It finally happened: the school year ended! It came really fast but it sure happened! Last Friday was the end of Finals Week for all non-seniors (because the Seniors finished their work the week before) and that same day was also the Graduation Ceremony. I stayed for part of the ceremony and it was so touching! Being there encouraged me once again to keep working harder and harder so that I may be very satisfied with how I’ve spent my time here when I’m graduating.
So, what is there to do once a Caltech school year is over? Relax? Soak in some sun? Spend some lazy afternoons being bored out of your mind? Sure, you can relax about finishing sets and exams on time and sure you can enjoy the sun as the weather keeps getting hotter and hotter, but you definitely can’t spend days being bored out of your mind (unless you try really hard). First, you have to completely move out of your current room by Saturday noon. Next, if you’re staying on campus you have to move into your new room. This is not so easy. The way I set up my old room, it really didn’t seem like I had a lot of things. However, as I started moving things to my new room I realized that I have a ton of things! Once you’re moved in, since you’re staying on campus that implies that you are doing some sort of work here. This means that you get to start you work this week! For example, the SURF program starts tomorrow (wish us all luck, please!). Many of my friends are not staying here for the summer but none of them are just doing nothing. All of them either got internships, have nontrivial jobs, or are doing research at other labs. By the way, if you as High Schoolers have worked at a lab that you enjoyed, keep in mind that many Techers return their High School labs for the summer! (In other words, stay connected!) This year, to make things all the more time-rushed, their is the World Cup that is keeping everyone wired here.
So what are my plans for the summer besides work? First, I want to make my new room very comfortable by the start of the school year. Next, since we are off board during the summer, I plan to cook my own meals. Luckily my new room is right across from one of the three Page House kitchens! Also, I plan to explore the surroundings more, make it to the beach, visit some local museums that I haven’t had time to visit yet, go to dance classes, and prepare for next Term’s courses!
I still can’t quite believe that summer has finally come and my first Techer year is complete! It has been a great year and it taught me a lot. Definitely there was a huge transition that I had to get over when I got here but that will happen no matter what college you go to. I’ve enjoyed my classes and I’m only looking forward to more. I am still amazed at all the wonderful opportunities that are available here and that all one needs to do is to have enthusiasm! I’ve enjoyed trying out new things such as running and taking Cooking Basics and I’m really excited about doing research this summer! Also, I loved blogging here for the past two Terms. Writing these blogs was not only enjoyable but it also gave me the opportunity to reflect on how Caltech is going and how I’m doing. I hope that you found my blogs to be as helpful, entertaining, and fulfilling as last year’s blogs were to me.
Well, good luck with all the new and great things that you are about to start doing! If something blog-worthy comes up this summer, I’ll certainly write about it but in the meantime, farewell!
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.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.