Ah, CalTech...even before I started applying to colleges, I knew I loved CalTech. Glorious, independent, snarky people, fascinating and erudite, go to CalTech. I don't go there, though, because 1. I didn't apply there and 2. I'm not a math/science/engineering geek, however much I love the breed and like to pretend I'm one of them. "Why didn't I apply there anyway, if I love it so much?" you ask. Well, I didn't apply there for the same reason I didn't apply anywhere else of merit—it's out-of-state, and there are certain restrictions that I had to go by when choosing a university to attend. I'll leave it at that—it's not a fascinating story.
But the place, ah, it's wondrous. They have tradition, mystique, silliness, erudition...spring Ditch Day is one of the coolest things one could ever partake in, the house system is just as cool as that at Princeton, only lacking the upper-crust snobbery. These places, CalTech, Princeton, Amherst, etc., are places I need to find excuses to visit.
Does my list of colleges I would've applied to, had I the chance, make you think new things about me? Does it confirm anything? I'm curious. For the record, here's where I would've applied, had I thought it'd make a difference:
You see, when they say to take the decision seriously, they mean take it seriously. I can't do it all over again now, but oh, grad school—my salvation. I look at the sites these people have up at other schools, I look at the things they have to offer, and I'm interested, I feel alive. I've the potential to do all that, if only given enough free time and people I enjoy being around and a flexible administration and a nice place to live, and perhaps a nice long break beforehand.
In any case, the university's website needs a nice directory of student pages and coherent instructions regarding how to assemble and post one. Look at Caltech's list. It's fantastic! Most of them actually bother to get something up online, and in a lot of cases it's quite skilled! Look at the house websites! They look like someone takes care of them, as opposed to the university's stamped-out-of-a-mold-in-1998 set of pages. I emailed them about that awhile back, receiving only a standard form reply, i.e. "Thank you for your concern. We're very busy...blah blah". The thing is, even if they don't give a shit about how the main site comes off to visitors, they could at least bother to help students out a bit with the hosting.
My roommate and I have come up with an idea, this one a bit more feasible than the one A. and I came up with awhile back about starting a marching band here—we should just go ahead and start an All-Student symphonic band/orchestra. That's what it could be called, too: All-Student Orchestra (ASO), much like the current All-Student Theatre (AST). Why not?
Students here need a group to play music with that doesn't freely invite professional players or deprecate those who lack funds to take private lessons. They need a leader who won't browbeat them for missing a note, who'll be patient yet firm when necessary. More problematic, we need a practice space that isn't subject to the whims of the music department, yet has the necessary equipment (esp. percussion instruments) to field a band. Perhaps we could work out a deal with the imddle school across the street. Who wouldn't want the prestige that comes from having university students practicing there? We could rent the space, or tutor students on their instruments as payment, or any number of things. It'd be just like the way the community band inhabits my high school's band room once a week.
News: Jablog will officially be out of beta on December 27, 2003, meaning all the bugs will be fixed, you half-users will be able to use your accounts for something, and the service will really start to pick up. Spread the word.
Last night I dreamed about vampires and ponies. Ditto the night before. That's what reading Anne Rice and waiting for a pony to come in the mail will do to you. [shakes head] Do I sound like someone who shops at Hot Topic or what? (I don't. Thanks for your concern.) Vampires and ponies...