Our house had a Secret Santa Gift Exchange last week. It’s a house tradition where we are randomly matched up with a person to gift, and someone else gives you a present as well. Depending on how well you know the person you’re gifting, sometimes people will gift gag gifts as a “Secret Satan”. The gift comes with a hint to help the receiver guess the person that gifted them. We open all the presents together in our house lounge, and it’s hilarious to see whom people guess as their gift giver and the actual gifts.
It seems to be an annual tradition here at Caltech for each individual house to pile into a dozen cars and drive up to some of California’s best hills for a weekend of snowy bliss. This weekend, Avery House took advantage of the long weekend and 40 of us piled into a few cars and headed to a cabin near Big Bear Mountain. The first night was relaxing as we tried to play Majong.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an undergrad in possession of a large appetite must be in want of free food. Everyone loves free things and everyone loves food. The only thing better than both of those seperately, is both of those combined. It has taken me a term to figure this out but I will impart on you a little secret about where to find the best free food on campus.
Hello everyone! I am Wen Min Chen, the vice president of the Caltech Y excomm, as Laura mentioned in her first blog post. I hold the Caltech Y near and dear to my heart, since it has allowed me to experience things I probably wouldn’t have at other universities. After all, the Caltech Y is devoted to giving students opportunities to explore life outside the Caltech bubble. The Caltech Y has a lot of programs that can be grouped under five main categories: educational programs, outdoor adventures, community service, social activities, and cultural events. There’s always something that will interest the average student here!
Then Saturday night consisted of a house frosh dinner at Souplantation led by two of our lovely frosh UCCs. I also couldn’t help but resist tell you (probably for the millionth time) how nice the weather was! Nothing really beats reading 100+ pages for a humanities class while the sun is out :)
Just a little background, Caltech’s undergrad population is divided into eight houses, each with their own uniqueness. Each house has their own social team, a group that’s in charge of planning events for that house each weekend and sometimes we do joint events with other houses. Combined with Interhouse parties and ASCIT organized events, weekends can get quite busy. So contrary to the nerd stereotype, us Techers like being social.
The Friday before finals week, the band Wallpaper. performed at Caltech! It was one of those online competitions for which college had the most votes, and we won! Their music falls under the hip hop/pop genre, and if you haven’t heard them yet you should check them out. The concert was a ton of fun; they had a small stage setup on campus and we were able to get right up to the stage. Actually, someone walked on stage while they were performing, but then was taken off by security… Point is, we got to see them really up close! I could see all their facial expressions, sweat, and all. At one point they had prerecorded the song and band members reached out into the crowd giving everyone high fives.
Hiya, How has your break been? I’ve enjoyed spending time with my family and catching up with a few childhood/high school friends. Since it’s my last year at Caltech, I decided to fly back to Pasadena on New Year’s Eve to see the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day. I’ve never been to the Rose Bowl Parade before or see a live parade before outside of theme parks such as Disney, so I was glad to get a chance to see it this year. I was, however, a bit sad to leave Florida so soon, especially since my parents were really happy to see me back home. Anyways, I saw a ton of Michigan State fans at the airport and all of them were really excited to go to the Rose Bowl game against Stanford. My connection to LAX was through Minnesota out of all places, so I got to see some snow this winter! : ) There were so many issues with flights getting delayed and my own flight was overbooked, but thankfully I made it back to Tech safely in time for New Year’s. I checked out Colorado Blvd., just several blocks North of campus and we saw a ton of people camped out for the Rose Bowl parade. It was interesting seeing all the people waiting for midnight, along with bonfires, RVs, chairs, and air mattresses. A few friends and I celebrated at midnight with watching the ball drop again since I had missed it at 9:00 PST riding on the shuttle. I was pretty tired from the flight, so I ended up showering, unpacking, and heading to bed so that I could wake up early for the parade. The floats were really neat and elaborate. I really liked the floats that took a lot of engineering and mechanical skill to build. The parade lasted about two hours and then we went to get Korean tofu soup at A Ri Rang for lunch. Then, a few of us drove down to Irvine for Vivian and Peter’s wedding (Congrats you two!). The wedding was very sweet and the bride looked stunningly gorgeous and perfect in her dress. New Year’s Day was thus pretty eventful for me, but I had fun watching the parade and witnessing the wedding. I look forward to enjoying the rest of my break before classes start on Monday.
