Endnotes: Bucket List

We Asked Alumni: What should be on every Caltech senior’s bucket list?

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A good night's sleep. ;)

Mason Porter (BS ’98), Los Angeles, CA 


Hike roundtrip from campus to the top of Mt. Wilson after finals week.

Serena Eley (BS ’02), Golden, CO 


Take an introductory class in an area that you haven't explored. As a biologist I took intro to geology and I still treasure that experience.

David Marvit (BS ’84), San Francisco, CA 


Get out of the bubble! Enjoy beach days, clubs on Sunset, movie palaces on Hollywood Blvd., neighborhoods like K-town and WeHo, art at LACMA, food trucks. You're in one of the world's great metro areas, explore it!

Deepi Brar (BS ’92), Oakland, CA 


Nothing. They're too young to make bucket lists.

Michael Wilson (BS ’77), Hinesburg, VT 


Create a stack for Ditch Day. I thought I was too busy, so I skipped it and it's a lifelong regret now. I wish I had given back to the community in honor of all those seniors who did dedicate the time to make sure we underclassmen had fun!


Anandi Raman Creath (BS ’95), El Dorado Hills, CA 


Join the Flying Club and get your pilot's license for a fraction of what it would cost otherwise.

Cecilia Yu (BS ’08), San Francisco, CA 

Work in a soup kitchen. The world's brightest young people should see and experience one of the world's most intractable problems.

Michael Udell (PhD ’95), Annapolis, MD 


Have a conversation with at least one Nobel Laureate.

Philip Neches (BS ’73, MS ’77, PhD ’83), New York, NY


Getty, LACMA, Hollywood Bowl, negative time Tommy’s run, Donut Man or Lucky Boy once a month, try surfing (the real kind), go to one large and one small music concert off campus, hike to the Hollywood sign, consider a gap year.

Noah Arribas (BS ’99), Fremont, CA 


Together with your house/class, pull a really good prank that will become stories to tell for decades after.

Vivian U (BS ’06), Walnut, CA 


Find an opportunity to do research overseas. Bonus points if you find someone else to fund it. (e.g. SURF).

Vivek Mathrani  (BS ’00), Walnut Creek, CA


Take some wildly out-of-major course. You have only scratched the surface of the world-class teaching available here. Then, take the time to meet the professor and talk.

Harry Keller (BS ’63), Manhattan Beach, CA


View Real Genius, and see how deep the steam tunnels go.

Woody Weaver (BS ’80), Frederick, MD 


Bike ride to the top of Mount Wilson. Takes about 4 hours going up and 45 Minutes coming down.

Alan Huber (BS ’63) 

Do some research.

Robert Wieting (BS ’74), Simi Valley, CA

Whether your plans include grad school or not, be sure to sign up and participate in some of the scheduled interviews with prospective employers. It's a good experience to have, whether you accept a job or not. It's not often in life that employers will come looking for you. These companies value Caltech graduates. The right offer from a good company in an exciting industry could be life changing. This was certainly true in 1969 when the Dean's Office dragged me down campus to talk to a company called IBM about a future in the computer industry. It was true for other alums when Intel and Apple came calling a few years later. It could work out well for you too!

Rob Drew (BS ’69), Pleasanton, CA


Climb Throop Peak.

Robert Doyle (BS ’59), Newbury Park, CA


When I was leaving home to go to Caltech for the first time, my father gave me a piece of good advice. He said, "Have fun." That advice was key to my time at Caltech. Although my grades were not in the top half of the class, my Caltech education became the foundation of my career. If any senior has not already done so, put having fun on the bucket list, and, preferably, near the top.

Bill Tivol (BS ’62), El Cerrito, CA 



I'm not sure this should be on the list for every senior or even every graduate student, but as a major in physics and minor in astronomy, I found it quite memorable to spend a night at the Palomar Observatory during my last year as a graduate student watching Maarten Schmidt observe an eclipsing binary and discover a new quasar.

Don Page (PhD ’76), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


The best Ditch Day ever!

Amulya Mohan (BS ’18), Redmond, WA


1. Fish tacos at the RAth

2. Huntington Gardens

3. Norton Simon Museum

Caroline Werlang (BS ’15), Cambridge, MA


Go to Artnight Pasadena/LA Artwalk.

Karim Lakhani (BS ’18), Atlanta, GA


VOTE! Wherever you're an eligible citizen, resolve to vote in every election!

Richard Moon (BS ’71 PhD ’75), Olympia, WA



Take in the view on a clear night from the top of Mt. Wilson. (Only try not to break a tie-rod up there; it takes a long time for a AAA tow truck to come to the rescue.) 

Paul Levin (BS ’72), Manhattan Beach, CA