The First Week: Why Am I Always Getting Lost Though?

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Friday, June 8, 2018


Elon Price

My head is spinning.  I haven’t been able to function on less than 8 hours of sleep since way back in freshman year (because you know, that was FOREVER ago).  For the first time in a while, I feel like I truly belong. This past week has been a whirlwind of new and exciting experiences and as I’m writing to you today is honestly the first time I’m processing it all.


It all started Friday.  I left my quiet neighborhood (we call it the old people neighborhood) back in Clayton, NC and began the long journey to our nation’s capital.  With me, I had my siblings (16 y.o. brother and 11 y.o. sister) and my mother. My dad wanted to be there but he had a conference in Texas (which turned out to be extremely hot) so I didn’t fault him for it.  Anyway, we drove about 3 hours before we stopped at an old friend’s house in Virginia near Richmond. I call her Aunty Nikki because I’ve known her all my life and she has supported me like any other family member would.  I admire her creativity and vigor and was glad to reconnect after way too long.


After that pitstop we headed to visit my other Aunty right outside of DC.  It was too short of a visit but it’s relieving to know she’s nearby. I actually got to experience Maryland blue crabs for the first time ever at a true hole-in-the-wall named Fifer’s Seafood.  It was an… interesting experience. They were no doubt the best crabs I’ve ever tasted in my life… so succulent and flavorful with a hint of sweetness. Being the food-lover I am, I enjoyed that night very much (even though I had to get my hands dirty).


At long last, I made it to my home for the summer.  It was a wet, dark and busy move-in day but to me it was the best day ever.  Despite the leaky shower, busted blinds, and burnt-out bulbs, I loved it. I loved it because it was mine (and those other three people lul).  I felt it symbolized a new chapter in my life and I was ready for whatever came my way. After jazzing it up a bit and making three new friends in my suitemates, I finally retired for the night.


I awoke the next morning and literally hopped out of bed.  I barely slept the night before because I was way too excited for orientation day.  The four of us set out on the street to the metro. While transferring to the next train, we met up with two more awesome people and by the time we reached our destination I was 5 friends in.


Orientation was amazing.  I sort of expected it to more like a “Don’t do this, and definitely don’t do that” type deal but it was more of a “Welcome to the family” situation.  Everyone was so excited to meet us and they were all very friendly and interesting people. They fed us, bestowed words of wisdom, and told us all of the fun events they have in store.  They genuinely wanted to hear more about us and what we had to say. And it was the same for all the other interns here. But the end of the first day, I had a whole new family.


After orientation, I met up with my mentor for the summer, Dr. Crystal Bailey.   It was so great to meet her in person. She is an inspiring and lively woman with a “Let’s get this done!” type of attitude I live for.  I appreciate that she allows my creativity to flow and is still there for support when I need. Although a bit challenging, I decided to take on a video project.  This week I have been mostly doing research and writing the script for it. In short, I’m making a informational video about interesting careers in physics (there are A LOT) and how to go about getting them.  Luckily, I have had some filmmaking experience before so I’m not going in blind (sure Elon, sure).


So if you made it this far, congrats! You’re finally going to understand the title.  It seems I have made a habit of going the wrong way on the train… The first three times I was like “Whoops. Oh well...” but I have to say I’m starting to get a little… perturbed.  It turns out in fact I shouldn’t feel comfortable solving Lagrangians when my stop is like 5 minutes away.  Anywho, that’s all for today. Stayed tuned to find out if I ever figure out how to not get lost!

Elon Price