20+ paragraphs of me struggling to process the sheer amount of talent of ssp onl.

By: Amanda C

Preface/Disclaimers 😀

This blog post,  like my acceptance to SSP, was an absolute accident. When I signed up (rather late) for a random date in July, I innocently picked 7/17 because I liked the way the date looked; it was a 1 sandwiched in between two 7s! 😀 But no, I accidentally chose the date of the famed talent show (no pressure, right?)

I lay awake last night, wondering how I’d do the talent show justice. The answer: I simply won’t be able to. If you want the full experience, you just had to be there; there’s no way to recreate the incredibly wholesome, supportive, and overall unforgettable atmosphere, but I will still try! 

Okay readers, buckle in, because this is the culmination of my sleep-deprived attempt to process the mind-boggling talent that I witnessed today. Please enjoy the following stream of consciousness!

Pre-show antics

On a whim on Thursday evening, Hillary, Caroline, Morgan, Mckenna, Jennifer, Pablo, Sarah and I finally signed up for a talent show act after panicking about it all week. After much discussion, we’d finally decided on a zoom magic show! The catch? At the time of signing up, we’d only had ideas for two (2) tricks, both of which only involved two of eight people! Despite our unpreparedness, we didn’t get to meet to discuss it until after Work/Play block on Friday. After a very sleep-deprived meeting about our act briefly at 3 am EST, we went to sleep without even having rehearsed a single trick.

Today, I woke up just in time for our planned rehearsal, which was due to start 30 minutes before the show. However, we didn’t get started until nearly 8:45, where we performed our tricks for the first time. After a single rehearsal (filled with hitches), these 8 amateur magicians were ready to roll (sort of)!

Act 1

9 AM PST. Having just gotten off the rehearsal Zoom, I was filled with nerves. However, the excitement of the talent show quickly caught up to me, and it started off with a bang (a bounce?).

The first act DEFINITELY did not disappoint! Daisy’s table tennis skills were way faster than the zoom framerate; the video could hardly keep up. After sitting through the first 30 seconds in utter awe, I finally regained my senses and decided to give up on my dream on scoring one (1) single point against her in ping pong when we eventually meet in real life (for reference, I am a table tennis amateur and she is on the Canadian national team). It’s okay, I think I’ll embarrass myself trying. 

Just when I thought the acts couldn’t get any faster, Peyton stepped up and single handedly dismantled the entire American rapping industry. I’m pretty convinced that he secretly recorded himself beforehand and showed us a video on 4x speed, because it should be scientifically impossible to rap that fast! 

However, we’d just barely scratched the surface of ONL’s musical talent, apparently. Next was Andrew Pk’s act, “I’m An Idiot”. Contrary to my initial belief, this was not a self-deprecating (defecating) joke, but instead was a song title. With his professional singer outfit (glasses) and super cool mic, Andrew absolutely nailed the song, and I’ll be looking forward to his album release!

Just when I’d (barely) finished processing two incredible music acts in a row, Hayag began screen sharing. He wowed us with an excellently played rendition of the Epic Sax Guy song over a very detailed drawing! So multitalented (please spare a crumb, Hayag)!

Next was the SSP duck song. As soon as the video started, I could tell that the act would be fantastic. Jennifer and Alex absolutely blew the audience away with their singing, lyricism, and video editing. They completely put the original duck song creator out of business, and I think everyone should go stream it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/JBRoZdffQBY 

Apparently the SSP musical talent simply does not end, because next was Calvin and his studio ghibli performance. As a super avid studio ghibli soundtrack listener, I will personally be swapping out my current playlists for Calvin’s performances. In addition to his performance, I also really enjoyed his sister’s cameo (very relatable tbh, I also cannot flip pages for my life)!

Next was the woman, the myth, the legend herself, Sarah, the dancing queen. Young and sweet, only 17. Anyways. Sarah was FANTASTIC! I simply cannot believe that she choreographed her entire dance, and I am convinced that I’m attending SSP with one of BTS’ backup dancers. 

