culture

Women's March LA

On Saturday, 1/21, I attended the Women’s March in downtown LA. Well, me and 750,000 other people! I traveled there with a large group of graduate students (and some undergrads) and tagged along with a group of three Blacker Moles (as no one else in my House attended the march). It was an incredible experience, best summarized with photos:

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global

Reading and Writing on Break and on Campus

Reading for pleasure is something I did voraciously from age 5 to age 18. Actually, some time in high school I stopped reading books that weren’t assigned, but I think I only really noticed that I had stopped reading after a few years in college. I read the news online non-stop (and if “twitter” counts as “the news online” that previous statementis not hyperbole). I read assigned books and articles for my humanities classes. I just don’t read books that I find on a shelf and think look interesting. I have about five articles bookmarked- lists of “15 best books coming out this Spring”- all the way back to 2014, that I still haven’t read anything off of. Even in my downtime at school I’ve been ferociously binge-watching Netflix shows, not reading. This isn’t because I don’t like it anymore- when I do manage to pick up a book, I devour it just as quickly as I used to. I don’t know why my default time-suck activities are now Netflix and browsing the internet, but that’s where we are. Over winter break I decided to change that a little.

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research

What I did on My Winter Vacation

I know I already posted about the insane number of holiday cookies I baked over winter break, but I’m here with an update, and the update is: my mother and I went through a 10lb bag of flour in one month. I’m honestly kind of proud of us, while also a little disturbed by how much granulated sugar we went through during the same period. In any case, we baked an impressive amount of breads, cakes, and cookies while I was at home with my family, and I learned a little about myself at the same time (cue the sappy montage music).

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research

Holiday Cookies!

I’ve only been home from Caltech for two days and I’ve already baked an intense amount. If you’ve read this blog for a little while you’ll have noticed that I bake and cook quite often, and also that I haven’t done much of either for the past semester. Part of that is because I’m living on campus (in my House) again this year, and I’m on the board program and no longer need to cook every meal for myself. The other factor has been time: for the first half of the semester, I was too busy to cook (and took great advantage of the board program). “Too busy to cook” isn’t a real complaint in the real world, of course, and I’m pretty lucky to still be living on a college campus, with pre-paid-for food available nearly 24-7. But now that I’m at home for winter break, I’ve gotten back to my favorite stress relief: baking!

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academics

Napa Weekend

I had the chance this past weekend to visit one of my high school friends in Berkeley, CA. I say I “had the chance” because I took advantage of the “reading period” that Techers have between the last day of classes and the official beginning of finals week to skip town. It was maybe not the best idea, especially considering I hadn’t yet started studying for my finals, but I found cheap plane tickets to the Bay Area and I jumped at the chance.

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research

Ditch Day

“Wake up, frosh; it’s ditch day!”

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global

4 Finds on Abbot Kinney Blvd

Hey friends, This past weekend my friends and I went to Abbot Kinney Blvd, on the other side of LA.GQ thinks it as “the coolest block in America.” After our visit, I think we can all say that we agree. Parking was a little difficult to find, but it wasn’t too terribly expensive. (I think Imight have finally gotten used to the concept of paying for parking everywhere out here in California…) The cloudy day was perfect for photos (:

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culture

How Premeds Skip Class

Hello friends, As I might have mentioned before, I’m a premed. At some schools, that might be a certain major, but at Caltech (and most schools, I think), that just means that I have the intention of applying to medical school. Premeds can major in whatever they’re interested in, but for a lot of people that means some sort of biology/chemistry/combination. I’m a chemistry major because I found that when I studied biology, I wished I had a stronger chemistry background.

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local

Alhambra Farmers' Market

Hello friends! Lunch after church: That’s been one of the most regular ways for me to explore and eat my way through Los Angeles with friends for the past few years. Yesterday, we went to the Alhambra Farmers’ Market on our way back to campus. Farmers’ markets are one of the most sure-fire ways to know what’s in season:right now, it’s apples, persimmons, tomatoes, and sunflowers. There are also somehow always these long stalks of sugarcane. I wonder what people use those for. If you know, please share? When I go, I like to stop by this little tent of Taiwanese snacks, where I can pay $5 for dan bing egg (蚕餅), a green onion pancake with egg. I love to snack on dan bing as I walk around the market.

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research

A Caltech Halloween

Boo! Halloween has come to be one of my favorite holidays. When I was little, it would always manage to rain on Halloween night so that trick-or-treating was messy. I like it now because it’s the one day a year that I get to be someone/something else and amuse people when they recognize it. That is, in theory. I’ve been pretty bad at being other people/things so far. I’d like to say I improved this year compared to years past. Can you tell who I am?

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clubs

Off Campus Adventures

Hello again!

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global

Postcards from Jenny

As I was reminiscing about my study abroad experience last year, I dug up this old post that never got posted…

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research

Postcards from Jenny

I can’t believe it’s somehow already been a year. I met this year’s exchange students from Edinburgh Uni, and talking to them brought me back to the cobbly wynds and layers of ghosts that is Edinburgh. Anyhow, here’s another one of my posts from London last year.

