As I mentioned in my previous post (read the details about my rad summer here), I’ve had quite a hectic thirteen weeks filled with adventures and traveling. I’ve been lucky enough to visit North Carolina for ultimate frisbee nationals, live in China for a month and a half while conducting research, and spend a week in the incredible Canadian rockies with my family. With just about two weeks left before heading back to SC, I’m spending the rest of my summer hanging out with my friends from home, going on photography trips with my family, and drinking tons of boba (the bay area has the best boba, hands down). I could tell you guys about a day in my life right now, but I’m not sure if I want to admit how much Grey’s Anatomy I’m watching, nor do I think you guys want to know how I visit Target five times a week just to get out of the house. To keep my little corner of the internet interesting and relatively engineering-related, I’ll talk about a day in my life while I was conducting my work in Beijing!
8:00 am wake up. I was staying in a single room in the international student dorm at Tsinghua University, which meant I had my own space with a bathroom/shower, bed and desk. I usually rolled out of bed by around 8:15, checked my email and messages from friends back home (time difference adjustments), and slapped together a quick breakfast of peanut butter and wheat bread. My room came with a water heater, so sometimes I’d make a cup of instant coffee or tea, but usually I was too lazy to wash the mug so I’d just drink water and scoot out the door. Checking the weather was also crucial, since the pollution in Beijing sometimes called for a facemask; we also experienced tons of surprise afternoon rain.
8:45 am bike to work!! I rented a bike from a local shopkeeper on campus, for the equivalent of 50
cents a day. My dorm was on the opposite end of campus from the building where my lab was– the distance
was about a mile and a half. I didn’t want to walk half an hour each way, so I biked about 10 minutes in the morning, navigating the ridiculous campus traffic (all bikes and pedestrians, 100% chaos) and got to work by 9.
9:00 am-12pm WORK! I was working on algorithm development and clustering techniques, so my duties would range from reading papers on new projects to running code on sample data sets. I created graphs, ran code in python and R, and also had time to sneak in some occasional Quora and messaging my parents (again with the time difference). Once in a while, visiting professors from other universities would come and hold lectures on their research in bioinformatics, big data in medicine, and computational biology.
12-1 pm lunch!! Dining halls were everywhere at Tsinghua, I think there were 10-15 of them in total. Food was SUPER CHEAP and pretty good, so we would always eat on campus during the day. We could get a super satisfying meal for about $2, which rocked. Fun fact, Tsinghua made its own yogurt on campus, and served it in bags which were easily poked and consumed with straws, kind of like a Caprisun!
1-5pm more work, coffee break, sometimes a quick nap break (napping is completely acceptable in Chinese culture, which I think is pretty amazing). More testing, more coding, more reading, sometimes a meeting with my grad student.
5-7 pm bike home, dinner with USC friends, maybe a nap. Dinner on campus would be between 5-7, since that was when the dining halls were open, but if we decided to go off campus (which we did pretty frequently, just to change up the food and explore some more), we would walk about a mile to the nearest metro station, and metro wherever we decided to go. The metro in Beijing was super efficient and cheap, making it our primary choice of transportation whenever we wanted to travel within the city.
7-1 am During the week, we’d explore some of the more accessible parts of Beijing, from the Silk Market and Lama temple to the Olympic Park and a legendary Peking duck spot.We saved bigger trips for the weekend, like the Great Wall and Summer Palace, but we were easily able to explore more local places on weeknights. Thursdays and Fridays we’d often go out to the international district, where all the expats and international ambassadors congregated for the most westernized restaurants, clubs and bars in Beijing. If we decided to stay on campus, I’d go running at one of the three tracks on campus, watch some Grey’s Anatomy, facetime friends or catch up on my reading for work.
Some of my weekday adventures, documented mostly through food!!
1-8 am sleep!!Meet Rhea