Hi again! Hope you’re ahving a great holiday season no matter where you are in the world! I happen to be at home in the great north: Canada! Life here is just a tad bit different from life on the sunny west coast of California. For one, there’s snow, and lots of it too. The temperature here gets pretty cold so I’ve been holed up inside most days, usually wrapped up in a blanket with a good book. Today the weather is slightly better at -12C (or about 10F) so I decided to go out for a walk in the woods. There’s something quite fresh about seeing your own breath and feeling the chill in the extremities of your fingers and toes. While heading back home I even saw some people out for a run, braving the cold. That’s a little taste of Canada for you!
Ah, what’s there that could be said about London? It’s London! One of the major western settlements for millennia, the city everyone in the UK should see, even if you don’t want to be seen as a tourist.
Hiya, So I’m back home in Florida for Winter Break now and my family decided to take a trip to Orlando for a couple of days. What is in Orlando you might ask? Disney! Although we are Floridians, we don’t go to Disney World as often as you might think. Our family hasn’t gone there together since I was in elementary school and lines can get excessively long during school breaks. Luckily, the lines weren’t too bad when we went. We got parkhopper passes so that we could check out two parks in one day- EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. I didn’t remember the parks much at all, so it was refreshing getting to revisit and to explore the parks again. Plus, rides and attractions have been added or changed. Compared to Disneyland, I think Disney World is better because there are more parks and rides. I enjoyed the Star Tours ride that is in both Hollywood Studios in Disney World as well as Disneyland. I also found this funny door from Monsters University (see below). We didn’t end up staying late for the fireworks/lights shows. Instead, we went to Downtown Disney to have a late dinner at the House of Blues.I’m definitely enjoying the warm weather here, although I wish I could see snow :(See the snow…i mean sandman below from Disney? Or, perhaps it’s Olaf from Frozen? ;P)
Hi readers! It’s good to be back blogging again! I didn’t realize how many prefrosh read the blogs until they came to Tech and recognized me from them. It was a little surprising, but I hope what I write here gives you some insight into what it’s like to be a student at Tech, and maybe even convince you to come!
Hiya, So my roommate and I decided to pick up some holiday lights at Lowe’s and decorate our apartment. It’s been chilly the past couple of days and definitely feeling like winter already here in Pasadena.
California Institute of Technology. The last word there tells you a lot about the college, really. This is not a school to find a great deal of philosophers or historians. Of course people here can like or love non-science subjects (I enjoy writing myself, hence blogging), and you can definitely major in these fields, most of the time as a second major. End of the day, however, Caltech is known for its word class work in the science and technology fields, not necessarily the humanities, and that’s reflected in its students. There are advantages to having a university where everyone has a certain level of understanding of a subject, but at the same time, you lose a bit of the diversity of ideas and opinions that you might find at a more broad university.
SoCal is pretty dry. Frankly, it rains somewhere around 4 times a year, and the nearest body of water is the ocean, which takes a bit of time to get to with a car. Cambridge, on the other hand, is one of those universities that happen to be right next to a body of water, a river actually, being the River Cam. Really, the river itself is more a tributary, maybe a little over 7 feet deep in the areas around Cambridge. It’s a beautiful thing, great to sit by, cross over with bridges, relax, around, etc. One of the nicest things about it, though, has been one of the popular traditions of Cambridge: punting. And for this one, I’m going to eschew the random picture at the end for some quite relevant pictures now.
