It’s been a very busy couple of weekends. I talked about Manners 101 dinner last weekend, but that was just brushing the surface! Manners dinner was Friday evening, followed by several hours of nighttime a cappella practice, trailed by another four hours of a cappella practice on Saturday and Ruddock Interhouse Saturday night, Bollywood dance practice Sunday morning, a cappella mic check in the afternoon, and capped off with the a cappella concert Sunday evening. I thought this weekend would be a little more relaxing, but things popped up…
Ruddock formal dinner was Friday evening, followed by Avery Interhouse, which unexpectedly filled the rest of my Friday night. And then there was a cappella recording on Saturday, followed by a cappella girls night Saturday evening/night. Today is Sunday, and after a grueling effort to wake up at a ghastly hour (9 a.m. after Daylight Savings) for dance practice, I danced until 11, then dashed off to the cooking class final, which ended around 6:30 p.m. I haven’t had a block of time longer than two hours to sit down and work until now, which means I haven’t gotten any meaningful work done until now.
Why has it been so chaotic? As the end of the term approaches, all of my commitments have been culminating in practices, performances, and parties. This also means I can talk about them! It’s hard to write about something like my a cappella group or cooking class, because they are such constant presences in my Caltech life. Every week brings new challenges and memories. At what point can you adequately write about something you participate in for 4 to 6 hours a week? Apparently that point arrives at the end of every term, along with a bout of chaos, because big events tend to come with chaos as a given.
I promise to write about first and second term a cappella and cooking experiences soon, but since that will require much revising and introspection (and camera roll scrolling), I will talk about the less-involved events first.
This past Friday was very pleasant. I had a few morning classes, then headed out to Lake Street (10 minute walk) to visit Trader Joe’s and Walgreens. Most food and hygiene essentials can be found at Caltech’s convenience store (C-Store), but only Trader Joe’s has my beloved penguin and mango gummies. I went last week, too, and stocked up:
These things are amazing – when I’m stuck in the middle of a set or midterm, I gravitate towards my gummies. This week, I also bought quite a few bags of “Gummy Tummy Bunnies,” which are Easter edition gummies, but was disappointed to learn that they were not as glorious as their predecessors. And this is becoming one of my most off-topic blog posts yet.
My purpose in writing this blog post was to share with you my experience at my second ever formal dinner. My first ever formal dinner can be summed up by this collage:
This is my friend and fellow Rudd frosh, Katherine. We like food. We ate food. It was okay. My second ever formal dinner can be summed up by this collage:
This is Katherine again. We like food. We ate food. It was really good! There was a gingered butternut squash soup with spicy pecan cream, which was quite palatable:
Then there was the tremendously flavorful grilled flat iron steak with mustard butter, accompanied by parsley potatoes in all shades of purple, and cute colorful vegetables:
And at last there was the Irish cream bread pudding with whiskey sauce. I love bread pudding, and this variant didn’t diminish my love:
Food is good, food is great! Even though I ate sparsely beforehand, I was very stuffed at the end of this meal. Formal dinner is a Caltech tradition that I (and my stomach) very much appreciate.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.
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.