It’s been a longggg time since I’ve had any homework due. Edinburgh University courses require 1-3 homework assignments (coding problem sets or essays, depending on the class) a semester, followed by an exam that is usually worth 60-80% of your final grade. At Caltech, you’ll usually have a problem set due every week, accompanied by midterm and final exams that are worth around 25-30% of your final grade, each. I’ve just finished week four of classes here in Scotland and I’ve only just now turned in my first assignment. Phew. Can’t say it was any less stressful than at Caltech, mainly because I left it very late and felt absolutely no hurry to complete it early so that it wasn’t hanging over my head.
But now I have four other large homework assignments due in the coming weeks, on top of the daily readings and notes for all of my classes (still less work than is due at Caltech, so don’t pity me), and I’m spending a lot of time trying to get out of my flat and at least do work somewhere pretty. What follows is a collection of my views from over my laptop in the past week!
I’ve visited a few coffee shops and bookstores, and one cafe that is famous for it’s cake. Inspired by the pumpkin peanut butter cake in the photo above, I also purchased a sugar pumpkin (grown specially for baking with) at a corner market on Leith Walk and baked a pumpkin pie from scratch!
My flatmates helped me roast the pumpkin and puree it.
We then made the pie crust, filled it, and baked it.
We also roasted the seeds and tossed them with cinnamon sugar.
Then, of course, the 12 of us devoured it.
How is your Autumn going? I logged onto Facebook last weekend only to discover that four separate groups of people on the East Coast had gone apple picking and I almost cried. Apple picking and pumpkin-patch ogling were a staple of my childhood, and I’m incredibly nostalgic and wish I could take part. But at least we have beautiful trees hear in Edinburgh!
You’re squished with all your dorm essentials in the back of the car and your parents in the front trying to find parking. Emotions are high: Will you make friends? Will classes be too hard? What’s your roommate going to be like?
So you’ve done it! You’re going to attend Caltech, one of your dream schools, and you can officially call yourself a Techer. Maybe you grew up in sunny Southern California or, like me, moved thousands of miles from the East Coast (where they actually have seasons.) Regardless of how familiar you are with Pasadena or the Caltech campus before attending, becoming a student is a unique and new experience. Life at Caltech can be fun, but it is also one of the most rigorous schools in the world. It is important that your own health and wellbeing is always a top priority, regardless of whatever commitments you have on your plate.
Senior year tends to differ widely between different folks. Some have finished nearly all their major requirements, while others will be working through their classes all the way until graduation. My friends and I all fall on different points along this spectrum, but we all have something in common: we’re ready for second and third term.