global

Huntington at last!

So Sarai and I had planned to go to Huntington Library and Gardens since almost two months ago, but somehow something came up every weekend and we never made it. Finally, we got around to going there during Spring Break! On Friday, Sarai, Carrie, Albert, and I walked to Huntington. We were greeted by beautiful trees and flowers as soon as we walked past the entrace. All four of us brought a camera, and I took quite a few pictures. First we checked out the gardens with a lot of sculptures, trees, and flowers (not quite sure what it was called.) I realized on the trip that these are my favorite flowers (unfortunately I don’t know what they are called – anyone care to enlighten me?):

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culture

ASB

Hi everyone! I know this is getting old - but if you haven’t, you should skim through my other ASB entries to get the context for this one! After the usual breakfast routine, we headed to IRC again. This morning, we were very fortunate to be able to talk with some refugees!

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research

Venturing Off Campus!

Before I had to buckle down to start getting ready for next term, I decided to do fun things that I wouldn’t normally do on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, I decided to go to Old Pasadena and Tuesday I decided to take the LA Metro train to Little Tokyo and Hollywood. It has been raining for the past few days so the ground was wet and there were ducks walking around by Dabney Garden!

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research

ASB

Hi everyone! If you haven’t, you should probably skim my posts about Day 1 and Day 2 of the Caltech Y Owens Valley Alternative Spring Break trip!

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global

Spring Break [at Caltech]! (Part 1)

A lot of my friends left Thursday or Friday, but there are quite a few who still stayed. It feels quite strange to have the house so much quieter, and have less people wandering into our room at random times. It’s also a lot less convenient since we have to find food for ourselves for the next 1.5 weeks since we don’t get dinner or money to use at the convenience store. Sarai finished up her last final on Thursday, and we went with a couple of our friends to Tea Spots. It’s a rather popular place that Caltech students go to for boba or shaved ice since it’s only a 10 minute walk away. There are better boba places around, but not within walking distance, and unfortunately we don’t have a car :( Another popular place Techers go to would be Cherry on Top, an awesome frozen yogurt place. It’s like Pinkberry except cheaper and better. They always have a large variety of flavors which change every week. A group of us went over on Friday, and they had flavors such as Pineapple tart, cake batter, pecan praline, as well as more original flavors such as tart and vanilla. I always go for the tart flavors, flavors like chocolate and cake batter are more befitting for ice cream…

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research

ASB

If you haven’t, you should probably read my post about Owens Valley Day 1!

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research

Preparing for ASB!

Hi everyone! I’m Katja!

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culture

Random // Photo Dump [Part 1]

So I have a lot of pictures that I’ve randomly taken but don’t quite merit a blog post. Therefore, this is pretty much a photo dump of random things I’ve done at Caltech, many of which are actually from first term.

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global

Help Japan! Charity Event at Little Tokyo

One of my friends from Virginia came to visit Caltech this week, so Michael, Sarai, Ben, and I decided to take him to visit Los Angeles. First, we stopped by Chinatown, where we found a random restaurant to eat. We were sitting next to an aquarium with fishes, two of which were kissing…a couple of us found it rather amusing, but I didn’t get a picture of it. Anyway, the food was also amazing, it was nice to get some Chinese food once in a while.

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culture

Formal Dinner / Book Night

Last Tuesday was the second term formal dinner for Page House! Of course, like most dinners, you don’t have to be part of the house to attend, a bunch of people from other houses came too. Since it is a formal dinner, most girls come wearing dresses, and guys suits or dress shirts. Of course, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to dress up. One of my girl friends came wearing a polo shirt and nice pants. One of my guy friends decided to dress up like this:

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research

When you think it's over, ...

Hello!

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culture

I've been waiting all term to write this post...

I often joke that I came to Caltech for the birds of paradise. That’s one of the things I really clearly remember from my tour; it was the middle of February and these beautiful flowers were blooming all over campus. Coming from my cold climate, this seemed like a really nice concept. And really, it’s amazing how much nice weather can help a person’s attitude… yes, Caltech is hard, but at the same time, when you go out on a walk in the middle of winter in shorts and a t-shirt, it feels great even if you didn’t sleep the night before. But anyways, one of the really amazing things about Southern California is the number of gardens and arboretums around. I’m pretty sure just about every town has one and they’re an amazing escape from the craziness that can overwhelm you quickly. Luckily, the one closest to Caltech called the Huntington is also one of the largest and most beautiful and includes a large collection of artwork and historic documents including a Gutenberg Bible.

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clubs

The Streak is Over!

Before coming to Caltech, I never cared about basketball games. However, my roommate Sarai is a huge basketball fan and started dragging me to them. Ever since then, I’ve gone to most of the home games, including the last home game of the season today against Occidental! Everyone went with high hopes that we would break the streak, seeing that we haven’t won a single game for the last 26 years. That’s a losing streak of 304 games.

