James and the Giant Corn Genetics: Studying the Source Code of Nature

February 2, 2008

The Second Night … In Berkeley

(This entry, and the previous one were written last night and posted this morning when I have internet access.) 


So after we were all done with interviews for the day, we hung out in the “grad pad” for about fourty minutes and I got to get to know some of the other people I was interviewing with better. One girl who was born in Iowa, but doesn’t live there anymore. Another from Texas A&M who knows Carlos (one of my roommates last summer). Another who graduated a semester early and moved from the west coast to the east coast to live with her boyfriend, now fiance who she met at a REU program. I’d estimate half the people interviewing are going to be graduating this spring and half have been out of school for some length of time already. 


In some ways I feel like one of the less qualified applicants. There are people who were first authors on papers as undergrads. My roommate is from Brown. As I mentioned previously, at the airport I met another girl from Cornell who’s also a Bio-Plant Science concentration (there are only like 10 of us at Cornell, and yet the two of us had to come all the way across the continent to meet each other). So it’s not like I have a monopoly on the Ivy League thing.


Anyway at six we walked over to a pot luck that was hosted at the house of some friend of one of the program organizers. Which was a really fancy place. (And as I found out last night, Berkeley allows the use of recruitment funds to buy alcohol, which is a no-go at some other schools.) It was good the get to talk to a bunch of the grad students in a less formal setting. Either the microbiology people (Berkeley combines micro and plant biology in one department) were a lot more outgoing than the plant people, or there were just a lot more of them there, since I always ended up in conversations with them, but it was still a good time. And then hours later, I got to get a ride back to the hotel in a compact car holding seven people. Which was definitely one of those experiences everyone should have in college. (At least I got to be one of the people donating laps instead of one of the people sitting on them.)

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