Each of Caltech’s eight houses hosts an interhouse party each year, but some would say that none of them compare to “Chandler Interhouse”. “Chandler Interhouse” is a nickname for Midnight Madness, where Caltech Dining Services (CDS) opens up Chandler Cafe around midnight for a few hours of breakfast foods during finals week. In recent years, the staff have gotten into coming up with different themes for this quarterly event. The decorations for Midnight Madness rival that of the interhouse parties: there was often loud music, large paintings, hanging papier mache decorations, and dimmed lights.
This term’s theme was the 80s. Neon designs greeted students as they walked past the cloth partitions into a darkened cafeteria lit with strobe lights. One of the most ostentatious things were the meter-wide Rubiks cubes that were lit up from the inside. Free plastic glasses with flashing LEDs adorned the tables. A live band, decked out in glitter jackets and electric guitars, attracted a large crowd of students within minutes.
However, the main attraction was the food – tons and tons of food. There’s a self-serve breakfast food section with French toast, bacon, eggs, sausages and more. We also had a congee station, crepes that are made on the spot, and freshly fried mini donuts. There was a stand handing out free protein shakes.
Studying at Caltech is a lot like crewing a spaceship. You get to work alongside some of the most talented people on Earth, you’re constantly doing science in order to survive, and the environment tends to keep you under a lot of pressure. It’s an incredible experience, and also a very challenging one, to be sure. Sometimes you’re left feeling like an impostor among your crewmates, having failed to complete every task you think is expected of you. But fear not! These feelings are not based in reality; they are merely symptoms of a benign condition known as impostor syndrome. Think you might be affected? This post is for you.
Always not quite organized, my desk is a constant, yet subtle reminder of why I ultimately chose Caltech: the people. (sigh… I bet you haven’t heard that one before!). It’s no secret that Caltech has a small undergraduate population but, in my experience, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find your people, it means you’ll be able to find them faster!
With the third term fast approaching and the status of COVID on campus pushing all major events to the spring quarter, students of the houses of Caltech were excited. The reason? Interhouse season had arrived. Interhouses, a longstanding tradition of the California Institute of Technology, are summarized as parties hosted by each respective house, usually with a theme, in which the entire undergraduate population is invited to attend. As every undergraduate house of Caltech has its own personality and characteristics, these interhouses too have their own flair depending on the house who hosts them.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.