Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sleepy Sumin in Southern California

Hi all!

I am currently waiting for a gel to run.

For those of you who didn't know, I am doing a summer research program at Caltech. There are like 700 students doing research here, and about half of them are from Caltech.

Despite my long and persistent search for an apartment, I didn't find one and I am living in the dorms, which I think was actually a very good decision. Caltech is actually surprisingly similar to MIT in many ways, one of which is that each house has a personality. I live in Avery house, which I would say is like Simmons. Fortunately, I have more friends than windows (because my dorm does not look like Simmons at all). My dorm is known to be the not-very-social dorm because it's away from the other houses, but I do fortunately live on the most social alley (they say 'alley' instead of 'halls' here).

My days are usually not very eventful. I go to lab in the morning after struggling to get up, eat lunch which is either a not very good sandwich or a ham quesadilla, go back to lab, and have dinner. After dinner sometimes I have to go back and other times I don't. When I don't have to go back, I try to find fun things to do.

Research-wise, I would say that this summer is actually the most challenging. Basically, the goal of my project is to characterize a protein complex. I started by cloning some genes, and this week I'm growing lots of E.coli so that they can make the protein for me. A lot of what I'm doing right now are things I've done before, but for some reason, I've been struggling a lot with the new protocol, getting used to the instruments and benches, and trying to learn more biology to understand things. To be honest, I feel like nothing is really working and I just don't know why, so things have been pretty frustrating. I guess this is what science is like, but I've never had trouble getting things to work in lab, so my project so far has been a substancial source of stress. Perhaps I am pushing myself too much and need to take things one thing at a time.

Okay, enough about my struggles. To make up for the difficult research, however, I have some pretty cool friends, and Old Pasadena is really awesome. Most of my friends are from my alley and are Caltech students. They're nice and dress better than an average Caltech student apparently. They like playing card games, eating and boba. :) I went to see a modern ballet performance last Saturday, and will be going ice skating tomorrow, so I'm really excited about that. I also found a friend who wants to do food / molecular gastronomy experiments with me so I'm very happy about that. I should find some time to study for the GRE and study orgo though... I guess it's just hard to study after being in lab for a long time.

Since blogs are more fun to read when there are pictures, I guess I'll put some pictures up.

we went to a hibachi place for a friend's birthday 

Caltech is pretty. There are flowers.


did I mention that Caltech is pretty?

No comments:

Post a Comment