Today is September 30 – 46 days since I first got here. There’s so much to say and so little time to write, so I shall (temporarily) fall back into my old habit of writing about random* moments, and random things I want to say.
*remember my old definition of random? That applies here too.
1. A lot of what I remember from day 1 is being assaulted by the wind and shivering under three layers of tops. It was still SUMMER.
But then again, Oscar Wilde(?) said “the coldest winter I ever experienced was a San Francisco summer”
YA SF BAY AREA can you be just slightly less temperamental?! It’s not okay to burn and freeze my arms simultaneously just because they’re exposed to both the breeze and the sun
2. I have taken to writing dates in words because 6/10 confuses me – October 6 or June 10? When we first started lectures I wrote it the American way when I had to hand stuff in and the normal way (yes I am (now explicitly) insinuating the American way isn’t normal), but that quickly became a mess because I couldn’t remember which dates were written in which format.
3. It’s ZET not ZEE
4. I honestly don’t know how to feel when people express surprise at finding out I’m an international student. “Your English is so good!” “you’re not american?”
Do I feel better because I’m easily understood ie I adopted the “American” accent effectively enough, or do I feel terrible because I’m being fake and untrue in trying to “assimilate” and copy the accent?
On the flip side, at the dining halls: “can I have (insert food) and (insert food) please?” “what?”
And “did you go to a party?” “did I go to a what?”
Like excuse me I’m not that hard to understand
5. My chemistry professor: when I first started teaching here I wore a bright Hawaiian shirt on the first day of lecture. My superior saw me and said “Ah, you’ve learned our ways very quickly! If you don’t have a bright mind, where a bright shirt!”
6. Voldemort went to Stanford.
Let’s ignore the fact that Voldemort is British and didn’t terrorize the US
7. I think I have more pictures of the sky than I do of anything/anyone else since I got here
(yes I realize this is a poor quality video, not a photo)
8. Dr Pepper tastes like cough syrup. Why do people even like this thing?
9. Three weeks into classes, we we had a formal lab report due and I was super confused and was going over it with a friend
Susan: how did your research contribute to our greater understanding of chemistry
Me: the latest understanding is: don’t drop a crucible filled with sample before measuring the mass. More importantly, don’t drop TWO crucibles
(yes. I did. Drop 2 crucibles out of 3 after heating the first for 1 hour and the second for 45 minutes, after a 4 hour procedure preparing those up to that point. So much for good data)
Also me: my ‘research’ found that you need to do research to contribute to greater understanding of chemistry
10. Susan: *spills orange coloured Thai milk tea on floor* oops
11. Jelli (I think): EECS people are so depressed they need a boba place within their building
12. Me at 2 am the night before a lab: how do you do this question in the pre-lab?
Media: of course I haven’t started
13. I don’t know what possessed me to pick a class about war, but the contents are kinda upsetting
I don’t want to watch grave of fireflies again ever
And/or read Borowski
14. So a few weeks ago Sachdave and I went for dinner at Crossroads and there were a few Chinese people sitting next to us speaking in Mandarin
He commented “macam kat msia je kan”
And then I started ranting about maths and how Hutchings tried to prove 0.0=0 and never did and isn’t 0.0=0 simply by definition a.0=0???!! No? Yes? I still don’t know, 2 days before midterm (PS I still don’t know, three days after the midterm)
And one of the Chinese guys overhears and starts talking to us bc “oMG ARE YOU IN HUTCHINGS 54 TOO?!”
We just used Malay as a code language in front of a SINGAPOREAN ded HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
15. I underestimated the comfort of not being alert and on edge all the time when it comes to language. It’s so tiring to speak in English rather than Manglish
16. Ani: ummmm I didn’t like this character
Brian: *wonders how to insult in academic language*
Professor: yeah he’s an asshole
17. Two weeks after that crucible lab:
Me: this lab worries me
Susan: it’s pretty easy compared to the previous ones though what could go wrong
Susan:…. DON’T KNOCK YOUR SOLUTIONS OVER
Ta-dah mixtures of solutions that weren’t knocked over!
