Author: Clarice K.
In the tapestry of the cosmos, the stars have always been the celestial timekeepers, etching the passage of time into the vast expanse of the universe. And just as the luminescence from the stars takes years to reach us, memories often take time to reveal their true brilliance…
I can still remember the day I signed up for the last slot for participant blogs, thinking I had all the time in the world to plan and prepare for the final day. But before I knew it, my roommate and I quickly swept our dorm room of our personal belongings and took one long, silent look around for the last time. It was difficult to imagine leaving the place we had accidentally called “home” one too many times. As we walked the familiar path to the closing ceremony, it felt strange knowing there would be no usual morning lecture. Little did I expect that we would shed tears over certificate hand-offs, yet Prisha, Ms. Martinez, Lara, Isbaah, and I couldn’t help but do so.
And thus, back to the lobby of RGH we went, bidding the PSet Dungeon one last farewell. After deadlifting our luggage out the door, emotions ran high as we bid teary-eyed goodbyes to our friends, Dr. Rengstorf, Dr. Andersen, Ms. Martinez, Lara, Kathryn, Joel, and Benji who had all become an integral part of our unforgettable journey. (To be honest, despite my initial fear of Dr. Rengstorf, he became one of the people I would miss the most from my time at SSP). As we hugged and exchanged heartfelt words, we realized that the knowledge we gained was only a fraction of what we took away from those cherished weeks.
Reluctantly, we all filed onto the bus, awaited our departure, and cried (once again…) while listening to Ms. Martinez’s final announcement as she relinquished her role as our “second mom” for the summer and sent us off on our way. Waving to Hyde, Sophie, and the TAs who ran alongside the bus for our last goodbyes, our hearts were heavy with the weight of parting.
On the way to the airport, reminiscing with Ashley and sharing a meal with Rachel and Velvet brought a sense of closure. TSA security and the departure process became a blur, but the emotional impact of saying goodbye to 36 best friends remained deeply felt, and hope lingered for a chance to meet them again. There were LOTS of tears, and to put it into perspective, we probably produced enough tears to collectively save 72 plastic water bottles (beat that, Elkay EZH20 water filling station).
But yeah… jokes aside, our final moments together at the airport made me realize how lucky I was to have had the chance to meet all of you, and I’m so thankful that we were able to exchange stories, jokes, ambitions, and lots of memories together. As I finally flew over my hometown, greeted by the familiar lights, it felt different without you guys. Yet, the stars remained constant, unwavering in their vigil, as if to remind me that though we may be apart, the bonds we made under their watchful gaze would never fade.
Now, as I look into those same stars, I don’t recall the nature of light and its journey to the eyes of those on Earth. Rather, they remind me that the light of human connection over karaoke and “trivial” jokes can transcend the boundaries of time and space. These beacons will remind me of the past when we ran through the broken sprinklers, swing-danced in the monsoon rain, and conversed under the night sky with midnight ramen – the moments when we were truly young astronomers, exploring the universe and our place within it.
Hey!! I’m Clarice from Santa Clarita, California! In my free time, I love watching video essays, visiting museums, and exploring the city with friends. At SSP, you can find me trying to recover lost files (sorry TAs), Mission Impossible-ing my way into bed after hours (sorry Alex), and crying to Space Song by Beach House over non-functioning Python code. Shoutout to Team 8 uNEAcorns – Deniz and Tony – for an incredible summer!