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.
One of the most exciting aspects of college life is the freedom that students enjoy when living on their own. When most students think about college life, one of the first things that comes to mind is Greek life, with the many sororities and fraternities on campuses across the country. While Caltech does not have Greek life, per se, we do have a unique housing system, similar to that of Hogwarts. There are eight houses and one residence on campus: Avery, Blacker, Dabney, Fleming, Lloyd, Page, Ricketts, Ruddock, and the Bechtel Residence. Each of the houses has its own unique culture, character, and traditions. I am a member of Ruddock House!
This past year was so different than most of us could have ever imagined. Living in “the virtual school year” posed a plethora of challenges, but at the same time, it opened the door to new possibilities. As a society, we learned how to better operate in a virtual world, and as individuals, we had time for new endeavors. For myself, this meant taking the leap of faith to move away from home and live with some fellow Techers. While I had already had the experience of moving away from home and coming to live in the Caltech houses, this was quite different. Instead of living in organized student residences with hundreds of other students, a meal plan, and tons of support resources, I was about to go live with just 5 other people (some of which I did not know super well) and we had to find and manage our own housing, food, and necessities.
My favorite part about Caltech is the Houses! The easiest way to describe them is as Hogwarts houses: each has their own personality and group of people and the first thing you do at Caltech is go through a “sorting” process. The people are what makes the Houses at Caltech so great. As a frosh, it’s amazing to be able to come in and immediately have a group of 100+ people to support you. Because the Houses have students from every grade, you make friends with upperclassmen and can ask for help on tons of things like: