Last time I wrote about Finals Week. Well, everything comes to an end sometime and so did Final Exams. By the end of the week, I sure was tired but I also got a bit nostalgic that another Term was over. However, right now as I’m packing my bags to return to Pasadena I realize that it makes no sense to get nostalgic about finishing a Term because there is always a new Term waiting to start (unless you’re a Spring Term senior but by then you’ve probably got other things to worry about)! The best you can do is make the most of your time during the breaks so that you come back o campus fresh and happy.
So the next question is, what can a Techer do on break? Read? Study? I can’t vouch for everyone on campus so I’ll only speak for myself but I think that the other blogs have made it clear that Techers can find good ways to enjoy themselves. As for myself, I spent the break with my parents in Berkeley where I live. I flew home which is a very weird feeling: before coming to Caltech going on an airplane always meant at least a six hour flight. However, the flight from Caltech to the Bay Area was only an hour long! The flight was too short to allow for a good mental transition from LA to home so when I stepped outside, it seemed so cold! Southern California weather can really spoil anyone, even other Californians.
Staying at home was really nice. Believe it or not, you do get homesick even if you love your campus as much as I do. Caltech is my home away from home but it still isn’t real home. During break I couldn’t get enough of my Mom’s food (she baked my favorite cookies and made extras for me to take back). Even though I had just completed my cooking course, home food is still home food! The combination of the cooking course and home-cooked food have inspired me to try to cook more for myself on weekends so my parents immediately went out and got me a cast-iron skillet. We’ll sure have fun driving back to Pasadena with that skillet!
In San Francisco we went to a special exhibit in the Legion of Honor museum. It was a collection of Cartier jewelry assembled in celebration of 100 years since Cartier opened his first American shop in New York City. I have never seen so many dazzling diamonds in such a small space ever before! The photo above is taken in a spot really close to the museum. The location is really scenic and if you’re ever in need of a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, try to go there.
Oh, Home Sweet Home!
Over break, my roommate Hanna told me that her water polo coach arranged for us to host a Prefrosh water polo player. We’re both really excited for this because we really want to host a Prefrosh for Prefrosh Weekend. If you’re trying to decide whether or not you want to come to Caltech, or if you have already decided to come here, I would highly recommend coming to Prefrosh Weekend. Last year I knew from the start that Caltech was my first choice and I still went to Prefrosh Weekend. I had an amazing time and the stay helped me meet future schoolmates before September so I came into Caltech already feeling fairly comfortable. I met a lot of my current campus friends during my Prefrosh Weekend so we have memories extending past September. If you’re still deciding, Prefrosh Weekend will hopefully help you make a good decision about where you’ll wan to study and live for the next several years of your life. You’ll be able to visit classes, take campus tours and meet faculty and students. Perhaps best of all, you’ll be housed with a Techer so you’ll be spending several nights on campus in a dorm. Also, if you come you’ll make plenty of Techers happy because we are really looking forward to hosting you guys and to making sure that you have a good time!
Now I will go finish packing clothes, books and that cast iron skillet because tomorrow (Sunday) we are leaving early in the morning to drive back down to Caltech! It is roughly a six-hour drive and my parents hope to arrive there by noon so I’d better get sleep tonight since my Dad promised me that I’d drive most of the way there. On Sunday night, my parents, Hanna and I are going to the Orange County Performing Arts Center (where my parents and I went a few weeks ago to see the Bolshoi Ballet on tour) to see “Rain” - a concert in tribute to the Beetles. This should be a great way to ring in the Spring Term!
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.