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Vijeta Bill ClintonOn November 7, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. Former President Bill Clinton was supposed to speak at USC, and as a student, I had been invited to his speech. My roommate and I lined up outside of Bovard Auditorium 3 hours in advance of when the speech was scheduled to begin, so that we could ensure that we would get great seats. Our hard work paid off, because we got seats in the very first row! I was sitting only about 15 feet away from where President Clinton was standing.

It was such a memorable experience getting to hear President Clinton talk about his work with the Clinton Initiative and his view on international affairs in the world today. He talked about the idea of interdependence, and how our world is becoming increasingly globalized. After his speech, the Dean of the Marshall School of Business, James Ellis, held a discussion with President Clinton.

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to hear such a great leader of our country speak. This is in fact the second time that I have heard a former President speak at USC. Last year, I was fortunate enough to attend a speech by President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

Hearing such great leaders speak at USC reminds me of how lucky I am to be receiving an education at such a fine institution. Often times it is easy to get frustrated with classwork or even overwhelmed by tests, but events such as this remind me of how I should be taking full advantage of my time here, so that I can go on to achieve even more in the future!

Growing up in Los Angeles, I’ve always gotten heat from my East Coast friends around this time. Los Angeles seasons are a little less intense than other places in the country. Our leaves change color and fall from the trees, and the temperature dips, Leona Pumpkin Varietiesbut in a milder way than, say, Vermont.

I love a Halloween with weather made for short sleeves. But it is a little bit more of an effort to create a festive spirit.

Luckily, there’s a pumpkin patch not too far from campus that instantly created an autumn feeling. I went with a big group. The first thing we did when we arrived was wander through a very-tall corn maze. It wasn’t too hard to decipher, because the corn maze was built for kids and my friend is an expert with directions, but we had fun trying to get lost and find new paths.

I had never been to a pumpkin patch before and was disappointed to find out that the pumpkins were already picked, but my disappointment wavered once I saw the variety to pick from. There were tiny white pumpkins and big orange ones and then a green and black striped variety I had never seen before.

We picked through them looking for the least-bruised pumpkins of the bunch. I got four mini-pumpkins to surprise my roommate, perfect for decorating but not carving.

It was so cute watching couples walking through the patch with sunflowers, or babies being carted around in little wagons. One of the girls in our group, Alex, won a contest and came home with the biggest pumpkin at the patch.

Of course, we had to take a photo of our whole group showing Trojan spirit.

The best part was, we were all comfortable in our sandals and shorts instead of bundled up against the weather. Once we made it festive, the California autumn had the best of both worlds.

Leona Festive Fall Group

A Day in the Life

Sarah Day In The LifeSo it’s been more than a year since my first and only blog post—yikes! I’ll do better this year!

When I was in high school, I was always so curious about what college students actually did all day. Obviously, everyone’s schedule is different, but I figured I’d take y’all through one of my typical days just so you can have some idea what a Thursday might look like if you’re an SC student interested in some of the same stuff I am.

9:00 AM: Wake up!

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM: Psychology 100 lecture. This course isn’t required for my major, but I need to take it for the MCAT (medical school entrance exam). I’ve been really enjoying the class so far!

11:00 AM -12:30 PM: Ancient Religions of Egypt and the Near East lecture. This class fulfills my GE 2 (world cultures and traditions) requirement, and it is absolutely fascinating. The professor, Lynn Dodd, is amazing; she knows absolutely everything there is to know about the ancient Near East, and she really makes the ancient texts come to life.

12:30 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch! Sometimes I’ll also use this time to stop by the student radio station, KXSC. I’m trying to finish up my intern hours this semester so I can start training to be a DJ in the spring.

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Molecular biology lab section. I promise, molecular biology sounds a lot scarier than it is! Like all USC science lab sections, this lab is technically three hours long, but we almost always finish the experiments quickly and get to leave early. Honestly, I think molecular biology lab is pretty cool because we get to learn and use techniques that scientists use in real scientific research, like PCR, spectroscopy, and gel electrophoresis.

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Chill on campus (the philosophy library in Mudd Hall is one of my favorite study spots, definitely check it out), or go back and hang out at my apartment.

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM: Dornsife Ambassadors meeting!

6:30 PM – 12:00 AM: Play it by ear. How I spend my evenings really depends on the week—sometimes I have a lot of homework and studying to do, other times I don’t. If I really have a light workload, sometimes I’ll even go do something off campus—there’s always a concert somewhere, and I recently discovered an awesome yoga studio downtown.

