Hello!I haven’t been on in a while, but I’ve definitely been busy. Ever since ringing in 2010 with my family, I’ve been in full med school interview mode! I had two this week in Manhattan - Mount Sinai and Columbia. I enjoyed visiting both schools and, of course, New York. At Sinai, I met two Caltech ‘09 alums and it was really fun to catch up. When I asked about what was different for them now that they’re in medical school, what really impressed them was how well our Honor Code works!
If you didn’t already know, our Honor Code essentially states that “no member of the Caltech community will take advantage of any other member of the Caltech community.” The most direct implication of this is the lack of proctored exams (if you remember from our exam week posts here and here). It’s really great to have that trust at Caltech, and no one takes advantage of the system because it is such a small group of people. Of course, it’s not the same everywhere, so in medical school it was a big adjustment for them to have proctored exams in class. Besides that, they’re loving medical school, and it really seems that Caltech has prepared them for what usually is a really challenging transition! That assures me that it will be a smooth one for me, too!
However, as you have seen on the other blogs, our winter trimester actually began this week! So classes have started, and I haven’t even set foot outside of the Eastern Time Zone! How have I managed? I contacted all my professors and have been able to stay in the loop, so even though I’m missing lectures I’m not falling behind (too much…). I’ve found, through meeting students at other schools, how flexible our professors are at Caltech. There are horror stories from other schools of students missing exams and almost failing classes because of interviews and inflexible professors. I could never imagine this happening at Tech - everyone is really willing to work with you if something comes up so you stay on track. Overall, these other students have encountered some big obstacles to their classes that aren’t even possible at Caltech, because our administration and faculty are so great!
Well, time for me to go back to work… I have two more interviews this week (at Tufts and University of Michigan). But then next week I’ll be back to the 70+ degree weather!
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.