Sunday, January 23, 2011

Greetings from USC

My college experience at the University of Southern California can be described in one word: unimaginable. I definitely believe that I have chosen the perfect college for me as my encounters and experiences there have led me to believe that I will not only achieve all that I want in my professional career, but also gain the life skills that will enrich me for that future.

In the first semester at USC, my schedule was filled with general education courses as well as requirements following my major, Communications. Last year, when I was applying to colleges, one of the larger factors I wanted to avoid was a massive amount of general education requirements. Having taken the courses I have, however, I realize the quality of general education requirements. They offered me not only different perspectives of certain subjects that I have never really knew about before college, but these general education courses also features some of the best professors. Their curriculum has challenged me in ways I did not know I could surpass as well as provided me with ample knowledge of the subject and skills that I can carry on to future semesters of classes.

I had heard many stories about the dreaded period of finals. I heard that along with finals comes with long nights of studying nonstop, large balls of anxiety all knotted within my body, and the most caffeine intake I will have in life. And I must say, those who warned before were correct. I had not only final exams to study for for finals week, but terms papers to write as well. Many of my finals were the day after the next, which was much better than having two finals in a day, but still a great amount of stress piled upon myself. Some upper classmen at USC told me that during study week, most students do not study, but rather have fun. I, however, did not choose to take that route and took advantage of all the study time I could. My birthday was during study week, so I did take some time to celebrate. Once I was satisfied, I immediately returned to consuming myself into my notes and books. I had four finals, and there were some that I felt I was not as prepared for as I should be. After receiving the grades I did, I realized I actually might have done well on those finals.

Not only did I take advantage of time I had for finals, but I also took advantage of the time I had during the entire semester. In high school, I was accustomed to writing my essays the day before they were due. In college, that is the worst option possible. I took many days just preparing for my papers, communicated and met with my TA several times, and spent hours the day before the paper was due to perfect it. I must say, it was all worth it because I received grades I was highly satisfied with. I posted all the papers that made me feel accomplished on my bulletin board as motivation for the next assignment and for me to finish off the semester well. I was determined to obtain the high G.P.A. in order to prepare myself for future endeavors such as internships and job offers.

Dorm life is much different from home. At home, I have an entire room to myself and have immense privacy. In the dorm, I share the room with a roommate, whom I love, and must learn to share the space. We both have a great understanding of respect and we communicate incredibly well with each other. I think spending a summer at Cornell University did prepare me for the encounters of dorm life. In addition, at home, I was blessed with various conveniences. I had my own bathroom in which my property could be stored. I had a kitchen in my house in which I can grab snacks from and cook my own food any time I wanted. I had a living room and a television in which I could lounge and make myself comfortable when I had the time to. In college, all that basically disappears. I had to become accustomed to sharing the bathroom with approximately 40 other girls. I had to make the effort to go to the dining hall if I ever became hungry or thirsty. I also had to find other forms of entertainment as I had no lounge area or television of my own. Because the dorm, as well as the campus, limited me, I was able to explore the world outside USC. I traveled to downtown LA as well as the outlying cities to entertain myself. I spent time in my friends' dorms with them as forms of entertainment. Although dorm life seemed to be full of limitations, it also offered opportunities.

In college, I learned that prioritizing is the key to time management. This is exactly what I did. I would try and do the easiest task first, then move on to harder tasks. Working under pressure and setting time limits for myself forces me to think on my feet, which is a skill I definitely believe that will assist me in upper division courses as well as in my professional career. In addition to my schedule of classes, I had a work-study job and took part in various organizations. At my work-study job, I was able to bring homework, so I was able to utilize that time for my studies as well. As for organization meetings, I was not always able to make the general meetings, but I did my best to stay involved. Understanding my ability to manage time, I am motivated to become involved even more next semester. I believe that getting involved in extra-curriculars is one of the best aspects of college. Not only can I build connections to utilize in the future, but I believe that I make myself a more rounded person.

Since I stepped onto the USC campus, alone with no one from home accompanying me, I have met so many new people and gained so many new perspectives from them as they share their life experiences. I am glad that being the only one from my high school to attend USC, I was forced to meet new people and to open myself up to those people as they did to me. In high school, I was surrounded by people I had known for years. In college, I am surrounded by people completely unknown to me and these people have made my college experience one of the best ever. Although I have only known these people for a few months, our time together has made it seem I have known them for years and I am positive that these friendships I have made in college will grow even stronger.

My expectations for college has certainly been exceeded and I am excited for more encounters college will provide me in the future. Fight On!! =)

Louisa Man

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