Year 1: Spring Term Week 15

Hello friends,

Life is good. Even if I do feel like throwing my physics textbook at the wall once in a while. The week before finals will do that to you, I guess. My first exam is on the 14th. I do honestly enjoy most of the topics I'm learning though. Physics lectures have been on special relativity and bio lectures have been on gene regulation, both very interesting subjects.

A few highlights of the week:

My lab partner and I are almost ready to present our crystal project, and so we got to use the facilities in the Experimental Research Building to analyze our samples using Scanning Electron Microscopy and FTIR-ATR spectroscopy. The electron microscope yields such interesting images at the micrometer scale. Isn't it fascinating how zooming in closely to everyday substances reveals a whole new world?

I finished my timeline of English slang and political buzzwords for my writing seminar, which was a fun project, although I spent more time than I'd care to admit gluing printed-out words onto a poster.

I also got to go to a robotics workshop on campus in the Start-AD lab. We were given a dismantled remote-control car with an Arduino board and ultrasonic sensor attached, and got to play around with programming it. This was mostly fun because people from outside NYUAD come to these workshops, so it's good to talk to adults in the workforce off-campus. And it's a good way to get a free Arduino board to take back to my dorm.
Ah yes, the tangle of wires
I also got to listen to a lecture by former NYU president John Sexton! I got one of his famous hugs and had an enjoyable evening listening to his stories. NYU students affectionately refer to him as "J-sexy", which I think he has embraced by now despite being a 75-year-old man. What an influential person... he has a classic "American dream" story of growing up poor in New York, and he now regularly travels the globe and meets famous world leaders. The last time I talked to him was during my candidate weekend, the last candidate weekend before he "retired" as president of NYU to focus on teaching. NYUAD exists largely because of his initiative and his efforts.

John Sexton

My Residential Assistant (RA) took the students on our floor out to dinner earlier this weekend, funded by the school. We went to get Chinese hotpot. I've had it before, but not from this restaurant. This place was absolutely amazing given the quantity of food we could order with the size of our group. I know I post about food a lot, but it has been one of the unique things about living here and experiencing different cultures, so it's a fun thing to document. True to the name, hotpot soup involves a large pot of boiling broth in the center of the table, and everyone places thin strips of meat, seafood, and vegetables to cook in the pot. Then each person can take things out of the soup pot with chopsticks/ a spoon and eat them with different sauces (chili oil, peanut sauce, fish sauce, etc.)

Another thing I got to do this week was a yacht trip with my freshman classmates, also organized by NYUAD. I feel so pretentious even saying the word "yacht"... how did I get so lucky? I never, ever want to take things like this for granted. It was so great to get out under the sun again after so much time in classrooms and studying. After some time of sailing around the Abu Dhabi islands (and dancing to Arabic music on board), the boat was anchored and we jumped in the water- even from the second level of the boat. After an hour or so of swimming, we returned around sunset to amazing views of the city skyline. Abu Dhabi is so beautiful. This is the kind of thing that I am going to remember years from now.

Love these people 

Anyway, I hope you all stay happy and healthy. I'm excited for the adventures and the studying to continue and I'm so lucky to be in a place where I get plenty of both. 

Goodnight from Saadiyat Island,


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