My first semester is almost done and I feel like I don’t fit in at USC. I didn’t get into the club I wanted to join and I didn’t rush, so I’m going to have to wait until next year to find out if I even get into a sorority that I like. My roommate is nice to me, but she has other friends and I feel bad about tagging along all the time. When I was in high school, USC was my dream school, but now I’m not sure if I fit in with the Trojan Family. On the other hand, who knows if I’ll have more luck picking my next school and it’ll be even harder to make friends there.
–Friendless in Fluor Tower
I’m glad you wrote to me and I’ve been thinking about how to answer this for a long time. I want you to know that you’re not alone. Transferring won’t be the end of the world: 4 percent of students at USC leave after their first year and the national average of students who leave their college after their first year is 32 percent. It sounds like you did your research before coming here, but many of us have dated somebody who turned out not right for us at all after crushing on them for ages or hated a meal that got great Yelp reviews.
On the other hand (and I understand that you may be aware of these already, but on the off chance you aren’t), might I suggest a few groups on campus? With 19,000 undergraduates enrolled at USC, I would be surprised if there weren’t some like-minded folks you could gel with. Without knowing your interests, here a few that I think you’d be able to get involved with, meet some kind people and, hopefully, find a community: I Am That Girl USC, KXSC Radio, MUSE at USC, USC Harman Academy, Peaks and Professors, The Slam Scene and USC Special Events Committee (or Program Board’s other committees and assemblies like USC SAGE). There are also many clubs related to specific industries and I’d be happy to point you towards those if you follow up with your major. I also have heard on good authority (specifically a Daily Trojan writer who is a close friend of mine) that it took her and many of her friends until junior year to “find their people.”
In short, USC is a big school and I do believe that it can and does take longer for many students here to “find their tribe” — especially if they don’t fit any of the common archetypes. A large school like ours allows for greater diversity, too. But lastly, what is right for a lot of people, isn’t right for everyone. I’d recommend keeping both options open: simultaneously applying to transfer to other schools while still seeking out friends and organizations. And know if you transfer or stay, you’ll be in good company either way.
Got a question for Hecuba? Submit your questions using the form below or here. Her advice column runs every other Tuesday.