Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Did That Really Just Happen?

When we met up at El Cerrito HS early in the morning and immediately had shuttle troubles, I was only sure about one thing. One way or another, my time at UChicago would at the very least be interesting. At this point so many other words also pop into my mind such as phenomenal, educational, or perfect.
After we were finally on campus, I immediately became concerned with finding friends. My RA group was nice, but most had connections through their boarding schools and had mutual friends, so I didn't exactly fit in. My roommate wasn't a very talkative type and seemed disinterested in having a conversation with me. I was worried that I wouldn't make many friends all three weeks, but that quickly changed. Soon I was spending time with the rest of the cohort and Kara, Olivia, and Michelle.
When class started on Monday, it was better than I ever could've expected. Instead of the competitive environment I thought I would be walking into, the class was supportive and curious. My instructors were all helpful and the class was not reliant on lectures. Even after the first few days I had learned so much from the material we were taking in, and the people around me. I had prepared myself to go in and immediately have to fight for people to take me seriously, but thankfully that wasn't the case. The class became even more fun when Jahnvi switched in.

Physics of Stars made me realize just how much I love trying to figure out problems and how much I love the feeling when I've figured something out. The first project I did seemed like I would keep running into dead ends, because there seemed to be no available information. When the information was finally figured out, and I found the luminosity of a pulsar, the excitement I felt was amazing and all I wanted to do was find out more about the universe.

Spending the weekends with the cohort along with our new friends was always interesting. A world I had never been  invited to really opened up before my eyes when we went places I wouldn't think of going, or talked to people I wouldn't think of speaking to before. The ear piercings, hair dying, and trips downtown were all worth it. Spending time with the wonderful friends I made like Michelle, Kara, and Olivia, is what really made all the difference for me. Though it made for some late nights, I don't regret the time I spent with my wonderful UChicago friends. 
Kara was always being hopelessly honest, always barging in when she was bored, and creating our backup plans. I certainly would've gone far fewer places if she hadn't managed to work things out or hadn't wanted to go out so much. Michelle was our fellow Bay Area girl, and was absolutely crazy, but she was always introducing herself to new people and making new friends, which in turn gave me more friends. We dragged Olivia into our world on the first day, and she was our navigator and ever helpful, even when she was annoyed with our interruptions

When it was time for the trip to Yerkes Observatory, initially I was sad to be missing out on time with the friends I had already made, completely unaware of the friends I would end up making while at Yerkes.

The overall Yerkes was amazing. From a scientific standpoint, it was a great opportunity to collect data and be in a place where actual observation and data analysis happens. We were given an amazing opportunity to be able to use the available equipment for our data, and with it we dove into and found out remarkable things. Socially, I ended up talking to people I only had limited conversations with before and had some great laughs anytime from 2 AM in a dorm room to 7 PM at the lake. Jared and I really only started talking in the middle of the third week, which is a bummer considering we have similar senses of humor and managed to be in the same class without really speaking. Nick is almost scarily nice, and I wish I had started talking to him sooner, even though his jokes are ridiculous. Lister is fearless and wildly intelligent, I'm sad I only started talking to her the last week.
Jahnvi and I spent so much time together. When we first met at the interview, I hoped we would get in together, and I'm so glad we did. We've stayed up way too late, invaded people's rooms, and wandered around downtown together. Cecilia was the sane one of the group, which is exactly why we all needed her.  Raqeeb, fell asleep on the L every time which is ridiculous, but didn't completely ignore my and Jahnvi's constant pestering. Ms.Sciacca/Mom/Sciacca Flocka Flame was the best chaperone we all could've hoped for.

Our time at UChicago was an amazing experience I'll never forget. 

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