I transfered to USC for my sophomore year and although I live only 30 minutes away from campus, this school felt like an alien planet. My first semester I knew no one, had no idea how to get around, and made the grave mistake of cutting myself off.
I think we tend to emotionally disconnect from insecure situations, like starting at a new school. I spent my first semester reading a book during lunch and driving home after my classes. I was socially isolating myself as a defense mechanism. I felt like a transfer student.
However, all it took was one person to make me feel like I actually belonged.
I was, what she called, “aggressively friended” by someone who I’m still best friends with today. She came up to me after French class and said, “Hey, let’s go to the Grove together.” I almost said no because I was so nervous. Within days of having this new friend, the campus opened itself up to me. She showed me her favorite spots to hang out, eat, study, and get coffee. Places that make a campus feel a little more like home.
From then on, I started to love doing my homework at the Coffee Bean at the cinema school and studying by the Fertitta fireplace. I discovered a hidden gem at Good Karma: a buffet filled with entirely vegan options that only costs $10. During the days when I am too tired to function, my go to nap area is the couches in the student union. These are just a few of my favorite spots here at SC.
I was lucky to be a local transfer student, but for those of you from out of state, make LA feel more like home by finding new places to hang out that make the city seem smaller. Some of my personal favorites are Verve and Bluebottle in downtown, as well as Wurstkuche and Zinc in the arts district. My favorite places to eat on campus are Good Karma, Seeds, and the Fertitta sushi and ramen bar. Now that we have the beautiful new Village, try my favorites like Cava, Dulce, and Sunlife Organics. If you’re feeling fancy and want to get off campus for a bit, a well-kept secret is the sushi restaurant called Sora in the new Intercontinental Hotel. If you ask for the booths in the back you’ll be seated right up against a window, 69 floors up with a view that cannot be beat!
If you’re looking for fun things to do around LA, visit Olvera Street (the oldest street in the city), get a table at the Hollywood Improv Comedy Club, or walk around the Venice canals during sunset – you can even rent a little boat.
Although finding my favorite spots on campus helped make me feel more at home, getting an on campus job helped me find my family. I work at the Dornsife Office of Advisement and Student Services and it was the last place I expected to find my closest friends, but now I can’t imagine my life without them. I found fulfillment and happiness through getting involved; two things every student looks for in college. If you’re interested in coming to work with our great team, come visit our office at GFS 315. We’ll be hiring new interns in the fall.
Aside from getting an on campus job, there is a multitude of ways to get involved, including clubs. Once admitted, students have the choice of choosing from over 800 student organizations, nearly guaranteeing success when looking for something that interests you. Two clubs I would personally recommend are the Trojan Knights or Helenes, two of USC’s spirit and service clubs. In addition, Greek life is another great way to meet people and have fun. USC offers several fraternities and sororities to choose from. If you’re feeling more on the creative side, contemplate writing for the school newspaper and yours truly, the Daily Trojan.
Lastly, USC Transfer Student Community is a new club on campus. Created by transfers, the club is designed to connect newly admitted students to the Trojan Family. They meet every Monday in Leavey Library, room B16 to show transfer students all of the ways that they can get involved on campus. Go check out their Facebook page to learn more.
Most importantly, know that no matter how hard it may be right now, USC will feel like home and soon enough you’ll have a family to enjoy it with.
Who knows, maybe I’ll aggressive friend you.