After Sarah was Sunny, our resident piano prodigy. Did I mention that Sunny, a member of my humble observing group (Team Primordial Soup), is quite literally Mozart’s reincarnation? I’m seriously still struggling to wrap my head around his performance. Anyways, Sunny’s performance was so incredible that I’m fairly sure he actually invented the art of piano playing itself. Everyone else go home (jk we’re all already home </3).

ONL’s musical talent continued with Ian’s cello performance! I’m fairly sure the pianist and violinist were just side characters and were Ian’s backup instrumentals or something (just kidding, they all did really well; I may just be slightly biased toward a fellow SSP-er)! Anyway, Ian’s performance was incredibly powerful, and I’m looking forward to a cello duet with Ian and Calvin in the near future. 

To end off the first half of the talent show was a performance by the one and only Dr. H!! Reminiscent of Dr. Sverdrup’s incredible guest lecture, Dr. H wore a super rad tie-dye lab coat, and led us through a series of fascinating science magic tricks, including creating expanding s’mores and forbidden juice. Despite not juggling bricks as the QoD suggested, Dr. H is clearly a man of many talents!

Dr. H’s snacks science tricks!

In between the two segments of the talent show, we heard a Very Good song (Renegade by Taylor Swift, thanks Neil!). I’d like to take this intermission to thank the amazingly charismatic emcees: Neil, Sonal and Vinny! The show quite literally would not have been the same without you guys, thank you so much for your efforts! 😀


Act 2

The second half of the talent show kicked off with Ethan L! Ethan, if you’re reading this, you didn’t need to apologize at all; it was fantastic! We witnessed a murder by decapitation (of a figurine, don’t worry), and learned how to make our own telescopes! I’ll definitely apply this knowledge to observe 2003 HA22 (objectively the best asteroid).

No self defecation (self-explanatory).

As I was still reeling from Ethan’s performance, Sri and Sunny took the stage in an incredible duet. Their cover was definitely the LOVELIEST rendition of the song I’ve heard thus far (haha?), and I’m looking forward to seeing them on tour soon (come to NY first guys, I will absolutely sell out your shows!). The sheer amount of musical prowess in that act? Unparalleled.

Then, our QoD finally came true; Dr F wowed us with her circus act. As we saw photos of her unicycle tricks, I decided that I officially want to be like Dr. F when I grow up, both in regards to her juggling talent and her involvement in astronomy. The live juggling performance was fantastic as well (sidenote, I think this learning juggling would be a great LB activity, in case the faculty needs ideas). Thank you so much, Dr. F!

Monday’s LB1 activity? 😀

At long last, it was time for my own act. Firstly, Neil started it off with an impromptu disappearing trick in which he turned off his camera on Zoom (very cool, thank you Neil :D). Then, after some (totally staged) technical difficulties with screen sharing, the show finally got started. Pablo began with an eerie, horror-movie worthy act, and then Morgan and Caroline shocked the audience with their teleporting coin trick. Then, after a brief cameo from my evil twin (in which she killed me on live camera), the dancing queen herself, Sarah, led us in a charismatic performance of YMCA. However, all was not well, as in the middle of the performance, Caroline was kidnapped and dragged offscreen by Hillary! Unfortunately, at the time of writing this post, Carline’s ransom has still not been paid, so please make your payments to the following website in order to prevent her from death by pset: deeznuts.com 

After our magic-show-gone-wrong was the next incredible member of my observing team! Bewley recited an entire monologue from Julius Caesar, which they had memorized within the span of only two (2) work play blocks! Along with the support from the plebians (Sunny and Andrew Pk), Bewley had the entire audience enthralled; those 12 years of theater really paid off!

