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!
We’re all on edge, waiting for a win to break that tremendous losing streak!
As for dance, just like last year I’m participating in the Dance Show which will take place in the beginning of Third Term. However, even though I’m back in my more natural state of dancing, I’ve still found a way to get out of my comfort zone - very far out of my comfort zone. I’m doing a hip-hop and a contemporary dance, neither of which are dance styles that I’ve ever performed in. I’m having a blast, though! I’ll try to get a video or photos of the hip-hop rehearsal if I can, but no guarantees. I’m still doing ballet too, but off campus at a very good local studio called Pasadena Dance Theater.
So, what happened recently besides the start of rehearsals and basketball almost winning several times? Midterms week is wrapping up. Some say that Midterms week is the worst week of Term - worse than Finals Week. This could be true becasue classes and most Sets continue during Midterms while for Finals we have a full week of no classes or assignments.
Caltech is on the Honor Code. This is something that I believe makes Caltech so special and it exists partially due to the tightness of our community. As a direct consequence of the Honor Code, most of our Exams are take-home with time and resource instructions printed on the front of the Exam. However, just because one gets a five-hour open-book take-home exam, this doesn’t mean that the exam is easy. On the contrary, it may mean that the Exam is harder and more open-ended, so you end up using several blue vooks to explain and justify your work. On a lighter note, these types of Exams take off the unneccesary stress of walking into a classroom at a specified time and having an hour to do a test where you know right away if your answer looks right or wrong. I find that while taking Caltech Exams, I’m still learning more and I think some Professors design their Exams on purpose to teach us more. On the other hand, take-home Exams can become extreme when they are unlimited-time. This usually ends up being more of a project that sucks up all of your energy because you think that you can always do it better, since it is unlimited-time.
Attendance, I thought, was not bad given that many Midterms had already been released and quite a few people have already dived into them.
This weekend is our first Interhouse party of the Term - Avery Interhouse. Every year, each House (eight total) hosts a party in their courtyard for all other Houses. The parties are themed and usually involve organized construction (which must pass a safety inspection). Starting with this week, there will be an Interhouse Party every Saturday until the end of Term. I promise to write about the parties as they happen!
What else am I anticipating for this month? My main focus is school work which I know will not disappear so to balance myself, I hope to channel some of my energy into complementing activities. Dance rehearsals should get more and more serious as the Term wraps up. I will also try to stick to my resolution of exploring the area more, although I’ve had this resolution for a while and I must admit that I’m not satisfied with my progress. I also hope to solidify my plans for the summer this month (more about that later too). Finally, I plan to keep enjoying the sunshine here. It is 68F at 4:30 pm and this is not the hottest day.
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.