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Where’s the Gateway Arch?!

So I have recently returned from my second Midwest trip this week – this time to the Gateway to the West: St. Louis, MO. I have never been to the city before, so I was excited to check it out! The school I was interviewing for was Washington University in St. Louis (WashU for short). It’s definitely been difficult to talk with my friends and family about it and tell them that this is NOT the school in Seattle (that’s the University of Washington).

Anyway, after a very long wait at LAX going through security, I made it on the plane with 15 minutes to spare and settled in for a 3:15 flight to the STL. Fortunately, this gave me some time to brush up on the professors I would be interviewing with – I had to know what their research was about! Once I arrived and made it to the admissions office, I met the other 8 applicants there this week from all over the country (3 from Harvard, though…interesting…) and got to tour the facilities and the really fun Children’s Hospital! We even saw a baby in the Neonatal ICU, which was really neat (I guess I’m kind of a medicine nerd).

Well needless to say it was an exhausting afternoon, but then it was time to go to our accommodations and rest up before dinner! Well let me just tell you that WashU pulled out ALL the stops for our visit – we stayed in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel and THIS is the room that I shared with one other interviewee! I was literally in shock when I walked in…

So we really were spoiled by the rooms, and definitely took advantage of the space to relax a bit! We then went out to an amazing dinner with some current MSTP’s and enjoyed 3 delicious courses (if Dannah were there we’d probably rate it an A on our food review scale!). But we couldn’t have too much fun…the next day was the INTERVIEW DAY! Very dramatic…

Well needless to say I woke up ready to rise to the challenge, and with 7 interviews ahead of me from 9 AM till 4:30 PM, I would definitely need the energy! The way WashU does their interviews is they have a panel interview of 8 (about your research), 4 individual professor interviews, 1 med school interview, and a wrap-up with a member of the admissions committee. After a long day of interviews (on which I think I did pretty well), I was definitely ready to go out for a nice dinner with a different group of current students – we got to see more of the city and sample some delicious fare.

Me being the BIG tourist I am, I was super-excited to see the Gateway Arch…it’s so symbolic of the city! I think I asked about 10 separate people where the elusive arch was, but to no avail. I didn’t get to see it (not even from the plane!). 🙁
But I did make it back to Caltech in one piece and not too tired after a busy 2 days. Here’s some pictures from my return!

Waiting in the airport to board. Note the Starbucks bag – had to eat breakfast before the flight!

After power-napping for 30 minutes, I look out the window and see the BEAUTIFUL Rockies over New Mexico!
Well no time to get the suit freshly-pressed, I need to head down to San Diego! It’ll be nice to stay in a warm climate (and the same time zone!) for one of these trips, and I’ll let you know how this one goes :).

Andrew Freddo ’10

Chemistry and Biology, Class of 2010

My name is Andrew, and I am beginning what looks to be a busy and exciting senior year! I’m originally from New Jersey, and always try to give my friends here at Caltech a taste of my East Coast roots. Outside of my chemistry and biology classes, I enjoy cooking (Italian food, of course!), giving admissions tours, writing food reviews with fellow blogger Dannah, and catching up with my favorite TV shows. Academically, this year will truly be a culmination of my first three at Caltech. I am currently applying for combined MD/PhD programs (also knows as MSTPs ? Medical Scientist Training Programs). In addition to juggling my sets and exams, I’m going to be visiting many schools around the country to interview for their programs. I’ll definitely be logging lots of frequent flier miles, snapping lots of pictures, and learning a lot about medical and graduate school!