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After almost a year of COVID, I am realizing the toll it has taken on my body. Before the pandemic, each day I would hustle around campus from classes to club meetings to lab. Over the course of the day, I would quickly accumulate thousands of steps without even thinking about it. While school on zoom has actually provided many benefits for me like increased flexibility and more time to relax between classes, I have noticed my number of steps decrease incredibly.

I never really thought much about those transitive walks before the pandemic; however, now that I spend most of the day in my house, I realize now how valuable they were for me. I may be biased, but USC and Southern California in general are incredibly beautiful. Our campus is filled with large trees and vibrant colorful flowers (especially in red and yellow!), and we even have a view of the mountains from our main walkway, Trousdale. Between classes, I always studied outside in the sun often near Doheny Library. While I can still study in the sun at my home off campus, it hasn’t been quite the same.

With the help and inspiration of one of my best friends Irene (who I actually met my first day of Biomedical Engineering 101 freshman year), I have been exploring USC and our surroundings more through daily walks. I never really thought of incorporating something as simple as a walk into my schedule to help get my daily fix of fresh air, but it has really enhanced my day-to-day life. Each day, Irene and I meet up near campus and set off on a socially distant walk. We always try to explore a different area and often get a little lost each time. Taking the time to enjoy the walk has been such a change for me. Instead of rushing across campus, Irene and I have the freedom to smell the flowers or even get a coffee along the way.

Irene and I very cold (but very happy) on a Joshua Tree trip with the USC Climbing Team

I feel very lucky to have met Irene my first week at USC. Ever since that week, we have worked on almost every project or assignment together for the past three years. Her hard work and willingness to try new things (like crazy camping/climbing trips!) have always inspired me. I love how everyone in Viterbi has a study group or partner that supports them both in class and out. Engineering is not easy, but with a buddy, we can do it. I am especially grateful, however, to have Irene as my main BME pal. :,)

Timothy Harrington