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research

Olive Harvest "Linner" and why I love Mark Wise

So… ya know… I haven’t really posted in a while… but… yeah… Let’s leave that for now.

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research

February Forecast

It’s been a while since my last post so I’ll fill you in on what happened before giving you a preview of what is yet to come!

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research

Stephen Hawking, Slingshotting Satellites, RankManiac 2011, and more!

Mighty, patient readers of this fine blog - I apologize for having a short delay in the next blog post. In fact, there was so much that had happened within the past two weeks that it was hard to do anything else other than live out my life until I got a break! As you can tell from the title of the blog - my life at Caltech is anything BUT ordinary. There’s really no way any of these topics connect with each other at all - but that’s what makes Caltech great. The variety of opportunities to learn, educate, and socialize given the small community is impressive. Whenever you’re here, you always find yourself diversifying your knowledge and experience… So what first? Stephen Hawking.

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research

Back to Blogging!

Hello! First, let me reintroduce myself. I am Nina Budaeva, a Caltech Sophomore majoring in Physics and a Page House member. I am from Berkeley, California but was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. I started blogging a year ago and went through summer up to this school year. Now I’m very happy to be back for occasional blogs about various things that pop up in my life at Caltech! I hope you enjoy following me throughout all the countless adventures that Caltech has to offer.

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research

Long weekends are long

And tautologies are tautologies. But yes, due to Martin Luther King Day, we had a 3 day weekend this weekend, which lead to lots of fun and even more good food. On top of that, my friend Christine had a friend named Helen from another college visiting, so we made sure to give her an especially good time. Combined with beautiful weather (80 degrees and sunny all weekend), we had a lot of fun.

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research

Dinosaurs, Curiosity, and Mandelbrot

Mighty readers of this awesome blog post, it is the second week of school! In other words, we have about 8 more weeks before this term ends. If you’ve never been on a quarter system, you’ll enjoy all the benefits and punishments that come along with it when you come to Caltech. Some of the true benefits include being able to learn from a variety of professors on diverse subjects in short time periods (akin to the idea behind TED talks) as well as only have 10 weeks for a class you decide wasn’t as interesting as it sounded. The obvious disadvantage is that you only have 10 weeks for a class you absolutely love (but that doesn’t stop you from taking it time and time again by auditing it) and 1.5 times as many Midterm and Final exams as most other colleges. But in the case of Caltech, I’m positive that the ‘pros’ far outweigh the ‘cons’.

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global

Page Snow Trip

On Thursday night 1/6/2011 half of Page House who went on the ski trip left for Mammoth Lakes. The other half, including me, left Friday morning. We only had to pay 10 dollars for the ski lodge for 2-3 days, which is amazingly cheap (the rest of the cost was subsidized by the house.) So on Friday morning Anguel, Dan, Sarai, and I left for the 6-hour trip.

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global

Page Not-ski trip

So most houses do some sort of ski or beach-type trip. My house (Page) goes on an annual ski trip, though I didn’t go last year due to conflicts. This year, all my friends and I decided to go and due to the house subsidizing the trip, it only cost us 10 dollars. So on Friday afternoon (after classes, which I’ll talk about in another post), we packed warm clothes and headed to Mammoth Mountain, about 300 miles north and east of Caltech and significantly higher in elevation. We arrived around 9 and found our way into our condo. Page had rented a bunch of condos, each of which held about 10 people and had kitchens for cooking (yum!). Most of our car had eaten during the ride, so we got right into playing games and fun, though we went to bed fairly early so we could enjoy the next (full) day.

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culture

Winter Break in Sunny Florida (part 2 of 2)

As promised, part 2 of 2 of my THREE WEEK winter vacation. By becoming a member of the Caltech Community, you’re endowed with all sorts of privileges… meeting Nobel Laureates, excessively long breaks in between terms, no sleep, and delicious food 24/7. Honestly, it’s a paradise for nerds, geeks, and quirky people…. If you’re the kind of person who wants to test the water with your foot before cannon-balling in, why not come for a Caltech Tour, Caltech-In-A-Day, or Prefrosh Weekend? These events will immerse you in the culture of Caltech in a short period of time, and I highly recommend doing… ALL OF THEM.

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culture

Winter Break in Sunny Florida (part 1 of 2)

Hi future fans of my blog, welcome! I’m currently a Junior Physicist at Caltech - a school you’ve applied to, or are interested in applying to. This blog and all others that you see will give you insight into the close-knit Caltech community and the life of Techers when they’re not busy studying, doing problem sets, or sleeping (which we absolutely treasure). Actually, this is my first time blogging about anything, next to Facebook status updates, so it’s going to be a new experience for me as well. Bear with me as I get adjusted to this!So, a little bit about me… I’m born and raised in Florida, across the country. In my free time, I enjoy playing StarCraft 2, web programming (PHP, HTML5, etcetera), playing tennis, and watching TV shows on Hulu. I’m also deaf, and according to Caltech lore, the last deaf person to attend Caltech was 20 years past - so if you have any questions about Caltech accommodations for special needs, let me know. I can guarantee you that Caltech is top-notch in this area. If you have any other questions, just post a comment.

