For Caltech’s Prefrosh Weekend last term, some people in my house decided to build a boat to give prefrosh a tour of Caltech. (The slogan was “See Caltech the way it was meant to be seen…from a boat!”) The best place to sail the boat is in Millikan pond, which is probably the deepest non-swimming pool body of water on campus - it’s somewhere between calf and knee level.
The boat itself is a piece of plywood with six plastic storage containers on the bottom for flotation, and 2x4s for railings. The lids aren’t even close to watertight, but the containers are taller than the water depth. This also makes it really hard to fall out of the boat, and impossible to tip. If it isn’t balanced properly, some of the storage containers hit the bottom and the boat just slants a little. It even makes standing up on the boat pretty easy!
Kevin and Sven sailing around Millikan Pond. The boat barely doesn't touch the bottom.
Sven steering and me standing
We used a PVC pipe to steer and push off of the buttom of the pond. Since we were also filming a few clips about the "Dabney navy" for the house rotation video, the person who isn't steering has a Nerf gun. We got more Nerf guns for an amphibious assault later:
We did get a few strange looks from some visitors just walking around the campus, but mostly people were just surprised that it floated. While we were at the Millikan Pond, Sven rescued a turtle that somehow was trapped in the pond. Caltech has a turtle pond right next to Millikan Pond, so Sven returned the turtle to its friends in the turtle pond.
My favorite part about Caltech is the Houses! The easiest way to describe them is as Hogwarts houses: each has their own personality and group of people and the first thing you do at Caltech is go through a “sorting” process. The people are what makes the Houses at Caltech so great. As a frosh, it’s amazing to be able to come in and immediately have a group of 100+ people to support you. Because the Houses have students from every grade, you make friends with upperclassmen and can ask for help on tons of things like:
It’s crazy to think that it has been four years now since I was applying to college. I remember it vividly. This week we’re spending some time reflecting on our personal admissions processes, and how we ended up at Caltech. There’s one question though that I wanted to spin out into a separate post: “what advice would you give to the admitted class of 2025?” And I think the best way to do this is to tell a more detailed story than I did in my other post.
These past six months have been a whirlwind- from having to move out of Caltech housing in March within a week’s notice due to COVID-19, to starting the first term of my junior year, I’ve definitely experienced a lot of change. When I went home in March, it was to a completely new state-my family moved from Chino, CA to New Jersey in January (great timing, huh?). While I missed seeing my friends from home, it was fun to have the chance to explore a completely new place. The pandemic obviously limited what I could see and do, but I got to experience walks through nature and along rivers normally foreign to a SoCal native and had some time to focus on bioinformatics research for the lab I work with on campus.