circumstances, and lots of encouragement from my wonderful roommate, Sophie, I took the field for the next game. (More to come on my soccer adventures). I am also a part of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Movie Committee (I help decide what movies we are showing on campus weekend evenings), and I work for admissions every now and then.

I am no longer a part of the adorable freshman class here on campus (the beauty of Pass/ Fail first semester is a distant memory now). I am still learning how to budget my time with academics, a social life, work, and other fun activities, and you get to see it all unfold here. Sophomore year is going to be a little crazy busy, but that just means I have much to share.

Blog Title: It’s Time by the Imagine Dragons. I actually found this song before it started repeating on the radio (I know, I’m a total hipster) when I was watching a fan created video for one of my favorite TV shows, Community. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Also, you should watch the video below. (Please, and thank you)