Your New & Improved Daily Routine!

Author: Emma C.

Ever find yourself wondering how you should be spending your days as an SSP student?? With a whopping total of 3 weeks of SSP under my belt (but seriously, how has it already been three weeks), I have constructed the perfect daily routine to maximize productivity and overall enjoyment of your SSP experience! 

7:50 AM – Good Morning!: The ideal way to start the morning is waking up 10 minutes before LB1. That oh-god-I-only-have-10-minutes-to-get-dressed-and-eat-breakfast panic really gets your blood pumping. This is crucial to making the most of your next 19 hours of intellectual stimulation, utter confusion, and Codenames (on six hours of sleep). While you’re at it, you might have a few minutes to check out the QOD. And once you see it is yet again a jumbled mess of letters, immediately click away and tell yourself you’ll figure it out later that day (you won’t). 

8:00 AM – Learning Blocks: About three minutes in, you will likely begin to feel very lost. Fortunately, you can shoot your friend or teammate a quick private message only to find out they are completely lost as well. 

This will likely continue for the majority of the remainder of the learning block until some brave soul interjects with that one question that helps everything begin to click together. Be sure to relish those moments of understanding before LB2 begins and the cycle repeats. 

1:00 AM – “Break”: Now you might be wondering: Emma, what shall we do during this quick breather from all that mind-boggling astrophysics!? Will we go get some lunch, get some fresh air, actually go outside for once…?

The answer is: you start the pset. Because, you will definitely need those extra three hours. have an insatiable desire to continue your pursuit of knowledge. 

Bonus points if you can find a few friends that want to spend their break struggling with you over Zoom. 

4:00 PM – Work/Play Block: Greet your breakout room by asking if they can hear the concerning death noises your poor, overheating Mac is making. Once they say “Yes”, collectively compare the number of unnecessary tabs you have open (the current record goes to my teammate Sophia S who never fails to have at least 10 different applications and 20 different tabs open at once).

Then, proceed to open five more as you aimlessly navigate the Canvas page in search of that day’s lecture notes. 

The current tab situation.

After about ten minutes, you will begin to come to terms with the reality that your group has zero idea what the Pset is asking. Fortunately, NMT has 4 (of the best) TAs that are only a discord ping away (as pictured below).  

The most common kind of message in our discord channel.

And after a few short hours of hopping breakout rooms hoping to find a group that knows what they’re doing, desperately checking intermediate values, and realizing you should not be using a 2-pixel buffer with your centroiding code, your pset is finished! Savor that joy brought on by the short burst of Canvas confetti because you will soon realize the next three psets are already open. 

Now, you might be tempted to get a head start on tomorrow’s pset, an honorable move. But after reading the first line, someone will usually interrupt with a “Does anyone want to play a game?”, and everyone will immediately sigh with relief. 

~ 6:00 PM – Work/Play Block: While nothing can beat staring hopelessly at your code for three hours, games come pretty close. A clear favorite is Codenames during which you can spend an entertaining 30 minutes trying to associate “Kangaroo” with “Egg” while a very disappointed Dr. R (and his fidget spinner) spectate. 

An unfortunate Codenames loss.

Some other notable Work/Play moments:

Definitely did not watch Wargames and play Global Thermonuclear Warfare instead of writing this blog post.

WARNING: Do not let Juji rope you into a game of Grabble or that one word bomb game. He will steal both your words and your dignity without hesitation. 

A very accurate drawing of yesterday’s Grabble game.

11:00 PM – Approaching 7:00 UTC: This is normally a good time to make sure you submitted your pset, take a final (and futile) stab at the QOD, and make sure you don’t have an observing request due in an hour!

A recent UTC-is-very-weird-and-confusing-type mixup.

Disclaimer: This very-general-and-not-specific-at-all guide is only meant to be loosely referenced when you go about your own daily SSP routine. After all, one of the best parts about SSP is how every lecture, every person, and every day is wildly unique with its own set of challenges and solutions. Enjoy!

Author: Hi! I’m Emma and I’m a rising senior at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, California. My passions include drinking copious amounts of coffee, binging Chick Flicks, and writing with excessive amounts of sarcasm.