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Humans of Santa Clara University (2015)

Original Post from Humans of Santa Clara University

Thao ‘16, School of Engineering

“After witnessing two incidents of corruption, one from leadership at my local parish and another from a teacher in high school, I entered Santa Clara University hoping to re-establish my faith. My first professor here, Sam Conedera, was kind, patient, caring, approachable, and supportive. With each conversation we had, my faith slowly renewed. On these stairs two years ago, I asked him to pray for me. He gently smiled and said, ‘Yes, I will pray for you.’ A week later during office hours, I asked if he had prayed for me. He answered, ‘Yes, I did and I will continue to do so.’ Sam was a huge part of my faith journey. I hope to be a guide like him to others on their faith journey, especially to the kids at my Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Group.”

Apr 16, 2015

Diocese of San Jose Priest Ordinations 2019

This is the second Priest Ordinations Mass that I have attended. It has been 2 years since I have attended a Priest Ordinations Mass. 

It was the same Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph that I have attended multiple Masses during the weekdays for over half a year. However, I felt a different sense of peace and hope as this Ordination Mass went on.

Congratulations to the newly ordained Fr. John Hoang and Fr. Victor Trinidad!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset



How I studied for the EIT Exam

Like most people, I am definitely not a very good test taker, especially when it comes to exams like the EIT.

For those who do not know, the EIT (Engineer-In-Training) exam is basically the first step to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer. We need to pass this 5.5-hour exam before being eligible to take another 8-hour exam. (NOTE: This post applies for 2017 until the next big change). In recent years, the EIT was renamed to FE (Fundamentals of Engineering).

I had to take the FE Civil exam twice:

  • My first attempt was in March 2017, which was unsuccessful.
  • My second attempt was in September 2017, which was successful.

I will be sharing with you what were the 5 key differences that might have helped me pass the FE exam (at the second attempt).

  1. Getting enough sleep
    1. March: I literally did not sleep the night before at all. I was extremely tensed and worried about the exam. In addition, I talked to someone who constantly stresses me out a few hours before I went to bed (to try to sleep). [Not a good decision]
    2. September: I probably got around 3 hours of sleep in. I ended up passing the exam.
    3. Lesson Learned: Get some sleep even if it’s just a little bit.
  2. Do practice problems
    1. March: I reviewed material in the FE Civil Review by Michael R. Lindeburg, did a few practice problems in the FE Civil Practice Problems by Michael R. Lindeburg, and went over the official NCEES practice exam just twice or so.  
    2. September: I went over the two most recent official NCEES practice exams as many times as I could and did a few Practice Problems from the FE Civil Practice Problems by Michael R. Lindeburg.  
    3. Lesson Learned: You are studying to take and pass an exam, not relearn everything you learned in school. Therefore, just do practice problems!
  3. Know the Reference Guide
    1. March: I was comfortable with the Reference Guide.
    2. September: I was an expert with the Reference Guide.
    3. Lesson Learned: Know where exactly a certain formula/information you need in the Reference Guide! Doing practice problems and using the official Reference Guide helped a lot. For me, I brought a hard-copy of the Reference Guide and tabbed it as necessary.
  4. Be chill
    1. March: I was a nervous wreck when I took the exam. My hands kept shaking and I felt like I couldn’t breathe until the next day. Yes, I was still on adrenaline after the exam (9+ hours).
    2. September: I was more calm about it. In fact, my attitude was more like, “If I pass, I pass. If I fail, I can take it again later.”
    3. Lesson Learned: When I was nervous, I was more likely to misread the question or mark a wrong answer. Being more relaxed allowed me even allowed me to have extra time after the morning session. I had time to go over my answers two more times, which gave me the opportunity to find errors in my calculations and fix them.
  5. Stay sane
    1. March: I stopped going to TNTT for about a month to coop myself up in my room to study. I barely took any mental breaks and did not catch up with friends.
    2. September: I was still going to TNTT. When I got tired of studying, I would take a nice long break. Once in a while, I would catch up with a friend.
    3. Lesson Learned: Take breaks by allowing yourself to have fun during the period of time (weeks or months) of studying.

Ultimately, I believe that it is simply important to put the exam as a priority and just try your best. Do not be too hard on yourself if you do not pass the first time. Passing the exam the first or second time does not mean you are a good or bad engineer. Everyone’s journey to becoming an engineer is different.

To whoever is taking the FE exam, I wish you the best of luck! Happy studying!

Study Material:

FE Civil Practice Problems by Michael R. Lindeburg

FE Civil Review by Michael R. Lindeburg (older version of this)

NCEES FE Civil practice exam

NCEES Reference Guide


25th Birthday

These are just a few of my friends who have shaped me.

All of these women have at one point or another made sure I did not fall flat on my face. Literally and figuratively.

I wouldn’t have gained the confidence and strength to be who I am today without these beautiful and strong women. Thank you for making my 25th birthday memorable. 💛


First Blog Post!

Hello and welcome to Path to Purple!

For the very first blog post, it is apparently customary to somehow get the readers to learn more about me. I guess the ABOUT ME page is not enough information. Therefore, for the very first blog post, I will be telling you 10 Random Facts you may not know about me.


  • I am left-handed. This is a very common fact I like to say whenever I am part of an ice-breaker.
  • I am the oldest child in my family. Basically, I am the “Chi Hai” of my younger sister and younger brother.
  • I joined TNTT when I was 8 years old as a 3rd grader. Somehow, I’ve stayed in TNTT ever since!
  • I love food. Some of my favorite foods are sushi, ice-cream, cơm tấm thịt nướng, and cheeseburgers. Okay, honestly, the list can go on.
  • I am a scaredy-cat. I cannot watch horror movies because if I do, I would not be able to go to sleep at night.
  • My unofficial English name is Theresa. When I was younger, I would ask my mom why didn’t I have an English name and asked her to give me an unofficial one. She told me it would be my saint name.
  • In the 5th grade, I taught myself how to use Adobe Photoshop. I learned how to graphic design and ran an anime graphics website with my sister from 2005 until around junior year of high school when we became busy with AP classes.
  • I love nature and being outside in the woods. There is some kind of peaceful feeling when trees surround me and hear the wind brush against the leaves.
  • In high school, I competed in the Track & Field as well as the Girls Tennis team. In the spring, I ran sprints and hurdles for Track & Field. In the fall, I played Doubles #1 as the main net player.
  • I was an active lion dancer in a professional lion dance team for 7 years. Lion dancing has been a big part of my life while I was in school. It gave me the opportunity to embrace my culture as well as learn more about life in general.

And there you have it! Ten random facts about me!

Did you already know some of these facts before reading this list? Which ones did you not know? Let me know by commenting down below!