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research

Postcards from Jenny

I keep discovering all these postcards that were lost in the mail, heh. Better late than never!Some of my friends have just settled in for their study abroad experience in Edinburgh, and hearing about their adventures reminded me of these museums I visited during my time there….

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global

Postcards from Jenny

Autumn is upon us, but this one in Southern California feels a little lackluster compared to that in Edinburgh last year…

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local

Coffee adventures on and off campus

It’s probably no surprise that Caltech students like to get off campus sometimes! Some students go to the beach whenever they can, or go to concerts in LA, or go hiking or mountain biking in Altadena or the greater LA area. I don’t have a car, but I like to go off-campus to grab coffee and study in a new spot, or just go to Old Pas to shop (read: waste my Blogging paycheck). I’ve also started brewing my own coffee in my room in Page House, having finally ordered a coffee grinder, electric kettle, and pour-over cone. I think the setup is pretty good for a $30 investment and some beans from Target!

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research

LA

Hi friends,

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research

Here Fishy Fishy

Hi there, and happy Monday! It’s been a great weekend, I hope you all had good weekends too.

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research

A Busy Weekend

Hello and happy Monday! I’m still resting up from the super busy week. Hopefully I can get properly rested before camping next weekend.

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clubs

frosh_year.end()

It feels as though I picked up my Caltech ID yesterday. I remember walking through campus for the first time, thinking I’d never figure out how to get around campus. I remember meeting all those new faces, learning all those names just to forget them minutes later. I remember lacing up my shoes for my first volleyball practice. I remember sitting on the beach at night during frosh camp. I remember standing around on the Olive Walk after a game waiting for our new houses to be announced. After hearing the cannon fire, I found my nametag in the Fleming courtyard. That night, I got my room assignment and found a group of friends that would fill all 200 square feet.

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clubs

SF Pride Weekend!

Hey there! It’s been a pretty busy weekend. On Friday, Airware officially moved out of its site and into a new, fancier one. I did no work. I spent all day moving and helping other people move. The internet shut off at 3 and I went home shortly after that.

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research

First Weekend of Summer!

Hi there!

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research

Memories from Ditch Day

Hello friends, I tell people on tours that there are two bigtraditions at Caltech: Interhouse and Ditch Day. The former is a party that each house builds and hosts every year. The term “build” might be confusing. We build a dance floor, paint and put up large murals, and make lots of food all to fit a theme. In my time at Caltech, Avery House has done The Great Gatsby, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and Studio Ghibli. I’ve written about other interhouse parties throughout the years.

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research

Very Busy Weekend

Hi there, everyone!

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culture

Venerable Formal Dinner

Last weekend was formal dinner for the north houses, so I decided to make use of my social membership and dine with Venerable for a night. While house dinners are mainly populated by members of that particular house, there are usually a lot of other non-members at formal dinners.

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culture

Alumni Dinner

So, the really cool part about the house system is that you carry your house affiliation with you long after you leave Caltech. For example, one of the eight houses has their insignia laser engraved onto one of the panels on Curiosity, the Mars Rover. And while we always get to hear about the amazing alums that once lived in our house, it is a rare treat for us to meet them and talk to them. This past weekend was Fleming Alumni Dinner, so alums decided to pay us a visit at house dinner, talk about their lives at Caltech, and what going to Caltech was like back in the old days.

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culture

Midnight Donuts

Every term, on the Wednesday of the eighth week, ASCIT (Caltech’s student government) makes donuts and hands them out on the Olive Walk (the path between the north and south houses) at midnight. While Caltech orders about seven hundred donuts, about fourteen dozen of those donuts are just shells that we need to fill. And as per an old tradition, we slice these shells open to fill them with glazed strawberries. So, as a part of the ASCIT Board of Directors this term, I was the one slicing strawberries and filling donuts.

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research

Cocktail Party and Midterm Grades

Every year, Page house hosts a formal event for ourselves called Cocktail Party. The past few years it’s been held in the courtyard of Beckman laboratory, with a live jazz band, a photo booth, and a bar. We name the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks after current Pageboys, and have them themed to inside jokes from the year. It’s a great excuse to dress up and dance!

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culture

Really Old Books

Hello! Today is Thursday of Week 9. The countdown is real - only one more week of classes. I’m probably going to make it.

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culture

Very Busy Weekend

Hi there! I did nothing for two days this weekend. By which I mean, I did no work.

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clubs

Beachbeachbeachbeach

Hi friends, On Saturday, Avery House went to the beach.

