Dear Orange - #1

Dear Orange,
What is this column about? I’m new to Caltech and don’t know much about this paper, or Caltech at all for that matter. Please tell me more.

Well, hello Curious, I too am a newcomer myself! I am new to the Tech, in fact this is my very first feature in the paper, and I’ve got to say I am so happy to be here. My name is Orange and the simplest way to explain this column is to say that I’m here for you. A Caltech spin-off of Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (also associated with Tiny Beautiful Things if you’ve read or watched the show on Hulu), Dear Orange is a platform to ask a question that may be dwelling on your mind or heart, share a pickle you may be in, open up about something that’s troubling you, or anything in between.

“Orange… you seriously expect me to air my dirty laundry out in front of the entire school paper? You trippin.”

Nay I say, young reader, for every submission will be completely anonymous to the public. Only I will have your name when you submit your story on the Dear Orange Google Form. You can rest assured that every thought, story, experience, or question that is submitted will remain between you and me, and that’s my word. The ONLY time I would ever share your submission to someone outside of my own brain would be if there was a concerning notion of harm to yourself or anyone around you. Beyond that, it’s just you and me, my friend.

And to add another layer to this privacy, I will be an anonymous person too. You may be wondering, well what makes you all high and mighty and equipped with all the answers to our woes? I’ll be the first to tell you that I do not have all the answers and there is a whole lot I do not know, both in this life and relative to many folks on this campus. But I will say that I am an unbiased entity that has walked in similar high academic shoes and will always do my best to give you transparent feedback on whatever is on your mind. Just a couple of strangers talking about the highs and lows and curveballs of life here, because more often than not the person next to you is going through something similar.

This is a genuine advice column telling the stories of Caltech students. It is not guaranteed that your submission will be picked, responded to, or in the paper since we can only do one, perhaps two, every paper but I’ll try my best to at least get everyone a personal response. I’d rather under-promise and over-deliver, but we can all just do our best. The true idea here is one to normalize the tough times of life on campus, but also, and perhaps more so, to LET. THAT. ISH. OUT. So often we bottle up these hard experiences and it can quickly spiral us into an isolated hole that is much harder to navigate as opposed to getting it out of ourselves and addressing it head on.

Before I sign off, you mentioned that you’re new to Caltech so please let me just give you the warmest of welcomes. I don’t know your role on campus but regardless of whether you’re here as an undergraduate student, PhD candidate, faculty, staff employee, community member, or relative to any one of those roles, congrats on being here. What a cool flippin’ place this is. You’ll quickly learn that Caltech radiates brilliance in a way that is magnetic. It is a privilege to be amongst the minds here and amidst the sunny mountains in our little Pasadena nook. If I can give you one piece of advice today, it is to say hi and introduce yourself to the person next to you. Meet as many people as you can and build your network. That’s what college is all about.

Ask your questions, share your stories, I am here and ready to chat. ‘til next time, Beavers.

With love,