This past week, USC had its fall break. An extra Thursday and Friday off in the middle of midterm season to give all of its students room to breathe. Given my four midterms surrounding this break, I took the path every good engineering student would take and booked a flight to San Francisco. 

While it’s important to study and be prepared for the busyness of school, it’s equally important to remember that college is a great opportunity to make memories that might not be possible to make in the library (even though there are some good ones to be made there as well). 

One benefit of Los Angeles that I hadn’t properly realized until my senior year is that having a massive travel hub with a number of very interesting places close by means that flights are incredibly cheap. On Monday, I texted a friend who had moved up to San Francisco to see if I could stay with him. On Tuesday, I browsed some flight deals. And on Thursday, I convinced a friend to drop me off at the airport at 6 am. So for under $100 I found myself in the Bay Area for two days.

After spending my Thursday visiting different friends at Stanford and Berkeley and exploring public transportation up there, I realized the friend I was staying with would have to work all of Friday as well leaving me with an entire day where I had no idea what to do. Taking a trip alone is always a little bit weird. There’s no one to bounce ideas off of, but you also don’t have to consider what anyone else wants. Once I figured out the benefit of a solo trip, I took the train into downtown and started walking. 

For those that haven’t been, San Francisco is a beautiful city and also rather hilly. The best part about that is that you can look from the top of the hill, find something interesting, walk there to see it, then climb the closest hill, and repeat as needed. After doing that from about 11am to 6pm and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and a number of other beautiful landmarks, my friend finally got off work and came to meet me for dinner.

By the time I met up with him, my watch (Thanks Technology!) informed me that I was about 24 miles deep in my walk. Even though at this point my feet hurt and all I wanted was to sit down and eat, it seemed a bit of a waste not to make it to a marathon. Luckily, my friend agreed and found us a place exactly 2.2 miles away for us to eat. That ended up being one of the most satisfying meals I’ve ever had and a wonderful end to my day.

I left the next morning at 6am and was back in my house in LA at 9 am. I had been gone for just over 48 hours, but it’s one of my favourite trips I’ve ever taken. College is well known as the transition to adulthood; well, one of the benefits of adulthood is that when you want to do something you can just do it.

Matthew Clauss

Matthew Clauss

MAJOR: Biomedical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Kansas City, Missouri PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @matthew.clauss28 At USC, I am the social chair of ASBME, a member of the 3D printing club on campus, play on the club ultimate frisbee team, and am a part of Greek Life.