So this past Friday was the start of Chinese New Year! I learned that the celebration actually lasts 15 days in China. Before coming to Caltech, my family and I have gone to a few Chinese New Year celebrations, but we aren’t very traditional and we do not celebrate for 15 days. I do remember receiving red pockets filled with money as a kid from my parents and other family friends. And every year, I express special greetings of luck and prosperity to my parents. At Caltech this year, the Chinese language classes had a combined celebration with some traditional desserts and snacks. Our teachers came up with some questions and riddles about Chinese New Year to discuss. For instance, some questions were: Why is the Chinese word for year ‘nian’? What colors are traditionally used for Chinese New Year and why? What types of foods are traditionally eaten? And speaking of food, this weekend was celebrated with a lot of food. Avery had Formal Dinner on Friday. A few of my friends decided to celebrate Chinese New Year on Saturday with Dim Sum. On Saturday night, The Caltech Chinese Student Association also decided to host a cooking party at Tom Mannion’s house. I helped with wrapping spring rolls. We had dumplings, winter melon soup, noodles, and many other dishes. After dinner, my roommate Stephanie decided to host Disney Trivia Night in our apartment. Stephanie has such a deep love of Disney and was super excited to share this with everyone. It was a blast- we teamed up in groups of two or three and went through categories and questions she had come up with on a PowerPoint, sort of like Jeopardy. We wrote our answers down on sheets of paper and graded them by ourselves after each round- yay Caltech Honor Code! : ) At the end, Steph had gotten prizes for the top three teams (from the Disney Store, of course :P). We also had chocolate fondue and other snacks for everyone. And speaking of desserts, I made mango pudding on Sunday with Erica for Hill Community Church (HCC). HCC isn’t affiliated with Caltech, but a lot of Christian students go here. We usually try to cook once a term, so we decided to prepare a Chinese New Year meal to serve after this service. Although weekend was pretty eventful, I had a lot of fun and was glad to celebrate Chinese New Year with friends here, since I wouldn’t be able to go back to Florida to celebrate with my family. I hope you had a lovely weekend as well!
My favorite part about Caltech is the Houses! The easiest way to describe them is as Hogwarts houses: each has their own personality and group of people and the first thing you do at Caltech is go through a “sorting” process. The people are what makes the Houses at Caltech so great. As a frosh, it’s amazing to be able to come in and immediately have a group of 100+ people to support you. Because the Houses have students from every grade, you make friends with upperclassmen and can ask for help on tons of things like:
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.
These past six months have been a whirlwind- from having to move out of Caltech housing in March within a week’s notice due to COVID-19, to starting the first term of my junior year, I’ve definitely experienced a lot of change. When I went home in March, it was to a completely new state-my family moved from Chino, CA to New Jersey in January (great timing, huh?). While I missed seeing my friends from home, it was fun to have the chance to explore a completely new place. The pandemic obviously limited what I could see and do, but I got to experience walks through nature and along rivers normally foreign to a SoCal native and had some time to focus on bioinformatics research for the lab I work with on campus.