I grew up in a very small town in Northern Michigan, so naturally I wanted to attend university somewhere warm! I was sick of the cold and gray winters, but more than that, I knew that I wanted to live somewhere that would broaden my perspective on life. I was lucky to grow up in a sheltered environment that really nurtured my creativity and aspirations, however, I had always heard about “the real world,” and was eager to explore it.
My parents took me to visit and tour my top choices of schools – UCLA, USC, NYU, and University of Michigan. At the time I decided that I wanted to major in acting, however, I also wanted to attend a school that offered all the benefits of university life instead of an arts school. After touring The University of Southern California, I immediately knew that it was my first choice.
I hadn’t considered it before because I had heard that its location, in downtown Los Angeles, was dangerous. Yet when I toured the campus I saw bright eyed, eager students walking about with their books in hand and the sun shining on the palm trees. The USC campus was full of life and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
But beyond the aesthetic appeal of such a beautiful campus nestled within one of the most exciting cities in the world, Los Angeles, were academic programs that are nearly impossible to be beat. Each school within the university – Engineering, Cinema, Fine Arts, Communications, etc. – boasts distinguished faculty, beautiful classroom facilities and rigorous academic courses. On top of that, the school’s athletic programs, namely, football, attracts a massive network of alumni to every game – what USC calls, “The Trojan Family.”
Although I was 2,000 miles away from home, I instantly made so many new and wonderful friends while living in the dorms. Overall, I really feel that if I had chosen to attend university closer to home, I would not have had the same college experience.
Moving across the country was an exciting adventure that allowed me to meet hundreds of amazing people and have hundreds of amazing experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I had been visiting my parents at home every weekend. Moreover, USC’s location in downtown Los Angeles opened my eyes to the “real world” and the people in it.
I no longer feel like a naïve, small-town girl, but instead like a young woman who has gained a new perspective on life. Moving so far away, although it was a little scary at first, pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to become more independent; qualities that I am incredibly thankful for as I continue to navigate through my college years.
By Rebecca Dancer
junior at University of Southern California