About 20 miles off the coast of Southern California is a beautiful, mostly untouched island called Catalina Island. It’s such a cool place to experience because it has wild bison, rolling hills and beautiful landscapes. While you’re on the island and you’re staring at the gorgeous, clear night sky with a million stars shining brightly, you can almost forget that just 20 miles away is a hustling bustling city.
USC has a research institution there called Wrigley, mainly for marine biological sciences. You can even choose to spend a semester on the island if you like – almost like ‘studying abroad.’ The reason I’m bringing up this beautiful island is that I went to Wrigley freshman year. It was an all-expense paid trip (that I’ll be going on again this semester) through my scholarship organization, Trojan Scholars Society! TSS puts on various programs throughout the year, like networking sessions, information sessions, fun outings to concerts, and so on, but this is by far my favorite event. RSVPs just opened for this semester, and I’m already getting excited.
When I went my freshman year, we left campus mid-day, arrived at the port and took off in a boat. It took about an hour or two by the time we finally made it to Wrigley. We settled in, ate dinner and took a little hike around the island. When it got dark enough, they took us to the docks and demonstrated how stirring the water with a paddle agitated the microorganisms in the water that then glowed in the dark. It was so awesome to see! We also took water samples up to the lab and inspected them under microscopes – there were some pretty funky creatures!
The next morning we had a delicious breakfast and then set out kayaking! So tiring but so much fun. Afterwards, we went back home and arrived back on campus mid-afternoon.
I had the best time that weekend! This year it should be even better because they are adding snorkeling to the awesome list of activities! I am so ready for the retreat, so ready to get away from campus for a bit and experience nature!
— Cassandra Gabara (@CassGabara) March 6, 2013