The Beginning

To be completely honest about the condition under which I am writing this, I just found out at dinner (about 6:20 pm) that I had a blog post to do today. So now I’m rushing to complete this so that I can finish the Python Pset by midnight. ‘^^

Today is day 5 (technically day 6, but whatever) of SSP NMT ‘22, yet it already feels like I’ve never known another lifestyle. When I first came to SSP, I believed that I could carve out some time to play some games or read a book at night; little did I know. 

Playing cards in Driscoll on the first night (I’m in the lower left corner).

To be fair, working on the Psets with newly made friends until 2am every night is a different kind of fun. Although I expected quite a challenge, I did not expect to be pushed into the deep end and told to swim; I feel like I’m starting to manage but it’s been quite the struggle.

Other than the magnitude of challenge I’m facing, another thing I did not expect was the weather. This campus is situated in the middle of desert and this program runs throughout the summer; thus, it’s logical to expect sweltering dry heat and cooler desert nights. That is not at all what it’s like. There are thunderstorms everyday and it’s cloudy all day and night (unfortunately for observations :,(). There are streams of constantly flowing water running down the sidewalks from Driscoll to Cramer. Where the water is coming from, I have no idea. Not to mention how cold it is inside the classroom, workspace, and computer lab. Having packed for a hotter drier climate, I am incredibly grateful of my mother’s insistence in bringing a jacket, rain jacket, umbrella, etc., overpacking is a virtue. 

Luckily, however, the weather cleared up enough for my first observing shift. Having never seen so many stars or the clouds of the Milky Way before, the image was enough to bring tears to my eyes (literally: I was about to cry, it was so beautiful). The observing shift was at 1-3 am, which was good for being able to use all of my time up until midnight for the Astro 1 Pset but not so good for staying awake for the next day’s lectures. I feel really guilty about falling asleep during lectures, especially when I’m sitting in the front row, but I can’t help it. And no, I refuse to drink coffee; this is not the time for me to develop a dependence on caffeine.

Despite the not so great political news this morning in terms of my rights, learning to code and coding my own function from scratch is a new type of exciting. Although it’s still all pretty confusing and really new to me, I feel like this could be something I spend a lot of my time doing in the future; I’m excited to explore this new passion soon.

Me typing out my first ever code for the Python Pset.

A little about me: my name is Olivia (call me Oli, though) and I’m a rising senior at Barron Collier High School in Naples, Florida. I am attending Astrophysics SSP NMT, but outside of SSP, I spend my time playing in a Drum Line, running a Chem club, reading, and volunteering.