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My last Conquest

Melissa Ling ConquestWith rivalry week each year comes Conquest, a huge pep rally before the Trojans take on the Bruins. Not only is this a major time for school spirit to shine but also it’s one of the occasions when the USC Concerts Committee organizes a big concert for all students to enjoy. This year, I clicked “going” on the Facebook event for Conquest and waited in suspense for the committee to announce who our headliners were going to be. The hints were that the artist won over 5 Grammys and headlined Coachella, a music festival, in the past.

On the morning of Conquest, I checked my phone and saw that the headliners were just announced – Big Boi and Phantogram!! I was so giddy with excitement I was almost late to my first class and had to try very hard to stay focused through my 6 hours of class that Thursday. Finally, in the evening, my friends and I made our way over to McCarthy Quad and sung along to Phantogram. When Big Boi came out, the whole crowd was dancing, and I felt so lucky that the last big USC concert during my time as a student featured artists I happened to love. Not going to lie, I’m pretty happy with myself that I was able to rap along to Big Boi’s entire super fast verse in B.O.B, one of the songs he put out with Andre 3000 while they were in OutKast.

These are the kind of events at USC that I’ll miss once I graduate! There’s really no other school that’s so strong in school spirit and is also able to throw such amazing events for its students.

What is life?

The school year is coming to a close and finals week is upon us — things are getting stressful with papers and projects and final exams. But there are always a flurry of new students getting ready to apply to USC, and our ambassador-ness got an opportunity to shine, which was a highlight of the semester!

Cara Black PoloThis past week, we got to work the Discover USC event, where we got to talk to prospective students who hadn’t decided on whether or not to apply to USC yet. I got to talk to tons of students about all that Dornsife has to offer, like internships, our awesome classes, study abroad, and all sort of opportunities that are unique to USC and to Dornsife. It was really fun for me, because it felt like just yesterday I was one of those students applying to colleges, and I wish I had attended an event like this at USC when I got the chance, just to be able to explore everything that USC had waiting for me when I got here.

This event also marked my first opportunity to wear my coveted black polo shirt and gold name tag for Dornsife Ambassadors. When I walked on campus freshman year and started seeing polos and name tags around, I knew those people were involved somehow on campus, and it encouraged me to find out how to get involved myself. Now, first semester sophomore year, I have earned my polo and name tag, and I am so excited about being an ambassador!

Friendsgiving 4.0

Adam Ice Skating in SacAh, Thanksgiving. The short period of rest before finals descend upon us. And for those of us from out-of-state like myself (woo, Wisconsin!), that brings up a huge question every year: What do I do for Thanksgiving?

Now, I would love to fly home, but considering we only have a week of classes after Thanksgiving, it doesn’t make sense—I’ll be home in a few short weeks anyways. Previously, I’ve gone home with my friend Emily to Cerritos; I’ve celebrated at USC with friends; and last year in Austria I essentially forgot about the holiday and ate a doner kebab from a street stand for dinner. Let’s just say the past few Thanksgivings have been less than ordinary.

This year, though, I was fortunate enough to be able to drive up to the Sacramento area to stay with my roommate’s family. I’ve been to San Diego, San Francisco, and of course Los Angeles, but I had never been to the final of the big urban areas of California—its capital. I’d heard mixed things about the place, but nonetheless, I was excited.

The break was the definition of relaxing. We ate tons of great American Thanksgiving food with a Filipino twist, we watched tons of movies, and we explored Sacramento—including a visit to Old Sacramento (think a mini “Wild West” city) and even the local outdoor ice rink (didn’t know those existed in California). The best part, though, was that I was able to spend time with my best friend and roommate without the constant stress of school hanging over our heads. It’s pretty rare being able to do whatever you want without a paper due the next morning or an exam to prepare for later that week.

Although I’m now back in school, this break was a great way to reflect on my USC experience and prepare for what’s ahead. It has been so long since I’ve lived in an actual (non-college) house, and it was pretty nice to be back in the real world for a bit. Now, I’m ready to buckle down and tackle those finals for the second-to-last time in my life!

I am a History major, and one of the big steps is declaring a concentration, which is basically a temporal, thematic, or geographic focus. So far I have taken four lower-division courses and one upper-division course in the major. During this time,Caroline American History I was able to explore many different topics and time periods; for example, I took a class on Ancient China and another on 20th Century Great Britain. Now that I am getting old (can’t believe I am actually a Junior!!), it was finally time for me to choose a focus for my upper division courses. During my advisement appointment this semester, I officially decided that I am going to concentrate on 18th Century – Present Great Britain and American History. From here on out, my upper division courses are going to be within my concentration, and I will also take a directed seminar course where I work on a big research project. Looking forward to more classes in Great Britain and American History!

Caroline Sony2This summer I was a part of the Dornsife’s Gateway Internship Program. I had the incredible opportunity to work at Sony Pictures Animation! For 8 weeks I worked right by the Sony Lot in Culver City. I had never had a full time job before, and the idea of such a time intensive internship was both daunting and exciting. I figured that I’d be filing papers or fetching coffee all day. But I was wrong!

