- Class: Freshman
- Major: History
- Gender: F
- High School: Immaculate Heart High School
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about USC is it's location. We are in the heart of Los Angeles, and a much more interesting area of Los Angeles than our fellow LA school. From the USC campus you can get to tons of cool places around the city by way of a bus system that is much more convenient and efficient than LA gets credit for. One thing I'd change is the administration. Sometimes it is very difficult for students to work their way the bureaucracy to get help. I wanted a large school so I could study a wide range of topics and meet people with varied interests. I also wanted a school with strong spots in multiple areas. USC is precisely that. When I tell people I go to USC they usually mention how much the school has improved in the past fifteen years. The attitude towards and character of the school is evolving into one befitting an honorable and prestigious institution, while still maintaining its relaxed Southern California feel. I spend most of my time on campus in the big lobby of my wonderful dorm which is quiet enough to study in, but welcoming enough to socialize in. Los Angeles is a bit too big to be college-centered enough to be called a college town. The surrounding area is not very USC-focused, but as USC evolves it is getting more involved in the community and gaining the community's respect. The people I meet from around the campus all root for the teams and feel very close to the school, rather than as if the school is infringing on the community. My opinion of the USC administration is that it could do with a little more organization. The biggest recent controversy on campus was about seating at the Coliseum, where the football team plays. But I think the most important recent controversy was about the school apparel. Apparently, it is made in sweat shops. But there is a significant grassroots movement called SCALE working to change that. The administration isn't too receptive, but more and more students are getting involved and soon the administration will feel the pressure. As I have mentioned before, the merit of USC lies in its students and professors, not in the administration. There is a ridiculous amount of school pride, mostly spurred by the success of the football team. USC isn't too unusual. It is probably a lot more diverse than one would expect and than what one would find at another university. But everyone mixes together to make up a wonderful student body. The mix of people is representative of the mixed-up, blended, diverse nature of the city, Los Angeles, the greatest city in the world. I will always remember the first jazz performance I went to at the school's main auditorium. It was incredible. USC attracts an impressive selection of renowned artists to come and perform and it is always amazing. The most frequent student complaints are about things like housing and frustration with paperwork.
Some professors know my name, but not all. It depends on the class size. There are some huge classes and some very small ones. In the ones where there are 50 people or less, the professors usually know my name. My favorite class is a history class called The African-American Experience. The professor is fascinating and energetic. He is a renowned author and scholar and encourages everyone to look at things from multiple perspectives. There are too many students to generalize about how much students study. My friends and I personally study a lot and do not find it weird to sometimes stay in and study on a weekend if we have a lot of work. We just make studying fun, believe it or not. Some students study very little and other students find a good balance. Class participation is very varied as well. It completely depends on the person. I have had many intellectual discussions outside of class. While they are not strictly constrained to that, I often find that conversations that start out about something completely unintellectual can morph into something intellectual because I am surrounded by intelligent, curious, and thoughtful people. Even a viewing of I Love New York can take on different forms. We can enter into a discussion on portrayal of women and race in the media. Some students are competitive and some aren't, but most of the competitive is internal and not public. Students will want to be the best, but won't obsess about it or try to bring others down. The education at USC is geared towards both getting a job and learning for its own sake. Which one is more of a priority depends on the major. People in the business school on pre-med are very job-focused, but in my major, History, and many others people aren't as sure about their futures. They know they want to succeed, but they feel comfortable that the success will follow a natural course as they pursue their interests.
The racial, religious, LGBT, and other groups on campus put on wonderful events that most often, all can attend. The groups are meant to foster community between people with commonalities, but also to bring awareness to those outside of the determined label. The shows, events, programs that these groups put on at USC are always a lot of fun. I am not a member of any such group, but whenever I go to events I feel welcomed and leave informed. I think that USC is so big and that there are so many different people that hardly anyone would feel out of place. Sometimes it is harder for some to find their place than others, but basically everyone I know feels as if they are part of both the larger community of the campus as well as part of a less broad circle, yet never confined to either. Most students wear jeans and a t-shirt to class. A lot of students wear USC gear. Sometimes female students will accessorize or wear casual dresses, but it is usually very relaxed and what you would expect in Southern California. A lot of students wear sweatpants and comfy clothes to early morning or Monday classes. It is hard to describe four different tables at USC. Because there is such an interaction with different types of people, you can't really generalize. At a couple tables there are students finishing up last minute homework or leisurely reading. At another table, there are so many people crowded around, likely a floor ended up coincidentally congregating for dinner, that they have trouble fitting their food on the table or hearing each other over the five simultaneous conversations. At other tables there are groups of three or four people casually discussing their day, and once in a while you will find these people engaged in a topic of fierce, yet civil, debate. Students at USC as a whole are not as politically active as they are at some other schools, but they are likely more active than one would expect. The school gets a reputation for having an apathetic student body. I find that it is more half and half. Half of the people I meet are politically aware. About a quarter are politically active. The thing is, a quarter at USC, while it may be a quarter, is a whole lot of people. You can find many politically active people if you know where to look. There are many organizations and events centered around politics that I just make sure to go to. The students I talk to are predominantly on the left, but that is because I am and I go to the events more closely related to this political sphere. Although, I know some centrist people and a few people on the right. I think it is a mixed bag, the proportions are largely equal. I would say that the most active branch would be the left one.
The Best Things
Its location in the heart of Los Angeles.
The Worst Things
The administration is sometime disorganized.