I have never looked forward to relaxing on the weekend as much as I have here at Caltech. At the very least, without anything due the next day, Saturday is the day to just do nothing. This weekend since I had not been hiking, or even off-campus, for a long time, I decided to attend the Caltech Y trip with a few friends to see the monarch butterflies migrating in Santa Barbara and the wind caves in Gaviota. It was great to be able to relax and not care about any work (or midterms) I had coming up. Here’s a few pictures from the outing:
We went to a monarch sanctuary to see the butterflies, and though I don’t have a picture of it, the sanctuary was a stand of eucalyptus trees with an open area in the middle. (Don’t ask me why eucalyptus trees… I have no idea.) The butterflies flock to these sanctuaries because of the combination of light and water present in the open circle.
There were actually two areas of butterflies, but my camera lens doens’t have that much zoom, so I couldn’t get very detailed pictures of the literally hundreds of butterflies resting on this one tree in the more dry place. Instead, I spent forever trying to take a photo of a butterfly flapping its wings in the more wet area where the butterflies came to the water. I eventually got a decent one:
We stayed at the sanctuary until around 12, at which time we left for Gaviota where we ate lunch on the beach before we hiked… and did a little pre-hike climbing. (You must understand, my friend Renee is a little crazy. And yes, I know I’m blindingly white, I hurt my eyes too.)
Renee and I climbed up a rail-road trestle near the beach. I was pretty hesitant to climb since my shoes were at the other side of the beach, but we were leaving in 10 minutes, so what the heck, I climbed up. Admittedly, the real reason I did was because Renee just started climbing- and I can’t let a girl show me up! It turned out ok, no need to check the tetanus shot records.
Now for the beautful scenery from the hike:
Now for an actual wind cave (meaning it was carved by wind since the rock is so easy to erode). The contrast of light makes this one look like a painting on a wall. I could have gotten a better angle of the background to increase the effect, but I’m sure you get the idea.
You’re squished with all your dorm essentials in the back of the car and your parents in the front trying to find parking. Emotions are high: Will you make friends? Will classes be too hard? What’s your roommate going to be like?
So you’ve done it! You’re going to attend Caltech, one of your dream schools, and you can officially call yourself a Techer. Maybe you grew up in sunny Southern California or, like me, moved thousands of miles from the East Coast (where they actually have seasons.) Regardless of how familiar you are with Pasadena or the Caltech campus before attending, becoming a student is a unique and new experience. Life at Caltech can be fun, but it is also one of the most rigorous schools in the world. It is important that your own health and wellbeing is always a top priority, regardless of whatever commitments you have on your plate.
Senior year tends to differ widely between different folks. Some have finished nearly all their major requirements, while others will be working through their classes all the way until graduation. My friends and I all fall on different points along this spectrum, but we all have something in common: we’re ready for second and third term.