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Before living in California, I believed that it was always sunny and warm all the time here. It has definitely gotten cooler, especially during the night: sweater weather! Rain has become a usual occurrence, and some leaves have been changing colors and falling. Only some trees shed their leaves though, and I guess the other plants just keep growing all year. This is way different from back home (Colorado) where everything minus the evergreens seem dead. There’s also snow a lot in Colorado which kinda kills plants.

Big I (short for Big Interhouse) was tons of fun. A bunch of people from outside Caltech and grad students showed up as well. Fleming House worked with Ruddock House to transform our courtyard and lounge into dance party material. Everything is student built, and must pass a safety inspection before the dance. Here are some photos of the courtyard, with the first one taken about one month ago:

We had a tarp hanging over the courtyard that night; it kept us dry from the rain and looked cool with the flashing lights.

Completely unrelated, we alsohad three weeks of official offseason tennis practice that just ended. Practice was from four to six on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. We had one hour of conditioning with one hour of hitting, usually playing a set against a teammate. Our official practice hours were restricted by NCAA rules, but come January we will be in season and practicing everyday. The nice thing though is that on our own, we can practice or not practice as much as we want.

Tennis is a lot different from soccer. I'm much more comfortable on the tennis court , but it's also not as challenging as soccer. I've been playing tennis for a lot longer and now I compete with, well, not guys. Caltech has both a women's and men's tennis team, and sometimes we practice together but compete separately. I really like both sports and plan on playing on both teams for the rest of my time here.

Recently, I've been thinking about what I want in the future. Less broadly, what kind of job I want to have, whether I should go to grad school, and what I need to do now to reach those goals. Caltech doesn't really cut off any options, which is goodbecause students can do an array of interesting things,and badbecause now I have so many options to choose from! I came in wanting to end up working with prosthetics, but the problem with that is I don't know whether I actually would like doing that because I haven't taken a prosthetic specific class. What's nice though is I talked to some upperclassmen, and they still don't know exactly what they want to do. They told me that I should feel okay with not knowing, and so that's what I'm going to do until something comes to me.As of know, I am signed up for the mechanical engineering route, with emphasis on neural systems, but I guess we'll see if it sticks.
Monica Li