18. Susan to me: we did it!!
Ryan, lying on floor outside lab with his legs up 90 degrees to his body: did what
susan: the postlab and pre-lab
I’m positive that I take way longer than I should on these things
I don’t think they’re meant to take 10 hours
19. Also I think I might have found the Danica I need in maths: Nichole and Erin
Blank stares and giggles ftw
20. Erin: spends 2 hours making a carrot whistle, cracking it, pasting it with chewing gum and going around unit 1 showing it to people
And then narrates this whole thing to me the next day when I run into her at dinner
And then rants about maths
And then says oops maybe we shouldn’t rant here bc our GSI hangs around here sometimes
!!!!!!!! Never seen him there but!!!!!!
21. Cathy: my first friend in maths. I then discover she’s also in CBE.
then she drops both and her friend becomes my default neighbour in math
Side note: my latest CBE homework begins “a couple of chemical engineers had a baby named System” HAHAHAHAHA
22. There’s this one girl in chem who I sit next to often and who I see often in the academic center in the unit. I don’t remember her name and I don’t dare to ask anymore
23. THANK God for GSIs and teacher scholars and peer tutors I swear they’re much better at explaining stuff than professors (ok not ALWAYS but ya)
24. I wouldn’t know most of my GSIS are GSIs if they didn’t teach me; they look so young. They probably are really young. Maybe just 22 or 23, some of them.
25. Then there’s me. I feel so old. 20. Not that it matters. It’s just a thing.
26. The Indonesian society is called BISA (Berkeley Indonesian Students Association)
Their shirts say “kami BISA”
love the play on words
27. Equivalent to Kath/Erin/Nichole in math = Nicole in chem
Except she actually does the readings so she’s nowhere near as lost as I am
28. I think some part of me has always felt, rather arrogantly, that I’m pretty smart. Or at least good enough. That’s backfiring. Because I’m clearly not and I’ve picked a pretty hard major in a pretty hard school.
It would be nice to feel competent in at least something once in a while
But no, 14 years of formal musical training and I can barely sight-sing
I took pride in my ability to do that at some point
14 years of piano and I can’t play you a single piece of music that wasn’t written for 6 year old beginners
What was the point of all that time, energy, effort, money
But a part of me still stubbornly believes I’m not going to be one of those kids who does badly despite my not understanding what’s going on anywhere
29. I never really thought twice about admitting that I’m having a difficult time with something/ranting/asking for help, but 99% of people here are all like “oh yeah I’m doing great how about you?!” and “I love this and I’m going to this and I’m doing this today tomorrow this weekend next month” which is really intimidating because it makes me very seriously wonder if something is wrong with me
i. I cannot handle even half the stuff I should be able to on minimum school load
ii. Self pity
iii. I complain incessantly and far too intensely. (insert: my RA saw me last night with a textbook and I said I’m tired and she said she feels like every time she sees me I’m carrying a textbook and I’m tired)
30. Dr Went: I want you all to know that help is available if you ask for it
I don’t know. It’s pretty easy to feel like no one cares. It’s hard to ask for help when you don’t know what help you need.
All the same gotta love Dr Went for it she’s the only one who’s said that so far (well and her GSIs)
31. Wow @ my math GSI
a. My parents don’t have a basement
b. I never lived in their basement
c. See a and b
Okay so a depressing tone is leaking into this post and I’m going to stop this and talk about it another time.
31. I came up with a less depressing thing to talk about
So this one time a fire alarm went off in my building
I did not know because I was taking a shower.
I showered through the alarm, evacuation, and return of people. My roommate got written up for skipping. I did not get caught. It was a very long shower. It’s much less funny written down hm
32. Did you know that it is possible to lose a huge bottle of detergent? Let me tell you, it is. How I misplaced it is a huge question.
33. Professor at 8 am class: passes around bowl of jellybeans
Professor: um maybe I should have picked something a little more nutritious
Brian: or a little more caffeinated
OK NOW I really hope that none of these people I’ve talked about stumble on this because I don’t know any of them nearly well enough to talk about them like I really know them
Wow this post has gotten far longer than I planned and I’ve stayed up much longer than I planned to. Sorry for rambles thanks for putting up with it