Well, we’re all back on campus now and we’re all back to studying! For Frosh, this Term is a pretty special one because it is our first Term on official letter grades. Also, this Term promises some long-awaited events such as Ditch Day! We also have two more Interhouse parties to look forward to, Prefrosh Weekend, Graduation for seniors and beautiful sunny weather.
We are also starting the housing process for next year right now. While all Frosh are required to live on campus, upperclassmen may try to live off campus. Now off campus sometimes means closer to campus that some of the on-campus houses such as Avery. Caltech owns a number of apartment buildings near the campus but some students rent their own apartments too. It really varied by house how easy it is to stay on campus but I believe that in general people are happy with where they end up. This morning Hanna and I officially decided to stay together next year! Yes, at Caltech since there are so few undergraduates compared to some other schools, the roommate situation is very nice. Each house has its own tradition of assigning roommates. In my house (Page House), the night that rotation ended and everyone found out what house they got into, Page upperclassmen took all us new Page frosh out to dinner. By the end of the dinner we were expected to each find ourselves a roommate. Since I didn’t know many of the Frosh yet, I just indulged in my food and milkshake. At the end of the dinner, a blond Frosh girl comes up to me and more or less says: “Hi, my name is Hanna and I need a roommate. A senior [no names] said that we’d be a good match. Would you like us to be roommates?”. Now Hanna and I keep saying “thank you” to that senior because he turned out to be a great match-maker! For example, are on the same sleep schedule (which is very important because we like to go to bed before midnight and get up between 7 and 8am). Of course, that is not the one and only reason why at least I enjoy rooming with Hanna. To summarize, I think we’re really lucky to have a small enough campus to allow for such housing opportunities.
So what am I anticipating for this Spring Term after such a start? I’m expecting most of all to work extra hard and keep in mind that next year will only be good if I make this Term go well. I’ll also have to make sure I manage my time well to not only study thoroughly but to also enjoy my dance and musical performances and to improve my running. I also want to start cooking more (I’ll start this weekend) and perhaps spend more time outdoors since I’m also expecting the weather to keep getting warmer.
Cheers, and try to make it to Prefrosh Weekend if you can!
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.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.