I wish a Guinness World Records representative had been here to witness Andrew L’s act; he solved five (5) entire rubiks cubes (rubik’s shapes? I’m not too sure what to call the pyramid “cube” HAHA) in less than 5 minutes. He even solved the last cube one-handed, which was absolutely unbelievable. The act was even further elevated by Vinny and Jeremy’s fantastic commentary. Anyways Andrew, if you’re reading this, please teach me how to speedcube; I can barely make <1 minute on a good day </3.

I was still recovering from the shock of Andrew’s act when Joey began. Her parody was perfectly crafted and filled with SSP memories. Not sure about everyone else, but I almost teared up watching it, and I wasn’t planning on crying until the closing ceremony (D:). Her parody had such cleverly-written lyrics, and the memories were so fun to reminisce upon!!!

To finish off the participant acts was Saraliba’s fantastic piano performance. In addition to her piano skills, Saraliba’s cinematography was also very memorable! With her profile silhouette against a window, it looked like a super artsy instagram influencer photo or a painting from the Renaissance Age (you choose)! 

Then, we had two acts from our very own TAs, beginning with some spot-on impressions of each other (except apparently, ZP didn’t enjoy Demon Slayer), even though the program suggested otherwise. Although I was sad to miss the SOTS joke, the impressions far surpassed my expectations. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, the TAs launched into a Pluto diss track. Although the act was very well written, I thought that poor Pluto didn’t deserve the slander and I will now be writing a pro-Pluto song.

The second to last act, I’d actually already gotten a sneak peek of, but that didn’t make it any less exciting. Kim neighed three entire times, and I almost cried from laughing. Kim (if you’re reading this), when you said you were a horse girl, I didn’t think you meant literally but I wouldn’t rather have it any other way!!

Neigh commentary!!

Finally, the last act was brought to us by our site director herself! Ms Mauldin surprised us with a lovely karaoke of Good Riddance, and the chat went crazy in support! Her vocals were excellent, and it was truly the perfect ending note to the most talented of shows!  



Firstly, if you’ve made it through this entire stream of consciousness, you’re a real one! Thank you so much for reading!

Just kidding, I’m still not done yet.

Quite honestly, I think I could go on forever about SSP, but this program is truly extraordinary; in just a few short weeks, it’s brought me so many laughs (which outweigh the occasional cries :,D) and memories that’ll truly last a lifetime.

Okay, enough being cheesy! Time for some acknowledgements. Firstly, I’d like to brag that I have (objectively) the best observing group in the history of ever. Sunny and Bewley, you guys are the smartest, most patient, capable, and understanding people I’ve ever met, and I genuinely would not be here, a week from the end, without you guys! I can’t thank you guys enough for everything that you’ve both done (including putting up with daily pickle reminders). Next up, I’d like to thank CHAMMPS; you guys are all genuinely so sweet and amazing, and I couldn’t be happier to have met you all! Thank you all so much for the 3 am Zooms; I honestly don’t think I could’ve gotten through half of the psets without you guys. 

Finally, I’d like to thank the entirety of ONL! Thank you to the 33 amazing participants; you guys are honestly the coolest people ever, and it’s been so nice getting to know you all! I would write a personalized thank-you note to each of you, but I don’t have the brainpower (or word count) to do so right now :,D. Thank you to the faculty for creating such an engaging curriculum, and thank you to the amazing TAs for all your help; it’s only because of you all that SSP runs as smoothly as it does.

Okay, I’m pretty sure my brain is thoroughly emptied now, so thank you so much for reading this super long-winded blog post! May your asteroids be easily visible for the rest of the program 👍

About Me

Hi everyone! I’m Amanda, a rising senior from New York, and I think I’ll use this space to thank you again for reading this incredibly lengthy blog post :,D. Anyways, I’m your resident Greek mythology nerd and peanut butter + pickle enjoyer (please try it), and I dabble in drawing, singing, and playing tennis in my free time. Talk to me anytime (especially after 3 AM EST) if you’d like to hear the best worst karaoke of your entire life!