During my first week at USC, several things made me reaffirm my admiration for this university. Firstly, I was was in awe by students’ ability to avoid collisions while rushing to class, regardless of their choice of transportation: skateboard, bike, or even hoverboard. I can’t even text and chew gum at the same time without walking into a plant (which happened to me yesterday), so I truly do not understand how an entire campus mobilizes on wheels.
Secondly, I think it’s cool how we have a cupcake vending machine. Like seriously. That thing is worthy of a Nobel Prize.
Lastly, and most importantly, I found that the people at USC are remarkable. When I was meeting new people in my first week, I always enjoyed the surprised looks I received from strangers when I told them that I am from Russia. The conversation was always the same: they asked me where I’m from, I say I’m from Moscow, their eyes widen, and then they ask me how I learned my English. I would explain that I was born in Los Angeles, but I moved back to Moscow when I was seven where I attended an English-speaking, international school.
I recognize that the questions that follow my brief introduction are what I value most in my interactions with USC students. Oftentimes people would ask me about my stance on the political and social situation in Russia. Someone might want to hear my opinion on the Russian arts. As a comparative literature major, this question makes me do a little dance, as I get to go on a ridiculously long tangent about how awesome Russian literature is. (To those of you who have asked me about the arts, I apologize if I accidentally put you to sleep).
These questions signify to me the type of open-minded characters I get to share the halls with. When I am approached with a question, my respect for the person who asks drastically increases. I appreciate people’s needs to satisfy their cultural curiosity. Our world is so rich and vast that there is no possible way for a single human being to absorb the knowledge, traditions, cuisines, etc. of every single community that prevails on this planet. For this reason, I profoundly see the need to keep asking questions.
I also feel that by asking questions, I get to break certain unpleasant stereotypes about my country. Yes, Russia has a drinking age, and no, children are not breastfed vodka.
Questions allow me to give a more accurate portrayal of where I come from and who I am. I admire that USC students have proven to be a curious bunch.
Elizabeth Kirillova is a freshman majoring in comparative literature.