Our Almost-Daily Potluck

As I write this blog post, I am surrounded by Aniyah (my lab partner), who is trying to analyze our Specificity Assay data, and Brian and Nathan who are distractingly drawing on the whiteboard behind us (in CHAS). So, let’s see how this goes…

Today has (surprisingly) been a pretty good day. Though we started off sort of rough (see image below), the rest of the day has been generally optimistic. That might be because I am weirdly looking forward to tomorrow’s two-and-a-half hour car ride to Argonne National Lab, or because Wiley had decent food for dinner tonight (the spring-rolls were edible and so was the dessert which resembled a cookie with cream and canned fruit on top). Another exciting thing which happened today was that I didn’t almost-cry when working with MOE today. I was successful in docking all inhibitors in a pain-free process (though loading everything did take longer than waiting for an order at the bakery). Speaking of food, for lunch I ate the grossly-delicious orange chicken from Zen. It’s funny how after yesterday evening’s potluck of junk food (including an assortment of cookies, pretzels, popcorn, goldfish, and wafers), I still felt the need to eat something sickeningly unhealthy. It’s fine though, Joe insisted that he bring a veggie tray to the next potluck. That will count as my healthy food for the week :). 

The whiteboard which Brian, Nathan, Aniyah, Eric, and many other people completely covered in drawings.
Everyone “paying attention” during today’s morning lecture on Cryo-electron Microscopy.
Us enjoying our potluck last night

On a more serious note, it is incomprehensible to me how welcomed and genuinely content I feel at SSP. I never thought that in the span of a few weeks, I could feel so comfortable around strangers (it feels wrong to use that term at this point in time) from completely different parts of the world. Who knew that collective struggle could be so unifying (I’m thinking back to assignment 2 and 11 right now)? This feeling of absolute trust has never come so naturally to me. I could honestly permanently leave my dorm room unlocked without thinking twice (I promise I won’t though, Micah), or allow someone to mess with my unsaved MOE file. It’s crazy how much I will miss these people when I leave in 15 days. Currently, I am trying to cherish, and almost memorize each moment, because I know (and I am certain of this feeling), that I will NEVER encounter any other experience like this in my life. 

Shout out to my roommate, Isabelle, for making sure that I go to bed at a “decent” hour, and to my lab group members (Aniyah and Diego) for keeping me awake and helping me out during our “challenging even for graduate students” labs. 

Also, Dimitra, please teach me how to play volleyball.

Hey everyone!! I’m Vanessa, and I’m a rising senior from Toronto, Canada. In my free time, I work on developing my skincare start-up, bake way too many cinnamon buns, and go hiking (my favorite hike was to Mount Peleaga in the Retezat Mountains).