I was glad that we didn’t have midterms or quizzes over the weekend for once. The past three weeks killed my brain, in a metaphorical sense, so it seemd a good idea to have a little extra fun this Saturday and Sunday. Which happened to coincide with a rigorously difficult math set…but whatever.
Hiya, Although I’m affiliated with Avery House, I am currently living off campus, which means I’m also off-board. My roommate Jessica (yes, she’s also a senior, an Averite, and chemistry major…confusing, I know right : P) and I have been cooking and baking up a storm together. Those of you who know me know how much I like to bake. Baking is like the chemistry of food, a combination of two of my favorite things. Jessica enjoys cooking, so I’ll be sharing with you throughout this year with our attempts and experiments :) Let me know if you have any suggestions and if you want to see more! I can also add recipes on here and explain how to make the things I post. For now, here’s a few things we made this past month! Bon appetit! :P Jessica first meal! honey glazed chicken, onions and red peppers, tomatoes and eggs,brown rice, broccoli
At 7:45 am last Friday morning, Venerable house members were woken up in the most gentle way possible: senior members, armed with metal pots & pans and a blowhorn, ran through the house, banging on everyone’s door for a nice, old-fashioned wake-up call.
“What do you study?” This is the most common question I usually get when meeting new people in Denmark.The second most common question is: “What’s planetary science?” So after saying, “Y’know… planets…” and gesturing towards the sky, there are a few surefire options for the following conversation:
Bottom line: staying up till 4 am doing chem lab reports tends to mess up one’s mood.
No seriously. I really hope you do.
Having survived the week as a human (and not yet a zombie), I have found that a dominant survival strategy during the missions, set up by the game moderator so that zombies would have a chance to attack and humans would have a chance to obtain food codes, was to form a small group with a few other humans and act in pure self-interest to go into the missions as early as possible, pick up all of the supplies available, escape, and hoard. It turns out that this game, which was in its beta phase with the food code requirement, is actually very exploitable as a human to act selfishly, since if humans die of hunger, they cannot become zombies, so it is even more so in a human’s interest to hoard food codes. Despite having to carry a loaded Nerf gun to Ph 11, the research tutorial/freshman seminar headed by Professor Tombrello, to neutralize a zombie who was taking the class, I look forward to playing this game again, because nothing is as de-stressing as running around Sloan stealthily or storming the Student Activity Center and busting into every room looking for clues.
Hellooooo! And welcome to the first installment of Adventures of an Ex-Prefrosh! As you can probably tell from other sources of information, my name is Anita and I’m a freshman here at Caltech. This is the weekend before midterms, when we frosh are supposed to be stressing out.
Allo there chaps! Or something. I don’t even. My name is Aditya and this is my humble blog, a little place where I can share my experiences over the next term as a student at Cambridge University for the fall term. Join me in my wacky, zany adventures involving cobblestones, odd accents, and cars coming down the wrong side of the road (70% of the world’s road traffic is on the right, for pete’s sake, and the only ones on the left were once part of the British Empire. I call shenanigans).
Each year, Caltech hosts a small carnival on the Beckman Mall with some of the standard carnival attractions: a rock climbing wall, a dunk tank, a money booth, a wrecking ball, a bouncy house, an assortment of small games with prizes, student bands, a cappella groups, dancing, and, perhaps the most attractive feature to a college student, lots of food. The carnival was decked out with snow cones, pretzels, popcorn, nachos, burgers, hot dogs, and more, and our new freshmen received their gifts from the Caltech Alumni Association: a Caltech Blanket, which students laid on the lawn in front of the “wedding cake”.
As a supposedly seasoned Techer who has returned for more learning/pain (they are inseparable), I am now back at Caltech and once morepiled higher and deeperin work and waking up early (8:30 is early) for class, which for an off-campus student is a more difficult test of his interest in the course material. Not to worry, though, for my newest friend craigslist linked me to a gentleman who sold me a very good mountain bike for just 85 dollars! With this, I no longer have to choose between eating breakfast and sleeping an extra 15 minutes, and standard grocery stores are no more than 5 minutes away–the world is my oyster. Going to campus? No problem! And just in time for the end of Rotation, too, to bounce with the newest Darbs!
