Why hello there prefrosh; welcome to my little niche of what we call the Caltech Blogs! Please, take a seat!! Or a couch, or a bean bag, or even the floor if you wish!
Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Demetris (though I’m sure you picked that up from the description!) and I come from the small, yet lovely Mediterranean island of Cyprus! Don’t worry if you have no idea where that is, almost no-one does ;) I have just finished my first year here at Caltech, and will major in Electrical Engineering (yes, of course I’m doing it to build an Ironman suit!).
Exactly what does ‘Work hard, play hard’ involve, I hear you ask? Well, I was just getting to that! As you’re all aware of, Caltech is a pretty intense place, and by extension, since you all got accepted here, you’re all pretty hard-working people! To those of you who, like me, don’t consider themselves hard-working, I’ll just say “Give it a couple of terms!” You will most assuredly do amazing things here at Tech, and you will have a blast, not only because you’ll (hopefully!) love what you do, but also because when you’re done with your p-sets (yes, they do end! :o) there is literally no end of things to keep you entertained! Hence if you work hard, you’ll get to party hard too, and you’ll keep the memories you make for a lifetime!
In the spirit of this topic, I will be giving you guys (and girls!) one post on academics and one post on something fun to do every week!
Is that disbelief I see in your faces? Why should you listen to me? Let me give you a few reasons: as a EE major, I have my fair share of time-consuming work, and I will also be SURFing this summer, and will thus be able to provide you with all the work hard paradigms you need! Take for example my homework for the week before last, where I had to implement a digital alarm clock using a virtual programmable logic device!
On the other side of the spectrum, I like having fun. I really do; which is why I have tried to be involved in as many things as I can to give me all the ‘play hard’ opportunities I want! Such as firing potato cannons for Ditch Day, as seen below! Also, eveyone say hi to fellow blogger Aditya, seen to the right!
Besides participating in Caltech’s football (as a European I absolutely refuse to use soccer to describe this amazing sport) team, I am a member of the Caltech Glee Club and my Hovse’s (Ricketts) social team, play flute in a Chamber group, and have co-founded the Caltech Debating Society with one of my friends, who’s also a blogger (big shout-out to Muneeb!). And as if that wasn’t enough, I have been chosen to be a Health Ad, and will be starting training next year!
Which leads me to my final point: as much as I love having you read these blog posts, I love comments even more!! You can never have enough comments! So comment!
Seriously though, whenever you happen to have questions about any of the things I say or do (and you should have some!), feel free to drop me a comment and I will reply as soon as I can! We’re here to make sure you know exactly how awesome it is to be a Techer, and you can only find out by having us answer all your questions.
But I’m afraid our time is up for this post, so here’s a picture of me when we visited an alumna’s house in Hollywood! See you next time!
Deme “yeah, I really do all those things AND sleep” tris
This summer I had the incredible opportunity to do a 10-week internship at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA. For those unfamiliar, Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines.
With 45 Nobel Laureates on its Faculty Roster, it’s not surprising that research is an integral part of the Caltech undergraduate experience. One of the programs that promotes such research is the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). There is no minimum knowledge or experience required to participate in a Caltech SURF. In fact, students can participate in a SURF as soon as the summer after their freshman year. It is not difficult to get a SURF. All you need to do is find a mentor who is working in an area of research that interests you and willing to mentor you through a research project. The mentor can work in a Caltech lab, at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), or at another participating institution. Once you find a mentor, you work together to write a project proposal that you later send to the SURF office for review and approval. About 98% of the SURF proposals get approved. This fellowship is a great way to explore various fields of research and obtain real, hands-on experience where you get to apply the theoretical knowledge you’ve learned in class. Not only do you get to work and learn alongside your mentor, but you also get compensated for your time. The length of the SURF is ten weeks, and it starts at the beginning of the summer. However, it is not uncommon for many students at Caltech to continue their research project throughout the academic school year.
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.