Acclimating to SSP at NMT

Good morning from Socorro! Today is (surprisingly!) one of the rare days it’s sunny in New Mexico. Every other day, we’ve experienced rain and thunder, which is very uncharacteristic of the stereotypical NM weather. I’m glad I’m able to put my sunscreen to use and bake outside in a UV index of 10 – now it’s starting to feel like Maryland!

^Photo taken 6/29/22, on the first sunny day in a while. You might not be able to tell, but the mountain in the back has the iconic white ‘M’ at its peak. This is probably one of my favorite photos I’ve taken on the NMT campus so far. (I want to be her.) 

Each day at SSP is really really interesting. It’s so cool how intertwined everyone is – we already know each other so well and it’s really exciting envisioning what we’ll accomplish together within the next four weeks. You might’ve heard the jam-packed schedule we all have, and this is no rumor! 6 hours of lectures are usually followed by meetings, activities, and difficult problem sets. Luckily, the mirth and energy of friends makes suffering from sleep deprivation a lot easier. Hopefully, I’ll adjust to the pace soon.

Well, it’s day 10 of the program and I can’t even tell you how much I’ve learned. If I tried explaining all of the topics we’ve covered, it would probably take a trillion pages and cause the SSP site to lag terribly, so for brevity reasons, I’ll tell you this: I’ve probably learned more math, astronomy, and coding than I have learned content in all my AP classes in junior year. It’s a lot, it’s fast, and I’m already anticipating finishing the program as a completely different (and enlightened) person. 

The work is challenging and fun, but everyone needs a break sometimes. Luckily, we get to go on field trips weekly. Here’s me at a museum in Los Alamos on Tuesday: 

I’m touching a replica of Fat Man – it’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be. Did you know that it’s only 128 inches in length? It’s crazy how nuclear reactions in a container only twice the size of my bathtub had enough power to demolish a city…

I can’t wait for more adventures in the future. The people here are so friendly and willing to help out with anything. The next month is going to fly by, and I’m excited to see how much we’ll achieve throughout this short period.

Cheers to more sunny days (and see you in a few weeks),

Olivia J.