As I sat down to write this week’s blog entry, I felt like I had just finished writing last week’s. I had the hardest time remembering what happened in this week–I supposed it passed very quickly. I asked some of my friends about what we did during the week; “Sets” they replied. Thanks a lot guys… Anyway, no thanks to them I managed to slowly recall a few interesting things to share with you.
First off, another weekend, another party. I realized when writing this blog that every one of my posts has mentioned a party. This is interesting because even I didn’t realize we had so many parties; and I am one of the first people to tell other Caltech students that our parties are better / occur more frequently than they think. I find myself saying this because a lot of people here don’t really have a basis for comparison–they just assume that since we’re (let’s face it) a bunch of nerds that we don’t know how to throw a party. Having been to parties at “party schools”, I have to disagree with these people. Some of our parties are really quite awesome; I don’t know many other schools where as much planning (and really cool construction) goes into the parties. Of course, the one thing that party schools have that we don’t is a large number of students who know how to party. The majority of people who come to most of our parties come for five minutes to look at the construction and then leave after realizing that they are too uncomfortable to dance / socialize with people outside of their normal friends. This means that they don’t necessarily have a way of rating the party (or more importantly, enjoying it) which leads to the misconception I addressed in the beginning of the paragraph. My point is that I think parties at Caltech are hidden treasures–I hope you manage to find time to come to one and experience it first hand.
All that aside, the party this weekend (Page Interhouse) was actually not that great. Maybe my expectations are high (Page Interhouse two years ago was one of the best parties I’ve been to) but I was a bit disappointed. Construction was relatively unambitious, music was decent but nothing to write home about, and essential supplies ran low quickly. Because of this (and my not taking any pictures at Page Interhouse), instead of showing you a picture of Page Interhouse I have decided to instead show you pictures of interhouses past. Oh, by the way, you might be wondering what I mean by interhouse: Each house throws its own party annually, known as an interhouse party. Page Interhouse is obviously the party hosted by Page. Of course, houses often throw other parties as well (ex: Fleming Frosh Party, Lloyd Quads Party, etc.) and there are non-house-affiliated parties (Europarty) and then there is Big Interhouse, which is all of the houses throwing parties simultaneously. I’ll stop here before my post gets any more confusing. So, the pictures I’ve posted below are all from “Big Interhouse” two years ago–apologies for the crappy shots, but I’m just a poor college kid with an inexpensive camera and little photography skills.
The shot below is a picture of my friend Evelyn ratcheting in some lag bolts. Before this picture I didn’t know anyone could pull off looking stylish and doing construction work at the same time.
This second picture is just a shot of the crowd from a catwalk.
Well, that’s all I have to say on parties for now. In other news, I went to lunch on Tuesday with my Chinese professor and class to a really nice Chinese restaurant, where we ordered in Chinese. It was a lot of fun, and the food was great. Also, we didn’t have to pay for it–always a bonus. I am happy to find that my excitement to learn Chinese at the beginning of the term has persisted, if not grown stronger. Another cool event: Lloyd had a Capture the Flag event last weekend. I have very little to say except that it was a lot of fun. Additionally, the first match we played (upperclassmen vs. frosh) the frosh were remarkably tricky and managed to plant like three decoy flags. Good job frosh.
Last but not least, I have finally started working on a personal website. I like to do graphic design so I spent a long time fussing over the artwork, and finally got a design. I’ll probably post more about that hobby at a later time, once I have some hosted images to show you.
Aside from things happening with my life, there are a few other things you prospective students might be interested in. One is the upcoming “techerchat” next week which is an opportunity to talk to current Caltech students (including me) in an online chat. If you’d like to come say hi, my username is Caltech Tom and I’ll be doing the December 2nd, 4-7pm chat. Of course, if you’d like to chat with me on a one-to-one basis you are always welcome to email me or leave a note in the comments.
One final note: my blog is really cool in that I’m given the freedom to write about whatever I want to. For the most part, I focus on trying to share the interesting aspects of my life and certain interesting aspects of Caltech that you may or may not be aware of. In any case, the blog is for YOU and if you have anything specific you’d like to hear more about, please leave a note in the comments. I’d love to address almost anything you’d like me to–exceptions being anything related to admissions.
OK, it’s 6:20 AM, I need to be up at 10 to go to my grad student mentor’s house for Thanksgiving. I should probably get on that whole sleep thing… see ya!
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.