Early last week my roommate and I woke up at 7am to the sound of Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkyries” blasting on the Olive Walk. The Olive Walk is a walkway separating the North Houses from the South Houses. I live in a North House but one particular South House, namely Blacker House, has tradition of blasting this piece at 7am during Finals Week. Perhaps they do this to get the campus in the mood for conquering their Exams. In any case, I sure got a jump start for that day!
That week, my House Seniors decided to get us on our toes as well. Hanna and I were up at around 7am brushing our teeth and getting dressed (we’re usually the only ones up this early unless other people are up from pulling all-nighters) when we heard the House Seniors running through the hallways banging pots and pans and yelling for all the underclassmen to wake up for Ditch Day. This was the first fake ditch day our House has had this year. Ditch Day is a day during Third Term when the whole (undergraduate) campus is out of class working through stacks built by the Seniors (the professors cancel lectures that day). This is a very fun day but no one knows when the Seniors decide to have it. This gives the seniors the luxury of playing around with underclassmen by doing things such as the Fake Ditch Day. We were “fooled” into breaking up into teams and fighting each other with water balloons when most of us were still quite asleep. However, the unhappy ones were later compensated with a ton of donuts. (Speaking of donuts, Caltech seems to love them because that week we also had midnight donuts where a truck delivered boxes and boxes of those treats onto the Olive Walk and it was your challenge to make it to the truck, get the donut that you wanted and make it back to your House without causing or being caused much damage.)
Here’s a chicken and spicy guacamole dish that we also made. The guacamole was surprisingly delicious! (I forgot to mention that we could not use any recipes at all in this Exam.)
Well, Finals Week is over and now I’m taking a break and gearing up for Third Term. For Frosh this next Term will be quite special because it will be our first Term on grades. Until now we have been on Pass-Fail in absolutely all of our classes. It is exciting because we can’t be really real Techers unless we have a real GPA!
Until Third Term starts, I’ll keep you posted on how a Techer can spend a Spring Break.
What do you remember feeling when you found out you had been accepted to Caltech?
In short: I was completely shocked. Caltech had been my first-choice school for years (warm weather, great science, what’s not to love?). However, I didn’t ever think I’d get in: nobody had gotten in from my high school in the living memory of any teacher and my guidance counselor had told me point blank that it was a longshot.
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.