Most SSP days begin with intensive mental math. My alarm goes off at 8. Ok, that leaves one hour. If I snooze until 8:40, I can get dressed, brush my teeth and be out of the dorm by 8:50. From there I can jog to Fidel, put 2 pancakes, 2 sausages, and a few pieces of pineapple on my plate. I can finish eating by the time I get to the food disposal section, leave Fidel at 8:57, and arrive in Cramer at 8:59.
Then lecture begins. In today’s lecture, we learned about the Hubble constant, which is not really a constant at all. This sums up time passage at SSP. As the summer has gone on, H has gradually increased. However, H also fluctuates on a day to day basis tends to shrink significantly during lectures, as we create an escape plan to the computer lab for as soon as lectures end. At this point, H switches. You look at the clock and realize that it is already 2 and your OD outputs changed from 5 orders of magnitude off to 5 off in the other direction (still too big to ignore factors of order unity…).
But you’ve already gone through so much… Your mental planning didn’t go as you hoped. Not only did you not make it to Fidel, but you forgot your water bottle, making it even harder to hide your drowsiness. You had to go back to Cramer for your ID before lunch, and the computer you put so much effort into securing has been hijacked. The vending machine ate two of your precious dollar bills with no compensation. You make a sudden realization that you haven’t called your mom in a while, and as you pull out your phone to do so, you discover four missed calls. At this point, you’re done with coding, but still feel the pressure to finish your coding.
So the mental math begins again: How long can I work in order to have to shower and brush my teeth, to still make it to the dorm by 3 am? If I manage to fall asleep by 3:30, I can get a whole five hours and twenty minutes of sleep before lecture tomorrow. I can get another hour by skipping lunch to nap. Do I really need lunch when I still have Oreos from Walmart? How much experience do I need in astronomy to have a chance at SSP? I only have a 1510 PSAT, is that enough? I’m afraid I’m not special enough to get accepted. I have a 4.0 but my school doesn’t rank. Can still get into SSP and then MIT? These are the questions these are the questions that keep me up and have kept me up past 3 am… Please answer, will chance back…