This week marked the last week of classes for my fall semester as a sophomore here at USC. It’s a little bittersweet. This semester has been a rollercoaster for me—but a really fun one, like California Screamin’ or something. Going through my first experiences with applying to internships, classes getting more intense, and getting more involved in my organizations has been balanced nicely with fun nights out, time spent with friends, and new opportunities. And now, just before we enter dead week, the weekend has been anything but dead for me.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a relatively light last week of classes, many of my larger assignments having been due before Thanksgiving break or at the beginning of this week. So in the lull between those and the beginning of finals, I’ve been able to take a breath and go out into LA for the first time in a while. On Thursday, my fraternity had our formal invite, which are always fun for meeting new people and going places you normally wouldn’t even know about. This time, we bussed to a venue just feet from the coast of Long Beach and danced overlooking the white-sand shores. It’s impossible to stress out in that environment.

Then, last night I was able to go to the 5-year anniversary of a local punk music circuit/event organization called Emo Nite. They pulled DJ’s from around the area to play classic songs from bands like Panic! At the Disco, My Chemical Romance, and Blink-182—a pretty niche crowd for this day and age that you’d probably only be able to find in a place like LA. Pictured above is me and my friend posing with a school bus that the organizers decorated and parked outside the concert!

Overall, I’m definitely not excited to hunker down for my finals next week, but I’m glad that I’ve been able to have one last hoorah here before those times set in. Looking forward to Christmas!

Derek Jones

Derek Jones

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Los Gatos, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @dmannjones On campus I have conducted environmental engineering research on water distillation methods, and you can currently find me serving as Vice President of my social fraternity and playing on the club volleyball team.