Morning! Or night. Or whatever. Late nights are weird.
And a late night it has been, not necessarily because of any work, but more because I just didn’t feel sleepy. Plus, early morning is a great time to start a blog post! Totally! Not really. At least this is a perfect (i.e. good enough) segue into today’s post about sleep.
Or the lack thereof.
In my personal experience of almost two decades of, well, sleeping, I’ve tended to notice a general trend in how people approach their nightly snooze. From high school onwards, sleep is an amazing thing, loved by pretty much everyone; end of the day, though, when that friend calls you at 11 PM or that project raises its head and says “Hey, remember me? Yeah, I’m not anywhere NEAR done,” sleep is the first thing to be sacrificed.
So we keep entering this loop where we’re sleepy and constantly pushing it off – pushing it off for good reasons, sure, but pushing it off regardless. This loop continues through high school for a lot of people, really. Occasionally, we have our moments where we can sleep for like 11 hours, and at that point we reset in some ways, but still, the loop’s just going to start again.
The reason this is relevant is that Caltech has a reputation, along with a few other universities, for not affording a lot of time for sleep. Obviously it has a lot to do with workload, but I also think it has a bit to do with this loop we end up caught in. A lot of times we end up not doing work when we could at 4 PM, so it gets pushed to 4 AM. There’s going to be times when people have so much work that sleeping late is basically a necessity, but that’s not all the time.
To be frank, half the time I sleep late it’s because I have an internet connection and an entire web filled with videos to explore. Like this:
Yeah, I’m up right now because of legos. I’m not sure if that’s a horrible or very good reason to be up.
End of the day, I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes you do have a choice in whether or not you choose to get like 2 hours of sleep a night or like 7 or 8. While I am but a humble freshman, I know upperclassmen who can still pull off fair 7.5 hour chunks of sleep, have a solid social life, and get good grades. There might be a week they have to drop down on the sleep a bit, but then there’s times when they can get as much sleep as they want. It’s not totally up to you, but you have some level of choice.
Well, that’s it for my soapbox session. I think I’m going to take my own advice on this one and call it a night; that bed looks far too inviting. Next time we meet should be at a far more reasonable hour.
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.