By Elijah Q. and Sanju M.


It’s currently 3AM, probably a situation we’re all familiar with.

All the lectures, surveys, and the some-times-confusing class activities are coming together. Now, time to grind to finish the research paper (and I’m procrastinating a little too much >.>). 

Pooling everything together and writing the research paper has led us to reflect upon our time together at SSP. At this point in time, we are as close as ever as a team, something we would’ve never guessed would occur, especially over zoom. The interactions that occur between me and my team happen as if we knew each other for a while. While perhaps a common reaction, SSP has shown me that passion can open so many possibilities of deep relationships in such a finite amount of time. 

Rishabh showing us his cool corn hat B)

I was also surprised to see how close we got with others throughout the program, despite the lack of time together as compared to the time spent in teams. Namely, we would pull pranks on the TAs together, such as the time when several groups in late block and I changed our virtual backgrounds to a photo of Andrew and then promptly inviting the host (only for TA Rachel to refuse to acknowledge it).

And yet… 

Five weeks ago, we first met our teams through a very awkward exchange, telling each other “fun facts” about ourselves. Shortly after, we sat through our very first class activity and were given the task with drawing organic lines and structures. 

A couple days later, we were making fun of Saj for putting her cat in cat jail, never letting Saj forget the fact that it happened throughout the program—teasing her through many rounds of gartic phone and several other things was nothing short of amusing.

Then suddenly, here we are on our last weekend of SSP, drafting our research papers. The countdown for the end of the program has begun. 

And honestly, it’s lowkey depressing.

All of us have gotten so close through learning the material and helping each other while we apply our knowledge in lecture quizzes, class activities, the lab notebooks, and of course, the random side conversations. Although we didn’t understand everything that was taught, meeting people from such diverse backgrounds, but with a similar passion for science is stimulating—it truly encourages us to learn purely out of curiosity. 

Being reminded by the faculty that the end date is fast approaching is hard to digest. To imagine that we will no longer be split into groups to work on the class activity together; that we will no longer tease the TAs for their chai lattes, for putting their cat jail, or for butchering names, amongst several other things; that we can no longer punish TA Devin and Saj by making them duet Closer; that we’ll no longer collectively state our hate for LabXChange; that we’ll never be in a group like this every again. I truly do not have enough words to express my feelings about SSP, for the growing feeling of nostalgia, for the lurking withdrawal symptoms waiting to occur, and naturally, a newfound passion in biochem.

On the bright side, we still have 4 days left together! 

Group picture!!


The weeks went by fast, the days were as long as I could remember. This was true of Saturday, which usually is the day that I lay in bed and switch between three forms of entertainment (my phone, my laptop, and a book, occasionally), get frustrated, and then sleep and hope for an interesting dream! This Saturday, however, I accidentally woke up at 7:30 in the morning after sleeping at around 3:00 in the morning and just could not go back to sleep. I guess I was just too excited to get working on that final report, because the first thing I did was get on a doc called Group 1 Final Report, and what a riveting time that was. If I’m being honest, I also had the google docs of every other team open on my browser, and then quickly x-ed out if I saw them on the doc at the same time. 

We had a veryyy interesting campus block that is top secret, but let’s just say, the FBI were involved, and as a witness, I am not allowed to reveal any information until the trial is over. Taylor Swift also made an appearance, and for that reason, she will not be releasing any new music recently. WIth that, we were released into an eight hour ta block, where I spent most of my time watching John Whitney’s hands pipette solution of something into something. I was uhh, distracted, which I should not have been, because I needed to get that experimental procedures section done. I also was watching tiktok prior to joining the ta block, and I guess I had forgotten to turn it off, because while I was writing the ingredients of buffer solutions, I heard “yea yea oh ohhho oh” in the background incrementally every 10 seconds. Guess what song that is, haha, it’s obvious, right. 

I capped off the SSP portion of my day with a few games of Codenames, and played absolutely no role in helping my team win, which it did, multiple times. Lemme find the screenshot real quick, because even SSP has not taught me the importance of properly naming my files. 

Fig. 1. Screen Shot 2021-07-17 at 5.52.17 A.M. (a) I took this specifically because someone asked me whether I was doing the blog for today, and then proceeded to tell me that I had really good material. I realized I had taken no pictures because I had forgotten, and I did not want my blog to be a block of text, but this is the only picture I have of today so I think I might have to put in generic pictures from earlier days and lie and say that they were taken today. (b) I was on the blue team, so I could not advise the red team on this and I did not want to, but I need to say that they did not pick hotel. I repeat, they did not choose hotel. Wait, they might have, I don’t remember specifically. But, they had a very long discussion about whether hotel was the right answer even though, in my opinion, it is obvious. © I keep typing in parentheses c into Google Docs and it autocorrects to a c in a circle. (d) For my thirteenth birthday, my birthday present was the board game version of codenames and I thought it was too complicated and never learned how to play. 

Even though I didn’t really get into my overall feelings about SSP in the post, I find things like that hard to word, and I think Elijah captured it perfectly. I will say that I really <3 this program, even though I felt stupid every day. I realized that that is a feeling I genuinely like :). It challenged me and it exposed me to extremely intelligent humans. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend this summer in any other way. Except maybe, in in-person SSP.