I’ve headed off campus a few times over the past two weeks, and I am so glad I did! Even with a packed class schedule, it’s really fun exploring the area and doing activities that I haven’t in the past three years.
Last weekend a few girls in Page House went to a local sushi restaurant, Sugarfish. It was incredible. If you ever need a restaurant near campus (within walking distance) to take your parents to, this is the one!
This Friday, to celebrate a long week of homework (and a weekend ahead full of even more work), we took a break and went to Color Me Mine. Color Me Mine is a paint-your-own pottery studio. They provide the pottery, and we paint it! They’ll fire it after you leave and you can pick up your finished pieces a week later. We had a lot of fun picking out pieces, but the most relaxing part of the night was the painting.
I have been working on my reading list still, but between two project classes, TAing a class, and occasionally going off campus, I haven’t had much more free time. Let’s hope things calm down after midterms.
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.