Katie Eng: A Sweet Escape: Weekend Excursions from Campus
It is no secret that college students are stressed. With classes, homework, projects, exams, and extracurricular activities to juggle simultaneously, many students found themselves immersed in the world of academia from dawn until dusk, myself included. As a junior, I was blessed enough to have a car with me on campus this year, expanding my horizons to the treasures that surrounded Santa Clara. My friends and I decided to carpe diem - seize the day - and plan weekend trips starting fall quarter as a way to reward ourselves for our hard work throughout the week.
Our first notable adventure was to Santa Cruz, a popular destination for Santa Clara students. We packed up the cars early in the morning, bought some firewood, marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers, and began the short drive down south to Seabright State Beach. We spent the day relaxing in the sun, splashing in the ocean, playing Spikeball and frisbee, and listening to music. As the evening pulled the sun down, we admired the scenic sunset and started a bonfire in one of the fire rings provided by the beach. My friends and I stuck marshmallows on sticks and roasted them over the fire to make smores, a perfect end to a lovely day trip.
More recently, we decided to adventure to Pinnacles National Park, located just 75 miles south of San Jose. The park is one of the newest national parks in America, being labeled just 9 years ago in 2013. Excited to spend a day hiking amongst the majestic rock formations and caves, we bought sandwiches from Safeway before heading down in two cars. The weather was beautiful, a sunny seventy degrees in late February. We decided to embark on the “High Peaks” trail, a five mile hike that circled up through the 78 to 100 million year old rocks that towered far above our heads. Despite the hike being almost entirely uphill for the first half, the aching in our legs and the sweat on our foreheads disappeared when we reached the top and saw a beautiful view of the canyons that lay below. We marveled at the gorgeous scene that unfolded before us before trekking back down and stopping for some ice cream on the way home.
While the fast pace of the quarter system and the pressure of midterms can often feel overwhelming, remembering to take time for oneself and explore the variety of fun activities around campus can help tremendously. We took in-person instruction for granted over the course of the pandemic, and being able to reconnect with my friends through day trips on the weekend has helped me embrace the COVID era slowly coming to an end.