Day 31 @ SSP Purdue – I Appreciate You All <3

Creator: Abby N.

Today marks one week left before the last day of program, when we will have our closing ceremony and say our final goodbyes. Although the 7 days ahead of us will be packed full with inhibitor design, lectures, report writing, and friendship bracelet making, each of us can feel the end approaching much quicker than anticipated. In honor of our last week together, and in the spirit of cherishing each (moe)ment we have left, I’d like to reflect on some of my favorite moments and qualities of everyone here at SSP Purdue Biochemistry 2023. Take warning – the following blog is lengthy and excessively sentimental. 

Firstly, shout-out to Sophia. You were the first friend I made at SSP. When you reached out to me over Instagram a couple of days before program started, your friendliness and kindness single handedly turned my anxiousness into eagerness as I grew excited to meet you and become your friend in person. Since meeting you, you have made me feel at home and given me a newfound appreciation for Canadians. Your energy has brought the entire cohort together and creates the best conversations no matter the hour of day or night. Here is to more floor time in the parking garage. As always, fire me up 😉

I am forever grateful for my research group teammates, Jones and Steven. I could not be prouder to call myself a Settler of Catalysis. Jones, you have been very supportive, patient, and cheerful each and every day in lab. I will always marvel at your deep understanding of biochemistry and superb hair-cutting skills (Jones cut my hair and it is absolutely fantastic). I am excited to see you become a professor one day. Steven, you are one of my favorite Texans ever. Your work ethic, pipetting skills, and proficiency at catching all my calculator mistakes are some of my favorite things about you. If you become a doctor, I would trust you with my life. I thank both of you for creating the Best Group Ever and being such a highlight of my SSP experience.

To continue my Texan appreciation, I must shout out Georgia, Ephraim, and Stephanie. Georgia, I will always remember our late night conversations and the night that we walked to The Sun. Our shared appreciation for tasteful courtyards, Yerba Mates, and our absolute superior music taste brings me much joy. Your maturity, thoughtfulness, and kindness is beautiful. Ephraim, I cannot wait to compete against you in nisten or mingswim one day. Our conversations as the rulers of Ephraimland and Abbyland have been some of the most hilarious convos that I have had this summer. I love our handshake and your secrets. Stephanie, I admire your sense of humor and enjoy our conversations over dinner time about sleepiness in lectures. To all of you Texans, I have gained a newfound appreciation for Texas after experiencing your passions for your home state. 

To Saketh, Nirbaan, and Nikhil, thank you for being eager and active Spikeball competitors. Spikeball on the beach in the oncoming thunderstorm was embarrassing but very fun. Saketh, I appreciate your kindness and energy. Assessing how red your eyes are each morning will always be hilarious. Nirbaan, you have been an integral part of some of my favorite moments here, whether that was trying new foods at Strings, deciphering your blog post riddle, dying with laughter as you failed Cupcake 2048, or watching you become best friends with the goats at the zoo. I am honored to call you my friend. Nikhil, you were one of the first friends that I made here and always bring such joyful energy to every interaction. I love your sense of humor, lab music, and emote dancing. I look forward to more Spikeball matches as your partner, in which we will remain victorious. 

To Evelyn and Melike, thank you for being avid friendship-bracelet enjoyers with me. Evelyn, your halfway-point speech was very touching and deepened my appreciation for SSP. Also, I love hearing your British accent at dinners. Melike, you always brighten my day when you say good morning and good night to me. I love your outfits and your smile whenever you say hi 🙂

Josh, I love our conversations about your life in rural California, being your Spikeball teammate, and riding on the bus with you. Talking about school and AP testing with you calms me down rather than stresses me out. 

Liam and Eric, you have been the subjects of one of my favorite moments of SSP, when Eric and I chased/trotted after Liam on the way back to the dorms after a late night of report writing in CHAS. Liam, I appreciate your dry sense of humor and out-of-pocket remarks. Eric, I love our late night conversations complete with an excess of junk food and friendship bracelets. Your red jacket and dorm room decor will be forever iconic. 

To Audrey, your passion for books makes me want to become an avid reader again. Our shared love of When the Coffee Gets Cold and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo gets me so excited. I will be reaching out to you whenever I finish any of your magical realism recommendations. Thank you for making me excited about reading again. 

Allen, one of my favorite parts of lab is watching you play Fifa whenever there is downtime. You always have fun shirts and have a very chill, calming presence. 

Ethan and Conan, I have thoroughly enjoyed our time at the dinner table together. Ethan, your shirt design was the epitome of graphic design and I am sorry it was not chosen. Conan, your ability to deeply sleep in the most random places will always be a skill that I will strive to achieve. I appreciate your genuine kindness and love the memes that you send in the Discord. 

Haleigh, I hope that one day you will step up to home plate and play kickball with me. I appreciate how you look out for others and you are a boss at Minesweeper. 

To Rachael and Angela, your offerings of snacks are so very kind. Rachael, I love the ramen pyramid in your dorm room and the way you will always offer me rice crackers, even if it is late into the night. Angela, the cookies and pretzel bites that you bought me from Target absolutely made my day when I saw them sitting on my bed. To both of you, I love sitting in the common room together dutifully making bracelets. 

Sophie, you were one of the first people that I ever met here, and I will always be grateful for how kind and patient you are. I’ve enjoyed how thoughtful our conversations are. Here is to more Penicillium digitatum appreciation. 