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research

Disneyland!!

So if you’ve been reading the blogs for a while, you’ll know that Jennifer went to Disneyland during Thanksgiving. You also may have read that I took public transportation to Disneyland on the last day of spring term last year. So this post may make you think that Techers live in Disneyland. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that’s not true. However, when you mention that the place of many people’s childhood dreams is only a 45 or so minute drive away from their college, they get excited.

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global

A Great End to a Great Trip

Hi,On the last day we had to get up really early, pack, and bring our things down the first floor. We then headed out to catch the metro to go to Bethesda, Maryland, the location of the NIH!

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global

Nerdy Places Make Me Happy

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culture

Techers Galore

We heard from Cynthia Robinson, the director for the Science and Technology Policy Fellowships and a fellow that graduated from Caltech. The fellow went onto a postdoc after her Ph.D., but realized that she wanted to try something a bit different. She’s a biochemist, but with her fellowship, she working with an organization that deals with agriculture. We had a lively group that asked many questions, so the session was very interesting.

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global

Off to DC!

Hey,So I’m back. Yay…ha. Anyways, this time I’m going to have a shorter blog that will cover the next few days. For those of you that read my other blog, sorry for not finishing it up. This summer/first term, I ended up being a lot busier than I initially expected. Anyways, now time to start this blog! In the early hours of Sunday morning, I left to the nation’s capital to go on the Caltech Y, Science Policy Trip! In the next few posts I’m going to tell you a bit about my experience at the capital!Let me first start off by talking about the Caltech Y. There are tons of interesting clubs/organizations on campus, but I personally think the Caltech Y is one of the best. TheCaltechYwas founded in 1916 by and for students, as an opportunity to develop leadership. Today theYexists “to enrich student life and to provide opportunities that will challenge students to become engaged responsible citizens of the world.”

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global

An Edinburgh Christmas

I know it’s a little early to be talking about Christmas, but I can’t help it! Christmas is a really big deal here. Starting exactly a month early (Nov 25), Edinburgh’s Christmas on Princes St begins. There’s so much to do there, from a giant ferris wheel and many other rides, an out door ice skating rink, and my favorite, a German Christmas market! As far as I know, there’s nothing like this back in California, so the idea was incredibly exciting to me. (: There were so many cool things to look at.

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global

Snow Days

So, when I saw the snow fall last weekend, I was really excited. Like really really excited. What was even cooler was that it stuckthat night too. It was like magically over night, the entire city transformed into a winter wonderland. Sooo corny I know, but it’s true! (: Most of my classes ended lecture last week, so with my free Monday I decided to take a little adventure to an art museum I’ve been meaning to go to, a little less than 2 miles away.

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global

Spectres and Snowfall

Through our entire time at Edinburgh, I realized that all of us from Caltech hadn’t really done anything together yet. All of us failed and missed a tour of Mary King’s Close on Halloween weekend, so this Friday night (as in a little while ago) we went on a ghost tour of the underground vaults! Whoo Caltech! :P

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global

International Receptions = Free Food

It doesn’t matter what university your’e attending- anything involving the words “international” and “food” is always guaranteed to be good. Every year at Caltech during third term, there’s an international food fair where, for a dollar, you can sample foods from all over the world. I always come back to my room completely stuffed and ready to food coma. When I heard about the international reception this week, I definitely jumped at the opportunity to get a free meal comprised of yummy exotic foods, just like any good college student. The most interesting thing I noticed that was different between the one here, and the one at tech, was the countries represented. At tech, basically everyAsianculture was represented, making up the majority of the fair, while at Edinburgh we got to try things from Poland, Slovenia and many more European countries. Meanwhile at the Korean table, I could hear the Korean Student Association club member exasperatingly explaining to everyone who walked by how they weren’t serving sushi, but kimbap, and that there wasa difference. I felt bad for him. It makes sense that the two food fairs had focuses on different continents though, considering the demographic spread of the universities themselves. Enough about that though… onto the food! (: I didn’t take too many pictures… but here’s a good one to get your mouths watering.

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global

A Day in Glasgow

Last weekend, completely unrelated to the Halloween festivities, I decided to go on a day trip with some friends and flatmates to Glasgow, about a one hour’s drive away from Edinburgh. None of us really planned anything for the trip, but luckily one of my flatmates transferred from Glasgow University last year, and knew the area very well. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, with the third highest population in the UK. It’s also where all the Scots go for shopping. ;D You can imagine how excited I was when I found that last part out. So naturally, this was our first stop:

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culture

Introduction

Hello everyone, For my first post, I thought I would write a short little introduction just to get a feel for the process.

