Hiking the Oneonta Gorge
Hiking the Oneonta Gorge

Discovering the Beauty of Washington State

By Janine Lano, SW

During my summer, I got the chance to travel to Washington to visit my cousin and her family. The greenery, cold weather and unpolluted air are only a few factors contributing to the beauty of state. My cousin and her husband acted as our tour guides, leading us through Washington’s natural wonders such as the Oneonta Gorge, a unique hiking path where the Columbia River itself is the trail, and famous man-made structures like Seattle’s Space Needle. We did the typical tourist-like things such as sticking a piece of gum on the gum wall at Pike Place Market, but we also did non-conventional activities such as attending Wildlife Safari. Overall, Washington has a lot to offer, and I’d recommend visiting to everyone.


Views from Vienna
Views from Vienna

The Summer of Sixes

By Christina Zavaleta, CW

The summer of 2016 was the most memorable three months of my young life. I had the privilege of traveling to six cities in California with my Italian cousin before accompanying her back to Italy. There, I traveled around the country and also ventured to Spain, France, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia before returning home and getting ready for the school year. The culture shock was the most prominent part of my trip, as well as the overwhelming amount of mosquito bites I received. Overall, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to explore countries I’d only ever imagined visiting. It was my dream come true and was absolutely unforgettable.


Som at The Bean in Chicago thinking about life.
Som at The Bean in Chicago thinking about life.

So Little Time

By Som Chaturvedi, SSW

September 10, 2016, the day before the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was the other unforgettable date for me this summer. That was the day of my MCAT, a seven-hour long test that every pre-med student needs to take in order to get into medical school. It was vital that I did well on this test, and the looming feeling of test day rapidly approaching really set the tone of my summer. However, I was fortunate enough to also be able to shadow a physician, specifically a gastroenterologist and transplant hepatologist, at the UCSD Medical Center. I was able to witness some procedures on actual patients, but I think more importantly, the experience gave me the bigger picture on why I am aspiring to be a doctor in the first place. While it might sound a bit cliche, taking a step back from the stress and witnessing physicians help people every day made studying for the MCAT a hell of a lot easier. I also got to travel to Chicago for an Indian wedding (which lasted about three days) and got to see a lot of friends and family. So, as a senior about to graduate in June, reflecting back at this summer and really the past three years, I would say that looking at the essence of why you are doing anything is of paramount importance. Here’s to another year full of adventure and motivation — forward unto dawn.


Courtesy of Pixabay
Courtesy of Pixabay

I went all the way to Canada and all I got was a snow globe

By Quinn Minten, SSW

My summer was a study in contrasts. The first half of the season I spent vacationing, and even that was contrasting. I saw Michigan, a series of stunning and quiet (and lush green) countrysides; then I went to Chicago, which was an awe-inducing cityscape, full of hustle and bustle. I ended up in Canada for a few hours; first impression — meh. I ended up in Arizona too, which while a total desert, had a border region surprisingly like that of Canada. The other half: Lots of nothing. The kind of nothing that’s a luxury after summer ends.



Braving Joshua Tree

By Kali Veach

The weather at Joshua Tree National Park during the summer is some of the most intolerable in the country. It’s even worse than Riverside, and that’s hard to beat. Every year my family takes a summer camping trip. Even though we’ve lived in Southern California for years now, we only recently discovered the gnarly, hunched desert trees and poppy floors of Joshua Tree. We spent three scorching days and two hiking through the park. Halfway up a three mile incline, my brother said he was about to “drop like a Beyonce album,” and we came to the top with a view of the San Andreas Fault. I’d say the heat was worth it.


Courtesy of Pixabay
Courtesy of Pixabay

Strange, but safe travels

By Jessica Baker, SW

Like my last two summers, I decided to escape the hellish fire of Riverside, but my travels this year took twists and turns I never expected.

I tried to stop a girl from following a white rabbit down a hole, witnessed the horrific deaths of French youth at a barricade and saw the unfortunate series of events that three orphans endured.  

Thank goodness it was all within the comfort of my air-conditioned room and the companionship of my pile of books.

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