Taking a break from LA!

Rhea Choudhury Beach, Best of LA, Free Time, Hikes, Rhea, Students, Viterbi Life, Viterbi Plus, Viterbi Summer Leave a Comment

Hey hey!

It’s been a minute since I posted on here, summer was ridiculously busy but so much fun. I spent my summer interning at Edwards Lifesciences, a biotech company based in Irvine, CA– I worked as a manufacturing engineer in their Transcatheter Heart Valve Delivery Systems business unit, specifically on Pilot Operations. A lot of big words, I know, but basically what I did was optimize manufacturing processes for catheters and balloon expansion systems used to place heart valves in patients! It was a challenging, dynamic environment, and I learned a ton about the industry, but most of all, I learned what it was like to actually work as an engineer. We spend a lot of time in class learning the theory of engineering, from math concepts to scientific principles, but it was so rewarding to finally apply those lessons to the real world and impact a product. Edwards was a really fun place to be too; the people were incredibly intelligent and hard-working, but also super fun and relaxed. I played ultimate frisbee all summer with them, and had bake-offs, trips to the OC fair, happy hours and more. Outside of work, I got to drive around and explore Orange County, from the suburbs like Irvine and Tustin to the beach towns like Laguna and Newport. I challenged myself to find a new beach each week, I think I managed to do it about 7 out of the 11 weeks I was down there!! I had a wonderful time, exploring new places, growing a lot as an engineer, and growing a lot as a person as well; summer 2018 is definitely going to be a tough one to beat.

Anyway, summer ended a full month ago!! We’ve been back at school for about 3 weeks, and it’s already been packed with classes, recruiting events, catch-up dinners and labs. I’m taking senior design, our BME capstone class, this semester, and I already know that’s going to be a challenging one.  My group rocks though, and I’m stoked to see where our product ends up.

Even though it’s only been 3 weeks of school, my roommates and I decided to get away this weekend and take a camping trip up in Pismo Beach. The four of us all love nature and the outdoors, and it was my birthday weekend, so we thought we’d all take a trip together and hang out by the ocean. I booked a campsite right by the beach, so on Friday we headed up the 1 through Santa Barbara up to Pismo. We set up our tent, ran to the store for some firewood and smore’s ingredients, and stayed up talking and hanging out by the fire till 1 or 2 in the morning. My roommates are some of my closest friends, so getting a chance to really hang out and connect before the craziness of the semester begins was really a great way to spend the weekend.

After sleeping in a bit the next day, we headed to the beach– Pismo first because that was right by our campsite. We then packed up our stuff and grabbed donuts and acai bowls on our way to our next destination– Chris Burkard’s photography studio in Avila Beach. If you aren’t familiar with Chris Burkard, check out his TED talk here, he’s truly inSANE. He’s a world-famous travel photographer, known for his shots of extreme sports in remote places, like surfing in Norway or backpacking in Patagonia. His work has inspired me for years, and I forced my roommates to come check his studio out with me since we were in the area. While he wasn’t there (he’s photographing animals in new zealand or something right now, of course), we had a great time looking through his work and talking to his friend who was running the place. We picked up some posters, postcards and stickers, then continued on our way to Montana de Oro State Park, a beautiful nature preserve about 30 minutes north of Pismo.

We ended up stumbling upon this beach called Spooner’s Cove that had the most beautiful rock formations and crazy cliffs. My roommate and I swam out into the ocean, diving under waves and going numb in the ice cold water, while my other two roommmates chilled on the beach and threw a frisbee around. After all four of us took naps on the sand, we then went exploring through some tide pools and a small cave, then climbed up one of the smaller cliffs to get a view of the whole cove. It was a perfect day, and we ended it with some delicious pizza and boba in downtown SLO before driving back to LA.

While Los Angeles is an amazing city and has something to offer for everyone, I think it’s important to go exploring out of the city every once in a while, especially in a state as beautiful as California. I’m lucky to have a roommate with a car and 3 best friends that love adventure, but there’s a ton of orgs on campus that take students on trips through the great outdoors all the time!! Peaks and Professors pairs students up with really cool professors for hiking and camping trips, while SC outfitters does entirely student-led expeditions. USC champions itself as an urban campus close to downtown, but we’ve definitely got our fair share of nature lovers, and it’s so easy and so worth it to escape once in a while.

Thanks so much for reading!! Check out some of my photos from this weekend below, and I’ll talk to you guys again soon :))

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Fight on,

Rhea

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