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culture

10/30 - Page Interhouse

Tonight was our Halloween party this year. More specifically, tongight was Page’s Interhouse party. The theme was “The Flying Dutchman.” So there was an elevated dance floor surrounded by water that had lights running through it, as well as a miniature version of the Dutchman that housed the DJ while he played music. The party looked okay, although it is not even close to some of the extreme construction we’ve seen in the past (or will see later in the year).

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global

Happy Hallowe'en!

Halloween is my favorite holiday, next to Christmas. I love dressing up and going trick or treating, carving pumpkins and bingeing on candy corn till I’m sick. Coming to Edinburgh though, I heard that Halloween wasn’t really a big deal in the UK, much to my disappointment. I learned later that it depends more on where in Scotland you are though. My flatmate told me the other day that in Glasgow, which is about an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, Halloween is even bigger than Christmas. Whatttt?! I still don’t really know what that means though. This part of the city, at least, isn’t very trick or treat friendly- most of the buildings are just student flats, uni buildings and restaurants, none of which advertised any sort of trick or treating. What sucks the most though is…. they don’t have candy corn here!!! ):

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global

A Stroll in the Gardens

One of my biggest reasons for wanting to study abroad was the chance to be in a city where appreciation of the arts was easily accessible. With so many museums within walking distance, it’s easily one of my favorite things about Edinburgh. The National Galleries of Scotland are spread throughout the city, and many of them are free. This weekend, I decided to visit the Royal Scottish Academy Building, where they were holding the Impressionist Gardens, an exhibit devoted to, not surpisingly, the Impressionist garden. As luck would have it, this was the last weekend of the exhibit! I’m so glad I decided to go this weekend instead of procrastinating… (:

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global

Picture Post Extravaganza!

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.

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clubs

A day at clinic in photos

Hey everyone! I’m back at Tech! I’m going to use the amazing high speed internet here to share more photos and videos that I couldn’t post while I was in Malawi. Enjoy!

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research

A Trip to the Highlands

I finally got to act like a tourist this weekend! It seems a bit odd, but turns out I spent most of my first two weeks trying to settle in and living like a normal uni student instead of going sightseeing and doing all the touristy stuff. Earlier this week a girl I befriended at the airport in London invited me on a day tour of the highlands, so I thought, sure why not? Our tour guide / driver for the day was hilarious and had a serious case of DSL aka Deep Scottish Love. You could definitely tell he knew what he was talking about, and truly loves this country. The main attraction for the day was visiting the Loch Ness, home to the mythical Loch Ness monster, Nessie. The loch itself was incredibly beautiful. The awesome part was Nessie even rose up and said hi to us while we were admiring the scenery!! … okay just kidding. We didn’t see Nessie. There are people who 100% believe she’s real though and research the loch year round trying to find her. The highlight of my day wasn’t the loch though, ironically. It was getting to see Highland Cows (or as they pronounce it, heilan coos). They are seriously the cutest cows ever. My friend and I were probably the only two people on the tour group who were extremely excited about this… but we actually got to feed Hamish and Heather, the two cows!! :D

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global

He Who Must Not Be Named

Between having to wake up 2 hours before my first class just to catch a bus there and freaking out over what’s going on with my course schedule this week, I was lucky enough that my Wednesdays are completely free. It’s struck me as really random at first, especially since almost all my friends also have Wednesdays off, but I see it now more as a nice little break in the middle of the week, so on this week’s “mini weekend”, my friends and I decided to do a little more exploring- this time, Harry Potter themed. Our first stop was the graveyard, Greyfriars Kirk. One of my friends read that Tom Riddle’s grave was here. I don’t mean like a fake tombstone made in honor of the Harry Potter series, but the burial place of the actual person whose name inspired JK Rowling when she was writing the books. The graveyard itself was absolutely beautiful, so we weren’t in a huge rush to find it, but eventually while scanning through all the names, I finally found it!

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research

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Having grown up in Texas, returning after being in California for so long brought back many memories of growing up. Well, maybe not of growing up per se, but just visiting the same places I had always gone to was a nice change of pace to the constant “exploration” that I did while in Pasadena. First stop? Panera! My lovely employer the summer before coming to Caltech. My mom gave me the firm ultimatum that I will do a non-Caltech like job to get some “real world” work experience before I got entangled in academia. And let me say the sweeping, the mopping, the bathroom cleaning wasn’t exactly the peachy perfect kind of work experience (I must say, though culturing bacteria got rather dull at times, it was better than that kind of physical labor). But it was still a good life experience… I guess. At least I got to meet many people!!

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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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