Category Archives: USC

This Midterm Season, Don’t Forget to Take a Break!

By Colette Au

As the first round of midterms reaches its peak, I find myself overwhelmed by my commitments. Again. It seems that every semester begins smoothly, but time management only helps so much to balance a life that, frankly, is overbooked.  As I learned in my gender studies class, Americans have the longest work week in the world. We can boast of our high GDP and standards of living compared to many other nations, but economic benefits come with hidden costs. This workaholic culture trickles down, and is especially concentrated at a university like USC. People who triple major, invest thirty hours a week e-boarding for several clubs, rushing and pledging in the Greek system, or work a full-time job alongside a full course load are our role models — the hard working ideal. Squeezing maximum productivity out of every day is the norm. Is this mindset of high-intensity social, academic, involvement helpful, or even sustainable in the long-term? Perhaps a dominant narrative negatively portrays a stereotypical American characteristic, rewarding effort without achievement, but I think there is an equally strong narrative that seeks to disrupt this view that Americans are lazy and entitled.

As an American-born Chinese (ABC), I grew up with Asian immigrant parents. Like many of their “tiger” counterparts, they stressed academic accomplishment, but unlike the tiger parent stereotypes, they told me I should also remember to take breaks and relax sometimes. However, in college, there is no one to remind me to put down my macroeconomics lecture slides and simply BE. As soon as I stop working, the guilt sets in. I don’t want to be a lazy and entitled American, I think. So I work harder and I overcommit. And when my laptop’s hard drive fails and I succumb to a bad cold that takes me out of class for a week, my self worth disappears along with my rigid work schedule. Lying in bed with used tissues and a glass of hot tea, I realized how easily my world was reduced to my Google Calendar’s events and task list in the semester’s first four weeks. I had become my commitments. My long-distance relationship was suffering because I was in club meetings, attending lectures, or working for most of my days. This is not what I envisioned for myself, but slipping into the “work hard, play hard” culture that permeates this campus is extremely tempting.

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Traditions of Football Season

By Greg Lennon

One of the centerpieces of any USC student’s college experience is that surreal part of the Fall semester that is football season.  New students quickly learn to respect and worship the history and tradition surrounding the illustrious Trojan football program.   For over a century, the school has built a pigskin culture based on excellence, tradition, and the glory that is game day.

For many, the pregame tailgates are almost as important as the game itself.  Whether you’re a hardcore alum who arrives on campus at 5:00am to set up the perfect tailgate, or just a casual fan, the pregame is a vital component to the Trojan game day experience.  Walking onto campus on any game day, no matter the opponent, you will find almost every inch of SC decked out in Cardinal and Gold.  When the time comes, the Trojan faithful head south to the Coliseum, pouring out of campus, and making sure to kick the trusty game day flag poles for good luck.

On the way, vendors sell essentials like bottled water, bootleg merchandise, and victory dogs (bacon wrapped hot dogs), the fuel of any tailgater.  Passing religious orators and ticket scalpers, the crowd makes its way into the coliseum, bottlenecked into the student section.  For most games, the student section feels like a pressure cooker; stacked like sardines into cramped seats, all the while the sun beating down.  And yet watching football from the student section can be one of the most surreal experiences; the entirety of the crowd moving and reacting as one while the two teams wage war on the field below.  Between chanting the SoCal spell-out, fighting on in unison with the song girls, or dancing to any number of the traditional cheers, the student section keeps things rowdy all game long.

For many so-called fans, halftime is a chance to escape the heat of the coliseum and return home to watch the remainder of the game from the comfort of air conditioning.  For the more faithful fans, the second half is a time to watch the team inflict its finishing blows to the visitor (or vice versa), as well as hope to catch a 4th quarter t-shirt launched into the crowd.  For the Trojan Faithful, game day is a borderline religious experience, and no matter the score, we never lose a tailgate.

Greg is a junior majoring in International Relations, with an emphasis in International Politics in Security Studies. As a member of USC’s NROTC program, he will graduate as an officer in the US Navy, where he will serve for several years. Born and raised in Northern California, Greg enjoys running, hiking, and swimming on the weekends.

Turning Dreams Into Reality through USC’s “Dance Off”

By Sabrina Hsu

Everyone enters freshmen year of college with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension – I was no different. Growing up as an international student, transferring from school to school in itself wasn’t as intimidating as knowing it would take a while to integrate into the already-established friend groups in the school. So when I entered USC, I put all my hopes into the Fall Semester Involvement Fair, wishing for an organization that would catch my eye and help me find a group of people with common interests. Out of all the clubs and activities I joined, Dance-Off was the one I had least expectations for, but it is not an exaggeration to say it was the one that changed my life.

KASA Dance-Off is a competition for fall semester freshmen dancers with all levels of experience. As someone who never danced hip-hop before, I went to the first dance workshop with no intention of staying for the rest of the semester. But the passionate and family-oriented atmosphere that surrounded me when I danced with this group of people drew me in, and before I knew it, I was looking forward to the workshops every week. Of course, it was tough – two weeks before competition we practiced dance more than we did anything else, including sleeping and eating. But ultimately, our success during the competition, and the bonding and friendship that came out of the hours and hours of practice and “suffering” were worth it.

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