After another long week of waiting on centrifuges, broken scales, and smelly bacteria, my friends and I ambitiously decided to visit another amusement park. The park in question this time? Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, CA. Though a little farther than Raging Waters was (Santa Clarita is about 45 minutes from campus) we were lucky that there was hardly any traffic. I guess everyone likes sleeping in on Sunday mornings.. Including my friends:
A techer’s favorite pastime… sleeping!! I however had to stay awake as I promised the driver I would help him navigate. But, as you can see, my friends decided to take advantage of their back seat privileges to snooze a little before we got to Six Flags.
The price of going to an amusement park: waiting in tremendously long lines. My friends and I thought that by going on a Sunday, we may be able to beat some of the long lines but we were very, very mistaken. We had to wait at least 45 minutes for every ride and up to 2 hours for some of the more popular ones. We vowed that if we ever came again, we would spend that extra $30 to get a flash pass. After all, since Human Resources and JPL offers discounted tickets to students and workers, we were able to get into the park at just half the normal price. Might as well use the money we saved to buy the flash pass and be able to go on more rides; because of the long waiting time, we were only able to go onto 6 rides.
At last!! I spy… a roller coaster! A funny thing I came to realize over the day however was that most of the rides were the exact same as the Six Flags in other states, just with different names. But, that didn’t make them any less fun.
Towards the end of the day, my friends were so fed up with waiting we decided to have some fun doing things that didn’t require waiting: playing games! Sadly, none of us won anything. But it was still fun watching everyone try and making fun at their lack of talent, only to have just as bad results as them.
Another ride that had no waiting time? The merry-go-round! I certainly felt old compared to all the little kids eagerly picking out which horse they wanted to ride on. But, it was a fun reminder of when I was a little kid as well and a nice way to end a long day.
Though it was a tiring day, it was nice to get out of my room for a change and spend some time with friends. It was also an excellent way to…
…burn all the calories from this dessert. Don’t worry!! I did share it with another friend…. But still, it probably the same amount of calories as the rest of the food I ate that day combined.
But now, it’s time to go back to some real work (and burning of calories). Till next time!!
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.
Research at Caltech looks different for every student, and can often vary term by term. As a chemistry major, my course requirements are on the lighter side for a Caltech major, and many chemistry majors take advantage of the lighter course load to join research groups. This can be whenever the student wants, but many people join labs during their freshman or sophomore years. Some may work in one lab only, and some may switch between labs during the course of their undergraduate studies, depending on if their interests change.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.