A Brief History of Day 0

Author: Justin J.

It was 8:59AM. My mouse pointer hovered over the “Join Zoom Meeting” button, and a giant grin was plastered on my face. I was finally going to meet the other students, TA’s, and directors I’d been exchanging memes with in the SSP Discord for weeks (yes, the professors sent memes, and they were incredible). I finally steeled myself to click the button, and was brought to the “Waiting for host to start” page. So I waited. And waited. Then I saw an email notification from Dr. R saying that I had joined the wrong Zoom, so after mentally facepalming, I joined the correct Zoom and was greeted with the oh-so-comforting display of faces in tiny boxes. I’d seen some of these tiny faces before (hey Chimney, sup Bob the Bunny, greetings resident Martian Amanda), but it was just as exciting to know that I would get to know every other person on my screen by the end of these five weeks.

After some introductions by the staff, we split up into campus-specific Zooms. After some more introductions by our directors and TAs, us students were given our first task: figuring out our observation groups. No, they didn’t just tell us our team members’ names—where’s the fun in that? Instead, each one of us was given a hint, which when put together with the other two members of our groups, would fit (how they fit is left as an exercise to the reader). After a lot of moving around in breakout rooms and mysterious looks from our TAs when we asked them if we were on the right track, I found my group – Hyun & Aaron (and honorary pita chip Elane)!

After another campus bonding activity where we tried filling up a bingo card of challenges like “has read the entire Lord of the Ring series” (literary queen Antara), “traveled to 15 or more states/countries” (globetrotter TA Abby), “just lost the game” (sorry, not sorry :D), and “sleeps with socks on” (apparently SoCal summer is too hot for me to be wearing socks at night :/), Day 0 of SSP was officially over!

I’m Justin J. (aka Juji), a rising senior at Whitney High School in Cerritos, CA (close to LA). I enjoy volleyball, dragon boat, Discord, TikTok, and Chipotle, and wrote about all of the above in my SSP essays and somehow got in. I’m planning on signing up for another blog post near the end of SSP, so hopefully I’ll see you, dear reader, again!