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!
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.
It’s been over three months since my trip to the Galapagos, and I am still thinking about it. For seven days, we all woke up at 5:30 am on the boat, ate breakfast together, and went out as the sun was rising on our morning hike to catch frigatebirds mating or iguanas spewing salt from their nostrils. Our days were spent snorkeling with turtles, sea lions, and schools of fish, and our nights were spent sitting on the bow of the ship, talking all together under the stars. It was truly a spring break I will never forget.
I can still recall the day college admissions results were released in the spring. In my own hubris, I was expecting a plethora of options from top schools around the country. I actually ended up with only two schools to choose from, Caltech and Columbia University, before Decision Day. “This is gonna be easy” I thought to myself. I was not thinking correctly. I was being a fool.