The end of the longest, yet fastest week

By: Daisy Z

The one thing I didn’t procrastinate at all on, I realized I did completely wrong.


When we first learned about the blog posts, I immediately started planning out mine: how great the program was, how I loved learning about astronomy (something I don’t have much experience with), and how much I loved the people. Don’t get me wrong — all of those are still true — but I don’t think what I had planned was nearly enough to capture my genuine thoughts about the program.


Starting on the first day, we were already completing asteroid proposals while clicking through countless JPL Horizons settings. To be completely honest, I had no idea what we were doing for a solid two hours. Normally, similar proposals would probably take at least three days at school, but we were only given one. I knew SSP was going to be difficult, but I was still taken aback by exactly how hard it was. One of my most common thoughts throughout the week has been, “I don’t understand this, but it seems so cool.” Everything seemed like it would make sense… until I really thought about it. Maybe it’s because I had done little astronomy before the program. Maybe it’s because what we learned forced us to view Earth and time in a completely different way from what we were used to. Or maybe it’s because I was tired from the lack of sleep. Either way, I would be lying if I said that everything just clicked as soon as I learned it.

And yet, despite the utter confusion and frustration that I felt while working through some of our assignments, I found myself enjoying all of it. From the “ding dong choir” to random drawings on a shared screen (ha ha ha I really tried to remove my background for Dr. Tarter’s talk but I’m kinda bad with zoom sometimes and failed miserably), SSP has already become an experience unlike any other. Even though my computer might explode any day from zoom, vscode (especially vpython), and 100000 chrome tabs open, it is 100% worth it. Or maybe my brain will explode before then, who knows.


SSP Online

Having already been through weeks of online school, I was disappointed when I received the email about SSP being online. I was also terrified about how I was going to make new friends without actually seeing any of them in person. However, I was extremely surprised (but in a good way) when my fears proved to be wrong. Below are two pictures of us trying to write out SSP with the telescope app (I tried, but mine didn’t turn out so well LOL).

Everyone here is extremely smart (btw I’m sorry Sarah B for having you explain that one pset problem so many times), but what I find different about them is that it’s not intimidating to talk with them. We’re all here with similar goals, and everyone (including TA’s and the instructors) is extremely supportive and welcoming. Though everyone is trying to do their best, I found the SSP environment to be much more collaborative rather than competitive. Instead of competing against each other to see who can finish the fastest or who can receive the highest grades, we’re all working together so that we can all achieve our goals.

Final thoughts

The first week has been one of the longest, but also fastest, weeks in my life. It was long because I’ve already learned more about astronomy than I had ever before, and because it feels like I have already known everyone for much longer than a week; it was fast because the entire process was so much fun and I genuinely loved the 8+ hours that zoomed by. If even the first week of this program was this amazing, I’m so excited for the coming weeks and what they will bring.


Before I end this blog post, I just wanted to say one last thing: watch kdramas (ESPECIALLY crash landing on you, it’s okay to not be okay, or vincenzo)!!!!!

About Me

Hi everyone! I’m from Alberta, Canada (probably more well known for Banff). I have an older sister and a pet turtle (fun fact: I used to have a small ish shark too). Some of my hobbies include baking, playing the piano, or watching kdramas. I also play table tennis competitively, and have been playing for about 10 years. Feel free to talk to me about anything — ssp, table tennis, music (I’d love song recs!), or anything you can think of!