Question from a prefrosh: **What do you do for fun? How can Caltech be such a happy place?
**Boring answer: I engage myself in various activities around campus, from music groups to house events. I also make sure I sleep well and
Not boring answer: As an admissions blogger, I have gotten myself into appreciating subtle nuances from everyday life or from my past. Every single one of the quotations of the day (yes, I am generally grammatically incorrect) is from listening to everything around me and appreciating the humor. Also, I take pictures to capture whatever is going on around me (as you can see from my blogs), and I really appreciate the 500 photos I take per term.
First, I accredit my appreciation of Caltech around me to my friends (both Averites and non-Averites). They make situations easier to overcome, from collaboration on homework to the laughs we share. They even tell me to take pictures for the blogs and offer corny quotations to consider (though some are not appropriate for the internet).
Second, I thank my house-mates for giving me a support group and quasi-family at Caltech. When I fell sick at the end of last quarter, my neighbor Grace kept me company in my room when my roommate was not there. I am thankful for their presence every time I see them in the halls or around campus. I can’t say that my support group/quasi-family is higher or lower than my friends (though there is a lot of overlap between the groups); they are just on another dimension.
Third, I appreciate the professors having a sense of humor when they teach and trying to connect to the students with their material.
There are some notable saying from classes and strange occurrences. During PS12 today, Dean Kiewiet said, “You know what the best thing about being the US president? To become the ex-president of the United States.” Also, I found it fascinating that an advisor on one of my high school science fair projects was actually my Bi1 professor’s first postdoctoral scholar, as my professor and I were discussing during an ombudsmen meeting at the Athenaeum about bacteria using different heavy metals in respiration.
Finally, I appreciate the cultures/nuances of other houses. I can’t give specifics because it would be a Rotation Violation, but pictures can be interpreted in multiple ways.
I notice that it’s the nuances that make a school a great place to be. If someone is cranky about a school they attend, they probably haven’t stopped to smell the roses and appreciate the little things that make the school really awesome. Reflecting back on 5/6 of my freshman year, I remember my fearful self when my parents abandoned me to go to the parent orientation. It started with a simple Fibonacci amoeba game, and it blossomed from there.
**Quote of the day: **From one of our physics professors, Sunil Golwala. “Now to answer an everyday question: What size of magnet do you need for the LHC (Large Hadron Collider)? It’s not just something you do in your garage.”
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.