Whew! I’ve been pretty busy so far this week, and I’m just going to keep getting busier. I had my first sets due on Wednesday—one for physics, and one for orgo. The physics set took me ages and ages to do. I started working on it over the weekend, spent a few hours working on it on Monday, and then I more or less did physics through all of Tuesday. It was pretty painful. I definitely spent more time on it than should have been necessary, but at least now I understand what’s going on and will be ready for the upcoming quiz! The orgo set, thankfully, was really easy and only took an hour or so. Now that I turned in those two sets, I have an orgo quiz in tomorrow’s lecture, and my first ACM set is also due the same day. Then I have a set in ChE 64 due on Monday. Then the first math set and physics quiz due on Tuesday. And then the cycle starts all over again!
Anyways, that’s enough about schoolwork. We need to have some fun! The weekend was quite awesome. On Friday night, a lot of the houses hosted different activities: Page House had “fight night,” Lloyd had a dance party, Fleming had a paint party, and Ricketts had open mic night. I attended Ricketts’ open mic, which they hold once a term. The fall term performance coincides with the end of rotation, the winter term varies, and the spring open mic is during Prefrosh Weekend. It is, by far, one of my favorite events at Caltech. For the hour or two that I was there, we got quite a variety of performances! Open mic is usually dominated by upperclassmen performing, but this time around, a good number of prefrosh came up to the mic! One played a beautiful cover of a song by The Tallest Man On Earth; another performed a song that he wrote himself; and quite a few more came up to tell [really, really bad] jokes.
Here’s Eugene on guitar and Jetson on drums covering The Tallest Man On Earth:
A group of Techers dancing to Nick’s composition:
Here’s Mathilda, a senior, and others, performing a song by The Cranberries:
And some more pictures:
Saturday night was host to the annual “End of Rotation” party. This Hawaiian-themed party was held in the Page House courtyard. It had typical party fare: food, drinks, and dancing to bad music. Good times!
Here’s me with Karen [a water polo/swim smore] and Ella [another smore]:
Techers dancing/hanging out:
And food/drinks/party favors:
Sunday afternoon was really exciting for all of the new students. This is because the Fleming cannon fires at 5 pm, thus signifying the prefrosh’s transition into frosh-hood.
Here’s Brice, the cannonmaster. You can also see the crowd gathered along the Olive Walk in this picture, including the gaggle/flock/pack/herd [what’s the correct word?] of prefrosh:
Here’s the cannon, post-firing:
Even more important than the prefrosh’sascension to frosh-hood, the cannon firingis also when the new frosh find out what houses they were placed into. After the cannon fired, the prefrosh all rush to their favorite house to find out whether or not they got in. Each house then has different activities planned to welcome their newest members.
I really enjoy what Dabney does for the new frosh: we welcome them with hugs! Also, not only do we get a delicious free meal of Thai food and hang out with our new housemates, but we also rented a bouncy castle! This year, Carson, a fellow smore, made some incredible bubble mix, which we were also playing withthroughoutthe evening.
The poster with all of our new frosh:
Welcoming a new frosh with hugs:
Yummy Thai food:
The bouncy castles right as somebody was climbing on top of them…:
[Yuehan, a member of the men’s water polo team, wafting the bubble upwards]
[That’s me right there, in the striped shirt, trying to pop the bubble…]
And… That’s it! I’ll be writing again really soon. Expect to hear about my new chamber ensemble and tonight’s men’s water polo game against Connecticut College!
*Credit to: Lan, Ricketts House historian, for the open mic pictures; Theresa, Fleming House historian, and Sarah for cannon firing pictures; Hanna for party pictures; Naomi, Dabney House historian, and Jomya for post-rotation pictures.
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
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.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!