Time is a Rather Funny Thing, Really | Isabel D.

Time is a rather funny thing, really. I believe it was April 16 when I heard back about my SSP decision, and I was absolutely elated to find out that I was just one of few who had earned the honor and privilege to be a part of SSP, studying under and alongside other enthusiastic researchers. For weeks, I thought to myself, SSP is weeks away, there’s so much time up until then. And surely enough, June 17 came around, and I was overjoyed. 

Being that it was the first day and the schedule was slightly altered as the day began at 11 am as opposed to 8 am, I began my morning by doing something that brings me much tranquility–going for a run. Despite the concerningly high volume of my cheesy dance music in my AirPods, many thoughts raced through my mind: How many people’s faces would be squares on my Zoom screen? Where will other participants be from? What is on the agenda for the day? Which hobby of mine will I say is my favorite during an icebreaker? 

And just like that, time flew by, and my questions began to get answered. There were 35 other participants on the Purdue campus, all explaining their passions with such poise and precision, assembling from across the globe onto my 13-inch computer screen. Some participants were approaching sleep, while others had recently risen. 

One by one, each participant shared the hobbies and interests that mattered to them most. From fencing to puzzle making to piano playing, I was fascinated by how versatile everyone else was. It was adorable seeing pets and snacks pop up in the corners of Zoom boxes, and seeing the creativity in Zoom backgrounds. A kind of funny world we live in, isn’t it? 

In terms of the agenda, it was my first time using Canvas, but as a girl whose planner is always filled in and color coded, I appreciated the calendar and module-based organization on the Canvas platform. There was lots to accomplish including a Labster simulation on pipetting,(I sincerely hope these simulations become a little less painful haha), a lecture on the Central Dogma of biology, and some other nitty gritty tasks. 

Overall, despite the 17th not even being a full day of the program, by the end of it, I felt highly enriched. Enriched by the interests and knowledge of such a diverse group of participants. Enriched by the warmth and the welcomingness of the faculty and TAs. Enriched by the concepts taught and the high-tech activities completed. Did I mention that this was after not even a full day? 

Time is a rather funny thing, really. I am writing this a bit after the first day, and cannot believe how much I already know about my peers, biochemistry, and the world of research and collaboration itself. Though some assignments were not easy, the endless support, guidance, and communication have, and will continue to motivate me on my SSP journey. I am really looking forward to it 🙂