**Sorry for the delay - busy since coming back from my last interview! So I’ll give an update on what I’ve been doing since then!Last week I was at UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson. If you’re from NJ, you know what I’m talking about. Otherwise, it’s a medical school in my home state! It was nice to take the plane into Newark Airport and be picked up by my parents. It ALSO was nice to catch up on my sleep in my own bed for the night! There’s something about the sheets you have at home that you can never replicate in a dorm. And then you can wake up whenever you want the next day, which always helps! I got to have a lazy morning, and then headed up to New Brunswick to the hotel - the Hyatt Regency! What nice accommodations!
So I went to bed after trying Ethiopian food (interesting…you don’t use utensils, but it’s not as messy as you’d expect!) and hanging out with some of the current medical students. I woke up at 7:30 AM (relatively late for interviews) to THIS outside of my window!
Well, by this point, you all know what comes next. 5 interviews, tour, lunch, and an info session later I wrapped up the session at UMDNJ. They have really nice hospital facilities - recently built with a really cute Children’s tower (there’s even a giraffe that figures out your height!). There’s also a lot of graduate study options there - you can do your PhD at UMDNJ, Rutgers (the state university of NJ), or Princeton (explanation needed there?). It’s definitely one of the unique aspects of the program.
However, I’d like to point out that on all of these interviews, one aspect really makes me miss my “home” at Caltech - the SIZE of these places! I look at the undergrad campuses for the schools I visit (many of them nearby or continuous with the medical school), and I am in shock! They’re so LARGE! It really reminds me how lucky I am that Caltech’s such a small place. Not just in saving me steps to run to class when I’m late, but also in my interaction with such a variety of professors and students in such a condensed atmosphere! I walk 5 minutes and I’ve gone from biology to chemistry to geology to engineering! And I walk down the hall of my House and I see MechE’s, Biologists, Mathemeticians, you get the picture… It’s amazing to have such CONCENTRATED talent! Not knocking the other schools, they have great resources too (and there are advantages to size), but I think being small and having the ability to go out and get what you want to make YOUR education the best for you makes Caltech unique.
…just thought I’d add my thoughts on that matter! :)
But I will say, one thing you won’t get at Caltech is fall :(. That’s OK, though, because I got to see some at home!!
Where am I going next, you wonder…? The City (New York, if that wasn’t clear at first) - NYU!
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: