“And now we shall talk about SPLICINGGG,” Dr. Bauer boomed with a dramatic karate chop through the air as thunder lit up the sky outside (probably the coolest moment of any lecture I’ve seen). The combination of his voice and the heavens shaking from Dr. Bauer’s theatrical actions were more of a shock to the system than my morning coffee. The long nights and little sleep are definitely a huge change for me – during the school year I always tried to be productive and keep a 8 hour+ sleep schedule – but I think the adrenaline and awe of this program is keeping me going every single day. I remember reading some of the blogs before applying to SSP and thinking the rigor of the daily standard during SSP seemed an excessive exaggeration. NOW LET ME TELL YOU IT IS NOT! Yesterday, on Sunday, I worked on problem sets till 2 am and woke up at 8 am today for morning lecture. Did you get that? S U N D A Y! That’s normal for every single day and still every single day I am so excited to do it again!!! For that feeling, I am so so grateful; the people, the topics, the purpose to push us to excel every day is more than anything I could have ever dreamed of and they make me almost giddy at night for the next day. I never thought I would actually be accepted into SSP when I applied and after barely getting accepted off the waitlist, I could not be happier doing anything else with my summer. And going back to reading the blog posts from previous years – after getting accepted off the waitlist I thought I would be overshadowed by geniuses (I still am haha) but they are the most kind, humble, and gifted people I have ever met. Collaborating with them never is daunting; everyone is always happy to help each other and struggle through the difficult problem sets together late into the night while hours pass by (haha get it… right ascension in hours… sorry nvm 😅). Outside of class, with the very little amount of time we have, we’ve had fun games of poker (which is very hard when everyone around you are literal math/probability geniuses), piano playing shenanigans, and a TRIP TO WALMART!! For some of the international students, they had their first experience of the joyish, gentrified American classic of Walmart *jazz hands.* Akif, our Turkish friend, galloped around the store with one of those Horse on a Stick toys, herding the customers of Socorro, New Mexico with a beaming smile.
Unexpectedly, New Mexico is currently in the Monsoon season. Coming from arid San Diego, I was looking-forward to sweltering days and beautiful nights under the stars. While unfortunate that my research team (GO URSA MINERS!!!) has been unable to observe our asteroid of study, working with the C-14 telescope (this thing is HUGE) reminds me of the first time I entered the machine shop for my robotics team. I’ve always been interested in machinery and operating this beast is as nerve-wracking as using a CNC. The fact that I even get the opportunity to do so is enough of a blessing to be part of this program, and combined with everything else will truly make this, although difficult, the greatest summer ever.
San Diegan, soccer player, and free diver
P.S. I’m missing my free Queso offers from Chipotle right now ;(