How do you define passion?

Passion for me means finding a deep attachment to the actions I make in life. I’m talking about soul. When I say I’m passionate about music, it means that, whether I’m listening, performing, or thinking about music, nothing else matters. My passion comes from a part of my soul that is raw, consuming, and relentless. My attention is immediately drawn to music, no matter what situation I’m in (including eating at a restaurant and losing track of a conversation because they’re playing music in the background, so…… sorry about that) It interrupts my daily life and my conversations no matter what. I can’t help it.

I think the key to answering this question is figuring out if I have that level of commitment to anything else. If not, how can I find or maybe even create, passion in other things?

Engineering is a cold field. It is ripe with discovery, but rarely is that discovery accompanied by the sweeping personal attachment and connection to the soul of humanity. This is not to say engineering is not creative or engineering cannot evoke an emotional response, merely that it does not touch your beliefs. Engineering is a factual science. It doesn’t matter what you believe in. Facts are fact. Science is. A device does not change how it operates based on how you feel.

Engineering does not make me question my philosophical foundation. It allows me to explore and expand that foundation by asking new questions, but it does not challenge my beliefs.

I think passion should make you uncomfortable sometimes. It should challenge you at a fundamental level. What do you feel? Why do you feel? Passion in something should help you grow as a person. There is a heart to passion.

When you follow your passion, you should feel a sense of wholeness. Of completeness. The thought of music makes my heart swell in anticipation of the journey I’m ready to embark on. That feeling of butterflies in your stomach when you see someone you like? That excited anticipation when you see your best friend? That’s it.

I’m pretty sure every one of my friends and family know that music is my passion. This is not a secret. I’m struggling though. I cannot reconcile this passion with my decision to pursue engineering. So why am I here? Why did I even bother to major in engineering, much less, study it for 10 years?!?

Deep down I don’t believe there is an ‘engineering’ job that I can be passionate about. I’m being pulled to change the direction in which my life is heading. Maybe its worth it. Maybe not. Maybe I work to build a financial foundation that can fund my journey into music. Or maybe, I simply live and fulfill my passion outside of work. Who would I be if I followed my passion exclusively?

Honestly, I don’t think I would be satisfied with that either. There is so much this world has to offer. I want to experience as much of it as I can. I want to learn as much as I can. I want to share that knowledge and that passion for learning with others.

Music is my soul.

Learning is my passion.

A New Journey

I’ve been gone a while. Things have been quite the roller coaster over here and writing about it was using energy I just didn’t (and kinda still don’t) have. But I just finished the hardest week of my graduate school career thus far. It came out of nowhere. Now, I’m left trying to pick up the pieces of myself and trying to put myself first for a change.

You see, it’s easy to brush aside hard questions and personal troubles when you focus on others. Being supportive is your primary objective so what you truly want and need doesn’t really matter. You just gotta make sure your day to day tasks get done and that you have the energy to support, help, and encourage others.

So when it came time to figure out my next step in life and how to take it, I was simply waiting on someone to give me an answer. So I could start preparing for and completing those tasks while getting all my personal satisfaction from giving time and energy to others.

Apparently that doesn’t work.

Obviously that doesn’t work.

When people tell you to follow your ‘passion’, your ‘bliss’ in life, it seems rather simple. I, for example, am passionate about music. What they don’t tell you is what to do when you don’t.

I’m an engineer. I’ve been in school for almost 10 years learning how to be an engineer. Learning how to be the best engineer. To be honest, I don’t like it. I’m not excited to wake up in the morning then solve equations and design machines. There is beauty in the science, but there is no soul. To make up for this, I’ve slowly and steadily moved to a more creative side of engineering. From chemical to mechanical engineering so I could get a little taste of everything and had options. From engines to nanotechnology to sensors so I could add a human element. From sensors to textiles and design so I could add a creativity and design element. I’ve been so busy trying to inject passion into engineering that I never gave a thought to, you know, actually following my passion or seeing what I actually want to do with an engineering degree.

So now I’m here, reading self help books *rolls eyes* and trying to figure out what I want out of life, out of a job, out of my relationships, etc. As such, why not bring everyone else along?

I’m going to post a series of questions I’ve asked myself along with my answers. Not really sure why I’m doing this online, but *shrugs shoulders* why not? These aren’t blog posts about my dog or about my day to day life or other random shit. They may be kinda boring. But I’m not doing this for you.

I’m doing this for me.

Wine Snobbery

Hey y’all! We are most definitely in the full swing of things over here in Raleigh!

I’m working on 3 projects right now that all involve broken code on computers <- side note: if anyone sees a computer flying out a window just ignore it. They also involve very complicated lab setup…20160914_142943.jpg

And yes I have to stand on the ladder to reach stuff and do research……really hope standing on lab tables isn’t a safety violation…..

