Those giraffes are men with stilts on both their hands and feet! The musical was a lighthearted outing, a fun experience, and I’ve been humming the music since.
The student union here is a formidable six-person team. These students, once elected, take a year off from their studies to work full-time running the union! When I was applying for study abroad I was warned there would be too many activities offered by the union, but I didn’t believe it until I arrived. There are more activities than any one person could have time to enjoy- what a great problem! I haven’t spent too much time on campus yet, given the awesome day trips and sightseeing opportunities available, but through the student union I’ve managed to see three of London’s best dance clubs, ‘The Lion King,’ three great comedians, and multiple pubs. Let me emphasize that it’s only the first week of classes!
Last night was a big party for the freshman class (and us exchange students) at Ministry of Sound. MoS is undoubtedly the most highly regarded club in London and is frequently called the best club in the world! It was a great venue with fantastic music. One of the dance floors was even playing metal!
This summer I had the incredible opportunity to do a 10-week internship at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA. For those unfamiliar, Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines.
With 45 Nobel Laureates on its Faculty Roster, it’s not surprising that research is an integral part of the Caltech undergraduate experience. One of the programs that promotes such research is the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). There is no minimum knowledge or experience required to participate in a Caltech SURF. In fact, students can participate in a SURF as soon as the summer after their freshman year. It is not difficult to get a SURF. All you need to do is find a mentor who is working in an area of research that interests you and willing to mentor you through a research project. The mentor can work in a Caltech lab, at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), or at another participating institution. Once you find a mentor, you work together to write a project proposal that you later send to the SURF office for review and approval. About 98% of the SURF proposals get approved. This fellowship is a great way to explore various fields of research and obtain real, hands-on experience where you get to apply the theoretical knowledge you’ve learned in class. Not only do you get to work and learn alongside your mentor, but you also get compensated for your time. The length of the SURF is ten weeks, and it starts at the beginning of the summer. However, it is not uncommon for many students at Caltech to continue their research project throughout the academic school year.
Like many students at Caltech, I suffer from a slight boba addiction, where side effects may include over caffeination, minor sugar highs, and of course, a large toll on one’s wallet. This addiction is not helped by the fact that there are at least three boba shops within walking distance of campus. So, after an entire term’s worth of boba runs, I came back from winter break with a new year’s epiphany: it was time to get a job. Rather than try to curb my addiction, I decided to find a way to subsidize it.