It felt like only a day ago when I arrived at CUB from Denver Airport, tired from never-ending 19 hour transit flights. Nervous, yet excited. Instead of shielding myself from the howling winds of Nur-Sultan, I found myself underneath the stretches of Flatiron peaks and sparkling nights of Boulder. Today, surprising as it may sound, we’re over 35.9% of SSP.

With each day, I feel like I’m getting more and more used to the schedule and the pace of learning that we have here. From getting up early to doing morning yoga (or cardio, occasionally), to doing some rushed last-minute coding before finally leaving the SBO, meeting racoons on our way back to dorm, and eating cereals at midnight…from trying with all our might to not fall asleep during afternoon lectures (and yet failing because of sleep deprivation), to vigorously discussing the topic of gravitational waves during dinner and checking the weather forecast to predict, if observations will happen or not. Boulder, being so far away from my home (6130 miles, in fact), has become such a “homely” place for me.

Now, sitting at the computer lab, writing my LSPR codes (which is painful to debug) and feeling sleepy after yesterday’s ice cream party, I recall the moment when I was looking through the website of SSP, nervously reading the description of the program. What particularly captured my attention back then, during autumn of 2021, was how past participants of the program put so much emphasis on SSPeople. Now, being here, I understand why. I love staying up late at SBO, knowing that upstairs, some of the other teams are at the telescope, observing and taking pictures of their asteroid. I love staring at the board with confusion, asking the next person to me, why they chose that option with their clicker, and not the other. I love how Dr. D constantly refers to his PhET sims, explaining the theme. These moments, as fleeting as they might sometimes be, are what make up a true SSP experience.


Hey, I’m Aruzhan! I’m a rising senior from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. At SSP, you can find me at SBO, debugging my code, taking night walks as a break from PSets, and taking millions of notes during lectures. Besides my interest in astrophysics, I do sprint triathlons and draw landscape arts.