Luna is still a crazy dog bat! We crowned her accordingly 20160902_202039.jpg

Also, we went on a date! (me and Steve not me and Luna although I should do a dog date that sounds fun)

We tried out a relatively new Greek restaurant in Raleigh, Taverna Agora, with an awesome patio! It probably helped that the weather was nice, but the patio was still cool20160903_191259.jpg

Pretty sure this was taken right after I ordered us an appetizer (flaming cheese) and didn’t tell Steve that they would light the cheese on fire at the table 🙂 Needless to say he was in heaven and I had to stab his hand a couple times with my fork to remind him to share.

After our dinner we went to a wine bar, cause we are totally fancy wine snobs. On a grad student budget. Right. Anywho.20160903_203851.jpg

They have awesome art that we snobbily (semi-sarcastically) judged and critiqued and a rather comfortable couch that I would like to take home with me. Don’t worry though, we definitely are not snobs and don’t really fit in at places like this20160903_203925.jpg

Our next date is scheduled and we are going to the ballet!!! I’m only a little excited 🙂


Have a great weekend and ttyl!

Huntsville Sprint

The family that tri’s together stays together!!


Last weekend, my dad, brother and I all did the Huntsville Sprint Triathlon. Which, tbh, was a SUPER sprint. It was a 400 m pool swim, 7 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run! Obviously it went by really fast.

Since it was a pool swim, they seeded us (our race numbers) by our estimated time to finish the swim. Idk what I put down but I was number 3 O.o I am definitely NOT that good of a swimmer and I definitely have not been in the pool since April for a while. Andrew, who is very in shape, was number 29 and my dad was number 225.

Here I am looking rather unsure about the swim portion. I was right to be nervous, I swam the last 300 m backstroke #embarrassed #IWasPassedALot

Here’s Andrew getting started!

Aaaand I couldn’t find a picture of Dad, so here’s what he probably looked like during the swim 🙂

Final Swim Times:

Andrew – 7 min 25 s    Amanda – 9 min 55 s     Dad – 11 min 56 s

-These include the rather lengthy run to transition

Transition 1: Swim to Bike

Andrew – 2 min 8 s     Amanda – 1 min 27 s     Dad – 1 min 58 s

So we were off on the wonderfully flat and short bike course!

Note the intense look / realizing I am waaay out of shape look on my face. So attractive.

Andrew doesn’t have a bike so he used my dad’s old bike (from the 80s for you bike aficionados). And with no fancy gear, he still beat me and dad. Ugh. Stupid fit brothers. So proud.

Aaaand here goes Dad!! Glad they actually got a picture this time 🙂

Final Bike Times

Andrew – 23 min 1 s   Amanda – 23 min 34 s   Dad – 23 min 45 s

^ We were so close together! ^

Transition Bike to Run Times

Andrew – 1 min 3 s     Amanda – 2 min 20 s     Dad – 2 min 12 s

^I was kinda disappointed in this transition cause I couldn’t get my shoes on quickly 😦 For reference, my T2 is usually somewhere 1 min to 1 min 30 s

And last but not least we had a super flat off-road run that was 2 loops around a pond! At this point Andrew had left me for the sharks….#siblinglove

Here he is coming in to the finish!

Here I am demonstrating my ability to levitate and my uncanny habit of running like a gazelle. Seriously, ask anyone, I look like a gazelle when I run. Idk why a gazelle but that’s the animal everyone uses.

Here’s Dad not walking! And obviously still having a great time 🙂

Since Andrew and I finished with some time to spare, I got some pics of Dad coming in to the finish!


Now this was supposed to be a 5k run…….but my watch ended at 2.8 miles and Dad’s ended at 2.7… I think it was a bit short 🙂

Final Run Times

Andrew – 19 min 35 s     Amanda – 23 min 02 s    Dad – 29 min 59 s

We all finished!! WOOOOOOOOO!!

Finish Times

Andrew – 53 min 10 s

Amanda – 1 hr 0 min 16 s

Dad – 1 hr 9 min 48 s

Andrew got 4th in his age group and I got 5th in mine! (Could’ve gotten 3rd if I had remembered how to put shoes on in T2…..ugh) Note: there were approx 15-20 people in our age groups.

We had a great time and spent the rest of the day watching Game of Thrones and drinking beer 🙂 Recovery is the best





Hi there!

Posting has been a bit sparse lately but that’s because of things! Exciting things, not bad things. One of my best friends, Jenna, came into town last week for a visit!

I was so. excited.



We lived together for 2 years at Mississippi State and both majored in Mechanical engineering so yeah we bonded.We also had team spirit!

(circa 2009?? 2010?)

She now lives in New Orleans so visiting is rare, but that makes it so much more special.

We spent a lot of time actually hanging out in the College of Textiles at NC State cause we are both *cough* nerds *cough* and we like fabric/textiles/and cool things like that. Beyond that most of our time was spent just catching up and hanging out. Which, in my opinion, is the best kind of friend time you can get.

So here are more pictures of us having fun!





Even Steve was allowed to hang out with the girls #privileged

After she left, I took the dogs down to ‘Bama for a triathlon!! Which you shall hear about tomorrow 🙂