Ditch Day was great!…for the underclassmen! My first look into Ditch Day as a senior was…hectic. But a TON of fun to plan. There were three stacks in Page House - Mario, Zelda, and Training Day, and they all had really awesome activities planned. I worked on Training Day with six of my friends, and we had a lot of fun things for our group to do. There were two teams - Denzel Washington (dirty cops) and Ethan Hawke (clean cops), and after we fed them breakfast they headed over to the North Fields for some exercise-ball activity. There was a ring and four giant bouncy exercise balls, and the idea was to bump each other out of the ring.
As far as I know, there was no injury incurred during this process - success! Then we bought four water balloon launchers and filled up 700 water balloons (which took FOREVER, my fingers are still sore from tying those little guys), and had them shoot water balloons long range at each other. That was great, and I have freshmen, sophomores and juniors proudly displaying their epic bruises from that one. They all went to the pool after this, where we had scattered 500 playpen plastic colorful balls, and they had to collect all of this “money” and find the ones with letters written on them, then solve an anagram which spelled out “Chicken Fight then Mannions,” after which they all ate lunch at Tom Mannion’s house.
FINALLY, we had a “brute force” stack, which means the next activity was to break down a doorway into a senior’s room, a traditional part of Ditch Day. That is really why the events are called “stacks” - so we cemented up the doorway, and when we took off the wood border the night before we (the seniors) were all really worried because the top layer was very crumbly and easily came off. We thought it would be too easy to break into. However, the group was unable to knock it down the day of Ditch Day, and 48 hours later (today) it is only broken down enough for one person to crawl into the room! Which…is probably a problem. We’ll see how that goes taking the rest of it down. Altogether, everyone had a TON of fun, and even the seniors who stayed up all night working on it had a great time - we went to an apartment afterward, had some orange juice, went out to breakfast at a nice restaurant together, and promptly fell asleep.
Our senior trip is scheduled for Tuesday June 9th, we’re all going to Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor, wooo!! Hopefully they will provide giant busses for all of us, so we can be together and run down the hallways and everything. Tom Mannion is hosting a Senior dinner the Friday before that on June 5th, and I just bought my graduation cap and gown!! And Caltech-flavored (orange) tassle! So I’m almost there. Personally though, I need to finish my thesis in exactly seven days and two hours, so I’m not quite “almost” there in work-time. But I am in physical time. Excellent.
We also had a fun farewell-senior-tour-guides Tour Guide Barbecue a few hours ago, and that was really fun also. I will miss being a senior tour guide and doing odd jobs for the Admissions office (like blogging about being a senior!) but I’ll come back to visit of course.
Whenever I tell someone that Caltech has an undergraduate population of less than one thousand people, their first reaction is disbelief. “Really?” they exclaim. “You must know everyone! How can you get a real college experience with so few undergrads?”
One of the most exciting aspects of college life is the freedom that students enjoy when living on their own. When most students think about college life, one of the first things that comes to mind is Greek life, with the many sororities and fraternities on campuses across the country. While Caltech does not have Greek life, per se, we do have a unique housing system, similar to that of Hogwarts. There are eight houses and one residence on campus: Avery, Blacker, Dabney, Fleming, Lloyd, Page, Ricketts, Ruddock, and the Bechtel Residence. Each of the houses has its own unique culture, character, and traditions. I am a member of Ruddock House!
This past year was so different than most of us could have ever imagined. Living in “the virtual school year” posed a plethora of challenges, but at the same time, it opened the door to new possibilities. As a society, we learned how to better operate in a virtual world, and as individuals, we had time for new endeavors. For myself, this meant taking the leap of faith to move away from home and live with some fellow Techers. While I had already had the experience of moving away from home and coming to live in the Caltech houses, this was quite different. Instead of living in organized student residences with hundreds of other students, a meal plan, and tons of support resources, I was about to go live with just 5 other people (some of which I did not know super well) and we had to find and manage our own housing, food, and necessities.