Category Archives: Outlook

Adjusting to Campus Life

By Alexis Peters

As a transfer student and a spring admit, I understand what it’s like to feel out of place at USC. You can feel a bit like a fish out of water, unsure about SC life and the opportunities available to you. Many  students are from the LA area, or elsewhere in California, but some of us have homes that are thousands of miles away. I’m originally from Chicago, so I may not understand homesickness on an international scale, but I still miss home a lot. So here’s what you can do to combat homesickness and adjust to campus.

  1. Stay busy.

Besides just studying all the time and going to classes, you have to make time to do something fun that doesn’t involve sitting in your room watching HBO. Go to fun events and see what’s happening on campus. There’s almost always something to do, no matter what day it is. So keep an eye out and go ahead and have fun. You may even make a new friend! I went to Spoiler Alert’s comedy show at Tommy’s Place. Spoiler Alert is one of USC’s improv comedy groups and they perform a hilarious set!

2. Join clubs!

When I first got to USC, I knew exactly what kinds of clubs I wanted to join. Going in with a couple of student organizations that interest you in mind will be helpful so you don’t get too overwhelmed at the Involvement Fair. I usually pick 3: one that is an activity that I know I like and have done before; one that I have always wanted to try, but never got around to starting it; and one that never even crossed my mind, but hey, it might be fun! For me, this was theater, Science Outreach, and boxing!

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The Universality of Human Connection

By Anthea Xiao

At a young age, I was introduced to and fascinated by Japanese culture through the channel of Japanese animations such as Studio Ghibli films and Doraemon. Eager to learn more about the Japanese language and customs, I enrolled in Japanese as my foreign language class and took the initiative to study Japanese culture on my own. My Japanese teacher recognized my passion and introduced me to an exchange program, which allowed students to live with host families and experience life as a Japanese High School student. I quickly seized the opportunity, and in the summer of 2016, I embarked on an unforgettable journey to Kanazawa, Japan.

Prior to flying to Japan, I diligently memorized Japanese phrases applicable for specific situations, read countless articles regarding Japanese etiquette, and even watched host-exchange “horror-stories” online from other students to prepare myself for any undesirable scenarios.

My heart was leaping out of my chest with anxiety and excitement when I saw my host-family waving the sign “ようこそ, アンセア!” (Welcome, Anthea!) at airport gate. During the initial stage of my stay, my host-exchange experience was exceeded beyond my imagination and expectations. I tasted a diverse array of authentic Japanese cuisines (a superb bowl of ramen was only $5 USD!), I quickly bonded with classmates through organizations such as the student acapella and traditional tea ceremony club, and I was able to improve my language ability through practicing colloquial Japanese outside of a classroom setting.

However, despite enjoying my host situation, I found it difficult to feel completely at ease with my host-family. I had read in textbooks that it is impolite to address Japanese people in an intimate or casual manner upon initial greetings. Therefore, although my host-parents asked me to address them as “mother” and “father” just like my host-sister did, I insisted on calling them Mr. and Mrs. Yoshida in fear of breaching their existing family structure.

The phrase “迷惑” (meiwaku) means to burden or to cause inconvenience for others. In Japan, a collective and harmony-focused society, causing meiwaku is a taboo and could signal a person as self-centered and uncouth. To avoid being seen as a meiwaku to my host-family, I refrained from seeking for help when I had trouble finding the way home from school or did not understand how to operate machine devices at home.

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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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