The First of Many Weeks

By Ellen L.

Wow, guys. We made it through week 1 of SSP. Crazy how we’re all still alive, isn’t it? I feel like I can speak for you all when I say that the amount of things we accomplished and learned in one week is truly surreal. So much happened this week, and I have chosen some highlights that I think best summarizes this exciting yet somewhat frantic start to the camp. 

First, let’s talk about the one and only Dr. One. By this point, I believe we’re all already best friends with her (I mean, how can we not after spending over half an hour with her every day?). She walked us through our first pipetting experience, gave us our first murder mystery case, and carried us through all the experiments. (Admit it, you would be totally lost without her.) In honor of Dr. One, here are some of my favorite moments that have been wonderfully summarized by several of our fellow sspians (shoutout to you all for making my day):

While Dr. One is a truly substantial “role model,” we were able to meet a *real* research scientist this week. Our first guest speaker, Dr. Kady Lyons, enlightened us about her research on the secret sex life of sharks. Who knew sharks are polyamorous and bite each other’s tails off during mating? I certainly didn’t. She has undoubtedly set the bar very high for the upcoming speaker, *spoiler alert* Dr. Paul Pottinger, and we will look forward to the talk about COVID-19 next week. 

In addition, we had our first TA lecture from the TA with the biggest moves – Devin. I think the best way to summarize what we learned from his presentation is that he almost didn’t graduate from high school due to his inability to draw for the life of him. Oh, and I guess we also got a pretty informative photography lesson where he showed us some really cool photos he took of friends we didn’t know he had. (Actually, I think we might have to be nicer to Devin from now on, so he’ll be willing to take pictures of us for free rather than making us pay those bucks.) On a side note, don’t forget to ask Devin about some more of his whacky college stories! 

Finally, this wouldn’t be a complete week-wrap-up if I didn’t give you all some words of advice.

  1. If you feel overwhelmed with endless work you can’t seem to keep track of or that things aren’t going as smoothly as you hoped for, fret not. There’s no way you can beat my experience: 
  • I’ve woken up late once already, and the wifi just happened to decide to crash that morning, so I ended up joining the CA block 20 minutes late. 
  • Then, my Snapgene couldn’t open because my Mac software was too old, which took an hour to fix because my computer decided not to cooperate. (I had to call apple support.)
  • AND THEN, MOE just loves making my life easier by refusing to properly function without a project database. (Well it’s technically my fault because, being the smart apple I am, I decided not to download the project databases during my first installation.) So, I had to redownload MOE during CA block and do my CA work during break :(( 

Hopefully, my experiences make you feel a little better about your first week of ssp! 🙂 

  1. Fake it till you make it. Make stuff up as you go. Wing it. I’m 110% certain that all of you have had at least one moment of bafflement this week (you’re lying if you say you didn’t). Melting point too high? GC content out of range? I don’t know, maybe delete that G in there that looks kinda sus. I can not tell you how many times I’ve convinced myself I knew what I was doing when I really didn’t. But hey, it worked! 
  2. Okay, but in all seriousness, please do ask the instructors and TAs if you don’t understand something. I think the most significant contribution I’ve made to my team thus far is “uh, should we ask for help lol” (just ask Sanju and Matthew. They’ll tell you). Really, the “ask for help” button might eventually replace Dr. One as your best friend. This course will only get more challenging, so faking it might only take you so far (we’ll see how far it takes me). 
  3. Get whacky during game times. We won’t judge you. I promise. 

Anyways, I hope that this was a somewhat solid recap of some fun stuff from Friday and this week, and I can’t wait to see whatS SSP has in store for us!