In a Pickle

By: Sarah W

I advise you to turn back before you slip on the splattering of my soul that is this blog post.


In fact, there are so many abominable reflections in this that I don’t even need a lens to be blinded by the dredges of my mind. 

We can start here.

                                     How it’s going                                                                                        How it’s been

This is a pickle. In fact, it was born on June 19th, 2021, a day before the first day of SSP. This pickle didn’t yet know RA and Declination and the utter pain of visualizing hour angle and LST (but thank you Haedam and Hillary for being wonderful explainers). My pickle has become a measure of time: for example, since I last ate this pickle, I learned about how much I don’t understand about the Method of Gauss. Pickling represents the act of starting something and waiting, giving the brine time to meld the cabbage leaves and juices into a tangy slaw. Somehow it is both the same and complete opposite of SSP. Same as I will get to later, opposite with the speed of 3 psets due in a night.

Now we can move here.

These are my thoughts since 8th grade. Now judging by the meager altitude of the stack, it is a testament to the fact that I have very few thoughts. And fewer good ones at that. 

But you guys are all in there (live peacefully or forever be sweating in anxiety with that info ha). Since I don’t have juice left to put any structure into this, along with the fact that english is my worst class, I’m just going to put snippets in here. I’ve never published anything I’ve written in my journals. It’s especially terrifying because I know my mom is reading this right now and she’s always wanted to know what I write. Jokes on you because she, like you, will be underwhelmed HAHHaHA. 


(end of SSP first week)

My Sunday morning was quiet. But I imagine chatting in breaks between classes, when I am otherwise isolated in my room with my zoom camera. I imagine that when I sit down with my bowl of oatmeal, as I am now, that I could be surrounded by my peers filling me in on their hobbies and pset progress.

Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to go on walks with all of you. Would we go in the misty ambience of the morning, picking out the dew on the grass and relishing the just-waking air? We wouldn’t need conversation, just space. Or would we go by the beach at sunset, mesmerized by the streaks of fire and violets in our little world? Or perhaps we skip the day altogether and seek midnight strolls, delirious but open to the abyss and blurred lights around us.


  1. Since there are probably non-SSP high schoolers reading this, I just wanted to say something. I was obsessed with reading blogs. The only person who has possibly read more blogs than me is probably Alex — HAHA not for long. I became obsessed with the kind people in the blogs. And I wondered if I would ever write a blog. If it’s reassuring to anyone (it definitely was to me when blogs mentioned this), I got into science relatively recently, but that doesn’t mean you can’t begin ever, especially if it’s something you desperately want to do. End of my unsolicited spiel.


My one request for SSP is swing dancing. Could someone out there promise that we will swing dance one day because I have been stalking past blog posts to live vicariously through photos and have watched the videos posted on the media portion of the ssp website and Dr. Kim even proclaimed the importance of swing dancing in one CUB blog post two or three years back…

But if not I will have to be satisfied with the idea that SSP itself is a swing dance. It’s a two-way-exchange of information and help between people, of falling down and getting back up, of holding on and letting go.  


Sometimes I cry. Not over psets, but for how wholesome the interactions with people I meet at SSP get. We help each other, and then help others. IF THAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU CRY I DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL.


After playing poetry for neanderthals and then some jackbox, I was sad to leave. Time barely had meaning. I had to pry myself from the screen at 3am, dejected that I was now entering back into my closet, which I had been in the whole time.

But then I realized. Friday! I could see them again tomorrow! We would meet again! This wasn’t over! It was like realizing good days were ahead. Something like I’ve never felt before. Like when you’re a kid and you realize you have a party, but more of something that makes you smile and want to cry at the same time. golden sparks? I could see them again.

SSP is a pickle of physics, laughing, astronomy, music, coding, sharing. Our recent guest speaker spoke wisely: the values and interests of those you work with become your own; free from the burden of numbers that would make me question my motivation for learning, I find myself engrossed in the sci-fi recommendations, philosophy chats, and sheer wonder for science from my peers.

I’m in a pickle because it’s too soon to go.

small but big thanks as if this post isn’t long enough: 

my amazing teammates, Hillary and Andrew, you guys are the best, and I feel like I (unbiased, of course), have the best observing group. Hillary, you are the best supporter anyone could have and Andrew thank you for sharing your big-brainedness with us (I had never solved a geometry problem faster than that one with a sphere lens and it blew my mind). To the people who actually run this stuff…being on the receiving end of that effort makes me look towards my own fundraising groups differently. To all the zoom breakout rooms I’ve randomly entered (should be all of them at this point), the after-dark discord ONLy-ONL chat people, that epic water-drinking group of Anushay and Alor, CHAMMPS, you guys are below kelvin (cool, K get it?). And if you haven’t gone to an online chat at least after 2am, I will personally make it my goal to introduce you because that stuff is wild. 

About me

 Hi I’m Sarah W, a slightly too proud texan. I like watching studio ghibli, learning kpop dances, and eating pickles. I also like physics. I actually love it 🙂 I enjoy making stuff from scratch and talking with people, and I’m always looking for music recommendations because I’m trying not to listen to the same 5 kpop songs day and night.