Caroline Sony1Right from day one, I was assigned to a specific movie in development, Hotel Transylvania 2, and interacted with all the talented artists that bring it to the screen. I often assisted the Script Supervisor in organizing binders for production recordings (which was very exciting because I got to help with a few celebrity voice recording sessions!). I also attended a variety of daily meetings. I really enjoyed “vis-dev” where the director reviewed all the props, scenery, buildings, characters, and costumes within the scene. Often these items were works in progress, and the director gave notes on how to improve or change them. It was interesting to see how many versions every item goes through before finally settling on the final product.

Working so closely with the production team behind the movie was amazing, and my knowledge about animation, film production, and the entertainment industry grew so much!

Through the Gateway Program, I was also paired with a mentor in the film industry and attended a summer course on career readiness. Several USC alumni came to speak to the class, and it was great interacting with the other Gateway interns every week who were working at different jobs across the city.

I highly recommend the Gateway Internship Program to any Dornsife student!

Calorine USCGame

This semester I joined USC Helenes, a service organization on campus that volunteers for the university and the community. One of the best events is called Gate Call — We go early to the football game, help set up, and then cheer on the Trojans in the front row! I participated for the first time during the Colorado game in October, and it was a really fun experience. About three hours before kickoff, I headed over to the USC Coliseum. The athletic department had us set up pom poms and prepare the stands for the thousands of fans who would be coming soon. This was also a special game because Jason Derulo performed during the halftime show with the marching band. Because I was there so early with other Helenes, we happened to run into Jason warming up. He was so nice and came over and talked to us for a few minutes. Just another celebrity run-in at USC!

After 3 hours of waiting and setting up, the game finally began. Football games have been a favorite part of my USC experience since freshman year. I love feeling united as a university, and everyone gets very spirited. Plus as a football fan, it’s fun seeing us (mostly) crush the competition :) Being in the front row, though, was a completely different experience for me! You see the players run right in front of you and can hear the coaches yelling out instructions. It’s awesome to be right in the middle of all the energy!

One of the rules about being in the front for Gate Call is not sitting the entire game. After almost 6 hours of standing and cheering at the Coliseum I was super tired, but it was all worth it in the end when we beat Colorado 56-28!!

Pooja Rivalry WeekTis the most wonderful time of the year! We despise our cross town rivals a little bit more this week. We make a point of wearing EXTRA cardinal and gold for these 7 glorious days. We protect our precious school mascots with shining duct tape for over 150 hours straight… Ladies and gentlemen: I present to you rivalry week at USC.

The school spirit is contagious! I’m already incredibly proud of being a Trojan but the rallying from CONQUEST takes it to a whole new level. Yeah, we burn a bruin. Literally, light it on fire. And it’s AWESOME. Our loyal Trojan Knights guard Tommy 24/7 for the week (and a half) leading up to the most important gameday of the season (and I got a sick free sticker from them); you see them every time you pass through the main quad on campus. And I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ll be honest, I feel a swell of joy and appreciation and pride all in one when I see them just hanging out on their lawn chairs in front of the bruin hanging on a chain off Tommy’s sword.

So yeah, USC is probably the coolest college in the history of ever. And that’s all I really wanted to say. I was just compelled to share with the masses. (And okay, so maybe we lost our game, whatever. It was one time, and it won’t happen again for a good couple of decades. We felt bad for them, so we let them win.)

Keep calm and FIGHT ON!

Hello to all of my readers! I wanted to update you on one of the coolest parts about USC: the guest speakers. Since I arrived in Fall 2012, we’ve had Elton John, George W. Bush, Seth Meyers, Robert Gates, Stan Lee, the cast of Workaholics, Neil deGrasse-Tyson and Louis Zamperini come to campus, to name just a few. These events are all free and open to the student population.

Last Friday, we were lucky enough to have President Bill Clinton speak on campus. He lectured in Bovard Auditorium on a number of current issues, focusing on the theme of our growing interdependence as a society. It was truly inspiring to be in the same room as one of the greatest leaders of our time. I have really appreciated having the unique opportunity to see these amazing speakers during my time at USC, and I can’t wait to see who we’ll bring in next.

Nick Bill Clinton

Whew. Senior year. It’s finally here?!Adam Career Center

After returning from my junior year studying abroad, I’ve had to hit the ground running this semester—it’s time for me to find a job for post-graduation! I solidified my decision to find a job, rather than apply to graduate school, because I want to get some work experience in before applying to MBA programs (and most require 3-5 years before you can even apply!).

Fortunately, USC has provided all of the resources I need. The USC Career Center’s connectSC job portal has hundreds if not thousands of job and internship opportunities. I knew that I wanted to go into sales or management after spending my summer interning for a food company in Bangkok, Thailand, and so I scoured the listings looking for positions. I ended up applying to over 30 jobs!

Most of the interviews were through On-Campus Recruiting, and so if I was selected for an interview, I was able to don my business professional attire and meet with recruiters right in the center of campus. Some interviews took place over the phone, and a few even had me fly across the country to attend day-long interview events. It was pretty exhausting, especially on top of all of my school work, but worth it in the end!

I interviewed at companies ranging from Yelp and AT&T to Oracle and Raytheon, but ended up accepting an offer after about 2 months with McMaster-Carr in Chicago. I’ll be returning to the Midwest to work in their management trainee program, and I couldn’t be more excited. It was a long and arduous process, but it’s a great feeling to know that I have a position lined up for after graduation—all thanks to USC’s resources!

Whether your goal is to work, attend law school, or even take a gap year after graduation, USC offers all the support to get you there. :)

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