Friday, June 24, 2011

decisions that turn out 20/20

I was talking to a fellow Caltech grad recently about getting picked into Dabney House during college.

Every Caltech freshman gets picked into one of the seven Houses (dorms), during the first week of college.  It's like the Sorting Hat at Hogwarts.  At the time, I was more of a traditional Chinese person, so I thought I would be picked into one of the mainstream North Houses. 

Instead, because my photo ID had a picture of me sticking out my tongue, I got picked into the hippie House.  I was initially in shell shock.  My fellow denizens walked around barefoot, went hot tubbing nude, dropped acid, and did all manner of other things that shocked me to my core.  I could not understand how I, a traditional chinese girl, got picked into this House. 

But now in hindsight, I feel like there was no other choice.  Of course I belonged in the House where anything goes.  I am such a Darb.  It was also nice that we happened to have a heavy concentration of top computer science majors.

Sometimes decisions seem so arbitrary and inexplicable at first, and then in time they become clear.  Dabney House was prescient to pick me based on the goofy photo ID.  Now there are many times when I make a decision based on gut instinct and a small trigger, and it seems inexplicable at the time.  I start to wonder if I behaved foolishly to make a decision that I can't fully rationalize.  But usually it ends up making sense.  Sometimes it takes years to fully play out, but usually your subconscious makes good decisions.  Go with it.


ArC said...

Huh. I wanted to be a Darb all along and got picked by one of the North Houses. {shrug}

Wanda said...

I felt the same way about being picked into Dabney. It was my last pick (out of 4), but it turned out to be the best house for me.

Anonymous said...

Please read Laura Day's How to Rule the World from Your Couch.

She talks exactly about this, that flash of insight that you can't explain.

Years later you realize how incredibly perceptive you were.

I can't tell whether intution is psychic reading in the same category as fraud, or if it's truth. I'd be very interested on your take as a scientist and a computer guru.

Yishan said...

pics of this whimsical ID plz

Anonymous said...

u saw my comment and didn't give me a response but it's all right. I'll never write to you agian.

(P.S. my english sucks but that's because I'm just an average Japanese and sorry about that. plus just let you know, I was really really sincere. but it's your decision whether you want to reply or not. so it's ok.sorry about it. i don't have an id for this and i won't come agian)

Mike said...

I wonder how much of this is you being a latent Darb, and how much of this is us turning you into a Darb :)

Niniane said...

Mike, I considered too that perhaps I was not a Darb to begin with, and got turned into a Darb. But I think that if I didn't have the nature of a Darb, I would've had a bad reaction and transferred into a North House after two terms.