It was the Friday night of midterms during my first year at Caltech, and I was alone in the library. That weekend (week five of term, if you’re keeping count) also happens to coincide with Halloween. But as a bright-eyed frosh trudging my way through Ma 1a lecture notes, I was just baffled that no one else was studying alongside me. Spoiler alert: not all Caltech students spend Friday night—or every night—studying or grinding sets, even during midterms. And especially on Halloween weekend.
Disclaimer: I can’t speak for everyone at Caltech. Sometimes even I’ll be working late on Friday to catch up on work or trying to get ahead on the upcoming set due the next week. But more often than not, I’ll find myself goofing off with my friends because hey, all work and no play makes Katelyn a dull girl.
As much as I love being a Lloyd waiter (a paid student job to set up, wait, and clean up house dinners each night), I’ll typically spend Friday nights going out to eat in the Pasadena area. A frequent choice is getting poke, thai, or Zankou’s chicken, but sometimes we’ll make the drive to Arcadia or Old Pas and treat ourselves to a nice meal like Ramen Tatsunoya and grab Salt and Straw afterward. I’d like to start cooking my own meals because Lloyd has a pretty well equipped kitchen, but that means: 1. buying groceries, 2. storing the groceries somewhere, 3. prepping and cooking the meal, and 4. cleaning up after myself. That’s a bit too much time and energy than I usually have on a Friday. We’re talking about taking a break here, not stressing about setting off the fire alarm from burning food.
I’m pretty partial to watching movies with my friends in the Shed, the Lloyd house movie room. The Shed is a huge room that has six couches on risers for maximum viewing and a several thousand dollar projector with surround sound for a peak movie watching experience. I’ve watched movies for class like A Clockwork Orange and Chinatown, meme movies like Velocipastor, and lately, the latest episodes of The Mandalorian. My friends and I will typically pile in with bags of popcorn and make loud, annoying, hilarious commentary throughout the picture.
Sometimes we’ll do a self-care night, which is just as basic as it sounds: chill music, mood lighting, face masks, nail polish, and making friendship and bead bracelets. Which is fun because at the end of the night you have a cool bracelet to wear! A small sense of accomplishment to tide you through the week.
Or we’ll stop by the Lloyd llounge to play ping pong, pool, or Mario Kart on the Switch. Or make a gingerbread house. Or maybe Ricketts Open Mic night is happening. Friday night is typically a pretty chill time on campus, especially with the bling and excitement of Saturday looming on the horizon, but this is all to say, TGIF!