Orientation Week: A Dive into the American Campus Culture

A Little Bit of Background

As some of you already know, I’ve recently moved to Pittsburgh go pursue a Master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University. As I’m learning more and more everyday about what I call the “American campus culture”, I wanted to share with you my experience during orientation week at Heinz College (which is held the week directly preceding start of classes in the fall), from the perspective of someone who has never experienced such a thing before.  
For those not used to the concept (just like me, a few days ago), orientation week aims to introduce new students to the school where they will spend most of their time in the coming year. What you probably don’t know, and what I wasn’t expecting, is that orientation is much more than lectures about how to use the university printers, and where police offices are located on campus (not that this doesn’t matter!). It’s a much more lively, and richer experience… at least it was for me.
Orientation at CMU Heinz College, included a scavenger hunt all over the city of Pittsburgh, a challenging afternoon at Camp Guyasuta, a social innovation competition and an interactive workshop on diversity.
I have tried to put most of what I learned in perspective:

Les bons outils pour un travail en binôme réussi [projet de fin d'études]

Comme certains d'entre-vous le savent, je travaille en ce moment sur mon projet de fin d'études, de Licence en l'occurrence. Et en quelques semaines de travail avec mon binôme, des automatismes de travail à deux commencent à se mettre en place, aidés par l'utilisation de quelques outils et services en-ligne qui permettent une meilleure synchronisation. Il m'a semblé utile de les partager ici, car si ceux-ci paraissent triviaux pour certains, ils le sont beaucoup moins pour d'autres. Bref, venons-en à ces fameux outils.

Synchronised swimming
Soyez synchro !

9 tips to start conversations at international conferences

One challenge I often come across when attending conferences is how to start a conversation with attendees. After all, the goal number one of nearly any conference is to network and meet people, and this may not seem obvious for everyone. 

This is something I really struggled with at first, being the shy person I am. But I made a promise to get better. And here I just came back from Mozilla Camp Europe 2012, and I am glad to say I have improved significantly in my ability to go meet and discuss with people there. And it's not only because mozillians are awesome, I have used some simple techniques or tips to succeed in the excercise. I thought it was worth sharing.

MozCamp EU 2012 - Warsaw

"Be a good finisher"

If there's one thing that I learned during the last few years, is that what makes the difference between people who succeed, and those who don't often comes down to one simple thing: "being a good finisher".
What I mean by that is: most of the time, it's easy to start, get excited about a project, get some early support from friends (who think it's "awesome!"), then burn that motivation you had in a very short period and the project is already forgotten or dropped.
Just think of the Startup Weekend winners in Algeria, how many of them became real startups (put aside law obstacles that are part of the adventure)? I don't know many.

But the interesting part is that this does not only apply to big projects but to the very basic and small little actions one does. Guess how many articles I have on the draft folder of blogger, sitting there, unfinished? Too many. How many times did you start any new activity but gave up hours/days/weeks later?

Hit the finish line!