What do you actually do at SSP I’m so confused” – one of my friends

By Jack Z.

“Alvina and Sid are the best teammates ever and I have never met anyone smarter, funnier, or cooler than them.”

Alright now that I got that quota out of the way…

If you’re looking to have a stroke and you’re reading this, you’re in the right place! Right where you belong. Today you’re going to hear about the unfiltered itinerary of the average early IU student, the chaos and masterpieces that result when IU kids join forces, and the scientific “results” that we obtained from BLAST this morning. While you’ve heard the wonderfully told, clever, wholesome stories from the other genius, incredibly talented SSP kids, today you will hear from Jack, one of the few students in the campus who can render Ms. Latus absolutely speechless and petrified.

 “Everytime you open your mouth, I fear what would happen if we were here in person” – Ms Latus, 2021.

There is nothing I can possibly say or do that can astonish my peers or the faculty even more.

I started off the day by waking up very early at 6:30, earlier than the worms. We started off class activity block by writing a couple of poems alliterating COVID-19. My group, Natasha, Micah, and I, spit out some fire bars, of which only Natasha’s was remotely related to the prompt at hand (along the lines of “Core own a wire us”). Not only was it related to the prompt, but it was clever and creative. 

Meanwhile from my compatriot Micah: 

I was hungry for food, I wanted lettuce, beans, tomato, I ate my fast food, Covid was created by deltaco. 

From me: 

Bill gates is our savior, he warned something like this would come later, he took my blood, and gave me Covid blood. 

We then delved into the wonderful world of BLAST. After a half hour debrief session with Dr. Jill, we learned that only Matthew was able to get similar searches against yeast for his substrates. We then adjusted the assignment to searching against all organisms (something that would actually occur in a research setting), but unfortunately for the Fusarium groups, Siddharth, Alvina, Micah, Maggie, Sai, and I, we ended up stuck in our genus, and we got nothing for other fungal pathogens. Micah began blasting music through his speaker, which frankly isn’t nothing new, but naturally we called in the absolutely chadded and goated Kevin Tan and tried inducting him into our cult with seizure inducing music and a “dance” so powerful that it exorcised Micah from the zoom meeting:

At this point “im scared, what is going on” can be applied to 90% of our interactions in the early block. The fact that I have multiple recordings of Aaron’s ASMR readings of famous American speeches and legislation scares me. Some cultish backgrounds as well:

After Micah crashed out of the meeting and after consulting the TAs and Dr. Jill again, our “results” were considered to be a finish to the assignment. We celebrated this Nobel-deserving find. Blasting rock and EDM, it was pancakes on the griddle as we “danced,” and by we, I mean not including me, Alvina, Siddharth, Sai, or Maggie (though the disease soon spread). Kevin got lost on his way back to the main room (only possible explanation as to why he would voluntarily come into our room again) and accidentally came into our breakout room during the national anthem, until Micah and I scared him off again as we “danced” to Astley with the other people in the room giving us the all too familiar deadpan stare. If none of anything I said made any logical sense whatsoever, that’s ok. I was actually there, and I’m still confused. 

After that productive session, we headed over to Kevin’s TA lecture about the art of design. It was here that the campus gave an impromptu introduction of Kevin. Within 20 seconds, we pulled out his linkedin, instagram, youtube, bio on the SSP website, his whitepages, his address, his credit card number, his social security number, his involvement in the fall of the USSR, his role in the Marvel multiverse…

We probably scared him more than impressed him. 

Welcome to the internet 

Have a look around…

The lecture itself though was quite fascinating, as we learned about some of the most significant factors to consider when it came to user-friendly creative designs, as well as Kevin’s disdain for orphans. “We don’t like orphan children” – Kevin, 2021 @Harvard

(just kidding, Kevin is literally an angel, too wholesome to roast).

You’ll notice that I took some advice from Kevin’s lecture about appealing, legible design and formatting and applied it here.

During TA block, we entered the meeting to witness Micah’s dance routine again, and reminisced Of Mallards and Germans, which admittedly sounds like a Faulkner novel, and we then proceeded to write our papers. After bopping to Taylor Swift with Alvina (still don’t understand the hype), we headed over to join the other groups for some CodeNames and that was the end of the day.

As a wise old Buddhist monk once told me in China, remember to cherish the simplicities and small things of life (roughly translated to sound nicer in English). Admittedly, he was intensely dehydrated and sweating, and he appeared to be under severe heat stroke. I might add that he was also quite belligerent, especially in the traffic. Honestly, I don’t even know if he was a monk, let alone Buddhist (he was old though). But that still holds true here. The little interactions throughout the day really add up and are a huge part of how much fun SSP has been and how much I’ve learned especially about the research process. The sighs or screams of relief when MOE finally cooperates, the moments when your data matches up with your MOE predictions, finally understanding why you’ve done everything that you have in week 3, the looks of terror on the faces of the TAs as they anticipate the rapidfire discord pings, and the stories we hear in TA block really do add up. SSP has made me excited each day for what’s up ahead, even if I know it’s going to be a long day of MOE where we may or may not have to redo our homology model. The community here is incredibly tight-knit; they also weren’t lying when they said this was going to be an educational experience of a lifetime. Alright that was a bit too much sentimental wholesomeness for my liking. Once again, if you’ve read this far, I apologize for the aneurysm I’ve caused you.

Oh and finally some dance moves from the unit himself: 

Farewell children,