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Kyle DoubleMajorBlog

In the past, the concept of having two majors seemed rather intimidating to me. It was something that I thought I would never do. I guess it’s pretty funny how perspectives can completely change; now, I see double-majoring as a marvelous opportunity that I personally could not continue college without.

At the beginning of my first semester at USC, I had cognitive science marked as my sole major. There were two things clear to me at this point. First, I was very interested in studying the workings of the human mind and human behavior. Second, I wanted to go to law school. My first semester class schedule consisted entirely of general education classes and school requirements. It was by luck that I found myself enrolled in a philosophy class, “Legal Controversies and Ethical Principles”, for my category six GE. It turned out to be a class that I truly enjoyed, solidifying my desire to study law in the future. As I became more interested in law, I began to feel like studying cognitive science wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more.

I started looking into the major Philosophy, Politics, and Law (PPL). It seemed incredibly interesting, the perfect curriculum for a pre-law student. Even better, I saw that the philosophy class I was taking fulfilled the first requirement for the major. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I really wanted to add this second major. Upon further examination, I saw that I could easily graduate on time with both majors. Cognitive science and PPL, individually, did not have too many requirements. There was also some overlap between the two. Double-majoring originally seemed like an impossible (or at least extremely difficult) thing to do, but that really is not the case. I suppose it makes sense, now, that a good number of students here have more than one major.

As I look to the end of my first semester, I have nothing but excitement for the future. I’m now on a path that satisfies all of my personal intellectual and career passions. I can continue learning about cognition and behavior and getting involved in research. At the same time, I can prepare for law school and learn more about the field of law. It feels great. I never thought double-majoring would bring so much relief.

Imagining myself leaving USC in just a week and a half seems surreal. I’m graduating a semester early, and I couldn’t be more excited to move on to the next chapter of my life in San Jose, CA. But I’m sad to leave the friends I’ve made over my time Melissa Ling Graduationhere at USC. I keep thinking back to freshman year, when I’d stay up late with my dorm mates for no reason and skate around the empty campus, so grateful that I was at my dream school. I still get that feeling of joy just being on campus, but I’m ready to take on my next big challenge – applying to medical school. Going to school at USC has made me a more independent person and also made me realize how much potential I have.

Over the next few months, I’m going to be working at a hospital in San Jose and applying to med school at the same time. I’ve decided to live at home to save up, but I definitely plan to visit Los Angeles from time to time! I’ve fallen in love with this city during the past three and a half years, even though trying to drive anywhere in LA makes me rethink that briefly. There’s just so much to do in LA. I’ve gotten to watch my favorite comedians, Jake and Amir, perform live, see Big Boi and Phantogram perform right on campus, and hang out with Rivers from the band Weezer — and that was all just this semester. Yesterday, I spent an afternoon walking through downtown LA and realized that there’s still so much I need to see and do in this city. There were people of all ages, backgrounds, and fashion; restaurants that I wanted to try, and music venues I hadn’t been to yet. Moving back to San Jose will be a huge change, but I’m happy I get to see my family and work toward my ultimate goal: to become a physician.

Fight on forever!

Parents’ Weekend

Maddie Parents WeekendAfter not having seen my family since August 20th, parents’ weekend finally arrived. My mom, dad, and little brother all boarded a flight from Indianapolis to LA – I’m not sure if they were more excited about a break from cold and snowy Indy or seeing me, but either way it was great to see them again and show them around my new stomping ground.

The grand tour of USC included the buildings where I have my classes, the campus center, and the dorm room that I had spent an hour cleaning the night before (Yes mom, it always looks like this). It was so much fun showing my parents my new life at USC with Dornsife, and they couldn’t have been happier that I am loving my first semester in college. That night was the USC – Cal game. After getting decked out in our game-day gear, I got to drag my parents around all the tailgates outside the Coliseum and introduce them to many of my friends. It was my brother’s first college football game, so I had fun teaching him the fight song and watching the Trojan victory with him.

There was also Delta Gamma Presents over parents’ weekend. My entire pledge class put on long white dresses — yes, it did kind of look like we were getting married — and we were presented with short bios to all the families that were there. My parents loved hearing about how all of my new sorority sisters are involved and really enjoyed the event! I also got to give them a tour of the DG house, and we all got to enjoy a nice brunch after the event was over.

On the night before they left, we all had one last family dinner together! I said my goodbyes, and though I was sad that my family was leaving, I was happy to be staying at USC. Showing my family my new life here just reinforced the fact that I could not be happier with my decision to go to USC and become a part of the Trojan Family.

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!!

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