Both me and my future Spanish teacher are very grateful for you, Gaston. Your proficiency in Spikeball will always be admired, whether I am on your team or against you. Thank you for helping me understand chemistry and listening to my extremely poor Spanish. I am proud to now be able to say that I have a friend in Argentina. 

To Harika and Nina, I am glad that I’ve gotten to be at your dinner tables recently. Nina, I enjoyed learning about your school in Maryland and watching people (iykyk) fall asleep at dinner together. Harika, I appreciate your questions during lecture, because they are always what I am thinking. 

I have never been so well educated on the counties of West Virginia until I met you, Grant. Your tidbits of geographical knowledge at dinner are both enriching and, at times, hilarious. I am slightly afraid that you know exactly where I live, but I trust you. I am looking forward to receiving a nametag from you in your secret language. 

Kai and Yujie, I appreciate our shared love for Minecraft, although we never got the chance to play together (maybe this week…). Kai, you bring so much life to the Discord, which I will always appreciate. Your collection of Uniqlo shirts will always be admired. Thank you for always starting conversations and making bracelets with me. Yujie, you bring such a positive and cheerful vibe whenever I talk to you. I love Ms. Latus’s stories of actions by you that got you added to the fabled spreadsheet. 

Kieran and Andrew, I think my favorite moment with you was playing Spikeball in the echoey hallway in one of the first weeks of program. Kieran, I adore your (or should I say our) music taste, walk-and-talks, and random selfies that you take. Your backhanded compliments are (sometimes) appreciated, such as the seagull laugh comment. Andrew, thank you for being a fellow Penicillium digitatum appreciator and making bracelets together. 

Aberam, out of everyone here, you have one of the best names, since it sounds like it has ‘Abby’ in it. Watching you do finger push ups will always be a favorite memory of our time in the wet lab. 

To Kat, I find your sense of humor very enjoyable to be around and am honored that people have called you my twin. One day I strive to be able to do the worm as smoothly as you do. Thank you for teaching me about life at boarding school and playing Spikeball with me. 

To Justin, you single handedly made the most iconic souvenir of SSP through your demonic blog post portraits. Your portrayal of me will forever haunt me. Laughing at the dinner table with everyone as we crowded around your sketches was one of my favorite moments here. Thank you for creating such beautiful yet hideous drawings.  

To Selin, you are my fellow Swiftie. Thank you for merch advice and your excitement over the latest surprise songs. You are a lovely conversationalist, very understanding, and very calming whenever I need a shoulder to rest my head on. I am confident that I will see you whenever I visit Chicago. I apologize for abandoning you in Spikeball that one time – I promise it will never happen again. Thank you for being my rock throughout this whole program. 

Finally, words cannot describe my gratitude for the absolute best roommate ever, Rachel. Thinking about creating the SSP acronym list, decorating our walls with Purdue University mental health brochures, and listening to classical music together makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you for putting up with my stray discarded contact lenses and when I secretly steal your Tide pods (sorry if this is the first time you are hearing of this…). You have showered me with gifts, ranging from bubble tea keychains to origami dragons + cranes to the most delicious snacks. You make me feel safe and comfortable each and every night, and now I will leave this program with a newfound appreciation for Shostakovich (still can’t say his name), and Dublin, Ohio. 

Last but not least, I would like to recognize how fantastic the faculty have been. Martin, thank you for always answering my questions with excessive care and patience. I appreciate you helping me when I was struggling with stoichiometry the first week, always unlocking the lab at random times, running QOTD, and sharing your passion and knowledge of birds. Paige, I love your sense of humor and spending time with you in the lab. Thank you for lending me your iPad to work on shirt designs and explaining SDS-PA(I)GEs to me. Hugo, you are extremely skilled at explaining science, specifically organic chemistry. You have a fantastic taste in shirts and are a great conversationalist at dinner. I have thoroughly enjoyed discussing career paths with Steven and you. Austin, thank you for showing me The Sun. I have had the most fun cracking jokes with you, knocking on your door at the most random times, and having the latest of the late-night convos. I admire your patience, playfulness, and practicality. Dr. Das, I loved playing Spikeball with you at Turkey Run and soccer at the Children’s Museum. Your passion for science inspires us all. Your dinnertime conversations and energy during lecture makes us all excited to learn, no matter how foreign or conceptually difficult the topic is. Dr. M, you are a very engaging lecturer and conversationalist. I love talking about school with you and learning about your son’s plans at Purdue. Making you laugh or smile brings us so much joy. Thank you for leading the best lab room ever. Ms. Latus, thank you for leading such a fun program this summer. I appreciate your patience when we forget to respond to Discord messages, your sense of humor, and our conversations at the dinner table. This experience would not be possible without you, and although we don’t say it often, thank you. We are extremely grateful for you. 

P.S. I can’t leave this blog without noting what we actually did today! We had our last field trip of the program, where we went to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and (some of us…) toured the agriscience company Corteva. Some highlights from the museum included the Minecraft : The Exhibition exhibit and the outdoor sports area. Photos below.

Harika, Nina, and Stephanie posing with Steve at the Minecraft exhibit
Kai, Angela, Audrey, Rachel, and Conan admiring the Chihuly glass sculpture. Fun fact – it was made in Seattle, the best city ever
Group photo in front of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum
Appreciation for Eric the archeologist
The Settlers of Catalysis <3. I love you both so much!

Congratulations if you got all the way to the end of this! Thank you for your attention.