In the Swing of Things

The “blog post” lives in infamy in the mind of SSPers here at New Mexico Tech. One merely has to mention that they need to work on theirs to elicit a series of commiserations from nearby colleagues. It’s not that they aren’t fun to write, but rather that they’re purely impossible. To those of you who attended summer camp in your youth, you understand the overwhelming sensation of being completely occupied at every moment of your day. You lose your voice from talking so much, you find yourself entirely exhausted, and you struggle to fulfill basic social duties once you return home. Here, it’s worse. Not only are we social all day, every day, we are pushing our brains to the extent of what’s possible. Lecture material must be heard, comprehended, and applied, all within 48 hours, and often without any background knowledge in the field in question. A blog post is completely insufficient in communicating all that we do here, but I’ll try.

A rare sunny day here at NM Tech

I’ve decided to give myself a head start and I’m starting this letter on Saturday evening. You’ll no doubt have already heard about our wonderful guest lecturer today, Dr. Larry Sverdrup, who demonstrated incredible feats of science (and almost literally blew our minds). At the moment, the computer lab is filled with participants trying to debug (but first decipher) Dr. Bauer’s code from his time here in ‘06 ( “How are we supposed to verify this orbit is correct? Can’t we just make it up?” or “Why are you not using numpy for the matrix multiplication???”). After we turn this problem set in tonight, we face a blissful respite until the next Astronomy set is due on Wednesday. Already there are plans to go to the new Minions movie tomorrow (regrettably not in full black-tie garb [curse you, NM heat!]) and swim on Monday afternoon. My team and I (s/o Ursa Miners) are eagerly anticipating our middle observing shift tonight, despite the fact that it will likely be entirely clouded out. 

Lots of stars or just a cloudy night? Guess!

Mom – yes, I had salad at lunch today (but also yes, that was the only green thing I’ve eaten in 2 weeks). The food here is generally decent, as long as you enjoy eating chicken strips for every meal. As a coffee-hater I’ve been surviving on Diet Pepsi alone as I try to navigate this new four-hours-of-sleep-per-night-if-you’re-lucky world. It’s rather astounding, though, that with days as packed as these I can look down at my watch and see an entire week fly by. The website says that this is the “educational experience of a lifetime”, and though I know some who cheekily refer to it as a lifetime’s educational experience, the message holds true. We joke that we want SSP to make a high school, so we can always be surrounded by a community as loving and engaging and intelligent as this one.

Until next time,