This will probably be a long post, but I’ll try my best to keep it concise!
So we began with the 2.5 hour drive out the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, where we were then thoroughly ID’d, as one would expect. Goldstone is this huge radio communications facility where we communicate with some of our most cutting edge sattelites, such as Cassini (at Saturn, was communicating when we were visiting) and Voyager. We saw some curious rock formations on the way there, and had some debate on whether they were/could be natural (I hope the picture is good)
But yeah, Goldstone was such an incredible experience not because we got to see anything in particular, or that we even got to see many things, but because we stood face-to-face with the same antennae that made science history, the same communications centers that facilitate the 30 hour round trip communication with the Voyager spacecraft (yes, they’re really that far out now).In any case, my day did not end there, which it very well might have due to the five hour round-trip. Instead, I got home at 6 and immediately headed off with friends to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl! I’ve never been there before, and since there were discounts on Groupon I decided to steal an $18 dollar ticket and head on out. Below is a picture of the stage before the concert started (you might be able to see the Hollywood sign in the top right on the hills):
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!