It probably sounds like I’m really busy, but that’s just because I’m really busy! Luckily, not every day is quite this jam packed—my first class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays starts at 11:00 AM so I get to sleep in and relax a little more on those days.

Until my next blog post (which I promise will not take a year this time!), you can check out what I’m up to on Instagram (sfrench531) and Twitter (s_french_).

sophomoreslump

Wow, I feel old. It’s so strange not being the newbie or the new memb or the freshie or the lost fish in the sea anymore. (It’s also weird not eating at Parkside all day everyday.) My freshman year was a blur, to say the least, and unfortunately summer was too. But now, I’m a got-my-life-together-but-do-I-really sophomore. Considering sophomore literally means wise fool, I’d say I’m on the right track for that.

I’m having just as much fun screaming my lungs out at the football games, drinking 4 cups of coffee in the morning on *those* mornings, taking pictures of campus at those random sunset/early morning times when the lighting is perfect, crafting from Pinterest to avoid studying, and dancing my heart out the nights after midterms as I did last year. But I also managed to improve my study habits, which I’d say is a major win. (It doesn’t sound like I did, but I swear it’s true.)

So yeah, I’d say this year is going to be a killer one—it already has been! You could say I’m pretty stoked about being on campus again. If you wanted.

And what I’ve learned after a year of being at USC is that everything always works out for the best, as long as you’re giving it your all. My Trojan family (insert cat vomiting meme here from the cheesiness of it all) has got my back, as I’ve learned from experience, and the free food here is UNREAL. Fight on! :)

Emilie Random Things 2

All I can say is that there’s no other school like USC. Between classes, after classes, and on the weekends, there are always things going on.

1. Every Wednesday as I walk to chemistry, my routine has become to pass by the farmer’s market right outside my residential building and try a bunch of their fruit. I now have a new favorite fruit: persimmons. Just a little further there are sometimes people handing out free Nesquik chocolate milk. On Fridays, a comedy club puts on performances on Trousdale.

2. A week ago, Mary Lambert (the female singer in Macklemore’s Same Love) came and gave an intimate performance in Bovard Auditorium, which of course is free to all USC students.

3. Just before that, I had the honor of hearing Bill Clinton speak at Bovard.

4. Last week, the CFO of Tesla Motors came and spoke to anyone who wanted to come and listen.

5. On my way to chemistry this week, there was a small puppy adoption going on on Trousdale.

6. This Wednesday, I got to see a screening of a food documentary that changed the way I look at food companies, health corporations, food advertisements, and food companies in relation to different ethnic groups.

7. This past Thursday, on my way to my Spanish class, I got to take in the vastness of the stage being set up for Conquest, which is USC’s night to get the whole Trojan family pumped for the USC vs UCLA game on Saturday.
What other school brings a huge Ferris wheel into the quad and lets people ride for free? What other school puts on a huge fireworks show on campus to get people pumped? What other school has 5-time Grammy winners come perform for the student body?

Emilie Random Things 1

 

USC does this. USC makes you feel like there are no limits. Everything is possible and within reach. Want to get an internship? Talk to a professor. Done. Want to explore different classes? Talk to your advisor. Need help writing a resume, interviewing, public speaking, or looking for advice in the career field? The Student Union Center is open and there for the specific purpose of helping YOU. It’s there, and it’s free. Easy.

The bottom line is that USC is more than an institution that offers classes. It is a giant key there to unlock any door that you have the desire to open. I’ve come to realize more and more that it’s a place for me to explore and fall in love with new subjects and activities. It’s a place where you can really enjoy life while excelling in it. Every school tells you that there are no boundaries to what you want to do, but at USC you really realize and believe that you really can do the grandiose, world changing things that make an impact on this world.

About me!

Hello!Keith Intro

My name is Karan Keith Agarwal, and I am a sophomore at USC Dornsife. I studied abroad in Paris the fall of my freshman year before coming to USC in the spring of 2014.

A little about myself: I am of Indian-Irish descent, born in Northern California but raised in New Delhi, India. I speak fluent English and Hindi and conversational French, which is what led me to study abroad in my freshman fall semester.

Considering I have only been at USC for less than a year, I feel like I have gotten a lot of opportunities both in and outside the classroom. I am USC’s Model UN Secretary General as well as the Director of Training for the club. I am an active part of Greek life too: social committee for the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. While all of these are really fun and enriching extra curricular activities, I also spend an equal amount of time working hard for school.

Last semester I was on the Dornsife Dean’s List and secured a research scholarship for the summer research I undertook on nuclear non-proliferation. I am so happy and proud to be a student at USC Dornsife, and I have to admit it was the best life decision I’ve made thus far.

