During the past couple months I have had a terrific time participating in Thematic Option sponsored trips. Thematic Option is an alternative liberal-arts program for General Education here at USC, run through the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Students will tell you this program is not for everyone, but all of my classmates and I love it!
Several weeks ago, we went to Griffith Observatory and hiked to the Hollywood sign. The hike in itself was fun; we had the chance not only to get some fresh air but also to get to know one another outside of class and USC life. The view of Los Angeles from above was shocking and beautiful. We could see skyscrapers downtown, mountains surrounding the San Fernando valley, the Pacific Ocean, and home sweet home: USC. It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday.
Not long after, we spent the weekend at Catalina Island. About twenty of us went by boat to USC’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies to hike, snorkel, kayak, and, most importantly, explore. We were lucky enough to see (and in some cases touch!) leopard sharks, sea slugs, sea lions, and hundreds of species of fish. One of the great things about USC is that events like this one are often sponsored, and for students, don’t cost a thing!
Just last week, some classmates and I went with Thematic Option to the Getty Villa for College Night. This event welcomed hundreds of college students from all over the Los Angeles area to
foster excitement and interest regarding the classical history and treasure housed at this historic museum. The Getty Villa is, for those of you who don’t know, a beautiful and highly accurate model of an ancient Roman Villa, located in Malibu and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It displays an enormous collection of priceless artifacts and artwork from Classical times. Personally, I jump at every chance I get to go to this place. One of the coolest things about the night was that we got to go behind the scenes to learn about conservation and restoration techniques. A few friends and I watched as one of the five conservationists on sight worked on a vase that has been preserved for more than 2,000 years since its creation in ancient Greece. I don’t think I’ll have another chance to see history in the same way again, so up close and personal.
These are just the opportunities I’ve taken advantage of in my first semester of TO. These kinds of events are all over USC and happen all the time. I encourage everyone to participate in them as much as possible. It would be such a shame to miss out!