One of my favorite things about the bus ride to work was the view outside the window. This may sound a bit mundane, but the bus passes through a road with a lot of trees, which is surprisingly relaxing. When the weather is good, it was possible to see the nearby mountain, Mount Tsukuba. When I first saw it on the map, I knew I wanted to go at least once. The weather in Japan in June isn’t exactly great, however, so any plans of going could easily be ruined by rain.
Well, technically, every day is “Pollen Day.” However, Wednesdays are my favorite day of the work week – I take a break from staring at the computer while analyzing data and instead do some hands-on data collection.
Hey all, During these next two weeks, I will be shadowing doctors at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) through what we call a preceptorship program (essentially a shadowing experience/program) organized by the school. There are about 10 of us premeds participating in this program. The people at CHLA try to arrange our schedules so that we can gain exposure to aspects of medicine we’re especially interested in. For example, I told them that my interests were in OB/GYN and pediatric surgery, so for the first week, I am scheduled to shadow plastic surgeons in both the operating rooms (OR) and the surgical clinic. Since most of us premeds have different interests, we probably won’t see much of each other while at the hospital for the next two weeks. I am incredibly excited for this experience!
Hola! Okay a bit clichéd but whatever, I just got back from Barcelona! This was the first real vacation I have taken since coming to Caltech where I didn’t have my computer or anything to answer lab emails. It was great since after finishing up with my summer work at CERN, my friend from Lloyd, Christine, flew in to Geneva and we left last Monday to head to Spain. She is studying abroad first term in Edinburgh so we decided to go somewhere sunny before she says goodbye to it for a term. Caltech has a bunch of study abroad options with schools in the UK as well as Copenhagen and Paris, and there are plenty of Techers who take a term to go explore a different part of the world.
The first week in Japan was… quite challenging. Even though I was at work most of the time, I still had enough time in which I was left on my own to get the hang of things. One of these things I had to do was successfully communicate with the cashiers at the konbini.The first time I went to the konbini to buy a meal, I didn’t know that you had an option of letting them heat the food, and the 30-second conversation that occurred for me to learn about that somehow managed to involve three languages: Japanese, Chinese and English. In addition, I had to figure out was what to do during the weekend – should I head off to Tokyo on the first weekend or should I see more of what Tsukuba had to offer? Despite advice from Kou-san to do something on one day and rest for the other, I ended up going around Tsukuba and going to Tokyo during that weekend.
One of the last steps of building the DDR mats is getting a circuit board to connect a mat to a computer. One of the easiest ways is to buy a cheap USB game controller, solder wires to the contact points on the circuit board, and then connect the wires to the DDR mat.
I wake up and throw a glance at my alarm clock - it’s 9:00 AM, the start of another wonderful day in my summer research adventure. Rather than groan at the thought of going to lab, I eagerly jump out of bed and start getting ready to spend the next eight hours in Schlinger Laboratory.
Every year for rotation, some houses make a house video to show the prefrosh more about house life and culture (it’s also fun to make a video!). I organized a few short clips for my house video and ended up doing the video editing for them. I hadn’t done much video editing before, but fortunately, there’s quite a few simple video editors available for free. I did most of the editing in Openshot, which is possibly one of the simplest video editors for Linux. One of the best features (most likely a feature in nearly every video editor) is overlaying videos and images. Using GIMP, I could make an image with a transparent background, and then overlay it on the video in Openshot. I used this to make a simple HUD (heads up display) for a Nerf blaster clip.
We still have like 5 bunches of uneaten green onions left. Good luck, Roommate N! Please eat all of the green onions for us!
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.
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.
Midterms kept up its unrelenting attack on my sanity this week – at least a little bit. And how did I solve this? Two words.
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.