Category Archives: L.A. Life

10 Things I Learned in my First Semester at USC

By Esther Cha

Whether you’re here at USC as a freshman or Graduate student, your first year on campus is a time for exponential growth. In my first semester here, I learned a lot in my classes, but the real learning (about life and being on my own) came from outside the classroom. Here are some things I learned in my first semester that I know will help me survive college. Perhaps they can help you too!

  1. Don’t be afraid to say hi

Remember that everyone is in the same boat as you. College can be nerve wracking but a smile and a hello can go a long way. Who knows? The random stranger you say hi to in math class could potentially become your new best friend.

  1. Don’t buy your textbooks full price

Textbooks costs ADD UP. Be smart with textbooks and wait till the first week of classes to make sure you actually need to buy them. (Sometimes professors do not require them even though they are listed in the syllabus). Amazon and Chegg.com offer textbooks at significantly lower prices for rent and will save you a ton of money. Another option is to see if the libraries have the textbooks or required books you need and if they do you can borrow them for an entire semester at no cost!

  1. Be active and take advantage of your gym membership

Don’t forget to take care of your physical health by staying active! Not only will the endorphins make you feel better you will feel healthier and cleaner. Your tuition pays for a gym membership so take advantage of the great gyms we have on campus. The new village gym has great equipment and classes that you don’t wanna miss out on!

  1. Go to more events on campus

Join all of the facebook groups like your class page, USG, USC Events page to keep up to date with all of the exciting and cool events on campus! There are always so many cool speakers and guests on campus that you can meet if you take the initiative. Last semester I got to hear Danny Trejo speak and even see Brittany Snow (from Pitch Perfect) at Bovard for an Acapella concert.

  1. Be aware of the Freshman 15

Two Words: Unlimited Swipes. As a freshman with an unlimited meal plan, it can be very tempting to eat ice cream for dessert after every meal and indulge in the famous EVK chicken tenders. Make sure to keep a balance and eat vegetables and fuel your body with nutritious foods. You are what you eat after all.

  1. Google Calendar is your new best friend

College can get very hectic with so many events, classes, and appointments. Google Calendar helps to keep you organized and sane. Having a planner or calendar in college helps keep you organized and on top of your assignments and meetings. Don’t let that midterm or paper creep up on you; use Google Calendar to plan ahead!

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Explore LA Through Art

By Erika Gomi

I’ve come to realize that going to school in Los Angeles is not so bad (despite the heat). LA is a huge city just begging to be explored. There will always be a new restaurant to try or a screening to go see. One of the many things to do in this city is to visit some of the many museums. I, sadly, have not visited many of them, but the ones I’ve been to have all been fun experiences.

One of the most famous museums is probably the Getty Museum. There are two campuses: the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. The Getty Center is a huge museum at the top of a hill and has rooms dedicated to art like old renaissance paintings and ancient sculptures. What I remember most from my visit was the garden. While the museum is famous for its art pieces, it also has a beautiful garden full of flowers and some meandering dirt paths. There is also another part of the museum called the Getty Villa out by Malibu. It’s much smaller than the Getty Center, but if you go on a sunny day, LA does not get more beautiful than this. The Getty Villa is off the Pacific Coast Highway, up a long winding road in the hills off the highway. Once there, your view will open up to an expansive villa that overlooks the ocean; it will feel like you’ve been transported to a summer vacation home in Italy. The museum is filled with Greek and Roman art and even houses an actual mummy. The Villa also has a garden in back with big columns and a beautiful view of the ocean. I highly recommend going on a sunny day.

In addition to the Getty, there are museums like LACMA, MOCA, and the Broad. These museums exhibit more contemporary art unlike the Getty’s classical pieces. I’ve only been to LACMA, but I’ve heard amazing things about all three. LACMA is probably the most famous out of the three with its iconic streetlight sculpture out front. When I first went, I didn’t realize how huge the museum was. LACMA is made up of several buildings and it takes hours to get through even one. It was fun when I went though because they had a special exhibit on the famous movie director Guillermo del Toro. The exhibit was full of his inspirations – all very creepy. There were even life size models and costumes of characters from his films like Crimson Peak and Pan’s Labyrinth. I want to go to LACMA again so I can explore the rest of the museum. You definitely need more than one day.

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Summer Doldrums

By Gina Samec

While some of your friends may be vacationing in Italy or Mexico,  with the pictures on Facebook to prove it, others, like me, are stuck at home with less desirable things to do. I truly wish I could be writing an article about my trip to Spain but that is not the case. Summer is moving at a snail pace for me which is a shift from my summers as a kid where they never seemed to be long enough. I never travel, I don’t have a driver’s license, and oftentimes distance and schedules make hanging out with friends challenging. Due to these misfortunes, I have resorted to other means of keeping myself entertained. If you find yourself in the same boat, hopefully some of these suggestions will help you pass the time.

This first suggestion may seem very obvious but it is no small feat for some of us. Read a book! I know many people who detest reading and would rather watch paint dry. Although I don’t dislike reading, I haven’t been reading as many books for fun as I used to. I realized recently that I miss that feeling I had as a kid, when I could not bear to put my book down because I was so engrossed in the story. Though it falls lower on my list of summer activities, I decided to pick up a nonfiction book last month. I promise you will feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing a book, not to mention, if you’re reading in English, you’ll be practicing the language. Here is a list of popular English language novels that are great for second language learners. 

If you truly hate reading, try making a list of movies you’ve always been meaning to see. I did this and ended up discovering some of my current favorite movies. I mention movies over television shows because it’s only two hours of commitment. If you can’t think of what to watch, choosing from AFI’s or IMDB’s best movies of all time lists are good places to start.

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