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culture

Poetry with Ciaran Carson

Since Caltech is a small, and STEM-focused, school, the amount of humanities offered can be very limited. I really like many of the classes I’ve taken (British Romantic literature, creative short story writing, and Irish literature in particular), but there are some niche subjects that I’m interested in that are just too specific to be offered. Among my pet ideas–Irish mythology (fairies, a favorite for popular teen fantasy novels nowadays it seems, though I’d like to learn more about them in their original context), novel-writing workshop, 20th century Latin-American literature (like Borges and Garcia Marquez, and after the class we’d ideally know more than just those two names). Or mythology of cultures other than the classic Greek and Roman would be super cool too. There are so many creatures that haven’t made it into mainstream literature–rusalki (water nymphs in Slavic folklore), selkies (creatures who live as seals in the sea but have human form on land, found in Irish and Scottish folklore), changelings (a baby fairy or troll that has been swapped with a human infant), far darrigs (a type of solitary trickster fairy in Irish folklore in the same class as leprechauns and chlurichauns).

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culture

Chamber Music with Martin Chalifour

Living in LA means we’re close to Hollywood, but an aspect I didn’t really consider before coming here was how close we were to the LA Philharmonic. To the point where the concertmaster of the LA Phil, Martin Chalifour, actually does some teachingat Caltech!

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research

Planning Your Schedule

Hello!

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clubs

Coffee Fix

Hi there, It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been working super hard this term. TA’ing takes a lot out of my schedule but my predicament has gotten easier since I stopped having six hours of volleyball every week. Now I can pick which time I spend on exercise, so I can power through my homework and then do a one-hour HIIT workout at 10pm. That’s what I did last night. I’m very sore, so today I get an hour of yoga instead.

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research

Traveling During the Term

I’ve been traveling quite a bit this year. By my count, I have flown 21 times since the beginning of this school year (mostly because I studied abroad in Edinburgh in the Fall, and spent quite a few weekends traveling around Europe). This term, I spent one day in San Francisco and four days in Philadelphia. I just returned from Philly, actually, and I’m reflecting on everything I’ve done to make sure that traveling doesn’t affect my schoolwork.

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culture

Ditch Day to the Stars!

Sorry for the extremely belated post. I know I’ve been really out of touch lately, and I’ll talk more about it here.

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global

Easter Eggs and Tamagoyaki

As the UCC of Alley 6 in my House (we call hallways alleys here in the Caltech Houses), it is my job to look out for the mental health of my fellow students, and to occasionally plan mixers to promote intra-alley socializing. By mixers, I mean fun events and not dances. Since Easter Sunday was the day most of the students flew back for the beginning of term, I decided it would be fun to have a secular egg-dyeing party with my alley.

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research

Jenny's Spring Term Outlook

Hi friends,

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culture

5 Pasadena Study Spots for a Café Lover

Hello everyone, Add Day, the last day of the three week period during which we can freely add courses, has just passed. It’s that time of term again, when everyone has settled into a routine. Some terms, my routine has consisted of more than I can handle. Some terms, as I hope this one will be, my routine seems to meansleeping early and getting up in time for my favorite time of day–morning. I hope this can continue! Although college students tend to stay up–whether for school work or extracurriculars or the many awesome campus traditions orpranks or real talk with friends–one encouragement I’ve found to keep getting up early is that coffee shops get up early, too. I spent the first two years exploring nearby boba shops, but after my autumn term in Edinburgh, Scotland, I’ve learned to appreciate a steaming cup of black coffee. Pasadena doesn’t quite have the climate for afternoon coffee or tea, but the crisp and quiet mornings only add to the encouragement that a cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant seem to inspire.

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clubs

Y Combinator's Female Founders Conference

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend Y Combinator’s Female Founders Conference, a daylong event in San Francisco for female founders of startups (and anyone else who is interested in the field). I had heard about the event a few months previously, in the Ladies Storm Hackathons Facebook group, and had totally forgotten that I had applied for an invitation to attend until I got an email in early March that I had been invited. I booked my plane tickets (turns out there is no convenient public transportation option to get from LA to SF), and flew up Monday morning and flew back down Monday night.

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Spotlight


academics

My Trip to the Galapagos!

It’s been over three months since my trip to the Galapagos, and I am still thinking about it. For seven days, we all woke up at 5:30 am on the boat, ate breakfast together, and went out as the sun was rising on our morning hike to catch frigatebirds mating or iguanas spewing salt from their nostrils. Our days were spent snorkeling with turtles, sea lions, and schools of fish, and our nights were spent sitting on the bow of the ship, talking all together under the stars. It was truly a spring break I will never forget.

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culture

Caltech Food Tour

Caltech may be a small campus, but it has a large variety of food options. There are three main dining locations on campus — The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Hameetman Center (which houses our beloved Red Door Cafe), and the Broad Café.

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academics

Some Late-Night Stress-Saving Food Runs

Midterms kept up its unrelenting attack on my sanity this week – at least a little bit. And how did I solve this? Two words.

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global local culture

Quick Trip to the Beach

Although there are a lot of smaller things, such as midterm smoothies and milkshakes (Blacker does something similar to this) and some larger things like Faculty Dessert Night, the soc team usually agrees that beach trip is the most work.

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