Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Wow. Another week of SSP has “zoomed” by (literally). I could have sworn that I submitted my first pset just a few days ago….

I expected to have an incredible experience at SSP, and it did not disappoint me! Whether it’s puzzling over an Astro problem with my fellow SSPers or asking questions on fascinating lecture topics, I am drinking through a “firehose” of information on a daily basis… willingly. The experience has not been easy, sleep deprivation is a common theme throughout the week, but the program has been undoubtedly fulfilling. 

When I first saw my SSP schedule, I was not sure what to expect. 8 hours on Zoom everyday?! I thought I would suffer from a severe dose of Zoom fatigue. But time is a fickle thing…. After my first learning block of 5 consecutive hours, I had never been so excited to hop back on a call to continue our discussion and work with other students. Time at SSP is distorted in ways that defy physics; the weeks feel like days and the hours feel like minutes. 

Undoubtedly, SSP is all-consuming. I often can’t stop thinking about a problem or coding bug I wasn’t able to fix by submission time, even dreaming about formulas, constants, and bowl diagrams in my subconscious. Maybe it’s my nerdy self, or maybe it’s just the nature of the program, but I’ve never been so invested in learning and applying concepts as in my time at SSP.

This experience will occupy most of my summer time, leaving little room to travel or spend time with friends. But it’s time well-spent. SSP has provided me with a community of amazing students and faculty that have similar interests and goals, but more importantly, share an insatiable desire to learn. I used to think that the destination (that A+ on a test, that competition qualification email, etc) was all that mattered, and to some degree, dictated my worth as a person in society. This program has shown me that the journey to that destination is just as valuable, no… it is even more valuable than the end result. I have never had to ask so many questions, seek so much clarification, and work with so many people before attending SSP, but I now realize that this process is essential to my learning. 

I want to express my sincerest thanks to the CUB faculty:  Dr. Kim, Dr. Domingue, Afura, Molly, Dominick, and Andrei, for being amazing teachers and a constant safety net to catch us when we fall. 

And we ALL fall.

No one at SSP knows all the answers. But that’s what makes the learning so much more exciting! Sometimes it’s frustrating and hours tick by before you realize you forgot a parentheses or a unit conversion in your Python code, but the majority of the time has been an absolute blast. I also want to thank my fellow SSPers for answering my questions, staying on late night Discord calls to debug our code, and making the “mandatory” fun time extremely entertaining. I know that I will have a lifetime membership in this community of like-minded individuals and that feels comforting. 

We are halfway done with SSP and sadness will unquestionably set in at some point in the coming weeks, but I know that I can always reconnect with these friends, share experiences (past, present, or future), and continue to grow as individuals from the seeds planted at SSP. 


About me: Hello! My name is Inimai and I’m from California. When I’m not solving a Pset or trying to fix that last annoying coding bug, you can find me dancing, playing the piano, baking, and reading sci-fi books in my spare time. SSP has been an absolute blast and I’m so excited to see what’s next!