I should be working on psets right now, but that’s trivial.

Author: Sophie B.

I got hella sleep last night and on the bus during our field trip to Carlsbad Caverns yesterday. I excitedly rolled out of bed to check on the baby bird in the nest right outside my window, but it was empty. My Asian grandmother would definitely tell me that’s a bad sign, and in a way, she is probably right. Ari thinks it grew up and flew away but it probably just fell out of the nest and died. Rip. Just like my hopes and dreams of getting to sleep early—or completing my PSET’s on time. If you really think about it, it’s a pretty interesting metaphor. At least that was me at the beginning of this program last week. A combination of homesickness, an overwhelming workload, desperation to complete PSET’s and prove myself worthy of being here resulted in mental breakdowns pretty much every day. I’d be lying if I said that I’m over it, but I think I’m learning to deal with it, with the help of a few fellow stragglers and some extraordinarily altruistic people who are always willing to lend a helping hand 😀

The mother and baby birb right under her <3

As I was thinking about what to write in this blog, I realized that instead of focusing on any big events, I’d rather focus on the little things that make me smile (you know, so I can look back at this in however many years and start crying laughing). My friends suggest that I should write about Dr. Andersen quotes, and I completely agree. Everyday he shows up wearing his signature suspenders and bow tie, and has the brightest smile on his face. Yet this wholesome man manages to say the most out of pocket things that never fail to make the entire class burst out in laughter. 

“Algebra is the devil. You sell your soul to understand it, but you still can’t”

“If you’re bad at math, then you’re bad at physics, and your mother will never love you”

– Dr. Andersen

I also need to add that recently, some mysterious drawings with a mysterious artist (probably not so mysterious anymore) have appeared on the whiteboard, conveniently when no one is in the room. Hypothetically speaking, if I were hypothetically the one behind the drawings, I would probably hypothetically be trying to bring hypothetical smiles to people’s faces and perhaps make their very stressful day a little bit brighter (and motivate them to do their PSET’s). I’m sure they enjoy watching people guess who did it. Or maybe they’re trying to win the favor of Dr. Andersen. I guess we’ll never know…

Our chaotic whiteboard

I just realized that my blog went off on a massive tangent, but anyways that’s not important. My main message here is that I’ve been having a lot of fun despite my struggles. The past week has definitely taught me a lot about myself and about resilience. As I’m starting to settle into a daily routine, I’ve learned to manage my time (and stress) a lot better than before. Although I spend every day in the PSET dungeon, I’ve realized that no two days are the same, and despite the work being challenging, it is always extremely rewarding when I complete it. And of course, I can’t forget to thank my new friends and amazing TAs, who have helped me cope with the stress. This is going to sound incredibly cliche, but I honestly believe that my biggest takeaway so far is that I’m not alone—I’m not the only one who’s stressed and struggling (surely). And even though I’m struggling, I shouldn’t let that discourage me or make me feel less worthy of being here. By making this promise to myself, I hope that I can live in the moment and cherish each and every memory here at SSP. In the words of Dr. Rengstorf, we will all inevitably be “transitioning between worrying about not surviving to worrying about surviving and it ending.” Too true. Oops, break is over, time to get back on the grind—cya!

welcome to the pset dungeon

The middle name game (Lara for the W)

About me:

Hi! I’m Sophie, and I’m from Irvine, California. I love anything artsy-fartsy and have recently started a few projects such as phone case painting and learning how to sculpt with polymer clay. I enjoy playing with my dog, Mochi, and eating delicious food (I’m craving some mee hoon kueh right now). At SSP, you can find me in the PSET dungeon laughing with my new friends or perhaps crying over python :3