So before heading out of Paris for a while, I wanted to do a bit of more touristic stuff. I was excited because Friday night was when I got my code to work, so this was definitely a weekend for celebration :)
I planned on meeting up with some of the Cite Universitaire students before they left on Saturday, so we arranged a meeting at the Eiffel Tower. However, there were so many people and between trying to get to the top and people being too late etc etc we missed each other! I paid 3.50 euro to walk to first level of the tower. And then I waited in line to get to the top. However, I thought that the line I was in was to buy the ticket and get on the elevator; I was wrong. It was actually only where you get on the elevator; people are supposed to buy tickets elsewhere. The people in line next to me said they’d save my spot, so I ran to get a ticket to the top but they had just closed the stand! Can you believe that… :(
So I found a guy that was working there and I told him my situation, but he was really frustrated because there were a ton of people that wanted to go to the top but had been too late to get tickets so they were harassing him about it. Well finally I intervened and told these people to stop feel so deserving and to basically leave the guy alone; my argument was that I was ready to leave despite the fact my friends were at the top and I had already waited a long time in the wrong line. Hahaha so the guy really appreciated it, so he winked at me and led me to the elevator where he let me in for free :D and I got to cut everyone in line hahaha. Before he did it though, when I still thought I wouldn’t get to the top, I said bye and thanks to the people holding my place in line.
Anyway, that was Friday. Saturday, I ended up meeting with Brendon and two of the MIT undergrads, Katie and Anna. We were invited to Federico’s house (Federico was one of the guys from the Belgium House that we met earlier that week at Cite Universitaire).
The “four amigos” :P Luca from Italy, Fede from Costa Rica, Serge from Belgium, Anton from America :)
Katie and Anna from an east coast US technology institution, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as MIT.
Fede made us some delicious Costa Rican cuisine and afterward all of us went to one of the most famous nightclubs in Paris, Queen. <span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,”sans-serif”;”>We had a bit of fun there but finally left around 4:30 or
so. Geez the weather was terrible! Anyway, I needed to pick up a train ticket
for my vacation that I was planning, so I crashed for a few hours at Anna’s place and then headed to the Montparnasse train station to get the
ticket. Finally after that, I went back
home and went to sleep around 10 AM or so until early that evening.
<span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Trebuchet MS","sans-serif";">That Sunday, Katie, Anna, and I went to Montmartre (the setting of the
film "Moulin Rouge" as well as the location of the beautiful Sacre
Coeur cathedral). We had delicious
cheese fondue and afterward I grabbed a yummy crepe.
The guy selling the crepe was really cool; when I told him I grew up in
Northern California, he started telling me how much he loved San Francisco (he
visits his family there supposedly). He
kept saying "yes, yeeEESSsss" much like Igor from the movie
"Young Frankenstein." I tried
to do the whole Igor impersonation but failed miserably because I couldn't stop
laughing. Overall the weekend was a blast.
<span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Trebuchet MS","sans-serif";">That week, I had to make some trips into Paris and finish up my project
before leaving on vacation for 10 days that Friday! So I explored the city a bit and ALSO got the
DVD of Lady Gaga pics that the guy I met at the concert a few weeks earlier had
promised me! Also, inspiration for the Mannton Dance Edit of "Just Dance" (originally by Gaga) came from my hopes of finally getting these photos :) Google it!
Then that Thursday evening before I left for my trip, I met up with some new friends at Ecole Polytechnique; they're from Brazil and are just beginning research internships at Ecole. Although I tried to convince the guys, Davi and Ricardo to come with me to Ibiza, I only ended up getting Lysandra to join me on a two day voyage to Milan. The next day I went to work briefly to wrap up everything before leaving, and I was invited to a little party that the secretaries were throwing. I said goodbye to some fellow interns. I rushed as fast as I could to the Gare du Nord in Paris. And bam, with about a few minutes to spare I hopped on the train, first class to Bruxelles. My epic trip through Belgium, Italy, and the Spanish island of Ibiza are to come. Hope y'all are having fun with your summer! :)
Yours truly, with stories of Ibiza, Bruxelles, and Italy to come,
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.
Research at Caltech looks different for every student, and can often vary term by term. As a chemistry major, my course requirements are on the lighter side for a Caltech major, and many chemistry majors take advantage of the lighter course load to join research groups. This can be whenever the student wants, but many people join labs during their freshman or sophomore years. Some may work in one lab only, and some may switch between labs during the course of their undergraduate studies, depending on if their interests change.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.