Please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook (Karan Keith Agarwal) if you have any questions or just want to make a new friend.

Ara IntroHi, all! My name is Ara, and I’m a sophomore here at USC. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, I have spent a year and some change falling in love with Los Angeles, USC, and especially USC Dornsife. Although I entered my freshman year undecided, I have since committed to studying International Relations Global Business, an interdisciplinary major composed of classes in both Dornsife and the Marshall School of Business. I am also double minoring in Spanish and Psychology & Law, and I hope to one day go to law school.

As a southern girl looking to expand her horizons, I entered my freshman year certain that I wanted to do everything from Medieval Literature to Political Science – maybe with a computer science minor thrown in. The beauty of USC Dornsife is that I had the opportunity to try all of these things. At the end of the day, with a passion for human rights and international affairs, I settled on IRGB.

However, my studies aren’t the only gift USC Dornsife has given me. This summer I had the privilege of studying nuclear nonproliferation and international security in Washington, D.C. through a Dornsife program called Problems Without Passports. I watched diplomats debate Iranian sanctions at The Atlantic Council, had coffee with the former US Ambassador to Pakistan, and even watched Hilary Clinton deliver a speech at the Kennedy Center on women’s empowerment. In the future, I hope to study abroad in Spain, conduct research with a professor, and take full advantage of the plethora of opportunities USC Dornsife has to offer. Though not a Trojan by blood, I have truly been converted to the unique, vibrant, and absolutely captivating world of USC. Fight on!

Erin Mills

Erin IntroHi, everyone! My name is Erin Mills, and I am a USC Dornsife sophomore majoring in Applied Math and minoring in Spanish. Coming to USC last year was a huge change from my hometown, Jefferson City, Missouri. However, the change could not have been better for me. In just one year here I have been able to become involved in a wide array of activities ranging from a professional leadership fraternity to data science research. Opportunities such as these have allowed me to explore my interests and become more self-aware at the same time.

I feel so lucky to be able to go to a school with so many opportunities both in and out of the classroom and share them with you. I even studied abroad in Madrid through the Spanish department this summer! Dornsife has provided me the opportunity to work hard but also to enjoy the work I do. I am looking forward to seeing more of the world and hope to spend a semester at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Traveling is one of my greatest interests, and I aim to incorporate it in both my personal and professional life.

My USC experience has just begun, and I am excited to see what the future brings. From what I can imagine, each year will just provide more opportunity than the next.

Hello world!Yasmeen Intro

My name is Yasmeen Serhan, and I’m one of the newest additions to USC’s Dornsife Ambassador family. I’m currently a junior studying international relations with a minor in French at the happiest place on Earth.

No, Disneyland doesn’t give out diplomas.

Sure USC doesn’t have rides and by no means is it anything close to the magic kingdom (though the clock in Hahn Plaza sure makes it seem like it is), it’s still one of my favorite places on Earth. As my home away from home for the past two years, USC has served as a place of unparalleled learning, discovery and opportunity. I joined the Trojan Family as an international relations major because of my inherent interest in all things related to the Middle East — North Africa region, specifically regarding Israel-Palestine. It is my hope that my concentrations in the Middle East and foreign policy, as well as my studies in French and Arabic, will give me the tools necessary to immerse myself in the political and policy world of the region. After my studies, I’m hoping to pursue a career in either journalism or foreign policy — or both! We’ll see where it goes.

At USC, the learning experience isn’t confined to the classroom. In fact, when I’m not in class, I can usually be found running throughout the urban oasis that is USC’s beautiful campus. I’m currently the Special Projects Editor of USC’s student-run paper, the Daily Trojan, and have previously served as the News Editor, Online Editor and Editorial Director. I’ve also spent the last two semesters co-writing the column Point/Counterpoint (it runs Tuesdays — give it a read)! I recently co-founded J Street U USC, a political organization advocating for peace, security and social justice in Israel-Palestine. I’m also a proud member of the Political Student Assembly, the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and Society 53, the student ambassadors to the USC Alumni Association for which I am currently serving as Director of Networking Night.

Though I’ve been lucky to have had so many experiences at USC, there’s still so much I want to do! For instance, I’m hoping to study abroad this upcoming spring semester in France through the USC Paris program. I’m also hoping to pursue an honors thesis my senior year, likely focusing on the ways certain diasporic communities maintain a strong sense of national identity. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I really want to achieve my undergraduate dream of trying every Ground Zero milkshake at least once.

If you have any questions about all things USC and Dornsife, don’t hesitate to connect with me on Twitter! Summarizing how much I love USC in 140 characters won’t be easy, but I’m up for the challenge.

Fight on!

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