Hello again loyal readers and not so loyal readers. Today on the Chad Scribbles experience: The Dark Knight Rises, Harvard’s Summer Program and why I miss Caltech (despite the lack of sleep).
So if you haven’t already, go see the Dark Knight Rises! It was an epic movie and honestly could not have ended any better. I don’t know if someone might be afraid to go because of the shootings but I think that they have police officers stationed at the cinemas now so it should be safe. Nolan did a great job here. The movie really built upon the last two movies and created a truly seamless plot line. Nolan’s reboot of Superman, called “The Man of Steel”, also looks incredible. Here’s a the trailer.
On to something less movie related… Harvard!
As you should know from the previous blog post, I’m at Harvard University this summer for their summer program. I decided to enroll because I think that it’s a good opportunity to experience life outside of Caltech a bit and because there are management classes here that unfortunately aren’t offered at Tech, namely Marketing Management and Strategic Management. For those of you that don’t know, I’m an ACM/BEM double major (that’s Applied and Computational Mathematics and Business, Economics and Management). Incidently, I have zero business experience haha. So before I get into business at Tech, I decided to use the opportunity to get a grounding in the field by taking Strategic management, which touches a bit on all areas of business.
I’ve got about 2 weeks before I finish the course so I think I’m in a position to comment on the courseload here. It’s much lighter than at caltech. Strategic Management is a graduate level course and Marketing Management can be taken by both grads and undergrads but I haven’t been having much of a difficult time at all coping with the work. They’ve stuffed a semester’s long course into 7 weeks, similar to Caltech stuffing a semester into 10 weeks but it still doesn’t really match up. It brings me back to what I always hear the alums say, the hardest thing you do will be Caltech.
So that’s education, how about non-academic things? I’ll start with Cambridge. It’s a really beautiful area, with a lot of older style architure, so red bricked buildings etc. The Charles River is just outside and there is the tourist central Harvard Square. All great things in their own way. Also Boston is just a bridge away and there are a lot of things to do there. For me this is nice because Boston is a running city, so if I’m going for a run, there are always people running around as well.
This paragraph is mostly gonna be bad things… The weather here sucks, no offense to anyone from MA. Honeslty I don’t think that I can live anywhere but California anymore. It spoils everywhere else for you. The first day I got here it rained so hard my shoes got soaked in the 1 inch water. Next on my hitlist, the dorms at Harvard. Two main points that deal just with infrastructure; it’s a 5 floor walk up without an elevator, and there are no airconditioners. Apart from that, the dorm structure is kind of isolating compared to Caltech’s house lifestyle. The doors close automatically so the concept of “leaving your door open so that people can wander in” doesn’t really work and there are only 2-3 rooms per floor. At caltech the atmosphere is more conducive to getting to know (and bother) your neighbours.
Another thing is that when you get after being at Caltech, everything seems so far away. I have to walk for 5 - 10 minutes to get to my classes here. 5 to 10 minutes! Can you believe that? The “convenience store” is a 24 hour CVS that’s 5 minutes away. It really makes me appreciate the C-store back at Tech.
I know that I’ve mostly highlighted bad things but this place is still pretty cool and I’m really enjoying learning about marketing and strategy. Here’s a cool picture I took in Boston somewhere.
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.