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.
It’s been over three months since my trip to the Galapagos, and I am still thinking about it. For seven days, we all woke up at 5:30 am on the boat, ate breakfast together, and went out as the sun was rising on our morning hike to catch frigatebirds mating or iguanas spewing salt from their nostrils. Our days were spent snorkeling with turtles, sea lions, and schools of fish, and our nights were spent sitting on the bow of the ship, talking all together under the stars. It was truly a spring break I will never forget.
Four weeks before graduation! While I’m looking forward to the summer and all the fun it promises, I’m also reflecting on my undergraduate experience over the past few years. This is a blog about my favorite classes during my time here, some expected and others less so. As a Computer Science major, no CS classes actually make my final cut, but my top three favorite classes all fall into the realm of Neuroscience, my other primary academic interest.
I remember being a junior in HS and my APCS partner, Brooke, had just gotten accepted into Caltech. She was looking at the course catalog for humanities courses during class (instead of working on our project) and shaking her head at the offerings. When May rolled around, she told me part of the reason she didn’t choose to go to Caltech was how the humanities courses seemed to be “too scientific,” with classes that integrated history with quantum physics, etc. A year later, when I was in the same situation, I decided to matriculate to Caltech for its strong STEM offerings, but felt some anxiety about how my love of the humanities would be fed during my four years of undergraduate education.
One of the most well-known benefits of being a Caltech student is the infamous 3:1 student to faculty ratio, which implies a personalized, interactive undergraduate experience with world-class research scientists. It was a primary reason why I chose Caltech above other schools as a high school senior. Now as my time at Caltech comes to a close, I can reflect back on my interactions with different professors and consider if this 3:1 ratio really “lives up to the hype.” I believe the answer is yes.