Keeps your bad grades away! (hopefully – just took the final, did not go well). Hello from Maryland! As you can probably tell, I’m a couple days behind with my blog posts. I’m currently staying with the parents of my roommate from last year while I’m at the American Geophysical Union conference in Washingotn, DC. But more on that later (they’re my new favorite people!).
This is a bit of a reflection on a class and how I’ve spent this last week before I headed off to death by finals in another state. And a reflection on a term that’s probably been the hardest work I’ve done up until this point.
It hasn’t been easy. This term was actually supposed to be easy. But a combination of more Chouse work than I ever wanted to do, searching for summer jobs, a new math professor for a class that was supposed to be very straightforward, and fencing more than ever have all made this a bit of a mess, and that’s ok.
Sometimes, you need to take some time to make a meme. For all of you parents out there, (according to Wikipedia) a meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme. These often-humorous little tidbits are something that I started making during geology class.
Ge 11a was honestly not my favorite class to start. It’s a required general geology class that took a bit more time than I had to spend on it and wasn’t always on topics I was interested in. So, I made it better with a little bit of 21st century humor.
Sure, these aren’t too funny (elf on the continental shelf is definitely low-quality creation but it was RIGHT there). And for every meme I made, I grew a little fonder of the lecture, the content we were learning, and everything else. Sure, that would often be knocked back by a long problem set or some time when I wanted to be doing something else. But generally, I grew to appreciate Ge 11a. But oh man that final wasn’t a great time. They usually never are at Caltech. The open book policy is a gift and a curse. On one hand, it means you don’t have to study to memorize things. On the other, it means that nothing is tested that’s in your notes. Either way, I only have one more exam left.
When packing for college, the first thing on your mind is likely not about celebrating your birthday. However, months later, as the inevitable birthday approaches, you may actually start to wonder what a birthday looks like without the friends and family you’ve likely spent every year with. Thankfully, at Caltech, there are many opportunities to make sure that a birthday away is just as good, if not better, than the one at home. One example is the Venerable house birthday tradition.
Studying at Caltech is a lot like crewing a spaceship. You get to work alongside some of the most talented people on Earth, you’re constantly doing science in order to survive, and the environment tends to keep you under a lot of pressure. It’s an incredible experience, and also a very challenging one, to be sure. Sometimes you’re left feeling like an impostor among your crewmates, having failed to complete every task you think is expected of you. But fear not! These feelings are not based in reality; they are merely symptoms of a benign condition known as impostor syndrome. Think you might be affected? This post is for you.
Always not quite organized, my desk is a constant, yet subtle reminder of why I ultimately chose Caltech: the people. (sigh… I bet you haven’t heard that one before!). It’s no secret that Caltech has a small undergraduate population but, in my experience, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find your people, it means you’ll be able to find them faster!
With the third term fast approaching and the status of COVID on campus pushing all major events to the spring quarter, students of the houses of Caltech were excited. The reason? Interhouse season had arrived. Interhouses, a longstanding tradition of the California Institute of Technology, are summarized as parties hosted by each respective house, usually with a theme, in which the entire undergraduate population is invited to attend. As every undergraduate house of Caltech has its own personality and characteristics, these interhouses too have their own flair depending on the house who hosts them.