“Whoa, it’s like two tornados and a hurricane blew through here,” teases our RA as he catches sight of Kayla’s room. The six of us laugh guiltily before continuing to pass shoes and jewelry back and forth to the beat of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. After almost an hour of perfecting winged eyeliner and trying on at least three outfits each, we are dressed to kill. We rush down the elevator, our excitement causing our voices to come out at least two octaves higher than usual, and jump into the uÜber. The driver grins at us and winks conspiratorially, “Where to, ladies?”
After dinner and a few hours of exploring Downtown L.A., we find ourselves sitting at an outdoor table with our Sprinkles to-go bags spread out in front of us. Kayla pulls out her cupcake and I laugh. It’s an absolute disaster, and half the frosting has fallen off the side. She just giggles and pops a piece into her mouth mischievously.
“Don’t eat it yet!” we scold in unison, and Kayla puts the cupcake down dramatically. “Okay but hurry up and sing to me already, I can’t not have this in my stomach any longer!” she complains. After a very off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday,” Kayla blows out her imaginary candle and we toast to 18 by attacking our desserts with such a passion that an elderly couple looks on with raised eyebrows.
When we finally pile back into the car, our cheeks sore from laughing, I kick off my heels and look around. Nicki’s trying to teach Raisa how to french braid, Sampreeti and Kayla are harmonizing in the back seat, and Bei’s chatting animatedly with the driver. As I lean my head against the cool window, I realize that these girls are what make college so incredible. I marvel at the fact that if I hadn’t gotten up the nerve to talk to them, with their intimidating confidence and wide smiles, I wouldn’t be half as happy as I am tonight.
College is about the people we meet, the things they teach us, and the way they make us feel. Although the sheer number of strangers can feel overwhelming at times, take a deep breath and introduce yourself. You’ll be surprised at how much easier things get after that. Pretty soon you’ll find your own family within the larger USC community. Two months ago I was too shy to get to know any of these girls, and now I realize how much I was missing out on.